I've just completed the first draft of a new novel, tentatively titled Apoca-Lynn. I feel good about the story, and relieved to have it all written out. But is it finished? No, not even close.
As I typed the words The End, I was well aware that there are several issues with the book that need to be addressed. Some characters need more of a backstory. Others need more of a physical description(I'm really bad at those). There are also story points that need to be worked out in order for the novel to make sense.
Once I've dealt with those things, am I finished then? Still no. After that, I have to get the book read by other people. My wife, Violet, likes to have a read, and she's good at picking up on details I've missed. My agent sometimes has feedback to offer as well. When I've incorporated their notes, the book is finally ready to sell.
But it still isn't finished. If a publisher buys the book, they'll have changes of their own to suggest. I've had to do substantial rewrites on both Epoch and Evil? to get them ready for the market. Their requested changes can seem harsh at first; my author ego protests, "wasn't it good enough the way it was?" I've been very lucky to have worked with some terrific editors, however, and the changes they've asked for have made both novels better.
Plus, once I get into them, rewrites can actually be a lot of fun. I get to take my characters out for another spin, and see what they'll do under different circumstances.
When the book is printed, bound and in stores, then it can be considered finished. Good thing, too. I've got lots of other stories that need attending to!