so... I've re-assessed how many words Liberator currently is, by discounting the couple of pages of rough notes at the back of the book, and it comes to 26,000 words. They'll all get written up in full anyway, so I'll add the totals up without them.
More important than that, I've finally resolved a big quandary I was having with the first part of the book. Basically, I fell in love with one of the side characters and started to fully flesh out their story. I was going to do this anyway, but in a less linear way. The book was in danger of just becoming 'that character's story' from A to B. And I didn't want this book to be just that.
So, I drew some spidery diagrams of the narrative elements I'd come up with so far, then went in and listed the most important threads of narrative direction, then decided that the alternating-chapter structure used in Custodian FP1 (namely, CUSTODIAN vs YOU THE PEOPLE) had to be replicated/emulated in this second novel as cleanly as possible. And analysing all the possibilities of who has allegiance to whom or what the decision has been made.
Liberator FP2 will be split between MILITARY and CIVILIAN, alternating chapters, this way I can follow my main-thread obsessed-with character-progression and also address the issue of the 'four years previously' (shit you were never told, about 'this iteration' of a free planet) that I'd intended to examine this time out. I've already re-organised the entire book thus far written into this split structure up to and including Chapter 17. Hopefully, this has been the right decision. I think I have enough psy-ops revelation in here to support such a strong structural adjustment.
TWO DAYS LATER UPDATE: I had the fear... it only lasted for a few minutes, but it was intense. I had the fear that reaching the end of the first notebook would exhaust my creative urge to finish this second Free Planet novel. But "No!" not at all, the second notebook inspired a classic outpouring of character-driven wordage from one of the stars of Custodian FP1 who never really got to say her piece. You'll like this, and it ties into the four years ago military sample that's at the back of Custodian. You know, if you bought it.