All good things must come to an end. This is the final post in my three-part series that discusses all of my Jimmy Neutron fanfiction stories. I have to warn you all, there’s about to be a huge tonal shift in this last post.
Even bigger than when Hooky shifted from romantic comedy to a war against terrorists.
In Part I, you saw me quiver with rage as I looked over my worst and earliest stuff.
In Part II, you watched me spot some glimmers of talent in my fanfic cesspool, but still be mostly disgusted with myself.
Now, you’re going to read about my last nine stories; the ones that I actually like. The first two (Stealing My Heart & The Final Battle) were before my five year-hiatus. This means that my general writing skills weren’t up to par and they have plenty of flaws, which I’ll discuss below. But after that? The final seven stories reflect my current writing ability. It’s true that these stories didn’t have thorough editing passes, but they still pretty much showcase the level I’m at right now.
Since I like these stories and would love for them to get new readers, I’ll do my best to keep spoilers to a minimum. That means none of the excerpts I posted here have spoilers. But I will have to ruin some minor things in order to discuss these stories properly.
One last note. I really love these fics and am proud of them, so I’m going to mention what I think I did right and what my favorite parts are. But let me clarify right now, before I start, that I don’t think these things are perfect and I know I’m not the greatest author in the world. Everything I’ve created can still be improved upon; I fully admit that. I just want to make that clear.
Okay, enough introductions. Let’s dive back in.
Written from January 6, 2006 – February 1, 2006
Cindy steals Jimmy’s journal to read at her slumber party, thinking this will be another harmless prank. Unbeknownst to her, Jim has written down all of his true feelings for her. With his entire social life on the line, he rallies all the boys in his class to infiltrate the slumber party and steal his journal back.
Let’s get the bad out of the way, because there is a lot I love about this fic. I don’t want to repeat myself too much, so I’ll say one more time that this story and the next (The Final Battle) have very basic writing. By this point in my career I think that it’s very readable; it’s just nothing extraordinary. There were a few well written pieces of prose, but overall my word structure was just average.
I also feel like this story simmered down quite a bit during the second half. The first ten or so chapters were filled with a lot of humor, but after that I focused more on the action, which I still was far from a pro at. Lastly, I made the final chapters in this book way too violent. I’m still thankful that I had the foresight to keep any kids from dying while infiltrating a sleepover, but man the fights between the boys and girls got way too brutal.
That’s a non-lethal sleeper rifle, but still. It’s a slumber party, not a freaking war zone.
So yeah, this story wasn’t up to my current standards. But in my opinion there’s still a ton to like. The idea was pretty original, there were a lot of funny jokes when the boys tried to figure out exactly who had stolen Jimmy’s journal, and Chapter 12 has a pretty intense and cool conversation between Jimmy and Cindy where they discuss their relationship and Cindy’s thievery in a round-about way.
Similar to how Growing Up served as a template for the Jimmy / Libby relationship I’d utilize to much greater effect in later stories, Stealing My Heart laid the groundwork for the Nick / Jimmy pairing. I absolutely love the character of Nick and putting him together with Jimmy; there’s just something amusing and rewarding about watching the coolest kid in class pal around with the nerdiest.
Stealing My Heart also introduced two of my favorite characters that I would use again in later works. The first, Ms. Wolf, was a wholly original character. This foul-mouthed, abusive, and alcoholic teacher was a blast to write for; it’s really hard not to come up with jokes for a character like that. I loved her so much that she made appearances in two of my future stories: The Lost Chapters & A Trip to Loch Ness.
The second character is Ike Burke, and he’s one of my favorite things that I have ever done in my life. Ike was a background character in the Jimmy Neutron cartoon who had maybe five lines throughout the series. I decided to throw him into this fanfic as a minor character who befriended Carl, but I morphed him into a chain-smoking, insanely religious eleven year-old with a sordid past.
Ike Burke, the most bad-ass preteen in Retroville.
I just completely fell in love with this characterization of Ike. He would reappear in five of my future stories, ranging from nearly-silent cameos to starring roles.
