So: as much as I really want to leap about cheering that I’ve finished the first draft (though some of it is second and some about tenth, but let’s not quibble ... I’ve not actually reached the end of the novel in any previous draft) – I’m going to have to go back and rethink those chapters. I could just leave them. I could just say, hey, I reached the end. That’s the first draft done. It’s not perfect but then first drafts never are. I’ll just leave it for a bit, as I usually do, then come back to it and fix it up ..... but that’s the easy way out. It would be much harder to confront the garbage and try to do something about it NOW, when the end is so close. If I leave it and walk away, it'll niggle for months until I'm just exhausted by the whole thing and so depressed I won't want to work on it ever again.
Advice to self: it doesn’t matter how long the ending takes. It’s not like I’ve got a deadline. And it’s not like there are people out there dying for me to turn my novelette collection into a paperback (which is my next Big Job)(amongst other things.) And I’ve read far too many novels where it’s obvious the writer got bored and just hurried the ending, dashing off something in a day. It's easy to wrap up lose ends - but HOW you wrap them up is an art in itself.
I want the reader to walk away feeling faintly warm and fuzzy but also chilled to the bone. So I'm not asking much of myself. Just the impossible.