I've read quite a bit about novel-writing technique, plot structure, character development, etc. in my journey to this point. What I haven't come across is a way to keep my mind IN my story when I'm only working on it a few hours a week. Honestly, I typically only write new stuff on Sunday afternoons/evenings, and each Sunday I spend a couple hours just trying to get back into the zone. I reread what I wrote in recent weeks and try to figure out what will happen next. (I've long since thrown out my outline.)
This weekend to the rescue. Today, I went to a "Writer's Retreat" at the Fatima Center in Dalton, where I did nothing but read all 220+ pages of my manuscript consecutively. My goal was to get my head in the story and figure out how it will end. I jotted notes about plot or character seeds I planted along the way, and then I took each character and planned the changes I wanted to see in each of them at the story's conclusion. The final scenes of the plot line became obvious. I wrote down the scene ideas before they vaporized.
I hope to get them in writing - starting right after church tomorrow. I don't want to lose the story again.