I was a lot happier with my other two first drafts; I'm keenly aware of the problems with this one. Maybe this just indicates how much I've learned over the course of writing three novels. I need to go through my notes file and all the notes embedded in the manuscript and collect together a big master list of all the changes I want to make when I rewrite.
But! It is done. 68,922 words, 338 manuscript pages, in just less than a year (I started outlining on April 11 last year and started drafting on April 24... note that I took the month+ we were in Australia almost completely off). That's not to mention 29,215 words of notes and outline. It goes in the drawer for a bit now -- two to six weeks, I guess -- while I do research for the next novel and write one or two short stories. And then it's a couple weeks or a month of revision before going to beta readers. May or may not get it in the mail by the end of June as originally scheduled, but there's nobody but me who cares about that deadline.
Yesterday was also Kate's birthday. I fixed up the Squeezebox so she could listen to Internet radio again (she was very excited about that), and I also bought her a primrose and a ranunculus plant. We had lunch with our friend Michael and spent the afternoon at the Portland Archives.
And today I received my contributor's copies of the June Analog, including my novelette "Citizen-Astronaut" (which won second prize in the Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest) and my Biolog and photo. Reading over the story, I feel I ought to mention that although it was inspired by my experiences in Utah, this story is fiction and none of the awful things that happen to my protagonist in the story actually happened to me at MDRS. In particular, I must point out that my entire MDRS crew and the fine volunteers at the Mars Society were a lot nicer and more cooperative than the people in the story who give my protagonist so many problems, and we didn't have to face nearly the same level of equipment failure that my protagonist does.
Even though his name is Gary Shu.