Sometimes we discover a project is not going well, so we set it aside and let it rest.
Sometimes life interrupts, as it has a way of doing, and the project must be placed on a shelf until all those crises are resolved.
And sometimes, we just poop out for a few weeks…or months.
Then, suddenly, the urge to write coincides with a block of time to write. Whether you have 20,000 words done, or 70,000, the break interrupted your flow of ideas. You’re not sure where you need to add scenes. You can’t remember half of your characters’ names. And you have no idea which sections need fleshing out and which are polished and ready to go.
That’s where I am with my major project (as opposed to my side project which is another story….literally).
Here’s how I’ve decided to proceed with the major project: From the beginning.
I printed out the first fifty pages of the 65,000 words written so far and am going through it meticulously, taking notes on timeline and characters. I have a notebook for the notes and a couple of legal pads for added paragraphs or scenes. I will incorporate edits and new scenes into the manuscript before printing out the next fifty pages.
I know what you’re thinking. If I worked from an outline and kept notes from the beginning, I might not have this problem. I can’t argue with that. It’s simply not the way I started this novel. And I like the story too much to throw it away.
So if you don’t see me online very much for the next month, you’ll know what I’m doing. First fifty pages, then the second fifty pages, and on until the end.
Susan Gourley says
I’ve done that exact thing with a manuscript. It usually works pretty well for me and improves the parts I do have done.
I’m hoping that’s what happens here, Susan. At least I can say I have a new enthusiasm for the story and determination to make it better (and get it finished).
Allan Emerson says
It’s amazing how quickly you lose the thread when you stop working on a story, isn’t it? The one good thing about a writing break for me is that sometimes I come back with a perspective on the story I didn’t have while writing it. (Or so I tell myself…)
I’m telling myself the same thing, Allan. This can only make it better, right?
I’m in a similar spot with my WiP. I put it aside physically – not mentally, haven’t stopped thinking about it! – while I worked on getting my ebook together. When I go back to the ms, I’ll start from the beginning, too – immersing myself in the story, the characters, everything. Looking forward to it!
That long “rest” seems to have refreshed my enthusiasm for the story, Madeline, so I’m hoping this goes well. I’ve set aside a lot of writing/revising time so must now simply stick to the plan.
Margot Kinberg says
Thanks for sharing what you’re doing with that manuscript, Pat. I had a similar sort of thing about six weeks ago when I went back to a manuscript I hadn’t looked at in too long. On the one hand, it’s beautiful to be working on it again. On the other, getting started all over again? A challenge!
At least in my case I’m enjoying the challenge. Otherwise the manuscript might hit the shredder. 😀