Mostly this evening I just read over chapter 9. I had only two notes for this chapter in my giant list of things-to-do; I decided not to do one of them, and the other (an old note from before the last edit) I decided didn't need any additional work. So I made no substantial changes, just a very few wording tweaks.
I think the chapter before that still needs attention -- more suffering, more danger, more suspicion. But there was nowhere to put it. Everything in the chapter felt finely polished, leaving no cracks or crannies to attach anything new. I considered adding a complete new scene just to show civilization breaking down, but that seemed artificial, and things in these late chapters are moving so fast that I can't justify a whole scene that doesn't advance the plot. Besides, I want to reduce the word count, not add to it.
I'm having a definite, but low-key, crisis of confidence on this thing as I approach the end of the revisions (which I really hope to have done by the end of this month). I find myself thinking a lot about the fact that working hard on a novel doesn't guarantee it will sell. Most first novels don't sell. But I can't bear to think that this thing on which I have spent over two years of my life might never go anywhere but my filing cabinet.
Well. Knowing what I do about the publishing biz, it might take years to reach the point of deciding to trunk the thing. Plenty of time to write more novels, better ones. And this one might sell. Though at the moment I can only see its flaws.
In any case, once I finish this one... it's short stories for at least six months, baby. I want instant gratification!