First of all, on Monday, I wrote another 1,000 words. Not a continuation, but some back-fill.
On Tuesday, I found myself compelled to start the sequel. In pen, rather than at the keyboard, but still ...
But still, after Tuesday, I took some time off of Jewel.
But today, I decided I couldn't wait a week to read the manuscript. I printed out 164 pages (10.5 point, Times-Roman, line spacing at 1.5), some 96,000 words, and took them off to read in the sun.
And ya know what?
It doesn't suck! Yes, it's first draft. Yes, the voice is uneven; yes, it needs some cutting (see below); yes, there are details that don't dovetail together; yes, there are two or three scenes that probably need to be amalgamated; and yes, the background needs to be better-fleshed-out.
But it doesn't suck. I enjoyed reading it, mostly. I believed in my heroine. She's an unlikely 15 year-old girl, but she's not an impossible one. The plot hangs together better than I had feared it might. The "secondary world" needs to be better fleshed-out than it is, but it seems to hang together well enough for the moment.
I think this will become a good book, damn it! I'm happy about it. I haven't laboured in vain for six months.
But I am still unclear as to the "target market". It kind of reads like a Young Adult fantasy. On the one hand, it features an adolescent heroine, the adventures of a young girl Trapped In a World She Never Made; on the other, it contains a lot of swearing and some, relatively explicit, sex scenes.
Commercially, I fear it might be a case of neither fish nor fowl. But fuck it; we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
There is a lot of work to be done on this, the first volume. Happily, and unlike my first novel, at no point did I take my pen in hand and cross out even one entire page as unusable (let alone several!). Roughly-speaking, I think it needs to be cut by 20,000 words while having 10,000 added to it. And a lot of re-writing (and a significant amount of deeper thinking).
But yeah. It doesn't suck. I have written a novel that, with some work, deserves publication.
And that gives me one hell of a feeling of accomplishment.
I may be broke and I may be lonely, but at least I haven't been wasting my time.