Word count: 173,227
Well, it's done. For now. This phase, anyway. Still, this feels like a major accomplishment. It is the largest project I've ever completed, and I'm very happy with the result.
First, I'm going to put it in a drawer and forget about it for at least a week. I'm going to spend my writing time catching up on other obligations that I've let slide. Cleaning the basement. Doing alpha reading for other writers that I've gotten behind on (sorry, Steve, David). Catching up on The Daily Show. And so forth.
When I've got a comfortable distance, I'll start incorporating feedback from my own alpha readers. I've only put up eleven chapters for them so far--due mainly to crippling insecurity. But I'll go over those chapters with an eye towards fixing continuity, setting up plot elements that I haven't adequately foreshadowed, and getting the character voices to better match what they are at the end.
Then I'll compile the whole thing into a mobi file so I can read through it and take notes on my Kindle. I expect it to grow by another 10,000 to 20,000 words over the next few drafts. Just knowing the way I write and edit. I tend to skip over a lot of details in the first draft, so edits are about making the story breathe better and putting in those missing elements. For instance, I don't think I've described a single article of clothing. So that sort of thing will need to be backfilled. This will mean a final draft length of around 185,000 to 195,000 words, or between 600 and 700 pages in mass-market paperback.
I expect the title to change. Château Soleil has been a useful working title, but it doesn't really say "Sci-fi prison-break novel," does it? It'll probably end up being called something like Escape from the Sun. Less glamorous, but far more functional. Who knows? I'll workshop that.
And then I'll start submitting it. Hopefully before the end of the year. But we'll see.
So yeah, I've still got lots to do, but the first and arguably hardest part--writing the damned thing--is done.