Late yesterday, I hit the biggest milestone so far – the completion of the first draft of The Muffler's Ministry. I'm rather chuffed.
So how did part four go, you foolishly ask?
Well, when I set out on its first chapter, my predictions were that it would be around 17,500 words, giving a total of 92,500 for the first draft of the novel, split across six chapters:
It was a world-beatingly close, guess which is Boris-speak for nowhere near.
It ended up at 24,700 words, which with a few earlier adjustments, gives a total of 100,500 words for the entire novel. Whoop, whoop! The first time I've broken the 100,000-word barrier.
There were eight chapters in part four once the story had stopped telling itself:
I'm pretty pleased with that in the end, the pacing was much better than my original plan.
Oddly, I've ended up with almost exactly the word count I anticipated at the start, just spread differently. I'd anticipated four parts, each around 25,000 words. The characters had a different idea though, and this split was very different in the end:
The Ministry: 31,800 words
The Community: 28,800
The Oracle: 15,200
The Adversary: 24,700
So what's next? Well, I'll be taking a few days' break before attacking the second draft to let things settle in my mind.
I've been doing a first pass edit on a day-by-day basis to sharpen the text a little, but there will still be work to do when I carry out a read-through. I reckon that will reduce the size by around 5%, but there's more description needed and a few adjustments to make which is likely to add that 5% back.
I've already got quite a few notes of things to adjust on the second draft, but I'm also going to try a new technique for me. For each chapter, I'm going to write a 2-3 line synopsis, to build up an overall run-through of the action in the novel, which will give me a chance to check my overall pacing and see if anything needs adjusting. Luckily Scrivener makes this nice and easy to do all in one place.
The other thing I'll be doing before the second draft (besides some overdue DIY) is to carry out a bit more preparation for my relaunch on Draft2Digital - see the blog post Future Plans if you're not sure what I'm talking about. I'll be back later today with another post to let you know my current thoughts on that.
P.S. Still trialling a few variations on the cover design, as you can see. I'm not going to make a final decision until my beta reader has had a chance to read the second draft, and will solicit his opinion on the best genre-match of what I have so far.