The last entry I had posted in this category was almost a month ago, before the end-of-the-year rush and the sheer grind of working on Vajra avalanched all over me. So, some word about what gives.
2nd draft edits are (quick math) 97% complete. I'm betting they will be done by this weekend, at which point I will give the book one more once-over. That part I am guessing will last me the rest of January and then some, at which point it will be out to the Super Secret Select Beta-Read Team. You all know who you are.
I didn't end up making drastic cuts to the story in this 2nd pass. It was more nip-and-tuck stuff — removing redundancies (of which there were a few), rearraning a few passages for better impact or clarity, that sort of thing. A total of maybe one or two scenes in toto were axed. This is still a long book, mind you — 348,000 words by my latest count — but a) it's part one of, well, one, and b) I'd like to think there are as few places as possible where things don't move forward in some way. I may, on the third pass, find some sections (a character speech here or there, for instance) that could stand to be axed or condensed — heck, I'm bringing back to mind one such sequence right now, but I want to go back and see how it plays in context before red-lining it.
If Summerworld ended up being 90% of what I had wanted it to be,Vajra is closer to 80-85%. Pretty good odds. The finished work is not something that's cast all at once; it's closer to something that's unearthed bit by bit and whose real dimensions and demands cannot always be seen from the outside. It's nothing like where I started out, but that's a good thing. Working on it has taken me into territory I would never have dreamed of venturing towards before.