It’s a question you’ll have to answer honestly to write a worthwhile novel and get closer to success. It takes a series of steps, all requiring thought and most importantly effort. Not your normal write a book effort, that’s your comfort zone, far beyond it
When I finished my first draft of Chum http://www.amzn.to/HxfJ4M it was 69,005 words. I was relieved and excited to have finished another novel, but something felt off. I went to bed thinking I had fudged the ending (it happens to the best of us). I remembered that in Hollywood they put dozens of writers in a room and have them rewrite each other’s scripts. They don’t pull any punches and neither should you. If you can’t rewrite a first draft of your novel, your novel isn’t finished and probably won’t sell. Try and ask this question, what would make this plot, character, or moment better? Start there and let it spread out through your book like water in a flower pot. Question it all, and then question it again. I’m not kidding, this is exactly what it takes.
The 1st draft of Chum had a paragraph at the end that said this is what happens next, The End. It happens to every writer, all the time, accept it. We start off excited to write a book, but we don’t put the same passion into writing the ending. The hardest part of any book to write is the ending.
When I finished the 9th draft of Chum it was 114,000 words. I worked hard, questioned every second of the book, and made sure I couldn’t write a better one. It wasn’t easy and I had to constantly be brainstorming, but I acted as if I was my own room full of writers. I asked all the hard questions. When your mind is empty of all potential changes you’re done. Even if you’re writing a trilogy, write each book like it’s the last one you ever will.