So while Stealing My Heart doesn’t hold up to my current works, this was my first story where I took a lot of chances that paid off and I would use again in later efforts.
Final Verdict: This is undoubtedly my strongest romantic comedy. If you’re a fan of that genre and Jimmy Neutron, I think you’ll enjoy.
Written from May 8, 2006 – August 27, 2006
At 110,000 words, this thing took my entire summer vacation to plan and write. When all the parents in Retroville go missing, the kids naturally assume that the Yolkians are up to their old tricks. A year older now, Jimmy realizes how insanely lucky they were to beat the Yolkians without guns in fifth grade. This time, he turns the town’s children into an army and brings them on a long, dangerous journey to get their families back.
For five years, this was my magnum opus. It was more than double the length of my previous longest story, and unlike On the Run it actually makes the sense the whole way through. One could definitely argue that some chapters were unnecessary and that a few parts of the story stretched longer than they needed to, but the story itself was coherent. Like with Stealing My Heart the writing isn’t spectacular, but it’s passable the whole way through and there are some pretty well written segments.
I’m just plain proud of this story in spite of its flaws. This is where I applied every single writing lesson I’d learned over the past year. Hints were laid at the beginning of the story that came into play much later. My action scenes were leaps and bounds above what I’d attempted before. There were still moments where characters said things I couldn’t picture their cartoon counterparts saying (Nick especially spoke too eloquently quite often), but overall I kept the major players consistent.
My favorite thing about this story is the theme of how utterly important friendship is. Over this massive journey, the JN gang (and Nick) realize how much they mean to each other and how they could never survive apart. Pretty much every possible pairing of these six major characters has at least one major moment where they deeply bond and come to truly value each other. Libby and Jimmy realize they’ve never really hung out just the two of them and promise to rectify that once the mission is over. Nick and James realize they have more in common than they thought and come to consider themselves first equal allies, and then friends. Cindy is saved by Sheen and comes to see that she might have underestimated him in the past. With Carl left behind on Earth, the whole group feels pure relief when they hear his voice on their headsets while making camp.
One other choice I’m really glad I made was having Jimmy and Cindy first kiss halfway through the story. While romance played a big role in The Final Battle series, it was not the major theme. That honor belongs to the importance of love and friendship as a whole, not just the Jimmy / Cindy relationship. One of the things I think I did best in this fic is showing Jimmy and Cindy slowly become more than friends; having them struggle to sort out their feelings while undertaking a mission they very likely wouldn’t walk away from.
The last thing I really love about this book is that I feel I finally managed to properly balance a believable air of danger with actual death. I won’t spoil who (if anyone!) died in this story in case you want to check it out, but I don’t regret the fates of any character. I think the reader truly feels that anyone can die at any time, and that’s all I ever wanted to accomplish in my action stories.
With all those positives said, I still don’t think this book is up to par with the stuff I wrote five years later. I hit the themes and major points that I wanted, but I didn’t have the raw writing skill to make the words flow properly. The writing is very often plain, there’s a lot of staging problems in combat, and like I said above, I made the kids speak out of character fairly often. Many fans of The Final Battle series say that this first entry was their favorite, and I still find that hard to comprehend. Don’t get me wrong, if that’s the way you feel you’re completely entitled to your opinion. But to me, the merely average writing just brings down the high points I managed to hit with this book.
Final Verdict: I love the themes The Final Battle explored and there are a lot of segments that I think I wrote well. But taken as a whole, the writing is merely average. I want more people to read the second and third book in the series, and they are mostly accessible if you haven’t read The Final Battle due to a short recap chapter at the beginning of the sequel, Pushing Through. Honestly, I’m still torn about whether or not this story is worth a read. I have a feeling I’m just being too hard on myself, because nearly everyone who’s read this story seems to really love it. With all of that said, I guess the final verdict is that I feel you should check this out, but be aware I personally think its sequels are much better.
Written from March 14, 2012 – May 29, 2012
Written after a five and a half year hiatus from fanfiction, Pushing Through is my favorite thing I have ever created. I obviously care an insane deal for my debut novel, but personally I just love Pushing Through more.
