So, I just rewatched Diamond In The Rough in its entirety, and I still love every second of it.
Even after all I've been through, after all the bullshit theories about what it's supposedly "really" about ("Spaz hates OCs!" "Spaz hates Touhou!" "It's based on Spaz's obsession with a troll who didn't exist at the time most of it was written!" "Spaz only wants people to write the way he wants people to write!"), after having a falling-out with the folks who helped bring DitR to life (mostly thanks to them believing the above rumors, despite literally co-writing it with me), I still find DitR thoroughly enjoyable. (Which debunks yet another theory: that I supposedly "hate" DitR. If I hated DitR, I wouldn’t defend it like I do, nor would I get so pissed off when people warp its context to mean something I never intended.)
It's a story all about making fun of self-insert fic cliches and diving into a dark version of Gensokyo where God Mode Stus have been weaponized to control Gensokyo's balance. Taken as a straight Touhou fic, it's hit-or-miss, love-or-hate: you'll either see it as a nightmarish descent into Gensokyo's dark side, or a confusing grimderp pile of bullshit and bathos. But taken as it's intended, a metafiction about how we write and treat OCs, OC fiction, and the like, it's a fun experience.
However, thanks to the original crew believing the above rumors, there can be no more DitR, but that's okay: the end of DitR has paved the way for a new, even better project, and one that will hopefully be a better representation of Touhou as a series than DitR, a story mainly meant for Touhou fanfic writers, ever was. Besides, it's 2018: making fun of gappy fics has become a dead horse cliche. DitR set out to kill the gappy trope, and by the looks of it, it's pretty much succeeded. At what cost and to what end, I'm still not entirely sure, but I plan to amend that with my current project. Either way, there's no point in writing any more DitR-related materials: the series accomplished what it set out to do. (And yeah, I know originally it was going to be a fully-cut 4-hour movie, but it's too late to do that, so we'll just settle with the Youtube-cut series version. Besides, it's easier to watch that way, cut in 10-minute segments.)
DitR is a troubling story with an even more troubling behind-the-scenes story. Even back as I made it, I nicknamed its production, "The Apocalypse Now of Touhou fanfics." But in the end, even though it has its critics, even though people complain about how confusing it is or how much it indulges in Touhou fanfic metafiction, it warms my heart to know many people still consider it a classic all the way in 2018, still leaving comments on the videos, still discussing it. If feeling proud for having the confidence to follow through on my story makes me "full of myself," then I guess I am, along with everyone else who ever finishes the long and arduous journey of writing a story they believe in.
Even now, I am still proud of Diamond In The Rough. It may have been a journey full of regrets and heartache, but finishing that story and sharing it with everyone is something I will never regret.
And if you're a writer, whether it's fanfiction or original, let me be one of the few to cheer you on as you write. The journey is hard, people will tell you to give up, people will tell you you're full of yourself if you're ever proud of your accomplishments, they'll tell you that nobody becomes successful without turning on their friends, but I'll be here to tell you none of that is true: find friends who will support your writing journey, especially after you finish, because the friends who stick around after you're successful are your true friends. To all writers out there: be proud of your accomplishments, and don't let anybody make you invalidate your own success for their approval! You are free to write what you want, how you want, and find your own success!
And with that, I take everything I learned from DitR's journey, and I now apply it to Wrath of the Amanojaku...