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Help! How to get back into an abandoned novel. . .

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Hi all,


I'm interested to hear any advice/words of wisdom about how you get back into the groove of working on a novel you had to set aside. I was working happily on a WIP and enjoying it when I had to set it aside to work on revisions of a different novel for my agent. I have completed those revisions and am now at a loss for how to reacquaint myself with the WIP  - now a stranger. . .any strategies that you've found useful, other than just reading the current draft?


Thanks!
#1 - May 07, 2014, 01:06 PM
Lisa
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Try filling out a character questionaire like this one: http://www.writingclasses.com/InformationPages/index.php/PageID/106. And then fill out a plot template like this one: http://www.darcypattison.com/plot/29-plot-templates/. Now consider having someone read the book aloud to you. If not, record yourself reading your book and then listen to the recording all in one sitting. This should get you back on track. :) 
#2 - May 07, 2014, 01:16 PM
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Molly, those are great links! Thanks for posting them!


#3 - May 07, 2014, 02:12 PM
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Molly,
Thanks so much for posting the great links. Looks like they would be handy for both plotting a new manuscript as well as getting back into an old one.
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#4 - May 07, 2014, 02:34 PM
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Thanks for the links, Molly.

Elisa, I'm in a similar situation. One thing I've tried to do is write toward the fun. What I mean is, you know that one scene you think about when you think about your novel? The fabulous one that's really the heart of it all, that makes you chuckle and rub your hands as you think about getting to write it? Turn your face toward that scene and write toward it, like walking to an oak at the end of the meadow.

I gotta say, though, the single most helpful thing is BIC time.
#5 - May 07, 2014, 03:26 PM
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I take it you've read it over since you set it aside. Well, read it again. There has to be some kind of tingly feeling you get from reading what you've written, so gauge onto that feeling and write. Edit a little bit while you're at it. Try rewriting and moving stuff around. Reread your outline.

You can also write a random scene you've been thinking about. Random dialogue and imagery would do.

Also, take a weekend to dedicate to getting back into the groove. One day where you can wake up, have your coffee and dive in. Listening to music helps as well.


I hope you can get back into the writing groove!  :snail
#6 - May 07, 2014, 05:04 PM

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Elisa, I'm an expert at this having to drop pet projects for the work-for-hire. You'd had great advice and I have nothing to add except to reiterate the importance of reading it out with a pencil in hand so that you can begin scribbling as soon as thoughts occur to you ... I prefer to read a hard copy for this reason, so that I can write on the ms itself. I hope you get back into the groove soon. It takes me about a week or two to get back to the voice.

Good luck, Vijaya
#7 - May 07, 2014, 05:25 PM
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Lots of excellent suggestions, and I'm very grateful. . .I shall try them all, keeping in mind to remember the "fun" in why I first chose to write this novel! I confess to being a little afraid of reading the draft that I already have since it's really close to a first draft and the "suck factor" may daunt me. So the questionnaires and the "random dialogue and imagery" may be where I start before I feel brave enough to read the draft.


Thanks!
#8 - May 07, 2014, 07:25 PM
Lisa
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I used to prefer to revise on paper, but now I use the "review" feature in word and use comment bubbles and text boxes to leave notes/suggestions to myself. Or I can just highlight a section I want to come back to.

I like the idea of writing toward the "fun" scene, which in my novel is really the "big choice" scene. Also like the idea of writing a letter to my mc and asking questions.
#9 - May 07, 2014, 10:36 PM
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I read out loud. I also use notes on little pieces of paper that take me forever to find on my mess of a desk. Oh yes, and I keep the heart of the piece in mind - why I wrote it in the first place. I have two pieces back burnered while I revise my MG novel. I trust my voice to find those pieces when I'm ready - one is a YA, the other a picture book. The heart of the stories is key to the voice and everything else.
#10 - May 12, 2014, 11:48 AM
Website: http://www.debbievilardi.com/
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I'm sort of in this situation too. I set aside a novel a few years ago, because I got stuck, but decided to revisit this year.
One thing that was helpful for me was to get a critique on what I had already written. Hearing there were some good parts has spurred me on.
I am also a bit of a research junkie, so doing research and watching a few movies set in my setting inspired me to get back into it.
I hope that helps!
I actually have to set this project aside for a bit to do revisions on another one, so I may be revisiting this thread again. :)
#11 - May 12, 2014, 09:57 PM
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