Just typed the words "THE END." For the first draft, anyway. I gave the last line to Oliver.
That was Chapter 23, the coda that pulls the carpet out from under Oliver's feet, about 3,000 words.
Total word count for the novel, just shy of 140,000 words. In other words, much, much too long. About twice as long, in fact, as the traditional, plain, one-crime-only, read-it-on-a-plane mystery novel or thriller.
This Private Plot has a more elaborate plot, more of the length and complexity of a recent Reginald Hill or Christopher Fowler novel (two of my current favorites), but my target is still to pare it back closer to 100,000 words. Time for a Staples run, for blue pencils and red pens. And the book will undoubtably* be twice as good for being two-thirds the length. (First casualty -- all those self-indulgent bad jokes.)
I have a minor sense of anticlimax, not because of withdrawal from my private world, but because I know -- as I mentioned in an earlier post -- that I have the cardigan mis-buttoned in terms of the plot, and there's a yellow legal pad peppered with notes of major scene shifts already waiting for me, which I've been ignoring in the race to the finish line. So in a way, this is a false first draft, an imposter, instantly obsolete, waiting for the dope test. (I had a dope test once. If confirmed that I'm a dope.)
But at least I can say I've written another book now.
"There's no such word. Just testing.