Suuuuuper late Thursday post, sorry! I’d like to say that Camp NaNo was the reason for my absence, but if we’re being completely honest… Pokemon Go came out. And whoops, there went my willpower. But I do have a really strong Pidgeot? So I guess I have that going for me?
For my should-be-Thursday-but-really-it’s-Monday post, I’m going to be looking at steps that I use to get back into a story that you’ve set aside. Most of this advice is for when the draft was put away half-done, but some of this also applies to dusting off an old manuscript for revision. The illustrious (and prompt) Rachel from Undivinelight had hers up on time, so be sure to read it as well.
- Refamiliarize yourself with the story. Reread the whole manuscript, your outline, your notes, worldbuilding. Any and all material you have on-hand. The point of this is two-fold. First of all, you want to remind yourself of what the story is and how it works. This will help you to make sure the rest of the story follows a natural progression. Secondly, you’re reminding yourself why you love the story and, ideally, getting yourself psyched to work on it again. This last part is especially important if you trunked the story because you stopped caring about it.
- Make a plan. Yes, even if you’re a pantser. You don’t need to have a vivid, detailed outline to start writing, but you do need to set a target. Giving yourself a goal, a trajectory for the project, can make getting through to the end easier.
- Lock the old document. You’re not editing right now; you’re generating new material. Open a new document and hide the old one if you can’t stop yourself from trying to ‘fix’ what you did before. Finish the crappy draft first–you’ll have lots of time to make it good later.
- Get yourself excited again. I mentioned this a little in step 1, but I feel like it deserves its own step, too. Talk to someone who knows the story. Delve into the characters, dig into the setting, try out a recipe that your setting is known for. Do whatever it takes to bring the story to life for you again.
- Write. This is the hard part–I’m struggling with it right now, in fact. All the prep-work in the world won’t get the draft done if you don’t put words on the screen. As one of my mentors in grad school used to say, BICHOK. Butt in chair, hands on keyboard. You can do this! Get it done!