After several weeks off, I have now started writing the second half of the book. The first half is almost finished (as I wrote about in part 17) and I have now let two people read it. I was slightly wary of getting feedback when the book is only half-finished, but in fact I have found it very useful. That's partly because they have said very nice things (inevitably, when you give it to your nearest and dearest!) but also because their opinions and understanding on certain aspects are different to each other, and different to my own.
There are several ways of reacting to that. In some cases I want to rewrite elements to clarify points about character or plot that are being misunderstood. In others I feel more secure, and am happy to have a certain degree of alternative interpretations - that is a reader's prerogative, after all.
Having toyed with some alternative plot lines that emerged while writing the first half, I have decided to stick to the original plan for the second half. I would prefer the story to be straightforward, and adding in subplots will only distract from the main events. However, that may leave the finished novel rather short - my target is 70,000 words, and the first half is currently 34,709 - so, I am on target, but expect that I will be cutting out quite a bit when I make a second draft.
For the moment, I am focused on finishing a first draft of the second half. I should have plenty of time to do this before throughout 2017, and aim to have a complete first draft by Christmas. Only 342 days to go, everyone!