I wanted to complete the first draft of the JASPER novel by 9/30, and I did! The word count came in at 95k, which is quite a bit over the original goal of 60k, and even the revised goal of 80k. This is now technically a completed first draft, but in reality the first half of the manuscript has been edited quite thoroughly, and is really on draft #7, at least. So, the bulk of the work that remains will focus on the second half, in particular several of the last chapters, which are quite rough. I will shorten to a maximum of 80k.
The recent planning paid off as I was able to look at my extended table of contents and remember what each chapter was supposed to address (goals, complications), and then sit down and write it. One at a time, I made my way through each chapter of Act III. The material feels right, and the antagonist issue worked out well, but the strengths/weaknesses issue remains a concern. I'll focus on that tonight when I reflect on the recent material and write notes to guide me in the editing of the second half.
After tonight, however, I'm not sure if I'll carry on directly to the editing of the JASPER novel, or will return to the editing of the JACK & JILL novel, or whether I might take a "Creative Break" or even a short breather then dive in to another new story, the "CHASM" novel which I had planned out in detail over the summer. I'm eager to start that one, when the time is right. I think I should edit, though, because I very much want to complete one story or the other by year's end -- that should be a priority. Whether it's JASPER or JACK & JILL doesn't matter, just that I actually finish something this year, to the point of a completed, edited and polished final manuscript. That was my goal last year, and I didn't make it. This year it is possible and more than worth aiming for.
I'd do a little happy dance and shout for joy at the completion of JASPER, but the truth is I'm too frustrated after the last several chapters to feel the joy right now. Once I reflect on what I wrote, and tie up the one remaining loose end about strengths and weaknesses, then I'll feel like celebrating. And, I will. That's something we should always do when we reach a major goal.
Best wishes to others in completing their drafts or rewrites,