I haven't described much lately of where I'm at on Princesses In SPACE!!! (not the actual title), so here's where things stand: I am going through the manuscript one last time in fairly close detail, based on feedback I received from the highly intelligent and perceptive folks whose assistance I requested. Most have pointed out roughly the same strengths in the book (at least, things that I fervently hoped were strengths), as well as things that I knew were weaknesses. Additionally, in discussing things with those folks, I've come to newer conclusions as to how to do certain things in the story or make certain points either more clearly or more forcefully.
My main goal in this final draft is to tighten up the prose and clean up some spots where the dialog is kinda clunky. To my pleasure, I've managed to cut more than 5000 words from the manuscript through 12 chapters (of a total 25 plus a short epilogue). I'm hoping to get the final draft down to no more than 160,000 words, which would be almost 20,000 words down from the first completed draft. That first draft was 443 pages long (as an OpenOffice document); right now, a bit less than halfway through the third draft, it's 398 pages long. Obviously the goal here is to produce a tighter, more smoothly flowing book.
After that work is done -- which I hope to complete no later than January 10 -- I'll have to write an outline of the entire book. And then, hopefully no later than January 15 -- I send the book out into The World.
And after that? Well, who knows...but my dream of dreams is that when you're all doing your Christmas shopping next year, you might be able to gift a copy or two of Princesses In SPACE!!!. But with the actual title on the cover.
Onward and upward!
(The beta readers may be interested to learn that I also changed a couple of the characters' names. Not any of the leads, but a few of the supporting players. Oh, and I've cast Meryl Streep in the Movie Version In My Head. I would hope it would be obvious who she is!)