I haven't blogged for a month. Sorry to all three of you who regularly read my blogposts! I was in a slump after coming close to publishing a novel (as in doing rewrites for an editor, sending the story back in, and never hearing back) and took a break from writing for a few months. I've still been reading and doing research and thinking about it, but I lost some of my enthusiasm after 11 years of regular writing with several bites from editors but no acceptances.
I researched agents, had my WIP critiqued with fresh readers who pointed out the major problems (and, oh boy, were they some major problems! Like character and plot and pacing), have been going through a workbook on plotting and re-plotting my story, and now I'm rewriting and breathing new life into my novel and am excited about writing again.
Here's a recap of the things that rekindled my writing spark:
Leaving my novels alone for a month or so: I set it aside. Refused to look at it or do any editing or revisions.
Researching: I researched agents and aspects of my novel, such as the setting, more in depth.
Plotting: I wrote down the major plot points and problems my character faces in the novel, figured out what her main objective was, and what the core or thesis of my novel was. I also wrote a one sentence pitch summing up the gist of my novel.
Doing character sketches: I answered questions about each character such as motivations, hobbies, interests, where they were from, profession, fears, personality quirks, weaknesses, accomplishments, prize possessions, etc. I made a time line of major events for each character throughout the novel. Since I'm very visual I made a collage of pictures representing my main character's personality, which helped me see her more clearly. I made a family tree for each of my characters and wrote about their family dynamics. And I wrote dialogue for two of my characters having a heated discussion. This helped me get to know my characters better.
What have you done when you've needed a kickstart for your writing and gotten you going again?