Yay, I’ve finished the second draft!
I know I said a couple of weeks ago that I was in the halfway trough, but I’d actually written that a few days before. Then, as predicted, the hurtle towards the end started.
Normally I write for an hour a day after work, usually enough for half a chapter. But I took some time off work, and wrote a lot and wrote at least a couple of chapters a day and now I’m done. And thank goodness, I’m exhausted.
The first draft is like the wooden frame of a building, the second is the brickwork and building itself. When I wrote the first book, I didn’t really know what I was doing, so the brickwork was just light brick cladding. This time, armed with everything my agent told me to do to the last book, I’ve built a solid stone structure, with turrets and basements and decorations and all kinds of things. It’s very long, and I hope more complex than the last book.
Of course, it’s nowhere near finished. It needs a third draft (the wiring and decorating stage) and a fourth (installing the furniture, I suppose). I still have a lot of doubts. I’ve already thought of two new characters I have to squeeze in to ensure the reader thinks what I want them to think and not what they ought to be thinking. And that final showdown scene needs a lot of polish.
But for now it’s done. I shall leave it alone for a month, whilst I do research. I have Henry Mayhew’s London Labour and London Poor to read, which seems vital for any novel set in Victorian London. I need to make a few visits to places in the book. Most of all, I need thinking time, and space before I go back.
But oh, it is a nice feeling to finish!