My first agent was a gentleman named Barthold Fles. He was seventy-six; I was twenty-nine. One day over coffee Bart asked me, “How much is 427 minus one?”
I gave the obvious answer: 426.
“No,” said Bart. “It’s zero.”
He was speaking about pages in a novel.
If the full book is 427 and you’ve written 426, you haven’t got 426/427ths.
You’ve got nothing.
Bart didn’t need to say any more. I went home and got back to work.