I've just typed "The End" on NEVER LET ME LEAVE at 51,000 words. But the book is nowhere near complete. When the novel hits "The End" for me, it isn't done. The bare bones have been laid. I have the shape of the story down and in my head.
But, I have a ton of notes that I've written myself that will add probably another 5K to the book. THEN there's the polish and descriptor adds so that I don't have talking heads in a white room. Here's some of the notes I left myself for NEVER LET ME LEAVE.
NOTE: Change floor to Level. Change “taser” to stun gun and describe.
NOTE: Figure actual, specific timeline for the book.
NOTE: Figure out when Carrie got the sedative.
NOTE: Mention the purse a couple more times.
NOTE: Figure out where stun guns and guns are for each chapter.
NOTE: Figured out where access cards are.
NOTE: Stairwells are black dark when red. Hard to get through. (find flashlights)
NOTE: Signs of eating and drinking.
While I'm adding these things I already know I need, I will mark certain spots to strengthen. Or that need a bit more an expert's advice. For example, I know just enough about computer programming to be dangerous. I broke software for a living before I became a writer. I need someone like The Husband to help make the technobabble not only plausible but real. Or get my friend, Joe, to help me with some of the stun gun details.This will add another 2000-3000 words.
After that, the manuscript is put away until January. January 1, I open the file and I start from the top, polishing, adding, fixing, editing. By the time that is done, I will feel like I almost have a real novel in front of me.