Thursday, December 23, 2010

How To Get Back To The WIP When You've Been Away For, Like, Forever

So. My "vacations" have started. I say "vacations" because:

1) The students at my university are on strike (tuition fee skyrocketed and overall dictatorial crap coming from the suits upstairs)

2) Two of my three classes have projects due in January, and I haven't wrapped them up. BUT I'll be completely ignoring them from today till December 27th. After that, back to work.

Today's post is about going back to work on something else--le WIP.

I only have the first three chapters done, and ONE LINE in the fourth. Yep. I'm pathetic. My goal for this month is to get at least four more chapters done (and to finally pass that wretched 10k mark). 

So how do I get back to work on my abandoned WIP after a month and a half of ignoring it?

1) Le playlist

For every manuscript I start, I create a playlist. This WIP in particular has two--one for the main character, one for the love interest. I love both playlists with a burning passion. Because their songs are EXACTLY what the characters are feeling. No other manuscript has gotten that lucky. So I spend a good deal of time listening to the songs and getting back into my characters' heads. Then I wait for the point in which I can't tell myself apart from my fake people.

2) Le outline

This is the first WIP that has had an outline before I start writing. Usually, I outline as I go to avoid getting stuck. But no, I changed the name of the game, and I'm super happy I did. In fact, my playlists have helped me to FINALLY figure out the ending. I had a particular version I was quite fond of, but when I listened to a song from the main character's playlist, I just... got it. So my plan is to jot down everything I've come up with these past few days, then see if the story flows well. By adding or removing details, I force myself to immerse every single thought into the world I'm creating. 

3) Le other books on my to-read pile

I've been reading like a maniac these past few days. Books that are similar to my WIP. Books that totally aren't. The point? I've been reading. Other stories always make me crave to write my own. Doesn't matter the genre or target audience. I'm not sure exactly why, but it always works like this for me. So I make sure there are plenty of books around when I'm drafting, just in case I lose steam. And yeah, that happens a lot. *blushes*

So there you have it. Music, outlines, and books help me get back to work. 

What about you? Any tips you'd like to share??


  1. These are great tips! It's tough to get back into a WIP when you've taken a break from it--it's like jumping into a freezing lake without first acclimating yourself.

    I agree, tunes make all the difference. If I hear a certain song, it will immediately remind me of a story!

    I've realized outlining is indespensible too! Helps me figure out where I've been and where I'm going.

    Nice post!

    Happy Holidays--I hope the striking gets resolved! Oy!

  2. My favorite way to get back into a WIP is to read the whole thing up until the part where I left off. by then, I'm re-immersed in the story and I'll want to start writing again to see what happens next. Plus, it helps you remember little things plot-wise that you may have forgotten since you last worked on it.

  3. Yay for student action against evil hike in school fees!!! Same over here in the UK too!!!

    Anyway!!! I think your methods of getting back to your WIP are great!!!

    How do I get back to my abandoned wip?? I'm still trying to work that one out for myself!! I need to fall in love with it again!!

    Good luck with your WIP and projects!! Take care

  4. I find that reading helps me get back into the writing urge as well. Also, because I write down a lot of notes, sometimes I'll re-read thoughts that I scribbled in the past and see if anything strikes me . . .

  5. Those are wonderful ideas. Thank you.

  6. Outlining is definitely crucial in order for me to get a first draft done. I've abandoned a WIP this past summer. I'm about halfway done, and I plan on diving back into it early next year. I think I'll read what I have first, and then outline the 2nd half. I also think I may make a character worksheets for all my main characters so I can understand their goals and what not better. :)

  7. Yay to you getting back into the wip. I can't wait to read it!

    I'm a huge playlist fan. I have to have it on repeat as I write. I also like my rough outline/sketchy ideas.

  8. I like to re-read everything I've written so far and then start a "free-write" about what should come next, just typing everything that comes into my head. If the free-write gets some ideas flowing, then it's a good time to take a shower ... yes, a shower, because I practice dialogue in the shower (where my family pretends they can't hear me).

    Good luck getting back into your WIP. I'm also on vacation and hoping to get back into mine.