So, uh... A couple of things happened yesterday. First, I faced up to the fact that I could fiddle with acts 1 and 2 of Crowmaker all I liked, but there really wasn't a lot of writing left to do for the ending, and my Muse was giving me that full, really pregnant feeling that indicates whatever I've been incubating for a particular story is ready to be born now. (It's a pressure kind of feeling. A something in the air that I can almost feel, sometimes. Or maybe it's just a weather front moving through.) In any case, once I acknowledged that yes, the ending was ready to happen now, it happened. I'd known from the beginning what was almost certainly going to happen at the end, even if I didn't know everything about it back then. But the "facts" of fiction are not the same thing as the "truth" of fiction, and once the truth of the ending had me, thing #2 happened.
Thing #2 was a writing binge, which extended into this morning. It's still rough, particularly toward the end. It's got holes and rough edges and nonexistent transitions. But Crowmaker is a finished first draft, at least as I define a first draft. It has almost all the necessary pieces and most of the supporting pieces. There's still a good deal of work to do on it before I share it, even with my beloved beta reader type people. It finished up at about 41,000 words, although that's word processor count and not official method count, so it's probably closer to 44,000. It'll likely build up some with story element editing before I start paring at it for line level editing, so that's not a bad weigh-in for the first draft of a young adult novel.
It's a really odd feeling, finishing a story. I feel satisfied, yet empty. Empty like a burden's been lifted, even if temporarily, but also empty in a scary way, like I've let go of something I've been nurturing so it can try its wings on its own.
I hadn't planned to finish the first draft for another month or so, so I also have an unexpected windfall of time on my calendar. I will, of course, put the rewrite/revision of Crowmaker into those slots, as well as moving ahead with the planned short stories. If I can manage to land a short story or two in a reputable children's magazine to back up my sale of 3+ years ago, that would look nice in a query letter to book publishers and/or agents.
But first, there will be brisk ocean air and walks on the beach. And fresh seafood. Lots of it. Including she-crab soup. Mmmmmm. Nothing like a week off to wash your brain clean and clear out the clutter.