I was in the middle of a major rewrite of a middle grade fantasy when the revisions for my YA mystery landed on my doorstep. I had every intention of spending ten or fifteen minutes a day with the fantasy so that I could jump back into it fairly quickly. In the past, I’ve totally lost the momentum of a story during extended interruptions. It was a good idea that didn’t work. The demands of the Christmas season quickly gobbled up that time. And honestly, the creative corner of my mind was fully engaged with the characters in SUSPECT since this was not a matter of tweaking a few words and phrases. For example, I deleted an entire scene that didn’t work with my editor with a few quick clicks.
So how can you get back into a novel after an extended absense? I’ve found that it’s a good idea to go back to the beginning in order to get reaquainted with the characters instead of trying to jump right back into the spot where I left off. For one thing, I suddenly have a lot of distance from the project. This also gives me a chance to see what’s on the page and what’s still in my head. As I edit and revise, I start thinking like my main character again. After about two weeks of work, I’m just about ready to start pressing forward again.