Ideally, you start a story and you finish it. You aren’t interrupted. The words flow from beginning to end. You don’t need a break. Everything comes together flawlessly.
Nevermind that we all have lives, families, and friends. Forget about the fact that a paying deadline may force you to set aside your current manuscript so that you can keep the lights on.
I was making steady progress on my young adult novel when I got a message from my editor. Did I want to write a book on the Dakota Access Pipeline. Hmm. Let me think. That’s me in the Water is Life/NO Dakota Access Pipeline tee. So obviously I said yes. I may have actually been a bit more explicit than that.
But that meant putting aside my novel. And two picture books that I’m working on. Now that I’ve turned in the pipeline book, I’m trying to find my way back into the world of a my novel. To read about how I’m doing that, check out my post yesterday for the Muffin.
One picture book is easier because I wasn’t that far along. I had roughed it out but that particular draft was no where near final. I was beefing up each spread, doing more researching and adding necessary details. So that one is just a matter of seeing what the next spread is and doing the research. Yes, its a lot of work but I’m not trying to recapture a story world.
To get into the other picutre book, I’m reading up on scientists in Antarctica. Their world is the world of my story. The problems that they face and the setting that they are immersed in gave rise to my story problem and setting. I’m also watching videos of penguins. This part is super important because the co-star of my book will be a penguin and I have to pick a species. I don’t think that King will work. I’m reading up on Emperor and Chinstrap.
If you’ve written a good chunk of the story, go back to a part that came together especially well. Read it and see if it doesn’t pull you in. You may need to read it and then go for a walk to free up your mind.
I’m not saying that re-entering your story is going to be easy but it is something that you need to learn to do. What you learn may be that the way into each story is different, depending on the story and where you are in your life. But you can re-enter. You just need to find the right door.