It's done! The first draft of The Muffler's Mission is complete at 3 p.m. on 2nd July 2020. Phew.
Part 5 (Glaundon) came in a little longer than I first anticipated at 12,000 words, and I added one more chapter:
With the Postlude also completed, the first draft is just over 87,000 words total, about 5,000 words more than my early estimate. It's all the better for it.
That was quite a wild ride. It had both the most challenging stretch I've written – mainly due to my mental state – followed by the most fun I've ever had writing. For a first draft, I'm delighted with it.
To save you scanning back over previous blog posts, this is a quick overview of all the parts, chapters, interludes etc:
If you're wondering about the colour code, that's an indicator of the primary perspective each chapter is from. Rowan Webb is in green; the rest you'll have to read to find out!
So what's next? Well, first I'm having a couple of day's break away from it. Then next week, I'll start work on a slow read through, along with my notes of changes I think I need to make in the second draft. I'm sure I'll find more along the way, but for me, the second draft is quite a quick process. I think Part 1 needs to most attention, a little pruning of threads that lead nowhere.
I've mentioned it before, but I'm a slow starter writing each day, so I set things in motion by reading what I've written the previous day and knocking it into shape, usually expanding it. That helps the second draft process for me. Also, if I come across something I realise I should have included earlier, I go back and make those changes during the first draft. That happened in this novel, in one case adding a thousand words to an earlier chapter. It makes it easier for me to write the follow-up parts in a consistent fashion.
I know others prefer to plough on through the first draft and sort those things out later, but that's not how my mind works. I hate having things nagging at the back of my mind that I know are unfinished story-wise. That makes my first draft process a bit longer, but my second draft much faster.
Then I'll be ready to send it to my annoyingly expert son for feedback. The third draft is always where I make biggest changes, both from his feedback and things I've realised in the intervening time, which is often a couple of months.
Above, you can see a cover that's starting to feel right. It's both story-relevant and also fits nicely with the first book in the series. We'll see.
During the second draft process, I'll also be giving The Muffler's Mission its own page on my website, including an early preview of the opening chapters.
I'll be back when I have more news, including what will come next. I have two projects currently in mind, a standalone novel called Scouring Juventas and a third Mufflers novel, The Muffler's Misery.
[Update 9th July 2021]
The updated draft ready to send out to my beta reader was quicker than I expected. I had copious notes of things I was worried about, but the vast majority of them turned out to be fine. It was almost as if I knew what I was doing. I trimmed quite a bit, especially early on, but also expanded other parts. In the end, it was slightly longer overall at 88,000 words.
I think it needs a bit more surgery to the opening couple of chapters, but I decided to leave that until I received some feedback in case I'm worrying over nothing. There will also be completely unanticipated changes over things that work perfectly in my brain but which didn't make it onto the page. That's the fun bit after getting my son's constructively savage feedback, working out how to knock the final parts into shape.
As you can see, I've also updated the website so this novel has its own page, including a preview which has now been updated to this revised draft.
Now, time to send it off, and start planning what comes next.