The Bull At The Gate has finally come out of editing and is ready for its beta readers, stage 6 in my editing checklist. For those interested, stages 1-5 didn't so much cut the novel as add on another 3,000 words, most of which went into smoothing the historical storyline.
Stage 4 was an automated edit check via software. Over the last few months I've tinkered with the free version of Pro Writing Aid for short pieces to see how it worked, but for the length of a novel I took out a year's subscription - at $35 this was a no-brainer. The analysis is broken down into 20+ reports which to start with I had emailed to myself as a pdf, but once I got used to the software I worked online with the Word document beside me.
The analysis is very thorough and flags the reports of importance, but I read the lot. We all write with different emphasis, and I write with different emphasis dependant on the type of fiction. For this novel I found that I didn't always agree with the software's suggestions for alteration, but sometimes what it passed as decent I couldn't believe I'd missed in the manual edit. It did, though, make me look at the words on the page in a much more dispassionate light, which was the intention.
Even though Book 3 of the trilogy isn't truly formulated yet, I need to write the teaser and Prologue for it to be added into the ebook. The teaser is written and the Prologue is outlined. The next job is to sit and write it while the novel is with its beta readers.