Except, of course, it's not.
I have finished the first draft of Echo 3. I've gone back to calling it Echo 3 as I'm not sure the working title, Citadel, really suits it.
It's been a hard slog, particularly through the middle sections when I wasn't sure where the book was going or what it was trying to say. Once I worked through all that, the back end of the book has been a pleasure and I fairly raced through it.
So, now the hard work starts.
Draft two - work through the manuscript and put in words where currently I have XX, or Fill in this bit. Mostly this is where I couldn't be bothered to go back and work out how many light years the journey had covered, or how long it had taken to get there, or create a name for a minor character.
Draft three - continuity check. There are little things like; what did I call space suits in the first two books EVA suits or vac suits. E3 uses both, and shouldn't. Also, does the ship have Decks (Deck One, Deck Two) or decks, and are they One, Two, Three, or one, two, three. And the same for the comms channels.
Draft 4 - glaringly obvious grammatical error and typo check. This is the first point at which the manuscript will get printed out, because it's much easier to see these things on the page rather than on the screen.
At this point, it goes to the three First Readers, with a mix of trepidation and anticipation. I have four main questions for the Readers.
Did you enjoy it?
Are there places that I should add something - description, action, whatever? (Last time one of them suggested that the sex scenes should be longer)
Are there places that I should edit it down
Did you get the underlying theme
Draft 5 - changes resulting from the First Readers' suggestions.
Draft 6 - paragraph by paragraph. Could this be written any better? This is a real hard one as I tend to get sucked into reading my own stories, rather than re-writing.
At this point a former professional editor gets their hands on it for a technical check
Draft 7 - changes resulting from the editor's check
Draft 8 - final chance to make any changes.
Somewhere around here I'll be getting the cover art done. I'll be keeping to the theme / layout of the first two, with minor changes
And then it goes out.
Bits of this I enjoy, bits I dont, and bits I find really hard.
This was never meant to be a trilogy. I've enjoyed it for what it is but, then, it will be over. Perhaps I'll have some time to devote to being a better sax player.