And that's another milestone ticked off. Faster than I'd anticipated, I've now completed the second draft of the novel. Phew.
It was primarily faster than I'd expected because the whole thing hung together much better than I expected. I'd anticipated finding more holes in the plot, more anomalies in characterisation and more things told oddly, than I actually encountered. I must have been more awake through the first draft than I thought. Perhaps, I did know what I was doing, after all.
As well as copious pruning of unnecessarily verbose verbiage, improving some dialogue, and adding extra lines here and there for clarity, I expanded the story in a few areas too. I added two new scenes – which I'm really pleased about – and extended three others.
That means that the word count has increased from the first draft's 72,700 to a second draft of 76,300 words, which is much more in line with my initial expectations. I've updated the preview of the opening chapters of the novel on this website to this shiny new second draft.
So, what's next?
I've now sent the novel to my son, who acts as primary critic and editor-in-chief. He's busy completing his latest novel, so it might be a few weeks before he can attack it in earnest. Once he does, we'll get together – via Skype this time, given social distancing, I assume – and go over his detailed notes. If it's anything like Integration, that could take more than eight hours. I'll come away with copious notes of my own, with which I'll create a final draft version.
Going by past experience, that probably puts the final draft at just over 80,000 words, and is likely to be ready between one and two month's time. Then I'll roll the dice, and see if I can get any agents interested in pursuing its publication via more traditional routes. While I'm waiting for feedback from my son, I'll be preparing the other parts of the agent submission package. I hate writing synopses...
I'll then allow a couple more months to pass to see if I get any initial bites. In the interim, I'll prepare the novel for self-publication. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, and all that.
Adding all that together, that is likely to mean a self-publication date of early August, maybe a little earlier. We'll see. If I time it right, it could be ready just in time for the second phase of COVID-19 lockdown. I'm such a cheery optimist.
In between the remaining task, I'll be starting work in earnest on my next novel, The Muffler's Ministry. I'm still at the research and note-making stage, but it's coming together nicely. If it goes as well as I hope, it could create a world that will support more novels in a longer series. Once I'm ready, I'll create a new blog tag and come back with lots more information, none of which you probably want to know.