Forty-one chapters and forty-one years come to an end today. I’ve finished the first draft of The Quiet in the Land (aka Willa), begun ’round about August 09. Tomorrow starts a new year for me personally, and a time of rest (mentally, anyway) while I let this first draft cool off in preparation for coming at it with my quill pens trimmed and sharpened.

The final word count for this first draft is 132,500, a bit over the 130K mark I’ve aimed for all these months. I have every intention of seeing that count come in much closer to 120K (if not lower) by the time I’m done editing. And there will be editing. I’m not completely satisfied with a few of the secondary characters’ arc. I may have short-changed my villain. I may need to add a fourth POV character to deal with some of those issues.

Here’s my plan of attack:

For one week, possibly two, I’m not going to write at all. I’m going to do yard work. There’s a bank of ivy growing on a fence in my yard that is plotting a full scale invasion of the house. Intelligence reports that it means to make its move soon. I plan on a preemptive strike.

And the leaves are falling now (are they in cahoots with the ivy???). Must neutralize those as well.

Since I don’t have the stamina for 7-8 hours of yard work a day, I’ll also start the early research for my next WIP, which I’ve working titled Jesse. Jesse Spencer is the name of my main character (I snagged his name from one of the actors on House, because I like the name, though my character doesn’t look like that actor. In case you are curious, he looks much more like Alex O’Loughlin, who played vampire Mick St. John on Moonlight and now can be seen as Steve McGarrett in Hawaii 5-0).

So for a week–two weeks if I can force myself to stay away from the manuscript–I’ll research and plot Jesse’s story and battle crazy green stuff outside, and let these new characters tell me more about their back stories, which I love to write in detail before I begin a novel. And I’ll throw all my notes into a file and leave them to stew.

But back to my editing plan. Next step: print out TQITL in hard copy and read through it without making any changes, as fast as I can. I’ll keep a notebook open to jot down any changes I think to make as I read, but I want to come at this story as if it was already printed, reading through it at the speed I read other author’s books. Just to see if it helps me get a better grasp on the shape of the story, the pacing, all that macro stuff that’s so easy to lose sight of while editing line-by-line.

By the end of November I’ll be ready to dive into whatever major story or character edits that seem needful. Then will come at least one more edit for polishing, a line edit. Possibly there will be another edit after this. I don’t know how long this process will take. I guess it depends on if it becomes Requested Material. But I’d like to have it done as soon after the first of the year as possible. Because I want to start writing Jesse’s story really bad.

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