I'm done, I'm Done, I'm dOnE, I'm DoNe, I'm DONE!!!!
Yes indeed, I banged out the ending for my first novel today. 108,901 words (give or take), 5 1/2 months in the making, and I've been writing daily for the last four months. How about THAT for an accomplishment?!
Of course, I'll still be doing a bit of tweaking over the next few days, probably a week or a little more. I have a HUGE list of things that need to be added in, researched, or decided on. Plus, I neglected the timeline towards the end, so I need to get that sorted. Some things are details I need to insert here and there (like changes to the boyfriend character from my last post,) some are from times I didn't want to break my flow by stopping to do research so I could write one line (I just put things in all caps so I'd know to come back to it, like INSERT LEGAL JARGON HERE,) and some were names I wanted to have significance, but didn't want to stop my flow to think about--for example, I didn't even name the ship my protagonist was supposed to be on. I just wrote SHIP each time. Now that I no longer have to worry about slowing down the narrative, I can make some of these decisions and use a simple "global search and replace" function to turn SHIP and other such things into whatever I choose. Some of these things can probably wait for draft two, but I'd like to get a lot of them off my list before diverting my attention elsewhere.
But now the question is, do I read it through one time to make sure it flows, or just wait until I'm ready to start editing? Distance and time give my editorial voice a great deal of strength, so I always set aside a draft for a month or more before revising it. It's more like somebody else wrote it that way, and I can more easily spot its flaws and tell myself where I need to tweak and rewrite. But I always give it a first readthrough before doing this, because I want to spot any holes in consistency and other glaring errors. I figure anything I can spot while I'm still excited about (and biased towards) the story are pretty big ones and worth fixing right away.
However, I've never finished anything as long as a novel before. Reading through it will be a big project, especially considering that any "glaring errors" I find are likely to be tied to multiple parts of the narrative, requiring a lot of work to fix. And I am eager to move on to stories again. I'm chomping at the bit, really. In addition, it's been five months since I've seen the beginning, so I've likely already reached the necessary distance for that part--so if I start reading it, I'll probably start doing some heavy revising right away--which isn't what I want to do right now.
Hmm, it sounds like I've just talked myself out of a read-thru. It's just as well, since I really do want to get back to work on stories for a while.
Now here's a question I'm curious what other people's opinions are: do I get to call myself a novelist since I've completed one, or do I need to get paid first (or at least have it in print)?