I finished the project. Two hundred and seventy three handwritten pages and the first draft is complete. While I definitely feel like patting myself on the back, it is not a wholly satisfying feeling. A million doubts persist.
Endings are tricky and found myself questioning every aspect of mine. How much denouement is necessary? How much unravelling do you need? Is it necessary to tell you how everything turned out for everyone? This idea is particularly trouble some for this project because I have a whole slew of major characters whose fates are not necessarily intertwined. I don't know that it's necessary, that it is worth it to visit each of them in some post-climactic states some months after the peak events. What I've chosen to do is to sum up with the one character whose nose is in everyone's business to begin with. And through her we learn the fates of each of them. Well, the perceived fate, at least. I don't know if this is the right choice. I don't know if this closes things properly. I don't know that I could even tell without going back to the beginning.
And now I'm on to new chores. I think my revision process is going to be particularly arduous because of this ensemble. Each characters' chapters has a different voice, a different tone. And of course each character has his own arc, each changes in his own way. Some more than others. So, I think the thing to do is to read each of these character's chapters as a whole, to look for consistency in voice, details, themes, and to be sure he progresses like I believe he does. After doing this for each, I'll need to go back to the beginning, put everything back in its place, and see how the thing reads as a whole. I think the whole thing will take some time.
I am excited, though, to write some new things. I'd like to look at short fiction again and I want to work on some nonfiction. All told, finishing feels freeing, but there is a lot of work to do. Though, I am drafting a letter to an agent in the back of my head.