Yes! Finally! I have recovered from the conference, finished my workshops, sent the Catholic school calendar manuscripts (my annual assignment) and cut my to-do list to 77! That means I could edit Neeta Lyffe 2: I Left My Brains in San Francisco!
I had a very interesting reaction from my critiquers concerning Neeta 2. The ladies loved it, and the guys didn't, even after I fixed the romance. Obviously, I didn't do enough; the guys still thought Neeta came off as weak and not just troubled. The ladies who critiqued, however, seemed to get that. It was a very interesting to see the dichotomy there.
However, I don't want this to be a chick book, so I've spent the past few days "buffing" Neeta up. There's a new opening chapter where she shows her stuff against a zombie (and where we see a little about why she and Ted are good together.) However, for the rest, I was able to change a few reactions, add a little thought process, and show a little more of Ted's good qualities. (Aside from being laid back and funny.)
Next, I mapped out all the scenes in order to make sure my pacing was good and that I had enough clues woven in ahead of time. I may do this again in more detail, but for this time, I just concentrated on zombie appearances, documentary and clues to the climactic invasion. As a result, I am moving a couple of scenes around and am adding another documentary entry by Gary Opkast. I tried to keep the clues subtle enough to keep folks wondering while clear enough that people would get it when the characters do. I think I'll have to go back and add a couple of other clues, though I might drop them into conversation instead of another documentary.
Overall, though, I'm surprised at how much I enjoyed re-reading it, even after letting it sit a month and mulling over the manuscripts many problems. I feel pretty confident that with some concentrated effort, I can have this polished in a week or two, maybe while starting on Gapman as well. I'm not sure the multitasking will hold up, but I do know I need to get back on a schedule after a long break of obsessive project work.