I'm on the downward end of this book. I wonder how other novelists I know feel when they finish writing a book. I seem to recall a lot of triumph when I finished my first one, and being pretty pleased when I finished my second, especially as I'd given myself a deadline and stuck to it. I was astonished and extremely satisfied when I finished ANGLES, because it's got a complicated structure and it all wove together really, really well, and I finished the first draft of HEART OF STONE faster than I expected to have to, so I was pleased with getting it done.
But I think the predominant emotion I feel upon finishing a novel these days is relief. Not like I didn't think I could do it, but rather more like...I'm glad it's done, but not sufficiently happy to call it happy. Just relieved. Pleased, but not gleeful. Sometimes cheerful (I'm feeling pretty cheery right now, and I'm not even done yet!) but mostly just ... satisfied. There: that's done. That sort of thing.
FIREBIRD DECEPTION is my 8th solo novel and my 9th overall. (10th, if you count Banshee Cries, which is technically a novella. Does it count?) Possibly one becomes jaded to having finished the thing after you've done it half a dozen times or so.
I think right now the part I really *like* is going back and reading the manuscript several weeks later, after I've gotten agent/editorial comments, and seeing where it can be improved and seeing that overall, hey, you know, that turned out to be a pretty good story after all! I'm almost always lots happier with having finished it at that point, which no doubt is due to the distance.
So how 'bout others of you? What kinds of emotional responses do you have to finishing a novel? (I ask about novels because that's what I write. Other writers can certainly chime in.)