I am a list-maker. I say this not with pride, but with shame - I have been known to not do things because I was too busy making lists of things that had to be done.
But there is one way that I have found listmaking useful.
At the moment I'm about two-thirds of the way through my work-in-progress. I took a short break from writing and now that I'm back at it, I have lost my way a bit. I'm trying to re-enter the world of the book.
This is something I have found helpful.
As I re-read the book, I make a list (by hand) of what happens in the novel. It looks a bit like this:
1. Claire is at work
2. Row with Penelope
3. Gets a text from Dot
4. Goes to Max's house
5. Looks through books.
and so on, for the duration of the book (which, by the way, filled four sides of lined A4 paper).
I love doing this. It means I can look down the list and see at a glance that Claire has three rows with Penelope (and I can probably cut two of them), that there are four scenes in her office (and I should make sure that they don't feel too same-y), or that there are seventeen lines between Event A and Event B (and since they're closely related, I should probably have one following the other before the reader forgets about the first one!).
I also feel it allows me to look at the whole book in a way that reading it doesn't. When I read it, I'm invariably concentrating on the bit I'm reading, usually tweaking the language and replacing the single-quotation marks with doubles and swearing at the crappy bits. With my list, I feel I can look at the whole book and say 'too much waffle' or 'too abrupt' or 'too many rows with bloody Penelope.'
How do you get back into a book you haven't worked on for a while? How much caffeine/chocolate/swearing is involved? Do you have any tricks for making sure your plot makes sense, and stopping your Penelopes from stealing the show?