After several days of gazing mindlessly at RenPy tutorials, it occurred to me, Hey!, why not look at some code of actual VNs from the LemmaSoft Forum... real-world examples had to be better right?
I thought this sober, after several days.
So, I d/l a VN, find the script.rpy, mix a drink, and start reading. Did you see the plot point there?
It then occurs to me that, even better, is to run the game in one window while I follow the code in another. Brilliant! Calls for another drink!
And the second drink is enough to remember a conversation I had with a programmer from IBM about 11 years ago: "Write code? What?!? No one's written code in years! You just copy and paste what you need!"
With that bone now removed from my head, I open a THIRD window. Now, when something happens in the VN that I don't know how to do -- but looks cool -- copy from 2nd window into 3rd. I might make January 4th after all.
My world is best seen through the bottom of a highball glass.