I was actually looking for something else when I found it again, but realized that my character's actual motivation for visiting Plot City had never gotten addressed. There's a note at the end of another file somewhere, winding up subplot threads and summarizing results in the dénouement, implying that my character found her original target that night or the next day, imparted information without actually starting a fight, and they very civilly walked away from each other for once.
I actually don't have any other notes that the NPC has ever appeared on-screen again. And given that he was technically not on-screen for that dénouement, either, and that he'd been designed as a counterpoint to my character's origin before he developed some wonderful personality of his own and then vanished off the face of the campaign....
So I started writing. At first I was merely cleaning up the original "alternate version of reality". I figured it'd make a nice writing exercise, antagonistic, slightly smutty, with a lot of body language and some squabbling between people who used to work together and really don't like each other.
Just after the ides of June, I'd done as much with that writing exercise as I reasonably could ... but the story was still going. The next logical step was waking me up at three in the morning, distracting me when I tried to push my way through the next writing exercise in my list, and working its details out on the main screen in my head while I scrubbed the floors. Finally I promised myself that I'd go back and remake the first four paragraphs to fit "second attempt to find NPC, day after Adventure, other end of the neighborhood in Plot City."
(I still need to do that, by the way.)
And then I let the story go where it was trying to go.
More than sixteen thousand words later, I realize that "where it was trying to go" is a farkin' novel!
It's utterly unpublishable, of course. Too dependent on a particular continuity, too many characters in the background and foreground integral to the logic of the piece but owned by someone with better lawyers, too tiny of a niche audience. And in that audience, nobody's going to be thrilled to read a story centered on Fellow Player's Character.
It's also just getting to the point that the adventurers are starting to get enough of a clue about the A plot so they could maybe dig their way out. I'm not even halfway done. In fact, I stopped writing so I could do a little research and worldbuilding: I'm maybe ten paragraphs away from introducing new characters, a specialized theft-for-hire set who're absolutely not remotely like Leverage, being rather villainous mercenaries of the "Robert B. Parker"+"Dark Champions with some powers" career path.
I've got about a month and a half before my turn at the gamemastering chair is expected to complete, but there's Dragon*Con in the middle of that. I'd really prefer to be finished with this before the next patootie settles into the GM spot, because I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to be able to focus on any other character or adventure while this book is being made!