I’ve continued to work with Skylark over at FWO, and had a few bits of feedback from other users as well. Although it is a little unsettling being told about all these issues, I do have to say I feel way better about the story after incorporating feedback. There really is nothing like an blunt, objective, outside review.
I have 9 chapters edited to draft 2 (and a few incorporating beta feedback), and I’m feeling good. I seem to be able to clean the draft at 2-3 chapters per week, which means I am looking at about 12 weeks to get this thing in the bag. One thing to note is that the cleaning process is also including a heavy polish and word-cut round, so it is really hitting d3, and d4 all at once. We’ll see if I can skip over those as separate iterations when the time comes, but it seems possible at the moment.
Last thing of note, is I’ve managed to cut about 3K words over 9 chapters. I know of a few places I need to expand things, but on the whole I think I can hit 300 words cut per chapter… which should bring me to just about 100K words total. Hopefully that is a good place to sit for a fiction debut.