Good news everyone! For the first time ever I've hit the 20k mark without any (significant) misgivings re: overarching narrative, micro arcs, scale/ambition of the project, characters, foreshadowing or the writing style involved. It only took four months and burnt through seven separate iterations of varying fidelity to the current incarnation. Going forwards from this point is looking a little shaky, but the framework has already been established so hopefully it will work out well enough. Just an encouraging word to anyone trekking through Edith Wharton's Gobi Desert: Don't abandon it just because it's hard. Cutting diamonds takes time.