Typing “The End” of a First Draft

Late Thursday afternoon, I typed “The End” on my first draft of my work-in-progress, tentatively called Missing Mom.

To tell you a little about what has preoccupied me all these months, the novel centers around Noelle, a rising high school senior and aspiring ballet dancer whose mom suddenly vanishes. While the circumstantial evidence points to suicide, Noelle refuses to believe her mother would have killed herself and launches her own investigation. Threaded throughout the novel is also the story of Savannah, a young woman caught in an abusive relationship nearly two decades ago, whose fate turns out to be inextricably intertwined with Noelle’s investigation.

I always experience such a myriad of emotions whenever I finish a first draft of a novel. Of course, there’s joy and excitement that I finished my first go at the manuscript! And there’s also awareness that a first draft is… well, a first draft. It will take lots more work and the critical eyes of critique group members and beta readers before it’s ready for submission.

But lurking in the recesses of my heart is also a kind of anticipatory grief. These characters have become so real to me that I actually talked to my husband about what they’d be doing after the novel was over as though they were people we knew who lived down the street.

I will miss them! Eventually, new characters will replace them in my imaginary world, and I will fall in love all over again.

But meantime, there’s a piece of me that feels a bit sad as I prepare to say goodbye to the characters in Missing Mom.

Funny how we can have so many mixed feelings when we type “The End.”





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