The Demi-Monde: Summer, the third volume in the quadrology, went off to John Jarrold (my agent) at lunchtime. This has been a real - make that a REAL - exercise: the version I sent must have been the fifteenth iteration of the book...I have edited and edited and edited until I'm sick to the back teeth of the bloody thing. Originally, I wrote around 175,000 words and then decided that it was too flabby so, with the help of Nell, I've been culling the book. What finally went out was a more streamlined 149,000 words. For comparison, Demi-Monde: Winter weighed out at 150,000.
I think this slimming exercise was worth it. In the end, everything is about pace and, although, even now, there are moments when the plot pauses for exposition, I don't think these slow the story down too much. And there are things I really like about the book. The Coven has been a great setting for the action. Fresh Bloom Dong E and PhilosopherNoN Xi Kang have been characters I've enjoyed writing. And putting together a nuJu patois has been interesting too.
I've also been persuaded to add a more up-beat ending. Probably the book I originally wrote was on the dark side of dark, so I've brought in a touch of optimism at the end.
Now it's eyes down for the edit of 'Spring' and the writing of the PollyPaedia entry for nuJuism. And then there's young Shelley to contend with...