On the way in to work today I was worried that it was crap. I thought about what I'd written and was thinking, No, it's going to have to go and get redone.
During a break from unboxing and inventorying new computers, I popped it open and read it...and could not stop reading. And when I got to the end of what I'd added, I realized that no, there were no "long hiatus blues" going on there. It picked right up and fired on all cylinders like one of the Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial engines used on the DC-3. And sounded just as good.
I'm going to continue, of course. I'm going to play fast and loose with the combat because I know I'll have to go back and clean it up later, anyway, so let's just get the first draft FINISHED. Not skimp on anything, just not plan it out as thoroughly as I'd originally intended (remember what I said about getting out the vinyl game mat and using counters). Play it by ear--the way I did the other ones!--and then go back and flesh it out once I understand how it's going to flow.
I know how it ends, and I know how it begins, but I'm not sure how it gets from A to Z. Once I know that I can tidy it up and make it into a thing of wonder.
It won't take less than 80 pages, I think, unless there is a small miracle hiding in there somewhere. I have a lot of things that need to wrap up.
And fireworks! Have to give 'em a big finish so they know when to clap. I've already burned a smoldering crater into a planet's surface with a ship's fusion drive going to full thrust; that was something I talked about in the first big space battle so of course I had to make it happen somewhere. (Checkhov's blast crater?)
Still sticking to my theme here, for the third book, of not showing the bad guys any more than incidentally. Unlike books 1 and 2, the bad guys aren't viewpoint characters. They won't ever be, with one very important and notable exception--and he might not even make it on-screen. We'll see.
I'm just as excited to find out as you are.