It's done. The first draft of Integration is now complete, as of 9am this morning. Still a long way to go, but wanted to mark this significant milestone with a quick blog post, largely for my own historical reference.
It's come in at just under 77,000 words on the first draft, not far off my initial target. Pretty pleased with it, on the whole. A few rough edges I'm aware need fixing, but it's a good start.
I've been doing a quick first pass edit as I've been going along, starting each day by reading and fixing what I'd written on the previous day to get myself back into the swing of things. I've also built up a list of a few things I want to go back and fix before I attempt a read-through and edit. There are a couple of dangling plot threads I ended up not taking to completion as they were a distraction, so they need pruning before anything else. Shouldn't take me more than a couple of days.
I'm going to take a different tack on my next read-through, reading alternate chapters, so I go through Carole's story first, and then Kofi's. Although the novel is designed to be read with the threads interleaved, I need to make sure I haven't accidentally cross pollinated something Carole knows into Kofi's brain before he's got the evidence to back it up. Something I could easily have done on a more foggy-brained day.
For completeness, here's the final chapter list on the first draft. You'll note I've renamed a few since my last post.
Carole: The Flood, The Stream, The Challenge, The Confrontation, The Location, The Aftermath, The Enigma, The Awakening, The Bifurcation, The Unification
Kofi: Affirmation, Commission, Classification, Selection, Commination, Suppression, Escalation, Inoculation, Declination, Ascension
I ended up tagging on an unplanned Epilogue, as it felt like the right thing to do. It may not survive to the end of the next draft.
Once I've got my initial personal changes done, it'll be off to my son for his detailed thoughts. That's where the big changes will likely kick in. He's very critical, and more annoyingly, usually right.