Spent a lot of yesterday reviewing where I was with the third book. The problem I find is that once you're over about 150,000 words the book become difficult to manage especiallyif, like me, the story and the characters develop and mutate as you write. So every now and then I have to stop and assess what I've written and where I'm going.
First off I had a big cull of stuff I'd written. I dumped about ten thousand words of dross. Some I might be able to recycle in Book 4 but really it was crap.
The first third of the book - which takes place in the Coven - I'm pretty happy with and I've got two new characters - Fresh Bloom Dong E and PhilosopherNoN Xi Kang - who have something about them. It's always better when you like your characters, it's so much easiler to write their dialogue.
The second third of the book is OK. This is set in NoirVille/the JAD with the occasional side trip to Venice and is quite complex because there are multiple characters interacting. Of the new characters Billy is good (well, actually, bad) to write for though I've gotten to the end of his antics and realised that I hadn't been writing him correctly so that means quite a major revision. Xolandi - a NoirVillian - has been something of a diappointment so he will need some tweaking but being a NoirVillian he should welcome that.
The last third is the climax of the book and that has been a real torment. I'm trying to interweave five plot threads and to do that and make it entertaining and comprehensible is a bit of a challenge. But it's coming. Slowly.
That just leaves some action in Rodina and the Real World segments to be done. I guess there's 20,000 words here and that with what I've got thus far will tip the scales at 180,000+. It's too much. The one thing I learned from DM1 was that anything over 150,000 is a real tester and if you ain't careful the story will drag. So before I submit to John my agent I'm gonna have to subject DM3 to some quite profound slimming. But then I'm on schedule so I've enough time to sort it out.
Post Demi-Monde I'm going to have a spell of writing books that come in at about 100,000 words: shorter and hopefully sweeter.