Since the August progress report, the family has been lucky enough to have a weekend away in Bilbao, and this last five days, we’ve spent most of our free time looking after a crazy, but loveable Boston Terrier puppy. What I’m saying in a roundabout way is that my writing time had been somewhat curtailed over the last four weeks. But fear not, because in between times, I have made substantial progress on the sequel to Monkey Arkwright.
In August, the chapter and word counts stood at 24 and 66,000 respectively, but now the scoreboard reads 29 chapters and 80,000 words. That’s terrific progress, I’m sure you’ll agree. I’m not vouching for the quality of those words, of course, but if you don’t think that progress can be measured in word and line counts, then you musn’t be a project manager! Just kidding, my little joke. Even better, my daughters have been casting their critical eye over proceedings and have declared that the story is indeed interesting. Chapters 19 to 24 have been subject to a first-level edit, so the task of writing the second draft will be so much easier than for Monkey Arkwright.
I’m now at the point of the book that I’ve been so keen to get to – the final run of chapters where the secrets are revealed through a series of dazzling set-pieces and masterpieces of exposition. At least that’s how it looks in my mind, anyway. But it’s my job as a writer to make sure that that feeling of excitement comes across on the page as Book #2 reaches its conclusion (yes, I do have a title but no, I’m not ready to share it yet). Well, it’s a conclusion of sorts – in the same way that The Empire Strikes Back has an ending. After all, what is the point of writing a trilogy if everything is neatly tied up at the end of the second part?
So, even though it’s only the first draft, I want to make sure that I get the tone and content of these final six chapters as close to perfect as I can manage. I intend to spend roughly a week on each, which is a bit slower than I have been averaging for the rest of the book, but the scenes I have mapped out deserve this considered approach. All things being well, the story will be wrapped up by the first week in November, at which point the second draft will commence, followed by some fine-tuning. My publication target still remains February/March next year.
Sales of Monkey Arkwright are still as flat as a Dutch pancake that’s had the Lord’s ground staff working on it the week before a test match, but I’m glad to see that one brave soul has been making their way through the book on Kindle Unlimited these past few weeks.