I have attended many celebrations for finishing a novel. Today I attended another, although it had to be squeezed in due to all the work Dana Stabenow is making us all do for Bouchercon. Lol. What was different about this one? It was intimate. We watch a film, Full Monty, and had wonderful food. We sat on a living room floor, some knitted, some crocheted and some just stared at the telly and made rude comments. There were only 8 of us, but the joy in helping our friend celerate the completion of her novel over the past year was felt by all. We all critiqued over the year and now feel it is partly ours as well.

But it was sad too. It was the end of all the arguments we had on what her characters really should be doing, should they have sex, should they wait? Who cares, the plot needed to be changed or it didn't. But we all loved those characters and their conflicts and now they are done. We've seen them develop and grow into wonderful people. And now they won't grow anymore. They won't be part of our daily life, our phone calls, spur of the moment luncheons to battle out an emotional scene.

We have come to the end. What now? We work on the next person's book. But it is with sadness that we leave the brushstrokes and the keystrokes behind. And with great joy on this journey the novel now goes, we send it on its way.

Through the journey of this novel, we have all formed a special friendship, a great bond if you will, that developed along with the plotting, the growing hero and heroine, the dastardly villain, and the poor victims. And this is also a part we will miss. For each work changes the interactions, the peace, the tensions, the growth of ourselves as novelists and people and the dimensions of the group.

Has anyone else gone through this? Do you prefer to remain detached and semi formal, or do you enjoy the intimacy of friendship that develops from the smaller group?

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