The first draft of book four in The Eidolon Cycle is complete at just over one hundred and ten thousand words, written over the course of sixty-four days, and boy are my arms tired. No, wait, wrong punchline. But seriously, what a ride! Averaging 1,700 words a day over two months was nothing short of a marathon for me, and the result is the firstest first draft I’ve ever written. I usually edit quite a lot as I go along, resulting in my first draft being something close to a second-to-final draft, but this thing is a beast.

I’ve now begun the editing process, and while my fears that it would be an incoherent mess were somewhat unfounded, this is honestly the sloppiest writing I’ve ever done. Forgive the horrid analogy, but it’s like trying to make a meal out of a pile of vomit. Not that the book is as gross as vomit, but more that it poured out of me in a constant stream, without… okay, I’m going to change tack, because this is just icky.

Anyway, the book I once worried wouldn’t have enough content to fill a full-length novel has become the longest I’ve ever written, and although editing is usually a process of cutting, I’m finding things that need adding as often, or more often, than I can afford to take bits away. As usual, the scenery needed some painting, but it’s also a process of fleshing out ideas that came to me in the heat of the writing moment. There are plot holes all over this thing, some big enough to poke my face through and take a picture.

Luckily, this is the project I’m taking with me to the Djerassi retreat next month, and now that I’ve seen the list of attendees, I’m not only horribly intimidated, I’m also confident I will get some useful, meaningful feedback. I just have to hope they don’t laugh me off the ranch. I get to have the group read and critique the first 25 pages of the novel, then I have a private session with YA legend, Nova Ren Suma, during which we’ll discuss another fifty pages. The question is, which fifty? This book, unlike the others in the series, is divided into two sections, one where the main character, Hannah, is fifteen years old, the second when she’s eighteen. I’m tempted to look at the second part so we can talk about continuity and consistency, but I’m still undecided.

I will also have several hours each day to work on a writing project of my choosing, so I hope to dive back into book three, Bella Donna, which I put on hold in order to write Primrose for NaNoWriMo. Interestingly, the two books are quite tightly intertwined, so I think finishing Bella Donna will be much easier than it was before. At least I hope so. If I do manage to get it finished by the end of March, that will be the entire four-part series done within two years, which makes me very happy indeed.