The third draft of The Gray Shift is now complete and out for editing and beta testing! I expect to get the feedback from both my awesome editor and my beta readers by May. I’m hoping that this version is 80-90% what the final text will be, but I have said that before…
This third draft comes out to 65,751 words and 39 chapters long, which is about a 273 page long paperback. This is 4,428 words longer than the second draft and 14,150 words longer than the very beige first draft was.
Pacing is pretty on track so far, maybe paced slightly fast, but that’s ok. I’d rather have things happen quicker than make the book feel slower. Here’s how the size and location of my four acts (I’m splitting Act 2 into 2a and 2b to show where the midpoint split is) and how they compare to an ideal three act structure.
It says Rev 08.5 on the chart since that is the revision number of this draft according to my somewhat inconsistently implemented revision tracking scheme. I usually count outline and major plot changes as whole number revisions and drafts or tweaks as decimal place revisions.
From this chart we can see that Act 1 ends about 7% faster than it ideally would, but that just means you get to the good stuff quicker. That 7% difference comes out to about 19 pages in a 273 page book.
Acts 2a and 2b are almost perfectly paced relative to the size of the book, with Act 2a only 2% (5.5 pages) shorter than ideal and Act 2b is 3% (8.2 pages) longer than ideal. If you look at this as one big Act 2, then it’s only off by 1% (2.7 pages) so we’re looking really good pacing wise here.
Act 3 is a bit long at 5% (13.7 pages) longer than ideal. A lot of that are the epilogues for each subplot at the end, which right now is 2,990 words long, or 4.5% of the book, almost the exact amount this act is long by. If this were a standalone book and not one with a sequel planned this act might be a little shorter, but overall we’re still looking really good pacing wise. I don’t anticipate needing to delete whole chapters out like I did with the beta test version of Full Coverage.
Next steps are:
- Get feedback from my editor and beta testers
- In the meantime, I’ll work on the outline and cover for the sequel: The Unsettled Compromise
- If the feedback on The Gray Shift looks good, I’ll make the final changes to it and get it ready to publish. I haven’t decided yet if I will release it right away or if I’ll wait until The Unsettled Compromise is further along so I can release them closer together.
- If the feedback on The Gray Shift is really bad, I may just drop it and the sequel and go work the on the Full Coverage sequel instead.