“I love the book! What’s not to love? Great characters, a unique and exciting plot, and enough twists and turns to make even me eager to see what happens next.”
My daughter gave me a look that said,“So what’s the problem?” Then she actually asked.
Me? I just shrugged. My current work in progress still interested me, but I dragged through every paragraph. Looking back, I think I was just tired. I’d gotten behind, and no matter what I did, I couldn’t catch up.
And then things went from bad to worse. But I’ll tell you about that in a minute. First, I promised you
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3 Proven Ways to Rekindle Excitement for Your Manuscript
1- Take a break from it.
Look, we talk about how our books are like our friends. Well, even the most gregarious person needs a break from his or her friends now and then. So, if interest or excitement languishes, “withdraw your foot from your neighbor’s house,” as they say. Because although your book might not “grow weary of you and hate you,” as Solomon said, you might grow weary of it and hate it!
Unfortunately, you can’t always do this. Authors do have those pesky little things called deadlines. If you find a deadline looming and a break from work isn’t possible, then try something else. Maybe something like…
2- Write that scene you’ve been aching to get to.
Many of us are linear writers. We begin with scene one and follow along to scene two… and three. I don’t know about others, but I do this so I can weave bits from the past scenes and upcoming scenes into each one I work on in a natural, easy way.
Still, sometimes you should just let yourself write that scene. That one you’ve been waiting for since the book idea came to you. Maybe it’s an epic battle scene in your fantasy novel. Perhaps it’s when the detective finally nails the criminal in your crime thriller. Maybe it’s the proposal scene in your romance. It could just be a funny scene with a precocious child that you know is going to be fabulous.
Write it. Rekindle that excitement with that “darling.” And you know what? Who cares if you have to rewrite when you get to it again (or “kill the darling”)? Maybe it needs to be a different perspective by that point. Perhaps you didn’t have some of the funniest childlike observations of what’s been happening until you got there. All it means is that you got to do your most-looked-forward-to scene… twice!
And you got your butler kicked into gear again. You regained momentum. That’s worth doing!
Oh, and the third?
It’s my favorite, and it’s one that I discovered by accident. Remember how I said things went from bad to worse with that project? They did. There I was at Denny’s Diner after our weekly Bible study. My diner buddy left, and that left me with one of the other Denny’s regulars. Now look, I like this guy. He’s a fascinating conversationalist, and I learn a lot from him, frankly.
But on that particular night, I didn’t have time for a great conversation. I needed to get work done. It’ll be no surprise then when I tell you that I almost cried when he started chatting. After an hour of listening to entire story plots of a couple of books, I was just about ready to say, “Well, I gotta go.”
But then he said… something. I don’t know what it was. Still, when he did, it gave me an idea. I asked a question. He answered and asked one of his own.
After discovering that it was for my book, he moved from his booth to mine.
Let’s just say that was premature. Because what happened next changed everything. A few questions and even more suggestions sparked new excitement in my book. I went from barely slogging through each sentence to dying to write the next scene in a two-hour, impromptu brainstorming session.
Look, none of the stuff he suggested would work for the story. That wasn’t his fault. But what did work, was how his suggestions and questions sparked new ideas. Fine Print went from an interesting story that might have been my favorite, to a much more exciting and engaging book with a plot I loved and was definitely my favorite of the series.
Because I had a fresh look at every aspect of the story! I got to see what new twists could do to my already established plot. I even considered making one of my neutral characters a bad guy!
But the key to it all is that with new ideas and enhanced old ones, I had changes in upcoming scenes that made everything new and fresh—almost like working on a whole new book!
That’s my third proven way to rekindle excitement for your manuscript.
Do a mid-book brainstorm session. It’s now going to become a regular part of my writing process. When I get to the midpoint “death,” I’ll hoodwink a friend or two to go over what I’ve done and what I plan to do, and I’ll see what else I can add or change to really make it sing!
Now tell us! What do you do to rekindle excitement mid-project?