So at long last I completed my story Dirty Little Secret. It's the longest story I've ever written, both in terms of sheer word count and in terms of months spent almost continually writing in my spare time from real life. All this from a story which I intended only to be one or two chapters long. You see, I intended Gob to drop by Sudden Valley once, kiss Michael and offer to help him like in Chapter 42, then leave and return to his roofie circle while Michael says to himself "He's not coming back." But the story had a life of its own, and Michael didn't want to refuse Gob, and thought "why not?" since he was "out of the family." When writers talk about a compulsion to write, independent of any feedback or praise from other people, this is what they mean. So my story expanded and ballooned, much like Mitch Hurwitz intended just a movie, then a few introductory mini-episodes, then gave us season 4, and perhaps much more to come.
The story was both planned out far in advance (such as the Chapter 42 example above) and serendipitous, such as my last-minute ideas to have Maeby leave Sudden Valley and for JBJ to break out of rehab to get rid of the roofies. I was flying blind a lot of the time, feeling out for where the next chapter would go.
Also I was surprised that so many critics of the fourth season could not take how unsympathetic Michael Bluth had become, when I had seen the hints of his being selfish and overbearing throughout seasons 1 to 3, especially in the finale in which he decides to steal $500,000 from the company and flee to Cabo. Michael claims to be so honest and moral, and yet he goes along very quickly with the permit-office break-in in season 1, and using company money to bail himself out of jail in the season 2 premiere. He's a crooked Bluth, just with a martyr complex that he uses to justify anything he does for himself. It's all a matter of perspective.
That idea in season 4, that each Bluth thinks they're the sane one, and has a different point of view on the same events, was part of what shaped Dirty Little Secret into the sequel that it was. The idea that Michael Bluth was never actually normal and sane, that his persona as "the good one" was all artificially learned from his wife Tracey, was very addictive. Plus I also wanted to explain Pete the mailman, and explore the tragedy of Gob Bluth, who was unloved and rejected for so long. (In my previous AD fic, I thought Gob was more comfortable with being bisexual and shameless about loving Michael, but to see how in denial he was with Tony Wonder in season 4, just makes my heart ache and wish him a happy ending.) I've always loved Maeby as a character, even if I thought some of the plots on the show were too repetitive and didn't use her to her full capabilities. So when we saw glimpses of Lucille Bluth as an invisible girl who didn't think of herself as a villain, I began to see the parallels about Maeby, and how she could be headed toward a similar destiny. Lucille and George always thought they were protecting the family and teaching valuable lessons with the Boyfights and all; they didn't realize they were screwing up the kids.
I'm not sure I believe in destiny, or that the universe is unfair and capricious, a random chaos that we choose to see patterns in. The AD universe is very addictive though, even when it gets very dark and angsty. I shall now try to post and re-edit Far From Over on AO3, and hopefully that can restart me on finishing that uncompleted story. I hope I can make it lighter and fun, though I'm not sure I'll have the same continuous compulsion to write. I need to make more time for real life too.