That's right, uh huh. I finished the first draft today. What a great feeling. Even though I know I've got a lot of work ahead of me, I can now honestly say that I started and finished a novel. With the bulk of the hard work and heavy lifting out I the way, I'll be turning my attention to the more enjoyable process of editing. I suppose that means I like fixing things more than making them from scratch.
I'm taking the weekend off then starting the rewrite on Monday. The way I think it's going to work is that I'll make several passes on it myself until I'm confident that a minimum of 85% of it doesn't blow chunks. Then I'll hand it over to my beta reader(s) for some fresh eyeball feedback. After I get those notes, I'll do another pass or two (or three or four...) before writing up the synopsis (and possibly a query letter). The reason I'm not automatically writing the letter is that I have an in at two publishing houses thanks to my picture book editors. Once I get the novel into reasonably good shape, I'll meekly ask them if it might be something they'd be interested in taking a look at. No guarantees, but a definite advantage over being agentless with no publishing contacts.
First draft word count a/o today: 80005 -- Woo hoo!