Yesterday I finished the second draft of my book, tightening up the prose, making my use of words more efficient, and improving the structure in certain places. The word count has dropped from 98k to 74k with almost no changes to the story; that gives you an idea of how overwritten it was. The second draft took me just over 2 months on the calendar, 40 days of which I worked on it.
I now need to start on the third draft which will be twofold:
1. A further tightening up of the prose, cutting more unnecessary words, and generally improving individual sentences as much as I can.
2. A look at the intensity of both the overall storyline and that of individual scenes. Readers need a break occasionally, and a scene which is too intense for too long will get tiresome. As Alex K pointed out in the comments, terse conversations should include sentences which are longer and more laid-back, and the same is true for the story as a whole. I think I will probably need to include some filler in places, just to give the reader a chance to relax a while; fortunately with my much-reduced word count I’ll have room to do that.
I’m not sure when this will be done, but hopefully by the end of summer. I’ll also need to get the synopses written, and then find an editor. I know of one who I will approach, but does anyone know any others who specialise in (sort of) romantic, realistic fiction that would appeal to middle-aged men and women? Also, does anyone have any idea what an editor would charge?