I finished up chapter 7 and sent it to critique, got my critique on chapter 6 (they still seem to be quite thoroughly engaged, though Rachel still needs more backstory), and completed the re-outlining. At one point half the living room floor was half-covered with little bits of paper. I should have taken a photo. The new outline has 16 chapters, down from 18, and the second half is much, much denser than before although I dropped a lot of incidents. One of the big changes is that I excised a whole try-fail cycle that was just repeating what had already happened to fill in space.
Another big change is that I took a key role in the climax away from a minor character and gave it to a major character instead, going "well duh, of course they'd be the one to do that, it's just what the whole frickin' book has been leading up to." Amazing that it took me so long to realize that. It does mean that two characters who were in different places before are now in the same place at the climax and have to be separated immediately thereafter for the anticlimax to work properly. I think there will be enough chaos that this shouldn't be difficult. I'm also wondering whether that minor character, who died in the previous outline, should now be allowed to live as a sort of consolation prize for losing the big scene. Either way, the new ending is ever so much more satisfying than the old one -- I hadn't thought a happy ending was even possible, but physics properly applied can cover a multitude of sins.
I have been getting way too little sleep lately. I should be asleep right now, in fact, as I have an 8am meeting tomorrow. But before I pack it in, I should mention that The Year's Best Science Fiction Twenty-Fourth Annual Collection, edited by Gardner Dozois (who is, I'm told, recovering nicely from a quintuple bypass), has its official release today and has already been reviewed at sfrevu.com. I haven't seen a copy yet. This anthology is my first Dozois Year's Best appearance, with "I Hold My Father's Paws". Coincidentally, that same story was just this weekend podcast at Beam Me Up from WRFR radio in Rockland, Maine. The reading, by Ron Huber, begins about halfway into the show. Hope you like it!
And so to bed.