As I write this, well, frankly...I'm shattered. At around 1550 today I finished the first draft of 'Battlecruiser Alamo: Price of Admiralty'. Naturally it needs a lot of tweaks here and there – I haven't even done a proper proof-read yet – but on the first full skim-through I'm actually reasonably satisfied with it, which is a new feeling for me. Normally I hate my own work. Whether this is a good or bad thing remains to be seen, of course, and that's for the beta readers to tell me when they get back to me with their comments. That's likely to be a few days, so I'm going to do something that I probably need after twenty days at the grindstone – take a few days off! Of course, I'm already considering the next book in the series, which I will likely start working on before I've done the adjustments to the first. (I note that the draft ended up at 76,000; I suspect it will be nearer 80,000 after the tweaks. It was only a rough figure anyway.)
I learned a lot in the writing process. For a start, it confirmed my belief that I am what is termed as a 'discovery writer'. I don't do well when I am writing to an outline, and I think it is simply that once I write an outline, in my mind the story is 'finished' and I am less inclined to work on the grunt work of actually putting it on the page. I aimed to write this book in sixteen days, working on the principle of an average of 5,000 words a day, and I ended up finishing it in twenty days, working at 3,800 a day on average. I'd rather like to be moving a bit faster than that; there were a couple of days when I really flagged, and there were some other things that took up time, of course – but I probably could have made better use of the concentrated writing days I had. Paradoxically – next time I'm going to aim for a lower average and try and hit it – 4,500 words a day for eighteen days, aiming for about the same word length. Given that a lot of the setting building is done, and a lot of the guts of the primary characters have been fleshed out, it might go smoother this time. I'll have to see.
I very much like the universe I am working in; it's really beginning to feel 'home' to me, a comfortable environment. One key element that I hope I accomplished was to make it as realistic as possible given the subject matter – instead of 'unobtainium', it's nuclear fusion, the armaments are lasers and missiles. Instead of 'defensive shields' it boils down to electronic warfare and simply being in a place where the enemy weapons aren't. Gravity generated by rotation of a 'habitation ring' rather than a magic device. FTL is of course another matter entirely – but aside from making sure I have some consistent rules, that alone I have left as 'magic'. I hold out hopes that it will happen – but as I have said before, if I could come up with an FTL drive, I'd actually be at Proxima Centauri rather than just talking about it.
Now the waiting begins. Let's see what the beta readers say.