I got all the way to the end of the draft! I’m “finished” – meaning “finished with one specific challenge and ready to move on to the next one!”
I realized I was done this morning while I was trying to write one last scene. It was going poorly, and all of a sudden it hit me why: the scene wasn’t necessary. Being finished before I realized I was finished is something that has happened at least once before. I wish I remembered which draft of Seraphina that was. One of the really major rewrites, to be sure. It’s hard to know when (or how) to stop sometimes, to be able to let it go and step away.
It’s like ending a symphony. Here’s the last movement of Beethoven’s 5th. Move it along to about the 7:30 mark, and listen to those resolving chords resolve, and resolve again, and get beaten to death with a hammer.
I’m not saying Beethoven wasn’t brilliant. A big symphony needs a big ending, and I like this one, but you can see how it could easily have gone on for another minute or two – or five – in the same vein. Ending a book is like that too. Here’s the chord! Oh, here it is even better! And one more, to make sure you’ve got it! And… I just can’t let this one go!
I’m letting it go here. Let this stew for a bit while I work on a short side project, and then go back and fix it enough that it won’t give my editor an aneurysm when he tries to read it. There’s still a long way to go, honestly, but I like acknowledging the milestones as they go flying by.