This afternoon, I finished the longhand version of the third draft of my WIP novel. Now I just need to type it up, making more changes as I go. Then, I need to do a pretty hardcore line-by-line edit (in which I hack and slash out every unnecessary adverb), and then press-gang some family and friends into reading the thing and giving me feedback (that's right, Tim, I'm looking at you).
And then, I think it might be time to start working on that query letter and synopsis.
So far, looking at this draft, it feels yet tighter and more polished than the second draft was, though the big changes were made in that draft. I didn't make any plot changes this time. Except for a section in the middle of the novel that was restructured and had a chunk of plot substituted in, I was always pretty happy with the novel structurally. I'm a big planner and outliner, so I tend to figure plot structure out rather earlier than some writers, perhaps. I'm like this with my academic writing, too. I can't really start until I actually know where I'm going and what I want to say. Otherwise, I'm hopelessly lost.
The other interesting thing I noticed this time around was that toward the end of working on the end of the second draft, I was seriously considering changing the ending. It felt uncomfortable for me and I even tried rewriting the last chapter. But I stopped halfway through. It didn't feel right to change it. And this time, no qualms. The ending the novel has always had felt perfectly right and it stayed, with very few changes. Go figure.