I also “finished” my novel, for the record, last year at about this time in longhand, and some time later on the computer. But I wouldn’t let anyone read it, so the sense of “finished” which applied — has beginning, middle and end — was pretty farcical. Also, I later determined I’d chickened out on the ending and needed a new one. This “finishing” is a big, thorough revision — not the first, but the most thoroughgoing — with giant chunks of new material and a new end. It’s a whole thing, which someone is allowed to read. That’s today’s definition of “finish”.
This is the reason I hesitate to say anything about the state of the novel in public — or at least on the internet, which is like in public but louder and more persistent — the state is not determined. I know that what I have now is not what I’ll eventually send out. (Beta readers, start your red pencils! Yes, I know none of you probably use red pencils, and one of you at least probably doesn’t own one.) I know it will require more work. But getting it to this point, the point where I feel comfortable asking anyone, even Ryan, to read the whole thing and tell me what he thinks, was a job of work. Being here is a great and dizzy relief.
And how easy it was, now that it’s behind me! All that brain-mashing and despair, and really, it wasn’t so hard. All I had to do was write it! This must be the writer’s version of the endorphin rush that makes you forget the pains of childbirth. This is how we end up having more novels, and forgetting the horrible developmental stages we thought would never end. Just check back with me when the manuscript is in its Terrible Twos, when all the beta readers tell me how much they hate it. Then we’ll see who airily speaks of knocking out another novel or three!