I’ve always loved the quote, “The wounds may heal, but the scars shall remain,” and nothing sums up this story more. Taking place two weeks after the end of The Final Battle, the JN gang is struggling to deal with the aftermath of that story’s events. Many of them are nearly broken, both physically and emotionally. But when Yolkus demands revenge against humanity for their attack, these kids must dust themselves off and fight once more. This time it’s not just themselves and their parents at stake; it’s the entirety of Earth.
This is what I consider my magnum opus. At 130,000 words long it is by far the longest thing I have ever written. I’ll go over my shortcomings in a bit, but overall I think I largely succeeded in ramping up every aspect of my previous story.
The Final Battle had a handful of fight scenes, and the big battle that I was leading up to throughout the book was rather underwhelming. I never had more than two children fighting Yolkians at a time! In this sequel, basically the entire second half of the book is incredibly intense moments wrapped around the largest battles I’ve ever written. All ten major characters fight together with guns, spears, and whatever they can find. Each action scene is a desperate struggle for survival, and I think I managed to keep the reader on the edge of their seat during each one.
The Final Battle had four major characters: Jimmy, Cindy, Nick, and Sheen. Libby was a borderline major character and Carl barely existed. In this sequel, there were ten major characters, each of them with a complex story arc. Carl wanted to prove he was a man. Jimmy wanted to absolve himself of his sins from the previous book. Nick overcame PTSD. Betty strove to be more than just a pretty face and prove that she was a capable member of the group. Going along with this theme, there were several original characters in this story. Unlike my OC’s in previous fics, these were fully fleshed out people with complicated backstories and a lot of issues to work through. And of course, whereas Ike only had a cameo appearance in The Final Battle, here he was one of the major players. More Ike is never a bad thing.
He’s a chain-smoking, sunglasses-wearing, gun-toting thirteen year-old whose middle name is Danger. I could not make him more bad-ass if I tried.
Every relationship that I explored in The Final Battle was given more time to shine here. Cindy put aside her jealousy with Betty and came to respect her. Jimmy and Libby continued to foster their friendship.
But my absolute favorite relationship from this story and The Final Battle series is Jimmy and Nick’s. These two are completely different people with nothing in common. Over the course of The Final Battle they realized that they each brought something to the table and bonded over the burden of responsibility. In that story they would become friends, but over the course of Pushing Through they became brothers. After all they’ve been through, after constantly having each other’s backs and saving each other’s lives, they come to share the tightest and most touching bond I’ve ever written. I absolutely loved every scene I wrote between these two characters, and saying goodbye to this friendship was the hardest part about leaving this series behind.
Like I said before, this is the first story I wrote where I can look back and be completely comfortable with my writing. I’m still not a classic wordsmith like Stephen King; great prose is something I still need to attain. But the amateurish wordings are nearly completely gone, and there are a lot of sections that I think I nailed.
Okay, enough patting myself on the back. For all of the above points, this book still has some shortcomings. First and foremost, I wrote Cindy too submissive. I strove to make her an equal leader along with Jimmy and Nick, and I certainly had her take charge more often than in The Final Battle. But in several critical scenes, I simply had her ask Jimmy what they should do instead of having her throw in her own two cents. As someone who strives to write strong, independent female characters, I’m still really disappointed with myself about this.
Second, there’s the original character Miranda Candor. I really love her and think I wrote her well (aside from a few mistakes in her first few scenes), but the truth is she’s completely unnecessary to the plot. The entire story would fall apart without the other major original character, Barak Neroma, But if I erased every scene with Miranda from the book, nothing would change. As much as I love who she is, the book would probably be a little stronger without her.
Lastly, I suppose I did make the villain’s plan a little unnecessarily complex. I don’t want to go into more detail than that in fear of spoiling new readers. I tried really hard to make him have a solid, believable plan, but I could have tuned it up a bit.
Final Verdict: Seeing as how I said this is my favorite story, you know what my verdict is. Even though it’s not perfect, I think any Jimmy Neutron fan can enjoy this. Even if you didn’t watch the show, I think I could still pull you in. My only real issue is whether or not you should start with this or The Final Battle.
