The longer I write, the more aware I have become of the importance of character development
So, when I decide to take the ball, and place it firmly in one place for a nice long time-out (sorry, my alter ego is basketball/football/baseball mom), I have a hard time steadying it on my finger when I return to play (write) again.
When I've been away from a story for a break, once I return the characters seem like they were part of a dream that I can't quite remember. The setting where I left the characters seems to be masked by dusk, with no stadium lights to show details. My hands are calloused by the reality of life outside the story, and I struggle to grasp the ball again!
Is this analogy too much? Well, I'll stop now and be straight forward...as Sherrinda mentioned in the Weekend Edition, there is a thorough way to re-acquaint yourself to the ball...er...story... in a fun little exercise (well, not always so fun depending on how "rough" your WIP is...)--Chapter Summaries.
I have 16 chapters written for my current WIP. Instead of just reading the last half of Chapter 16 to get back in the groove, (um...yeah...remember the dim setting and the hazy characters?) I decided to take the time to go through each chapter and sum it up in a short blurb. This reminds me what the characters are going through and what the plot is doing. I also cut and paste some good quotes from each chapter to remind myself what exactly is going on.
Not only do I also work out some kinks in the story as I read through each chapter, I also have the chance to polish those first chapters that I am taking to conference. And furthermore, feeling connected to my story in a deeper way might be good prep for discussing my story at editor appointments!
So, if you feel like a stranger to your story, put the ball in time-out and study your play book. Chapter by chapter, you'll find yourself prepared to put your head back in the game!
How do you re-acquaint yourself with your story after a break? How much do you plot out before you start writing. Do you use chapter summaries in any way?
Angie Dicken is a full-time mom and lives in the Midwest with her Texas Aggie sweetheart. An ACFW member since 2010, she has written five Historical Romance novels, has an Historical underway, and is represented by Tamela Hancock Murray of The Steve Laube Agency. Angie also spends her time designing one sheets, selling Jamberry Nail Wraps, and drinking good coffee with great friends. Check out her author page at www.facebook.com/dicken.angie