Reinventing the Old Stuff

I wrote a novel and finished it well over a year-and-a-half ago.  I submitted it to Carina Press (cross your fingers for me–still haven’t heard anything*).  It was a stand-alone book, but I knew when I wrote it there were two related books to be written.  I jotted down notes as they came to me and even wrote a loose outline.

And then I moved on to the next story.  Because why write sequels to a book that may never be published?  Except, now that I’ve sucked it up and found some guts, I’m subbing it to agents and the previously mentioned publisher.  In my query, I mention the two other connected books.  Now, I feel an obligation to have a more formal (and fleshed out) synopsis prepared for the other two books.

I’ve mentioned this before: how difficult it is to walk away from a WIP and then try to pick it back up.  I write everything down.  I haven’t lost anything between then and now (and I consider myself quite lucky in that).  But it’s still difficult to find that thread, those characters, that plot and breathe life into it.

Because that’s what we do.  We give characters and stories a life of their own.  It’s why the characters talk to us (sometimes nag us and yell at us) and it’s why we know the story isn’t “right” even though we’re the ones “in control.”  (Yeah, right.)

I’m listening to music, which always inspires me to write and the old playlist brings me back to that place.  But how do you do it?  Do you switch between WIPs?  Do you put things that aren’t working away for a time so you can come back with a fresh view?  Tell me what works for you.

*Update: Finally heard from Carina Press, after 7 weeks.  My novel was placed with an editor for possible acquisition and my full read, but they decided against acquiring it.  While this was very disappointing I did get some very good feedback and important constructive criticism.  I’m very grateful they took the time to do so.


  1. I take extensive notes, as well, and I have left my current WIP twice to polish my first series. I started the next series in November 0f 2009 during NaNoWriMo. In December of that year, I began revisions on the first series. It wasn’t until NaNo 2010 that I went back and worked on my follow-up series. Once I spent a day outlining, I was back in the mode, and connecting with my newer characters. Through December, I jumped back and forth between five of the six characters I’ve been writing. I typically can’t do more than one character a day, but a good night’s sleep gives me a fresh start. Music playlists are key to me, too. Each character has his or her own.

    I look forward to following your progress!

  2. Author

    I mentioned earlier (on twitter) that I’m reading the first book in the Emi Lost & Found series and I’m amazed to think you can write like that during NaNoWriMo. It’s so good.

    I’ve found, recently, that even though I’m totally sick of the “old” stuff, when I’m banging my head on the new stuff, it’s a little comforting to think of slipping back into characters I know so well. But, onward!

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