Written from May 31, 2012 – March 4, 2013
I just couldn’t let this series go. I loved writing Pushing Through too much; it had taken up nearly every spare minute of two and a half months. When it ended I just had to write one more entry for The Final Battle series. This isn’t a true sequel, though. Instead it contains eleven chapters, each an independent story that focuses on the series’ ten major characters (the last chapter focuses on all of them together). The chapters are arranged chronologically and vary from years before the series took place, to between the books, to after Pushing Through‘s epilogue.
When I originally came up with the idea for an “expansion pack” for The Final Battle series, I had a couple rough plans. I figured I would write a chapter showing the day that led to The Final Battle‘s opening chapter, write a key unseen moment that Libby experienced in that book, and then throw in some poems and journal entries that the background characters in The Final Battle had written. Eventually, I changed this plan to tell a single story from each character’s point of view. I think this was the much better choice, and I had a blast writing most of this book.
I say “most” because there was an extremely long hiatus between chapter seven (Carl’s chapter) and chapter eight (Nick’s chapter). Whenever I tried to write Nick’s section it ended up coming out as drivel, and several times I came extremely close to giving up on this piece and posting a quick summary of what the rest of the story’s plans were. Ultimately I pushed through it and was able to write the last four chapters, though.
My favorite chapters are Ike’s, Jimmy’s, and Carl’s. Really quickly, I loved Ike’s because it was an alien version of Stealing My Heart based on a quick self-referential joke I made in a chapter of Pushing Through. I loved basically rewriting Stealing My Heart on hyperdrive, and bringing Ms. Wolf back was an utter blast. I adore Jimmy’s story because it showed how this entire series came to be, and I loved having a chance to show how close the entire JN grew in the unseen year between the cartoon’s fifth grade and when this series began. Lastly, writing Carl’s chapter was a lot of fun because it was basically making fun of all the many mistakes I made while writing the previous two books. If there’s one thing I love, it’s self-referential humor (even if it is at my own expense).
This series is insanely long.
My least favorite chapters are Cindy’s and Sheen’s. Sheen essentially has no point and makes very little sense, it’s just him arguing with a cat. I tried to throw in him working through some issues, but I’ll be the first to admit that his chapter sucked. Cindy’s aimed higher with her patching up the relationship with her mother, but it still feels rather disjointed and overly sappy. I’ve done much better.
In spite of me feeling like I was running out of creative fumes for this series by the end, I’m still glad I wrote it and think it’s a solid addition to The Final Battle’s universe.
Final Verdict: If you liked the previous entries in this series, I’d definitely recommend you check this out. You can skip Sheen’s chapter, though.
Written on June 19, 2012
When Cindy’s parents reveal they are getting divorced, Cindy runs away in a desperate attempt to sort out her thoughts. Jimmy comes to check up on her, and they finally realize how much they need each other.
My sole motivation for writing this story was Soulful-Sin’s beautiful and haunting Jimmy Neutron fanfic, Catalyst. In this heart-wrenching tale, Jimmy loses who he is as he wonders if he really needs anyone else in his life. This story was so depressing (in a wonderful way) that I felt the need to create a happier story to even out the emotional balance of the Jimmy Neutron fandom. Of course, being me, I didn’t just want to write a sappy love story. Instead, I let a mild tragedy (Cindy’s parents’ divorce) bring her and Jimmy closer together.
I really love this piece, but it was so hard to write. It was incredibly different than anything I’d ever written before. Most of the story is a single long conversation between Jimmy and Cindy. This conversation was over 5,000 words long; I’d never attempted a single talk between two characters even half that length. As a result, the whole dialogue seems oddly repetitive and lacking direction, but I think that makes the piece. In real life, we don’t map out our conversations ahead of time and ensure they follow a logical train of thought. I think Fireflies really captures that unpredictable element and as a result it just seems rewarding to read.
Though I would write four more Jimmy Neutron stories, all of which had at least a minor Jimmy / Cindy focus, this is the last one where I would ever have them kiss. I don’t regret having them share that moment, it did feel natural and right. But it was after this story that I really began to focus on emotional rewards as opposed to physical ones. That being said, I do still feel that I hit the emotions right in this story; the kiss just served as icing atop the cake.
