It seems the closer I get to the end of a story, the harder it becomes.
In this case, it is not the first draft, but more like the fifth. The first is to correct any continuity errors and hidden clues that, when the reader gets to the end, it’s not a case of ‘how the hell did that happen’.
The second and quite possibly the third is to correct all the grammatical and spelling errors.
The fourth is to read it as a reader and to find anything that may have slipped through the first three passes. You would be amazed, at this point, how many grammatical errors there can be, and even a wrong spelling or two. Sometimes it seems the eyes see what they assume is right when it is glaringly wrong.
Sometimes there isn’t the fifth reading. On those very rare occasions when there isn’t, it is when I am satisfied with what I’ve written, but this doesn’t happen too often, because, after the fourth reading, I let it rest, and let it stew in my mind. If it doesn’t fade away after a week or two, it means there’s something wrong.
Hence the fifth reading.
So, here we are, and there is something not quite right, and it needed a few more pages earlier on to reinforce what comes later, and I get this done. Now, the conclusion is sounding more plausible, but there’s going to be one less death because I can see, somewhere in a dark and murky future, this person is going to return at an entirely unexpected moment.
Whether it’s to save the day, or something a lot, lot worse, I won’t know until the idea in the back of my mind becomes words on paper.
Maybe next year.