I didn't mean to write this. I didn't want to write this. But the voices in my head whispered to me in the night, and the only way to make them shut up was to write down what they were saying. So I wrote scenes. The scenes began to look like a story, once I figured out where they went. So I wrote the bits that went in between, but the voices kept whispering. Eventually I was done with the first draft, and the voices were... well... they weren't quiet, but they sounded happy.
I didn't write this in a vacuum. I read fast, much faster than I write, and I've read most of the available Ranma fanfic. I tried hard to avoid using bits that are original to other writers, but the mind is a strange thing... so if you see something that looks familiar, it's not my intention but it may be my fault. If you wrote the bit that you recognize, and you object to its presence here, please accept my apologies; let me know, and I'll rewrite or remove it.
My writing style is heavy on dialogue and short on description and explication, on purpose. The most interesting thing about Ranma, for me, is character interaction, and much of that is verbal. Since we're all familiar with the characters and settings, I can omit a lot of description that would otherwise be necessary. I dislike excessive explication; if something needs to be explained, I prefer to let the characters do it, say it, or think it.
I wrote TotH for the voices, and hence for myself, but I will gladly accept C&C. Suggestions for scene cuts, scene expansions, ambiguity resolution, manga continuity errors, and Japanese culture errors will be particularly welcomed. Characterization errors are more subjective, but I'd be happy to discuss mine with anyone who has read the manga or the Viz translations.
First and foremost, Takahashi Rumiko. I am not worthy.
Hidaka Noriko, Hayashibara Megumi, Yamaguchi Kappei, Inoue Kikuko, Sakuma Rei, Shimazu Saeko: the loudest of the voices in my head, even though TotH is strictly manga continuity.
Lord Archive, Reid Carson, and Bridget Wilde, for ideas that ended up in the second draft.
Darniil Entroth and Dave Roeder, for prereading.
The following Ranma fanfic writers, in no particular order, for plotting a neat pattern around the 'fic I wanted to read and eventually had to write. They helped me even though none of them know it. Thanks for writing and sharing!
Addendum: some of them know it now... eep!June Geraci, for bringing a "shoujo-manga" touch to Ranma fanfic.
And, in the "phase-opposed" category, Nicholas Leifker. His powerful Angel hurt me so much that TotH 6 was in some measure a healing response to it.
Last but definitely not least, the many people who wrote to me after I posted the first draft, and especially those who pointed out things that weren't quite right. You know who you are. :)
I have read and enjoyed the works of many other fanfic writers, but I have listed here only the ones that are relevant to TotH. If you're offended by omission, remember that my opinions are unimportant, OK? Or flame me if it makes you feel better.
-- Vince Seifert, Sacramento, 1999