Final Verdict: This is my favorite oneshot (single chapter story) and I’ll always remember it fondly.
Written on June 25, 2012
This is my second-shortest Jimmy Neutron story, barely creeping past Love or Insanity? in word count. I decided to write this after reading the lovely piece of (original) flash fiction Answer by Frederic Brown. Ever since Pushing Through, I’d felt like I had lost the ability to write short chapters. I wanted to see if I could still tell a cohesive story in under 1,000 words, so of course I figured I’d give it a go with the Jimmy Neutron universe.
In this piece, Cindy has a horrible day. She fails to be there for Libby, makes Sheen cry, accidentally hurts Carl, and gets judged for all of this by Jimmy. As a result she runs away and tries to evade her scornful classmates, but realizes you can’t hide from yourself.
I like this storya lot. I think it does make sense in spite of the small word count and it all feels in character to me. I particularly like how even though Jimmy doesn’t have any lines, it’s his silent judging of Cindy that finally breaks her.
Since I had a history of incredibly bleak and depressing stories in the past, I wanted to put a slightly hopeful ending on this piece. While sitting in the bathroom stall crying, I quickly gloss over that Cindy hears “familiar” footsteps. That was my way of insinuating that either Jimmy or Libby had come after her even though they were mad at her. I was trying to say that yeah, we all have crappy days, but that doesn’t mean your friends won’t be there for you.
Final Verdict: I tried to do a lot with this short piece, and I was satisfied with the results. It gets the Quietthinker self-seal of approval.
Written from March 2, 2015 – May 10, 2014
This is the last multi-chapter Jimmy Neutron story I ever wrote.
Jeez, I didn’t expect to feel a real pang of sadness and nostalgia there.
Okay, here we go. When Jimmy and Cindy argue over whether or not the Loch Ness Monster is real, they head to Scotland to find out. During a scan of the loch, Nessie attacks their hovercar and kidnaps Carl. With the help of a couple of new friends, they set back out in a real boat to capture Nessie, save Carl, and solve the mystery of Loch Ness once and for all.
I started writing this story over spring break during my second year of vet school. It had been ages since I’d worked on a story for pure fun; most of the past year and a half had been spent finalizing my novel, trying to revive Jimmy Neutron, and crafting my TV pilot. I wanted to just write something without having to worry about getting it picked up, published, or edited extensively. Fanfiction was the perfect outlet for these desires, so I started writing this story.
Even though writing the final few chapters was really hard, I had a lot of fun with this piece. I got to research nautical and Scottish terms, crafted a couple of cool new original characters, and looked at a ton of beautiful photos of Loch Ness.
With complete sincerity, I can say that this is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. If nothing else, I am thankful for this story because it made me realize how much I want to go here someday.
This story just helped me release a lot of pent up stuff. I got to write some more touching Jimmy and Cindy moments (while pulling back from anything earth-shattering like a kiss), dabbled in a couple more action scenes, and just plain got another fix of the Jimmy Neutron universe.
My biggest regret with this story is that I just could not get the epilogue down right. I’d always planned on having a final chapter that tied into the first couple chaps set in the kids’ school, but whenever I tried to write it, I just failed. After a few attempts I needed to get back to my script and Paranoia, so for only the second time in my fanfiction career I abandoned a story. (The first was a 2 or 3 chapter story that I deleted within a day or so of posting early in my career). Luckily, the story still works without the epilogue. But there’s no doubt it would have been stronger with it.
I also loved this piece because it is an official part of The Final Battle series. You can read the other three books without checking this one out and vice versa. It stands alone, but there are hints to the series and it is fully canonical with those three other stories.
Lastly, I’ve had several people tell me that more than any other of my stories, this feels like an actual episode of Jimmy Neutron. That’s about the best compliment that I could have received. I did make an effort when writing this to keep the violence and language to an absolute minimum, I wanted this to be an adventure that the JN gang could have easily actually gone on. And it seems like, in that regard, I succeeded.
