Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Book Amnesia

Tip of the Day: cupcake stores are one of the world’s greatest creations!

It’s inevitable that sometime you are going to have to put a story aside. Maybe you’re being called to another book idea instead, maybe you realize you need to brainstorm plot ideas before continuing, maybe you decide to go a completely different direction and then after that detour you realize the original draft was the best way to go, or maybe you are lucky enough to go on a year-long trip around the world (wouldn’t that be nice!).

Whatever happens, though, it can be hard to get back into a story after it’s been set aside for an extended period of time (unless you have the memory of an elephant, which I’ve clearly not been blessed with).

The book I’m working on has been sitting on my computer collecting dust for more than a year. Trying to remember what on earth I was thinking when I first wrote it can be challenging. But even more challenging can be getting the voice correct and inside your character’s head again.

For that reason, I’ve found a few things helpful:

  1. Rewrite a brief synopsis of the book. This is especially helpful if you are deciding that after a year, you’d like to switch certain parts of the book up. Since you’ve probably been thinking about the plot and characters for awhile, it could be helpful to write the synopsis BEFORE reading the book again. That way you won’t taint your new ideas for the book.
  2. Reread the entire draft you have. This can be time consuming, especially if you have a bunch written. But one of the only ways to get to know the characters again is to spend time with them, remember their quirks, favorite sayings, and general attitude.
  3. Rewrite a few paragraphs of the book. This can seem funny, but I once read that if you rewrite good writing then you get a better idea of how it’s suppose to work then by simply reading it. I think it could apply in this situation to in trying to trigger your brain to remember how you wrote the book earlier.

Now if you are lucky enough not to have to do any of the above, bravo to you, but if you suffer from Book Amnesia as I tend to do every now and then, you might have to take a few extra steps to get back in the groove of your book.

--Emily, Miss Querylicous


Kate Fall said...

These are great ideas, Emily. I feel driven to dust off and redo an old novel in the near future. I'm sure a lot of us feel that way.

S. C. Green said...

I'll have to give these tips a try. I stopped the beginnings of a novel to revise a previous one. It's been close to a year since I've touched it now, and I've started to wondered if I would feel the groove again.

Lisa Schroeder said...

Great suggestions!!

Kelley Allen said...

Book Amnesia! I love that! Great description...and solutions to try. Maybe I'll get somewhere on the MS I just pulled out of a drawer before I throw it right back in. Thanks!