As Craig Nova calls it, this is my “slag heap” generated during the past 3.83 years. I keep mine divided and tucked safely into two dresser drawers. An innocent stack on a desk like Nova’s pictured in the article is easy prey for either my cats or my two-year-old.
In the article linked above, Craig Nova discusses the act of rewriting to better understand your story. He also mentions every novel has a stopping point.
I would like to add one warning here. Or make that two. You do come to the point of diminishing returns, and at that point it is time to stop. You have what you are going to have, and that’s that. After a certain point, the novel will get worse the more you write.
I think I’ve reached that point.
I’m finishing my read-aloud (if you haven’t done this, you should, but it requires a very patient and tolerant partner). We’re a few chapters from the end. Once all those edits get applied, I’ll shoot it off to one more reader (if she’s still willing!). Her feedback will create a few more edits, hopefully minor, and then I have a final version. I’ll probably read it one more time to satisfy my writer’s OCD.
Then, hands off.
TOO BAD IT WILL NEVER TURN OFF IN MY HEAD. I looked for a raisin face meme to express this feeling, and there is none.