Writer's use many different tricks to get them "in" the mood to write. We've heard of anything from music, to setting the scene (author's space) with maybe candles, incense, donning favorite clothes and having favorite snack foods and beverages at the ready. I can testify these tricks do work - and depending on my mood at the time, I have indeed used one or more of these in any given order or together. It's really part of what makes the creative process fun and even more creative.
But what do you do to you stay "IN" the story?? What happens when life throws a curve ball, or monkey wrench into your perfect fantasy world? How do you adapt to this change without throwing your characters in a tailspin? And believe me, they do protest when you try to make them do something they don't want to do, or send them somewhere they don't want to be. They recognize the difference between conflict and their author being out of whack. You can't pull the wool over their eyes.
This happens to me more times than not (I hate to admit). Working a day job and trying to be a full time author plus the attentive mom & wife is a handful. I wouldn't change a thing other than take a leave of absence from time to time - which I can't afford to do. So.... that leaves me smacking the curve ball out of the park, and chucking the monkey wrench out to left field.
And if you happen to be in the same boat as I am, remember: you don't have to do this alone! I find taking minutes throughout the day (while I'm driving to and from work for example) to think of my story in some way - be it the plot, the characters, a particular scene I've written or one yet to come. I try to incorporate any aspect of that story into whatever it is I'm doing. If I'm driving my kids to practice, I'm wondering if my heroine would be caught dead in a mini van, or would she even have kids to drive? What if they were HIS kids?? It may not have anything to do with my story, but it's keeping me aquainted with my characters.
I also find keeping a small notebook handy works great for spur of the moment ideas I have. And also just shooting emails to my CP with things I'm thinking of or to update her on my progress. It has a way of keeping me accountable, which makes me try even harder to stay focused and in-story.
I keep thinking if I can stay in-story, then my readers will never want to leave the story.
Once you start writing, how do you stay IN? And if you're a reader, what KEEPS you in the story til the end?