The final draft of "The River is Always Waiting", my first novel, is now complete. At ~73,500 words it's shorter than the average book, but it's as long as the story requires, and I am content.
In the preface to "Screwtape Proposes a Toast", C.S. Lewis shared the discomfort he felt while writing "The Screwtape Letters". Describing the world of the book's narrator as "all dust, grit, thirst, and itch", he said: "It almost smothered me before I was done." After finishing this novel, I believe I understand what he meant. The weakening of a good man is not a pleasant process to dwell on, making the third part of my novel difficult to write (and revise). I believe, however, that all of the effort will prove to be worth it.
But, now that it's done, it's time for me to turn my attention to query letters. While it will take a few days to prepare my initial queries, I hope to have them sent by mid-next week. Response times vary, and rejection is far more common than acceptance, but I am optimistic. One way or another, I hope to see this book published within the next year.