So, I've just kind of been sitting on my novel, lately, waiting to put the finishing touches on it. I'm waiting for some additional feedback on my new draft before I make any sweeping changes to it (though I have gone through and done some dusting off based on some more 'generic' editing advice that I found very helpful).
Still, what feedback I have gotten so far has (thankfully enough) jived with a lot of my own thoughts about what flaws still remain in the manuscript. That's definitely a good thing, insofar as it lets me know that I'm probably focusing on the right things; the bad thing, though, is that it mostly centers on the 'wrapup' portion of the story.
Now, I knew from the beginning of writing this novel that I was writing a fairly convoluted story, with a number of characters and plot threads to keep track of; I hope that it's not too confusing by the time one gets to the end, and initial feedback shows that, yes, readers are at least still able to follow and enjoy it. The problem with things are they are now, though, near as I can tell, is that there's still a pretty big mix of key information points that go explained and ones that go unexplained.
The tricky part of storytelling, in that regard, is that all of the 'relevant information' to the mystery behind the plot all exists in my head, and so when I sit down and think of the story, I know how it all goes and how it all ties together. I do not, however, have my manuscript itself 100% memorized, so in turn, I'm not 100% sure what all is and is not explicitly stated or even strongly hinted at. It's for that reason that I know I'm going to need to actually re-read the manuscript itself (it's been a while since I've written my latest draft, thankfully), and really try to look at it from the point of view of someone who doesn't know how it all ends, and see in which ways the ending does or doesn't make sense.
In my first draft, the story went on a big too long after the climax, plodding along clumsily after the story should have been tied up and packed away. For the second draft, I figured that I'd end up overcorrecting for this problem by making the end now too short, and it sounds like that's exactly what I did. Still, knowing that that's where one of my biggest problems lies is very helpful in letting me know where I need to focus my energies first when it comes to finishing this thing up.