There is a moment of elation when I finish a book. For some, it is a breath of relief and, for others, just a sense of accomplishment. For DL/DL, it was an intense release of weeks of high-speed writing among a wonderful environment of 30+ people encouraging me to continue. FOTS is different. I've been working on this for years. Both conclude with the word "END" but the meaning behind those three letters is a world apart.
I stop when I think it is the best I can do. I know that in 2-3 months, the best will be a little bit further, but right now, FOTS is the best I can write. I resolved all the plots and cleaned everything up. The only thing I'm only slightly hesitant about is the length (199k words or 623 A5 pages); I know that I can trim it down, but I think beta readers might help me find what needs to go and what needs to stay.
I'm excited right now, really too excited to come up with words. I know that there is a lot more to do, depending on the route I will take: traditional or self-publish. There is also the feedback from beta readers that will hopefully require tweaks, not rewriting.
It has been three years since anyone read this from end to end. In three years, I changed the following: setting, characters (gender and race) along with their histories, technology, and the magic of the characters. I fired four antagonists and one protagonist. I changed the plot from the ground up twice. Needless to say, I don't think my prior feedback is entirely relevant still, but I learned from all of them. However, I am a much better writer now then I was five years ago when I started this.
Having someone else read this from cover to cover is the next step and a very scary one at that. I'm excited, so I have to say *squee*