Final Verdict: I was uneven with the Scottish slang in the first half of this fic and it could have used that epilogue, but I still heartily recommend it.
Written on December 15, 2014
It’s the day of fifth grade graduation, but Jimmy and Nick just can’t get excited about it. They bump into each other at The Candy Bar while skipping the class party. Over a couple of malts, they reveal why they’re so scared of leaving Lindbergh Elementary behind.
I intended this to be my final Jimmy Neutron fanfic. I got the idea for this piece while realizing how much I wanted to go to the my vet school’s five-eighths party. That’s when we celebrate the end of our classroom studies and switching into our clinical rotations. I’ve always been fairly antisocial at vet school, and at the beginning of the year I had no urge to attend this party. So I bought a plane ticket home for that day. But as the semester wore on, I realized I wanted to spend a fun-filled night with the people I’d shared vet school’s struggle with. Unfortunately, I couldn’t return the plane ticket. At any rate, I used this appreciation for the friends I’d made at school to fuel this piece.
Beyond that, I just really wanted to take another look at the Nick / Jimmy relationship. It was my favorite aspect of The Final Battle series, and I just couldn’t pass up the urge of having these characters share one more in-depth conversation. I loved showing these characters moving from square one (this was separate from The Final Battle‘s universe and thus these two weren’t pals) to becoming friends.
Lastly, I really love the excerpt above. I know it’s just a little out of character for Jimmy to be this frank, but I think it was mostly earned because of how important he realized his friends were during this story. His quiet admission to Cindy that he sincerely values her friendship is one of my favorite things that I’ve ever written.
Final Verdict: If you have even 10% of my love for the Jimmy / Nick friendship, or can relate to the desperate worry of leaving school behind, I think you’ll find this a good read.
Written on December 29, 2014
When Goddard dies, Jimmy goes on a long quest to discover if God is real. Sensing that she needs him, Cindy travels by his side and offers her thoughts on the unknown.
To be completely honest, my primary goal for this piece was self-promotion. I had just self-published my debut novel, and I figured if I put a link to it at the bottom of a new fanfiction story, I could get a lot of my old fanfic audience to buy it.
Now, to be clear, I didn’t just slap some crap together and shove it on fanfiction.net. Although I don’t think this is my strongest story, I did work hard on it. I came up with the idea while at church on Christmas Eve. As I watched the parishioners pile in and sing religious hymns, I began to really consider my own feelings on God. That led to me thinking that a story about someone’s search for faith would be pretty interesting. Since I wanted to write a Jimmy Neutron piece and Jimmy is a very scientific, skeptical character, I quickly came up with the rest of this story.
I tried to include a little bit of all the major themes I’ve used in my writing and previous fanfics. There’s an action scene, Jimmy’s friends all acknowledge how important he is to them, and Cindy and Jimmy have a heartfelt conversation. I also really enjoyed exploring Jimmy and Cindy’s views on God; this was something ripe for the picking that I’d never done before. And of course, there was another appearance by Ike. Can’t forget that.
I can’t help but feel, though, that something is kind of off with this story. I really don’t know why that is. The characters seem true to themselves and my writing is pretty solid. It just seems a little weird throughout. Many readers also felt that the final section of the story, where Jimmy and Cindy build a new robotic dog together, didn’t really hit them the way I intended. In that regard, I agree. That section felt kind of tacked on, and I should have revised it more.
Overall, though, I still enjoyed writing about something I’d never delved into before, and I really love the Jimmy / Cindy moments.
Final Verdict: I think Jimmy Neutron fans will enjoy this, although it’s not my strongest piece.
And there, at long last, you have it. Every single one of my Jimmy Neutron fanfiction stories. I’ve had a lot of fun (and anger) looking over my old works. I’ve definitely come a long way and I hope I continue to foster my skills, even if I do plan on leaving fanfiction behind. Even though a lot of these stories fill me with rage, they all helped me become the writer I now am. So for that, I will always be thankful for fanfiction and for all the people who supported me in that time.
Again, thank you everyone from fanfiction.net who read and reviewed my stories. I will always love you all.