I’ve just finished the second draft of Hild. It weighs in at 962 pages: 196,221 words. It started out at 976. I thought I’d lose a hundred pages or so–after all. I’d lost fifty pages by the time I was a third of the way through. But, eh, it turned out I’d rushed the ending, as usual, and so had to write a lot of new scenes. (The last 200 pages were mostly rubbish. I had to junk them. Mostly.)

The next step is that I spell check it (not easy with names and phrases in Old English, Irish, Latin, and Brythonic). Tweak a little while Kelley is finishing her current editing job (one tweak I must get done: adding a brief but oh-so-nifty narrative summary of insular trade route and political webs in one of the early sections). Hand it to Kelley to read. Get banned from the house so I don’t drive Kelley insane with, “Have you finished yet? Have you finished yet?”

When she has finished (and we’ve finished vacuuming up all the tufts of hair I’ve pulled out in frustration), we have a long–very long–conversation. Then I kick the furniture to pieces. Then we fix the furniture. Then I fix the book. Again. Then I break it into handy chapter-sized chunks, with suitable titles (I’m thinking quotes from the text this time), smooth a few metaphors and, oh yeah, find a title. Then it goes to my editor.

But for now, today, I pat the huge brick of paper, beam, and slide to the floor in the Faint of Triumph. Then I recover and eat. A lot. Then sit brainlessly in the sun for a day or two. (Oh where is the sun? I need the sun…) Then I think I might–gasp!–read a light novel. Right now Thomas Perry’s The Island is looking attractive. But I’m open to suggestions.

So, once again: Hild Round 2 is DONE, BABY, DONE!