Getting Back Into the Groove – Round Robin January 2023

Welcome back to the Round Robin Posts! This first topic is New Beginnings – how do you motivate yourself to get back to writing when life has interrupted your flow?

I did take some time off from writing for the holidays and, as per usual, had to drag out some tricks to get back into the groove of writing. These tricks mostly include re-reading what has already been put on the page and visiting the ever-evolving outline. For Last Child of Winter, I actually made a skeleton outline before I got started and I am quite amused at how the story has changed.

I should say first that I adore outlining.

It makes me feel smart.

However, when it comes to the actual act of writing the novel, that poor outline gets burned midway through. Or in the case of this novel, it was burned by chapter three. Now I’m sitting with no outline, but a pretty good idea of what happens in the next chapter, and while I have no idea how it’s all going to come together in the end, I am confident that my characters are leading me in the right direction.

It is always exciting when the novel takes a life of its own, so do not take any of that as a complaint. I am captivated by what is happening with this story and can sense the threads are leaning toward one another correctly, but with the holidays letting my mind wander for as long as I did, a little refresher was still needed.

So here are some of the things I do to get me back into the groove.

#1 – The re-read.

This one seems self-explanatory. Nothing helps more than revisiting what I’ve already written.

#2 – Dust off the outline.

Admittedly, my outlines are precisely one handwritten page. Yes, the picture off to the side is a real example. These ones work for me, particularly when I’m in the early stages of the novel. When I go to do the first pass of editing, a more detailed outline is created for help with the synopsis.

#3 – Work on the Blurb

The blurb is that thing that goes on the back of the book. The thing that’s supposed to grab a reader’s attention and get them to pick up the book. It is forever evolving, but I know when it’s done its job if it makes me excited to get back to work. And because this was recently re-worked, I’ll go ahead and conclude the current working blurb for Last Child of Winter.

Last Child of Winter

In the aftermath of the great war in Faery, bright folk raced through the divide to live as refugees on Earth. But Old Man Winter’s death had far-reaching consequences and earth’s landscape dramatically changed. Blamed for the loss of resources and despised for crowding an already over-populated planet, bright folk carve out lives for themselves working menial labor and low-paying jobs.

With a new law on the table that could allow bright folk to vote, prejudice has never been higher. When fanatics threaten his foster father’s life, Jack Selvik takes the only path open to a mistweaver like himself and signs up for the wildly popular Bright Talent show. Pit against other bright folk, Jack must undergo several challenges to win a seat at the judges table or be forced through the only working portal back to Faery.

Check out what some authors do to get back into the groove of things!

Dr. Bob Rich   

Anne Graham 

Connie Vines   

Diane Bator     

A.J.                    (YOU ARE HERE)

Victoria Chatham

Fiona McGuire

Skye Taylor

12 thoughts on “Getting Back Into the Groove – Round Robin January 2023

  1. Great suggestion to work on the blurb. I do go back and reread what I’ve written but since I’m a pantser I never have an outline to dust off! I’ve read (and purchased) several well recommended books on plotting/outlining but alas, the skill eludes me.

    1. The outline is, truly, a bare bones structure that ends up tossed at multiple points in the writing process. The only time it comes in handy is when I’m writing the synopsis or when I need to review what I had in mind after taking a break.

      1. My synopsis gets written by me telling myself the story AFTER it’s written. Then I start downsizing that over and over until I get the elevator pitch and the blurb.

  2. Aimee, I have never started up the way you have described. Will keep it in mind.
    In a way, I have done the opposite with a long-standing project. I wanted to spot places where tension is flagging, so have written a detailed chapter summary.
    YAWN — but it did lead to several insertions that should make the story more gripping.

    1. I’ve never tried a detailed chapter summary before. I would be afraid it would take the element of surprise out of writing the draft for me, but I can definitely see where you would get some extra details put in to make the story more gripping.

  3. Oh, writing blurbs is painful, but it probably isn’t a bad idea. It’s a way to outline without actually outlining. LOL My mojo has been sorely beaten. You might even say it’s half-drowned. Luckily I’m a good swimmer. I can save it with some effort. 😁

    I’m going to be utilizing all of these suggestions, yours and others. I’m crossing my fingers that one of them works for me.

  4. I do like the title of your novel and the idea of handwriting a rough outline. I find that far more organic than typing.

  5. I will always revert to pen and paper if I get stuck or if I want a deeper POV. These days my fingers get stiff if I hold a pen too long. One of the joys of getting older!

  6. It’s embarrassing to admit, but often even I can’t read my writing! So it’s the laptop, always, for writing. Luckily Mom made me learn to type when I was much younger, and I used to type 25+ page essays for my English major, in one night–in duplicate–on a manual typewriter. So I’m a fast typist. I love when the words are flowing so quickly my fingers have to fly, and create the inevitable misspellings. But that’s what edits are for, right?

    I’m charmed by the blurb for your latest WIP.

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