Ok, so I've finished the first run of the C2 rework. It's much more fleshed out, with a few simple implementations. The first is that there is a fast loop at the beginning, to help hammer in the feeling that life is dragging on day after day.
The first two picks will lead to a loop. A third option will pop up after the second loop is completed, which will allow the player to continue on. While it's a small loop, it acts as a precursor to longer, more complex loops in the future.
Another feature is the two semi-sandbox sections on each side of the narrative. They'll essentially be small areas where the player can move around at their leisure and explore a little. They aren't large areas, and in fact I'm thinking of reducing them a little more. Just by one or two story nodes. I want the exit to be readily available at any story node, and I also want a special exit.
Perhaps, more specifically, I want a special event node that leads back into a structured narrative. These types of event nodes should be completely optional, but also have some pretty good rewards whether or not the player succeeds their challenges.
Anyway, take a look at the new narrative flow: