- Circumstances around Arc 16 in general
- I know there's some quibbling about the nature of Arc 16 and how it could be broken into two arcs. Going in, though, the story was written over the course of late November and early December.
- At the start of that year, I'd quit university and decided to give my all at the writing thing. I had a close family member send me an email a few months in that expressed a pretty angry and disappointed perspective on what I was doing. The disappointment came from a place of love, I think, but I think it also came from, well, a fundamental disconnect in how very, very different we are as people. They said they hoped I would fail so I could get back on track with life, working a proper job, etc, and that I didn't deserve to get lucky and have the writing work out.
- And I mean, there's context and stuff informing that - I pulled some Taylor level self-delusion in uni (and with hunting for proper jobs). Where I saw leaving Uni and trying to do my own thing as a triumph, me dwelling on the writing could very well be construed as another self-delusion, postponing life. I could talk about that a fair bit, but this segment is also pretty long.
- Anyway, they were far from the only person to be very upset, and going into writing a fairly important arc, the timing just so happened to fall down in such a way that I was writing it while holidays were happening, while people were in town, and while traveling with the nuclear family unit to see various extended family members - and I had to keep schedule while dealing with a lot of those attitudes and perceptions (repressed or otherwise) while also wrangling holidays and the associated stresses. There was a bit around/near the new year where we'd all been staying at an aunt's and there hadn't been any internet while we were there, I was anxious to get to my other aunt's (in a town an hour away) to use the internet and write a chapter, and I was assured several times I'd be there in the early afternoon - only for us to leave late afternoon and for several family members to insist on a long shopping trip at a mini-mall midway through the drive. I was left scribbling in a notebook by the light of a nearby streetlamp, writing the Marquis interlude for later transcription. I wonder sometimes how much of that & moments like that was them needing the break and how much was "I hope you'll fail".
- I'm eternally grateful to the Aunt who was there at the second destination, who welcomed me at 9pm or so with tea and gave me both her office and permission to ignore everything and do what I needed to do. She's really one of my favorite human beings.
- All in all, while I 100% agree with your perceptions on the first half, I'm reasonably happy with the arc overall, given the context it was written in, and I'm particularly happy I was able to pull it out of the dip in quality we see in the first half. It's a consequence of the serial format that it's written while real life is going on and I think some past arcs and admittedly some future sections are impacted by points in time where I just didn't have the focus.
- Just sorta outlining this in case it maybe helps paint a picture as to why the Dragon segment sort of served to postpone things to a later stage where they wouldn't be being written in the midst of other distractions.
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