A breakthrough! This morning I decided upon a new title for the book. And what is it? That'd be telling.
It's not literally That'd Be Telling. It's something else, but I'm keeping it quiet for now. The good news is that it passes the Amazon search test, and it's much more palatable than Spitting Distance, which was my working title.
I have completed a first re-write of the first half - though it is still missing three chapters. Chapters three and six need to wait until I've been to Jerez on a research trip, which I'm planning on doing in February next year. I intend to complete chapter ten before Christmas, but at the moment I'm re-writing the first half again.
This is partly procrastination, but partly because I want to remind myself what chapter ten needs to keep the plot moving, and partly because I want to ensure I'm being consistent - which turns out to be quite tricky.
Establishing grammar, punctuation and layout consistency is relatively straightforward - though sticking to it is not. For example, I know that I am being inconsistent with numbers. I spell numbers one to ten, then use numerals for larger amounts; but where I refer to thousands, I revert to spelling out the value. It's hardly the most critical element, but it matters to publishers, agents and editors - and they are the ones who I will be pitching to, eventually.
I am also aware that my writing style can be inconsistent. In some places it reads like a poor country cousin of PG Wodehouse and in others like a wannabe literary prizewinner. Such comparisons are a complement as far as I'm concerned - but I don't think they work in the same book. Experiencing a shift in tone while reading a book is not good (unless the narrator is changing), so I expect I will need to re-re-write. When the crowds say bo, selecta.