It seems like it took forever, but the day has finally arrived. My debut novel Waiting for Ethan is available today. I’ve been dreaming about writing a book since second grade, which, let me tell you, was a very, very long time ago! Along the way, I wrote several short stories and began writing other novels but never finished.
I started Waiting for Ethan as a dare to participate in National Novel Writing Month, a challenge to write 50,000 words during the month of November. My book that comes out today bares absolutely no resemblance to the book I wrote in National Novel Writing Month. Trying to identify it as such would be like asking you to identify a celebrity by showing you his or her ultrasound.
Still, I know without National Novel Writing Month, I may not have ever completed my first novel. I’ve been told I’m super competitive. I’m not sure if that’s true, but I do know there was no way I was going to miss that word count, even if it meant staying up through the night and going to work blurry eyed the next day. If you have ever thought about writing a book but can’t find the time, I encourage you to participate. It’s a great way to get started.
At the end of National Novel Writing Month, I had more than 50,000 words, but I most definitely did not have a complete story, or even a story that I thought was worth telling. What I did have was a burning desire to finish what I started. I also had what I thought were a few good scenes scattered throughout that hot mess of mostly incoherent words. I deleted everything but those scenes and then tried to find a common theme running through them.
In my original story, the main character Gina dated a string of divorced men but never stayed with them because of issues they had with their ex-wives. In the final manuscript, Gina dates one divorced man, Ethan, who needs to travel with a team of porters to help him with the baggage he’s carrying from his first marriage.
The character Ajee is a big part of my complete novel. She’s the fortune teller who tells a 13-year-old Gina that she will marry a man named Ethan. She appeared nowhere in my original draft. I created her after the instructor of a writing workshop I participated in suggested that Gina needed a better reason to stay with Ethan, considering he’s lugging around so many issues.
Over the course of completing Waiting for Ethan, I participated in several writing workshops. In addition to valuable feedback, I learned my characters Gina and Ethan invoke strong responses. Some workshop participants couldn’t understand why Gina stayed with Ethan while others argued they would do the same. Likewise some participants thought Ethan was a good guy going through a hard time while others insisted he was horrible.
Today the book is out. I’m looking forward to hearing what readers think. Let me know by emailing Diane@DianeMBarnes.com
Though she always dreamed about being the shortstop for the Boston Red Sox, Diane Barnes is a marketing writer in Massachusetts. She participates in two monthly writing groups and regularly attends novel writing workshops in Boston and Worcester, Massachusetts. She started “Waiting for Ethan” as a challenge to participate in National Novel Writing Month. The original story was about a character who dated a string of freshly divorced men who all had issues with their ex-wives. She won’t say if it was autobiographical.
In 2012, Diane was one of eight writers who attended the Boston Writers’ Studio, an exclusive four-day intense writing workshop taught by bestselling author Elizabeth Berg. Diane says having her idol read her work was a moment she’ll never forget.
When not crafting novels, Diane spends her time playing tennis, going to the beach or watching her beloved Red Sox. She completed her first half marathon last year (to combat her love of chocolate) and lives in central Massachusetts with her husband Steve; they often fantasize about moving to Turks and Caicos – for the winter months at least.
Waiting For Ethan
When Gina Rossi was in junior high, her best friend’s psychic grandmother got everything right—from predicting that Gina would break her arm and travel to Italy, all the way to leading police to a missing neighborhood child. The one time Gina didn’t listen to her, she almost got herself killed. So when she says that Gina will marry a man named Ethan—but she will have to wait for him—Gina believes her, and waits…
Now thirty-six, Gina’s Mr. Right is nowhere in sight—until the day she’s stranded in a snowstorm, and rescued by the last type of Ethan she expected. It’s very romantic, yet surprisingly not. This Ethan is sexy, and clearly her hero. Still, instead of her “Aha” moment, Gina’s confused. And when Ethan is happy to discover she’s single, does Gina dare tell him, It’s because I’ve been waiting for you? But the bigger question is, does she dare question destiny—by taking it into her own hands? And is she brave enough to handle what happens once it’s time to stop waiting—and start living?