Chapters 23 and 24 are now up. I decided to give you two chapters at once this time; I'll explain why below.
There's a few things I want to cover in this entry. First of all, I've fallen hopelessly behind in replying to my feedback. That's mostly a result of seven days with little or no internet access. I do read all feedback, and value it greatly. I doubt I'll be able to get caught up with past messages, but I'll try to keep up with current ones as best I can.
Next topic: the last few chapters of LIAB, specifically chapters 21 through 24. I knew all along there would be a negative backlash to this part of the story. Let's summarize what's happened so far. Starting at around chapter 11, Pat started stumbling and bumbling his way through life. Then, for a while, he seemed to be getting his act together. All of a sudden, Inez reappears, and it freaks him out. He flips out, does a few things he regrets, and goes into a funk that lasts the better part of a year.
I've known a couple of 19- or 20-year-olds that have gone through similar funks, for equally stupid reasons, who went on to become grounded and successful adults. But there's a difference with Pat, isn't there? He's getting a second chance at this stuff.
I've said before that I doubt whether many of us could handle this situation well; namely, being sent back in time, with pre-knowledge, and living your life over again. I'm not sure that effectively managing pre-knowledge would be especially easy, nor would the proper way to do it be intuitively obvious. Also, if you really think about it, you'd be extremely isolated. You'd have to keep a vital part of yourself hidden from everyone else, unless you opened up fully to another person. And then you'd have to worry about that person questioning your sanity. That's the angle I've been working in the last few chapters.
Has that part of the story been too prolonged and extreme? I don't know. You be the judge of that. But I think that question is best answered in the context of the story as a whole.
From a reader's standpoint, however, I do have to agree that reading a series of downer chapters spread out over a couple of weeks is akin to Chinese water torture. I apologize for that, and this is why I gave you 23 and 24 at the same time. If I had it to do over again, I'd have posted 21 through 24 simultaneously, so that you could deal with the depressing part of the story in one shot.
I hope you caught the hopeful tone to chapter 24. It's pretty much the foundation chapter for the rest of the story. Near the end, Pat himself told you that he looked back upon that day as a turning point in his life. Believe him. I can tell you that he speaks the truth. He did, in fact, just experience a watershed moment. I'm currently writing chapter 33, and though I don't want to reveal any secrets, I can tell you that the Pat I'm writing about now is a far superior person to the one you've been reading about. You'll see a change in the very next chapter I post.
I'm planning to go back to my schedule of one new chapter every third day, so look for Chapter 25 on Saturday.
As always, thanks for reading!