When NaNoWriMo ended, the real work on my novel began. I read and reread what I had written during that sleepless fantastically fun month when I did nothing but pound away at the keyboard. Somewhere in the hot mess of my 50,000-plus words, I identified the faint beginnings of a plotline and characters I could develop. I scoured the text for common themes and found a few I could leverage. Then I prepared a loose outline and began rewriting. More than four years later, I stopped. The story I ended up with has as much resemblance to the 50,000 words I wrote during NaNoWriMo as my 22-year-old niece does to the ultrasound image I saw of her at 10 weeks. I know the story originated with those early words but no one else reading them would make the connection.
Every year since 2008, I have wanted to participate in NaNoWriMo again but have never been able to because I was revising Waiting for Ethan. This year, my revisions are done and I’m participating. I have several ideas for my next book but still haven’t decided which I will go with. I’ll find out on November 1 when I park myself in front of my keyboard. I don’t know if I’ll reach the 50,000 word goal this time, but I know I’ll have fun trying, and I know I will end up with a collection of sentences I’ll be able to begin shaping into my next novel.