We have crossed the Rhine.

We have secured a bridgehead and the enemy is on the run. It was a vicious battle with no quarter given or taken, but truth and right and justice have prevailed. Victory is in sight.

I’ve completed inputting the hard-copy edits for Princess of Shadows.

And if you think that metaphor is overblown, you obviously haven’t read through my previous posts. World War II seems a perfectly appropriate metaphor for a struggle that has seen many reverses and terrible casualties (mostly to my self-esteem). But the last major barrier has been breached and we are in the enemy’s heartland.

There is plenty of fighting (work) left to be done. I am now adding chapter breaks and making sure that the formatting is to Kindle standard. This mostly involves getting rid of extraneous hard returns, making sure that the paragraph spacing is where I need it, and getting the bookmarks right. I want to handle all of this and get it in place before I give Shadows to my beta readers. Their feedback will (hopefully) be the last major changes to the manuscript prior to (cue the triumphant music) publication.

The generals are optimistic, but a shadow hangs over their planning. I have not been able to get the word-count below 162,000, despite cutting some significant sections. 162,000 is still way huge, and the idea of publishing a book that size is like the rumors of a Bavarian Redoubt, a threat fit to unsettle the generals’ sleep. The unanswered question is if a work this big will sell. In a traditional publishing setting my editor would almost certainly be screaming at me to cut the novel further. In a self-published, e-book format, I am not sure it matters.

Of course, the real test will be if my beta readers think the narrative drags at any point. That will be the red flag, the point at which I will need to focus. Still, the temptation exists to take yet another editing pass over the whole shooting-match before giving it to the beta readers. At this point I am resisting the urge– it feels rather like stepping off into a morass of endless editing, where I could end up floundering without a way out. No, I am going to try and trust my beta readers. Really. I mean it. I can trust people…I think.

Later.

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