My most recent assignment in the Novel Writing course at ICL was to send my instructor, Nancy Butts, the 'last third' of my novel. Unfortunately for her, it ended up being as long as the first 'two thirds' put together. Thank God she liked it.
She gave me some great feedback, both in constructive criticism and encouragement. I tend to pack too many descriptions, words, or scenes into one chapter (that's the story of my life), and I slip into a narrative style that makes Sophie seem emotionally distant at times. Gotta fix those things throughout the ms.
Nancy also gave me terrific encouragement, especially regarding the last 30-50 pages. Get this: "...you suddenly revealed yourself as a master plotter. I'm serious; talk about magic!" and "Kids will not be able to put the book down from that point forward." and "This is magnificent storytelling."
So, now I dig in. I'm going to hole myself up one day this week and read straight through all 279 pages. Hopefully, from that vantage point I'll be able to see what needs to be changed to make the ms more cohesive. I already planned out a couple new scenes that need to be inserted near the beginning and I know there's some wordy scenes that can be cut completely.
My plan is to start editing the first half of the novel in the next few weeks and have it to Nancy before my grandchild is born in early November.