I am finally done re-writing the Bleak sequence, and Kathy is in the hands of the Gehma. The word ‘nightmare’ might just apply. When I reached the Bleak sequence, I had, up to that point, edited about two-thirds of the novel and cut maybe 6000-7000 words. Substantially re-writing the sequence, I ended up with something I feel is significantly stronger, but in the process I actually added 11,000 words, which is going seriously backwards of where I wanted to go. This puppy now bulks out at a total of about 174,000 words, easily the biggest single piece of writing I have ever done. I am not sure if I have any large blocks of text left that I could cut in the 80 or so pages left to edit for the second draft. Despite that, I still don’t feel bad about what I’ve done– whereas before Kathy was merely inconvenienced, now she was in serious danger and gets out by the skin of her teeth– only to be betrayed into the hands of her enemy. This, just FYI, is something I learned from Joss Whedon– just when it looks like the protagonist is going to be safe and happy, drop a bomb on them. Joss is a master at that sort of thing.
I hope to edit the remainder of the first draft by the end of the month, with a couple of additional tweaks (Draft 2.1). That means doing about 8-10 pages a day, which feels doable. That will still leave me a month behind my original schedule, but this whole book has been behind since last year. After that, the hard-copy edit, the part that I actually enjoy the most. It’s where I get my best sense of the book as a whole (somehow that doesn’t happen when I edit it online). At this point, then, I feel as if I am two to three months away from publication, but nobody should bet the rent money on that. But I’m feeling better about the whole thing right now.