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The Muffler's Misery: First Draft Complete

Phew. It's done. The first draft of The Muffler's Misery is finally complete.

That was an unusual experience. Typically, I start off a novel slowly, accelerate as I get to know my characters and world, and then zip through the last section. This time, probably because I was intimately familiar with most of my characters, and had a very strong vision of the whole story, the early stages were rapid. The last section was the slowest of the lot.

That wasn't due to any problem with the story. I reached halfway through very quickly, then had to stop. I went to bed noticing flashing lights in one eye, woke up with black bits floating in my vision, and ended up in hospital by the afternoon! Luckily, it wasn't as serious as they feared, and I was home by the end of the day. However, it was hard to focus on the screen for about a week, and it took a few more days to get my momentum back. But now it's done.

Before I discuss the novel, I must add my praise to the NHS. Considering the pressure it's under at the moment, not helped by our pathetic government, I received fantastic service. After checking my symptoms online, which told me to go to A&E, I phoned 111 to check the nearest hospital with an emergency eye clinic. I received a callback with a specialist shortly after, then another call from an ophthalmologist who referred me to the right hospital. The hospital called to tell me to get there as early as possible in the afternoon session.

The main challenge was getting there without being allowed to drive, but I made it exactly as the clinic opened. I was seen within five minutes, had a raft of tests, had a diagnosis an hour later, and was on my way home with fully dilated eyes shortly after – a thoroughly impressive, efficient, and friendly process.

Right, back to the book. Part five, The Oracle, ended up with four chapters as expected but were called Organisation, Incursion, Confrontation, and Abjuration, giving a total of 17,000 words.

With a short epilogue, the total for the novel's first draft was 83,500 words, slightly longer than anticipated but feels the right length. Unusually, I had few notes to address for the second draft, probably due to that clear vision for the novel that I didn't stray from, for once. I've already made those changes and given each section a read-through.

It's a rare event when I feel happy to share a novel with my beta reader/editor/son this early, but I am about to do so. It will be a few weeks before I'm ready to progress with the next draft, but I have plenty to do in the meantime. I'll be back with more updates shortly, but first, I'm having a week off to celebrate my son's birthday, including a trip to see the new Thor movie. I just hope the A/C is working in the cinema…

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