After spending the first half of the year writing the beginning of a novel, I took a break over the summer to do the side work and revisiting how I could organize myself for the rest of the year.
In July, I took a three-week course on character development from Gotham Writers. Now that I was thirteen chapters deep in the story, I felt that I needed to dig a little deeper into my characters so, in the end, they don't feel flat and dull. What were their flaws, their passion, their fear? I knew pretty well who my protagonist was but not so much my secondary characters. Thanks to Gotham, I've spent most of August going over their stories, background, and secrets.
I journaled about each one of them and did a couple of character interviews. Little by little, I fell in love with each one of them, and they became very familiar to me.
The next step was to get my plot and storyline down. Same, I had a good idea of the overall story, but there were some gaps. It's not set in stone, but last week I finished an alpha version of the outline.
Now I feel ready to get back into the writing of the following chapters. I even created a chart to track my progress and make sure I stay focused on my goal. It's also a way for me to be accountable (I will share the progress online). I still aim for a finished first draft by the end of the year, knowing that the biggest task will be the several revisions after that, but that's for later. :)