Phew! This draft of "book 7" (actual working title is "Aeron Returns") is finished! This is the middle book of a fantasy trilogy that I've been working on, on and off, since 2014.
Of course, just because I have a first draft doesn't mean the book is finished. No, I still have work to do on it, but the skeleton is all sorted and most of the muscle and sinew is there. I still need to do more editing before it goes off to beta readers, and another heap of edits, polishes and a proof-read when it comes back from them and the professional editor, but the hardest edit is done.
For me, the writing process runs a bit like this:
Have an ideaThe zero draft of this book was what I had at the start of September. I was coming back to this book after a long time away from it and I thought it would take me forever to get it from tangled spaghetti to first draft. I always find this is the hardest edit to do, but also the most satisfying one. Just over a month ago, I thought I might never untangle it and whip it all into shape and wrote "Help! Please send chocolate!"
Write loads of notes about the idea and come up with a germ of a plot
Plan out the plot
Change/tweak the plot :||
→ Come up with a zero draft
Go back through zero draft and sort it all out until I have a decent first draft
Go through it again and sort out all the over-used words and the craply written bits
Send it out to beta readers
Fix the issues they come up with
Send it to a professional editor
Fix the bits they say are wrong
But, these characters have been talking to me and telling me their stories for years now. I see so much of their lives that have nothing to do with the book (and sometimes write them down in a separate file, just to get it out of my head). I spend all day (and sometimes night) with them. Getting their stories to make sense is enormously satisfying! Some characters have had more time in the spotlight, some less. Some have died and some been saved. Things I'd been struggling with dropped into place. It's been a tough few weeks, but, boy have I been enjoying it.
Anyway, next for this is to put it aside for a while, before finding and killing all the crutch words and the bits that are crap. What will I work on while this is 'resting'? Planning the final part of the trilogy, of course!