All right, I finished my great American novel. I am proud to say it is a little over 43,000 words. Yet, it took me 10 years to complete. Why so long? I started with too big a plan. I had too many characters in mind, over 20. I had to condense all these into about 5 male characters and 5 female characters. And sometimes it still felt too big. But I forged ahead. I had an outline. But my outline was not complete enough. I got 3/4 of the way through and realized this. I had to read and re-read the entire MS since I kept putting it down and taking it up again. Finally with February and March filled with family sickness and bone-crushing cold, I was inside a lot. I sat on the couch with my laptop and typed—a lot. The funny thing, I was within 4 chapters of the end! But it is done and I hope to get it sent off to someone who accepts general fiction this month.