Well, on Monday evening I completed the first draft of A Tortured Soul, the follow up to A Good Man.
Yep, you read that right, the first draft of A Tortured Soul is COMPLETE.
It's only about fifteen months later than my first self-imposed 'deadline' but hey, such is life.
It topped out at 121,580 words - making it just about a third longer than anything I've written previously. (That's 517449 characters, or 633819 if you include spaces) Writing time (or at least, time the document has been 'open' on my screen) is 8929 minutes, or 148.8 hours, or 6.2 days. Doesn't seem that long when you put it like that. So why did it take me over two years in real time?
There are twenty-nine chapters and at present there is no prologue or epilogue (and I don't think I'll be adding them either). That's compared to 49 chapters in A Good Man (inc prologue and epilogue). That's because the average chapter length in A Good Man is 1960, but the average chapter length in A Tortured Soul is 4190.
Why the change? It just felt right for this book when I was writing it. Of course, this is all subject to the editing process.
So what now? Well, I've managed to get a print of the draft manuscript (there's a picture of it on my website or my facebook) and in a couple of weeks time I'll start going though it with a blue pen and a highlighter. I'll try and pick up as many 'silly errors' as I can. I'll make notes about what I can cut. I'll highlight places I can add more detail and when all that is done, I'll check it once more before running it through a consistency checker I've been advised to check out.
In the couple of weeks before I do that, I really need to 'clear my head' - or at least try and get the story and characters out of my head. So to do that I've got one, possibly two, short stories I want to write. Now, I may not finish them in that time. I certainly don't expect to be able to edit and release them in that time, but it should do the job it's meant to and give me something to work on after release of ATS before I look at starting the next novel.
Yes, I said 'release'. At this stage, I'm setting myself a goal of getting the manuscript edited and ready for release as an e-book by the end of April and it'll start posting chapter by chapter on SOL two or three weeks after that. I'll firm that up soon.
So there we have it. The second book of Paul's Coming of Age story is getting much, much closer. Excited? I know I am.