A well-respected agent to whom I am hoping to send my novel (at some point anyway) noted on the submissions page of his web site that he accepts queries from aspiring writers - but in that sentence he also asked that nothing be sent to him until it is complete; until the writer of the full-length novel "would not change one single word."
Quite a tall order, isn't it?
Can we ever really get to that point? Be so completely and absolutely satisfied with a sizable work that we truly believe we cannot improve upon it?
I don't know. I learn something every day, a new experience, a different point of view, an unusual word - the world around us is complex and inviting and I have (almost) never reached the point of absolute satisfaction with bringing to life the experiences it allows me to have. After I am "finished" and let the story rest, a read a few weeks or months later inevitably produces some changes.
Of course there are always exceptions. There is one short story I wrote - 1,500 words of perfection in my eyes.
Yes, quite a tall order for 80,000 words.
How do you know when you are done?