Please note that, if these are being read in the order in which they were written, then 'My Own Way' was the last installment.
'Watari Pt 2' was the most stalled, the most panicked over, the most beset by problems from the beginning story that I wrote. It exists now because Spoiled-kitten did the cyber equivalent of rushing around picking up the screwed up chapters and smoothing them back out again. She spent a day calming my panic attacks, then spent days reading the story and advising me. That 'Watari Pt 2' ever made it into the public domain is testimony to Spoiled-kitten's ability to turn a situation around.
So what went so wrong? Firstly, it was the length of the story. 'Watari Pt 2' is supposed to simply be the second arc of 'Watari Pt 1'. It was never supposed to be two stories, but there's a whole domino effect that happens which would have rendered it all too long for just one story. To me, the ultimate division between the stories is totally arbitrary. In the closing scene of 'Watari Pt 1', Mello goes out to buy halloumi cheese. In the opening scene of 'Watari Pt 2', he is in the shop buying halloumi cheese. It's the same expedition and so only an hour separates the timeline between them. For a while, I was going to have the cut-off point being the end of chapter 28 of 'Watari Pt 1', but decided to keep that as the happy ending and transfer over to 'Watari Pt 2' the chapters where it started to go wrong again.
In August, I was still rebelling against writing another story, as opposed to prolonging 'Watari Pt 1', when I nipped off to write 'My Own Way' while I thought about it. Once that story was finished and published, I was receiving a lot of private messages and public comments asking about those stories not in the public domain. I couldn't do that, because 'Poisoned Rationality' revealed things that Miyamashi had yet to reveal in 'Twisted Religion'. She was inundated with college work and so didn't have time to write her story. She was also feeling extremely guilty every time she saw yet another comment asking for my hidden stories. In the end, I came up with a solution. I sat and rewrote a couple of scenes in 'Poisoned Rationality'. I then sat and proof-read the thing, before rewriting practically the whole of the 'Waking the Serpent' chapter.
It was early October when I published 'Poisoned Rationality' simultaneously on DeviantART and Adult Fanfiction with the promise that 'Watari' would follow. Unfortunately, 'Watari' was still sitting stalled in the background. I finally surrendered to the fact that it was going to be a two-part novel, but didn't want to post part one without part two following immediately. That way it would technically be two stories, but would be read as one. I got around this by publishing part one very slowly, just a chapter a day, to buy myself time to decide upon the cut-off point and to write the rest of part two.
That sorted, it should have been easy. The storyline was all in my head and it was simply a case of writing it all down. I was excited to be writing again too. However, I hadn't taken into account my own personality. Miyamashi has a co-author credit on 'Watari Pt 2' because so many of the scenes were role-played first. Unfortunately, the same academic pressures on her which meant that she hadn't finished 'Twisted Religion' also rendered her unable to find the time to read 'Poisoned Rationality' or 'Watari Part One'. In effect, she was writing a Mello without knowing what happened to his mind in the former; I was writing a Matt without letting her know what happened to him in the latter. In retrospect, that was really stupid. If we'd just stopped role-playing, then she would have had more time to get up to date.
All of this meant that I had to take the role-played scenes and alter them to be more consistent with the story. I was having to throw out some really brilliant stuff by Miyamashi, because a more broken Mello wouldn't do that. I was having to guess what her Mello would do, if he had the prior knowledge that Miyamashi didn't have. I started to feel really insecure about all of this, because I didn't think that I had the grasp on Mello that she had. On the other hand, as our role-playing moved further away from the original scenes, her Mello started to morph out of my Mello and into her own. Miyamashi writes Mello as much more religious and feminine than I do. My Mello will kill; her Mello won't. My Mello can be very camp, but is still fundamentally masculine; her Mello will put on a dress. My Mello was the school bully; her Mello protected younger, weaker children from the school bully. It became increasingly more difficult to reconcile the two, but my own insecurity meant that I agonised over each alteration in Mello's character that I made from Miyamashi's role-played version.
I was also reminded that I really hate revisiting things that I've already done. Transcribing role-played scenes bored me stupid. I'd already just proof-read 'Poisoned Rationality' and now I was doing this. To be honest, the only thing that kept me at this computer, writing and transcribing, was Melissa. She had only just discovered my stories and was making really entertaining comments on every chapter. I'd write/transcribe a bit, then go and see if she'd read another chapter. When she went to school or bed, my output slowed down tremendously. Unfortunately, the story just wasn't flowing. It felt stop-starty and some of the dialogue felt forced. I left it and came back. I messed around with chapters. I whinged to Spoiled-kitten.
In the end, it took eight hours of rewriting and rearranging the chapters before I had a story which finally flowed. I thought I'd erased all evidence of that, but a careful reading will still show at least one clue. Mello reads a biography of Tesla before the events in chapter 16, which are supposed to prompt that research. Now that the whole framework was more coherent, I had slightly more confidence in altering Mello to fit the rest of the story. Emphasis on the slightly there. It helped enormously that Spoiled-kitten was making all the right noises in the billions of notes that we passed back and forth that day. She was more or less telling me to just trust myself. The trouble was that I really didn't trust myself here and I lost my nerve big time.
That was downright sedate to how I was feeling. It felt like overnight that I'd gone from a relatively unknown writer (with only Spoiled-kitten and Awhaaaa reading the recent stuff for months) to having thousands of hits. Really amazing artists were letting me use their work to illustrate chapters. Clubs were accepting offers for my one-shots as prizes in their competitions. Everyone was gushing over 'Watari Pt 1' and I had no confidence in 'Watari Pt 2'. Panic attack much?
Over the next week, Spoiled-kitten read the story. She sent me notes reassuring me on each chapter as she read it, with occasional minor points to be corrected. Only one chapter had to be rewritten. Chapter 13 originally had a much, much camper Mello than the final version. Spoiled-kitten paused there and checked what I was actually trying to say, then pointed out that that message was completely lost under the narrative. Mello is trying to shock Matt into opening up a little, but the original version went too far. Mello was practically a drag queen. It went through three versions before both Spoiled-kitten and I were satisfied that it was alright for public consumption.
On October 25th, Spoiled-kitten okayed the story and I finished making the amendments. It would have immediately gone onto DeviantART, which is where I was getting the most prompting to see it, but it went straight onto Adult Fanfiction instead. When I announced it on MelloMatt, I still wasn't convinced that I was going to upload it onto DA. I wrote there, 'DA link to follow when I've sat and uploaded them. It takes forever there, so I thought I'd go back to my roots and just shove it onto AFF for the time being. Plus DA appears to be on a campaign to ban MxM yaoi, so... yeah *flicks* That's for deleting Spoiled-kitten and Mad-Hatters-Hare's artwork.' After much wringing of hands, from people too young to be on Adult Fanfiction, I gave in and posted it on DeviantART three days later.
We didn't know at the time, but DeviantART was about to open fire on the Mello and Matt community there. But that's a whole different story.