This episode was meant to be more of a celebration than an actual 'story' as far as the site was concerned. It was posted as the counter had flipped over to some incredible number, and I had been looking for a way to show my feelings on how big the website had gotten, and how appreciative I was for all the blessings that I had been given. All because of one story, that I did on a whim, with the hopes of it getting read by a few people and enjoyed by someone other than myself. So...as a gift and a celebration, I took out some time to rewrite the very first chapter of "New Kid In School".
This was the series that had started it all, so I feel that it's only appropiate that I go back to it whenever there's a big milestone going on with the Shack (For example, I made absolutely SURE that it was the 100th story posted on the story list!). It's my baby, afterall. Hehehe! With this lone story, I wanted to go back and improve on the original version. Looking back on it I cringe and wish that it had never been written! Hahaha! Oh GOD, if only you guys knew how much my older stories embarass me! Hehehe, but hey...I guess what's done is done. ::Shrugs::
My first impulse was telling me to call this new remake "That Gloomy Day In March" and just have it be a retelling of the original, from Randy's personal point of view. It would have updated the chapter, maybe gave little added details to what was going on at the time, and basically would have been enough to at least make me somewhat happy with the idea of people seeing it for the first time all over again. But that wasn't enough. I decided that I really wanted something different this time around, something deeper. My writing had changed so much since that first story, and trying to replace it with an 'enhanced' version seemed almost insulting, despite my distaste for it. Not to mention that my writing style wouldn't have matched up with the chapters following it, and I couldn't really expand on Randy's feelings much more than I already had. I could have 're-worded' them and jazzed them up with some fancy dialogue...but instead I decided to look for something different. So I came to the conclusion that it would be better told from Ryan's point of view. A little extra challenge that might make the whole 'project' turn out to be a bit more fun. And the story started 'production' right away.
The idea of having the story told through Ryan's eyes, opened up an entire world of new possibilities, and I went back to the older chapters to do a little research. Characters, situations, places, faces, and names. I also looked at the holes that I left open to maybe fill in with things that people could relate to now that they were about 20 - 25 chapters ahead at the time. Things I NEVER could have predicted would ever happen when I first sat down to write 'just that one story'. So that was cool. And I thought it was necessary to add in how even a cutie like Ryan would feel a bit self conscious about his looks. Thnking that he's "Not much to look at" and seems to have the same doubts and fears as anyone else. Ryan is no more confident or invinceable than any other teenage boy, that's what makes him human. That's what makes him lovable. I also chose to 'pull back' a bit further before the first chapter of "New Kid" took place with this story, back to Ryan leaving home and what brought him into Randy's first period history class that day. I explored the relationship between Tyler and Ryan, and talked more about his very first 'crush'. I even made sure to add his other friends in a cameo, to remind people of the three boys that helped Tyler move into the neighborhood earlier on in the series.
I liked being able to differentiate Ryan's feelings on what love really was before meeting Randy. How different they became once he found the real thing. To display that shift in his thinking, I made Ryan's thoughts focus much more on the physical desires that he had, how Tyler looked, how cool he was, how badly he wanted to sleep with him. In fact, Ryan's thoughts at one point were, that wanting that sexual contact with Tyler was all he needed...and the emotions can't help but follow it." So for those reading this story after reading the whole series can see how his outlook matured so much further beyond that when he found someone where the emotions came first. Another part that was cool to write was when Ryan and Tyler had to say goodbye to each other. The readers already knowing that they would meet again, already knowing for a fact that Tyler is gay, and that Ryan was on his way to meet his soulmate. It's never really revealed whether or not Tyler ever thought about Ryan as more than a friend, a mystery that I wanted to leave open. You know...what could have been, if things were different. But Tyler does drop a little hint before saying goodbye, telling Ryan that one day they'll talk, and the he'll, "Fill him in on some things...maybe even everything." A talk that they didn't have until...um...I think chapter 3 or 4.
As the story progresses, I get to have a bit more fun with certain parts of the story. How Ryan can't stand the taste of Tootsie Rolls, or a part when I talked about the revised editions of the Star Wars movies. 'Why would they take a classic, and then try to do it again? It was fine the first time.' Poking fun at myself for writing this story when people were digging it so much already. Hehehe! Also, in the first chapter, I mentioned that Randy saw a girl eyeing Ryan from the back of the classroom. At the time, it was just a meaningless piece of detail that I added for whatever reason...but for this chapter, I turned that girl into Hailey. As you may know, she played a much larger role in the series later as she finally gets to approach the boy she's been watching since day one. And the story wouldn't have been complete if I didn't include an 'accidental' cameo by our boy, Ariel! Who, in an ironic twist, actually is what gets Hailey out of the picture long enough to bring Ryan and Randy together. So there were some extras that made the whole piece something special for me, and added a new and familiar flavor to the whole thing.
However, as important as the newer stuff was, I also wanted to keep a lot of things the SAME from the original first chapter. This was, afterall, another side of the same story. So, believe it or not, I kept ALL of the dialogue between Ryan and Randy identical to the first chapter. Word for word. I made sure to put them in the same places at the same times as in the original, I made sure that the sex scene was exactly the same, and I even used certain quotes from Randy's thoughts over again. Like "But little did I know that it was that gloomy day in March that I would meet the guy who turned my whole life upside down." to mirror Randy's same statement. And both stories ended with "We had so many more games to play." (Which I believe that I screwed up in the original, accidenly writing 'hate' instead of 'had'. Hehehe, so I cleared that up this time) All in all, the idea was to keep this as closely linked to the original as possible, but still giving everyone something genuine to see, reveal some secrets, and broaden the knowledge of how the story began.
When "New Kid In School" was written, I doubt I could have really gone much deeper into things like I did with "Ryan's Heart", and I'm happy that I got to go back and do it again. If for no other reason than to take a nostalgic look back at how little I expected from it back then. Not to dismiss the original in any way, of course. It's still a natural part of me, and I cherish it as much as an artist's first drawing, or a songwriter's first lyrics. But even more, I enjoy seeing the progressio between the two stories, and how it grew into something completely different over time. Who knows? Maybe I'll find a way to do a third point of view now that my writing has gone through another metamorphosis. A Tyler version perhaps? Hehehe! Nah...I doubt it! ::Giggles::
This page was last updated on February 11, 2016.