Elegy Flynn was a short-lived series of short stories I wrote in 2012. For a long time, I left the series out in limbo, promising to write more if there was interest. But now, I’ve published all the stories together, which you can buy on Amazon and Smashwords. (Other retailers are coming. It’s just delayed because of the holidays.) So, you can read them on your kindle for $3.99.
Or you can read them for free on this website here.
Once you finish reading them, come back here to read this afterword, which is also published at the end of the ebook.
I conceived the idea of Elegy Flynn sometime in the summer of 2011. I was still teaching high school English at the time, but I was on summer break. My book sales had just taken off, and I was making more money from writing per month than I did from my regular job. But I spent the last few weeks or so in a funk, because the thought of going back to work depressed me. I desperately wanted to never go back there, to just write for a living, but I was too afraid to risk it due to the volatile nature of book sales. I had a particularly bad situation at that school. The administration and I didn’t really see eye to eye. I’m a crap disciplinarian, so I’m not very good at dealing with lower-level kids, who always behave badly. And though I enjoyed working with upper-level students, their parents tended to get annoyed with me for pushing the envelope too much and dealing with controversial subject matter. So, overall, I thought about going back to work, and I just wanted to die inside. So, to hide from the fact that was happening, I began mainlining Netflix. I watched Doctor Who every day for hours and hours on end. And, as you’ve seen, it’s pretty obvious that the stories owe a lot to Doctor Who.
When I did go back to work, I ended up writing the first three Elegy Flynn stories. I was planning on writing it as a web serial, since I first got my start self-publishing by posting my novels one chapter at a time on my website. I was going to do one Elegy Flynn story a month in 2012, and I figured that if I had a three-month buffer, that would mean I could stay ahead of the game and have stories written ahead of time so that I wouldn’t be scrambling for material each month.
Well, anyway, my work situation ended up exploding in December of 2011, and—even though my book sales had tanked at that point—I had enough money saved up to live for a few months, so I decided that I’d just make a go of writing full time and see what happened. I thought this would mean that I had more time to write Elegy Flynn, and so I started publishing the stories.
Turned out that I was wrong.
First of all, the Elegy Flynn stories didn’t sell, and very few people even read them. (Possibly no one? I’m really not sure. No one ever contacts me and says, “Hey Valerie, what happened to Elegy Flynn?”) When I was working full time, I wrote tons of stuff that no one read or bought, and I didn’t really care, because I did not need my writing to pay my bills. But once writing money was paying my rent, it began to seem sillier and sillier to take time to write stories that A) made no money and B) pretty much no one cared about.
Second of all, I did not have more time. Back when I was writing full time, I wrote two or three novels a year. One I’d always write in the summer when I was off school. And the other one or two would generally take months and months, because I could only write about 2,000 words a day. Also, I took lots of long, long breaks when I was too stressed out with work stuff. During those periods of time, I didn’t write at all. Writing full time meant that I was always working on a novel. And writing Elegy Flynn meant taking a break from my novel, which really was screwing with my publishing schedule.
So, I just stopped writing them. I promised myself that if they ever started to get popular, I’d pick the stories back up. It’s been over a year. They have never gotten popular. I’m putting the nail in the Elegy Flynn coffin.
But I did want to take some time to try to tie up any loose ends that I left in the Elegy Flynn universe, so I’m writing this afterword.
One thing you have to understand is that there was no end game with these stories. I never intended to tell one big long story with them. I intended them to be serial in nature, with each episode pretty much tying itself up. And even though I had some longer-running threads through the stories, I didn’t have a real big plan for those either. If Elegy Flynn had been rabidly popular, I might have kept writing stories for several years, but it would have basically been the same thing over and over again. Elegy and Cathy would have been stuck in the bar. They would have picked up volurs. They would have fixed paradoxes. I never intended that to ever stop.
In regards to some of the threads, however.
Brody: “This Is What I Did”
So, there was going to be a story in which there were consequences for Brody’s killing Meurtia. He was going to be captured by Fate Central, and Elegy and Cathy were going to rescue him. This would have been the “season finale” for 2012. Elegy and Cathy would have rounded up a bunch of the volurs and convinced them all to testify that Meurtia had gone crazy and that they were all frightened of her (possibly by bribing them with free drinks.) Then they would have to sneak in to Fate Central to tell Brody that he was going to plead self-defense. He would have gotten off, and all would have been right with the world. And then maybe he and Cathy would have had sex in the bar, Elegy be damned.
Fuller: Time-Traveling Serial Killer
I didn’t have specific plans for Fuller stories, but I wanted him to be a bad guy who routinely showed up every season or so, kind of like Murdock in MacGyver. I figure at one point, they’d have had to team up with him for some reason or other, because teaming up with the bad guy is always fun.
Harmony: The Only Fate More Rebellious than Elegy
Elegy’s friend Harmony would have reappeared at some point, probably having caused lots of trouble and wanting Elegy to hide her. Then Elegy and the gang would have gotten entangled in her problems and had to help her fix them without Fate Central finding out.
Elegy and Reese: Doomed Love
Though I was never going to let these two be really together-together, I did intend the Woodstock thing to be a way for them to see each other and have a semblance of a relationship. I even thought that in the future, Fate Central might end up letting them work together more often, so Reese would have eventually been one of the regular volurs. Once Elegy was seeing Reese more often, she would have stopped randomly hooking up with the volurs.
Love Lives of the Time-Challenged
Though I would have given Cathy and Brody a good bit of time to have a relationship, it would have been fun to change things up over time and really get sort of soapy with the whole thing. If this had gone on for years, everyone would end up sleeping with everyone else at some point.
In the end, the Elegy Flynn stories are testament to my warped sense of humor, I think. Each episode has a lot of funny in-jokes and allusions. And then each episode ends on a downer note in which the characters always have to accept that they can’t change fate. For some reason, I think this is hilarious. I guess it’s the truth of life, right? You’re always fighting, always trying to change things, make things better, work harder, get more stuff, fix the world, save people, save things. And this is true no matter what happens. Because if you fix one thing, you just start trying to fix something else. So I guess it’s wry comment on the Sisyphean nature of humanity. Which I think is funny.
Because you have to laugh at it. There’s nothing else you can do.