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Transformation: First Draft Complete

Another major milestone complete, the biggest of all – the first draft is now complete, coming in at just under 79,000 words. Phew.

That was a little more than expected on first draft, but I did add one more chapter into part 4 (Pralaya). There were eight chapter in the end, titled Debrief, Defeat, Design, Detain, Devise, Decoy, Destruct, Denouement. All these chapters involved multiple perspectives, unlike the previous sections, but were focussed primarily own Nevin and Katinka, as you'd expect.

With one final simplification of the names of the prelude and interludes, the picture below shows you the final structure of the novel, along with the part and chapter names, taken from the wonderful Scrivener app that I use to write my novels. Note that the icon colour indicates the primary character perspective in that section: blue Katinka, pink Nevin, yellow Amy and white for multiple people.

So, what's next?

Well, as I've been progressing the first draft, I've been keeping a long list of things to go back and tweak. These include: better descriptions for locations that have proven key to the story, such as the Tethys Cathedral; fixes to the early characterisation of minor support characters who ended up having more major roles than I initially anticipated, such as Alima Arian; seeding a few things that evolved later in the story much earlier in the narrative, such as Amy's interest in Juno's constitution. All that sort of thing, with maybe the odd small scene along the way.

I'll also be writing an Afterword which will discuss how Transformation evolved from The Stream and the unintended thematic similarity to Bob Shaw's Palace of Eternity, as I mentioned in an earlier blog post.

I'll then give it a careful read-through and edit from start to finish, which will be the first time I've done so as I wrote the sections in non-reader order. The main focus of this will be to sharpen up on the language and improve its general readability, This should decrease the word count somewhat, but with the other changes, I'd expect the second draft to come in around the 80,000 word mark.

Finally, I'll send it to my son for his thoughts, I'm expecting those to be deservedly brutal (like I was with his last work!) and I'll come away and have a rethink of a few areas. His perspective is usually invaluable in highlighting the issues that don't work on the page as well as they do in my mind. I know the first two books in the series wouldn't have been half the stories they ended up being without his input.

Given the fact that he's taking part in NaNoWriMo in November, I think that means I'll likely to be ready to self-publish Transformation sometime around the end of January 2020, which is still earlier than I was anticipating when I set out on this journey.

I'll not be looking for an agent for this novel – not much point for the last novel in a trilogy, so will push straight ahead and self-publish. I have the cover and most of the accompanying stuff ready already, although the blurb needs a bit of polish.

On the subject of which, before I start the second draft, I'm going to make a few minor typographical changes to the published editions of Integration and Long Division. No alterations to the story whatsoever, but after reading the highly recommended Dreyer's English, there are a few minor punctuation fixes I'll make to ensure they're in line with how I've approached Transformation. This mainly affects the use of ... and – within the text, especially at the end of interrupted dialog. It's only probably me and copy editors who would notice, but having learnt a better way of doing things, I'd rather be consistent within a trilogy.

[Update: typographical changes to Integration and Long Division now made and republished.]

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