It's done. The first draft of Two Earths Are Better Than None is complete. Phew.
Even more amazingly, I kept to my chapter plan for part five, although as expected, I renamed them.
A Bridge Too Far
Lending a Hand
Forging the Commonwealth
Part five ended up slightly longer than I thought it might at 18,500 words, giving a grand total of just under 103,800 words for the first draft.
I couldn't be happier. Everything came together perfectly in the last few chapters, allowing me to use all the themes and characters I'd set up to resolve the story satisfactorily. No loose end dangling... I think.
Next comes the second draft, which I'll kick off in earnest at some point next week. I've noted things I want to tweak in each part, along with the usual line editing where I'll sharpen up the text. Nothing structural or fundamental at this stage. This is more about fixing the secondary character arcs.
A few supporting characters took on a life of their own, becoming more critical to the story's resolution than I'd initially envisaged. That often means that the early stages of their lives in the novel need refocusing to make them more well-rounded. One of them even swapped from being an antagonist to a protagonist! Luckily, I realised that one early.
To get my mind fully into editing mode, I'm going to take a short break to read Understanding Show, Don't Tell by Janice Hardy. It's easy to slip into bad habits, so that should remind me how to be utterly critical of what I've written,
I renamed many of the earlier chapters while writing part five. A couple are terrible puns (including A Bridge Too Far and Lending a Hand, above). I'll see which ones stick and reveal all once I've completed the second draft.
I'd better get one with it, hadn't I?