I felt great when I typed: THE END.

These were the final words in the first draft of a much delayed and waylaid fifth in my Candy’s Monsters series. I’d started it a few years ago and only completed it after the deaths of both of my parents AND the completion of drafts of two full length, if imperfect, novels. In other words, it was a long haul to THE END and time to celebrate… But as soon as I’d acknowledged that I was a big step closer to a new Monster, a weird tickling feeling set in.

It’s the writer version of post-partum blues.

I will not diminish the real, sometimes devastating, hormonally-driven, post-partum mood disorder experienced by many women after giving birth by saying it’s the same as the weird dejection writers experience after they’ve completed a draft. It’s more accurate to say that the writer’s shaky feelings of loss are on the same human continuum—way at the tolerable end—but still on a bluesy spectrum.

Finishing the draft is a step toward sending the book out into the world. It’s a notable project completed and it leaves a peculiar empty feeling even in the midst of a celebration of DONE.

Why? I’m not sure. I just know that this is often part of the game. Finishing the first draft means that someone—a friend, another writer in a writer group, an editor, a trusted mentor—will read the manuscript. And that means it will leave the writer’s hands.

After THE END comes doubt, anticipation, excitement, and a long list of mixed emotions. After THE END comes notes, edits, and second drafts. I’ve been there before and I’ll be there again, but it still feels lonely. It’s like I miss the characters talking in my head. The second go round will improve the book. It will become a better story, but the characters and I will never talk with the ease and freedom of a first draft.

I’ve yet to give the manuscript to a first reader. At least I haven’t looked at it since and resisting that temptation is important. It’s been a couple of weeks and the feeling lingers… The cure? Starting something NEW!


  1. Oh Candy! I’m so glad you reached The End because I’m looking forward to another Monster but…I know that feeling of almost…dejection? The story is done. That connection will never be the same again.

    If we do our jobs well enough, most readers will never know that the first draft of a story is not for /them/. It’s for /us/. It gets us up in the morning and it keeps our minds ticking over long after we should be asleep. It’s like being in love and being obsessed, all rolled into one.

    -huge hugs-

    I’ve enjoyed my years of technical writing but this post has made me realise how much I miss the fiction writing…

    So, what is next?

    • Candy Korman

      Well, after more than a week of fluttering around story-less… I threw myself at the keyboard and wrote the first half of a long short story today and will finish it in the next day or so. I’m also about to start a major new draft of one of the novels… But as the novel is not a first draft, I think I’m putting myself on a steady diet of short stories to keep me sane while I work on later drafts of longer works of fiction.

      What’s next is sometimes going sideways!