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Yesterday I finished, for all intents and purposes, the second draft of Road to Murder. Well, it was today, technically, around two in the morning – but still. I finished the second draft.

Now I’m ready for a third, rather lighter pass. There is a list of things I’ve left To Be Seen – but it’s a small list, considering. The one I had going for the second draft was longer than my arm, while this one is less than a page in my RtM red Moleskine notebook. As I said: small.

I’ve had a couple of minor surprises during the second draft – things that weren’t obviously apparent until I reread the whole thing at once. No game-changing epiphanies, either – just tweaks that made the whole better in places. I must say, the scant number and modest size of these tweaks was a surprise in itself. For several reasons, I’d spent a good deal of time and care planning RtM, but somehow expected it to have more and bigger holes at this stage… So now I’m agonising: are the holes truly not there, or have I just gone hole-blind? Am I missing something major? Have I lost my eye for structure and story logic?

And yes, I know, it’s very likely deadline nerves for the most part (although the deadline is still a good month away), and the fact that I never wrote a murder mystery before, and being in between drafts… What I need is another cup of tea with a biscuit or two, and to go back to work.

I’m not even leaving the usual week between drafts, this time…

Now I need to find out more about Montreuil sur Mer in the 1580s, I’d love to know who was the Prévôt des Maréchaux in Picardy at the time, I want to work in some information about Elizabethans and horses that I’ve come across recently… things like that. Nothing structural. Not this late, unless I stumble into Something. And Somethings happen, we all know that – but, at this stage, let me hope it won’t be the case.

So, now a cup of tea it is – and then… Draft Three!