What's the 6-AM Editing Challenge? You can read the backstory here, but in a nutshell, it's me getting up at 6-AM every morning and writing, in an attempt to finish edits on my novel, MIRRORPASS, by this summer. Read about my novel on the WIP page.
WHAT I'VE BEEN WORKING ON
At the start of this challenge, I have been working on the turning point sequence, which covers chapters 14-19 of MIRRORPASS and propels us down the road to the climax. So far within the sequence, I'm up to chapter 17.
And now begin the challenge!
SUNDAY, MARCH 17, 2011
Since today is a Sunday, the first day of the challenge, and the next edits require some brainstorming, today is a planning day. I need to work on any of these three things:
- Major edits to chapter 10, in preparation for an unexpected beta opportunity. My last beta told me the chapter gets too long and looses it's focus and believability after a certain point. I need to figure out how to cut and smooth out the sequence so it flows better, regains believability, and fixes the main problems my beta pointed out.
- Rewrite and revise chapter 17. This is a "non-pov" chapter, so to speak, and it jumps out of the timeline of the story to set us up for later chapters. The problem is, it has a scene with repetitive plot threads that I need to cut and move to chapter 18, so I want to tackle 18 first.
- Tackle chapter 18. (Did you catch that humor?) I did some major plot readjustments earlier in this sequence, but this chapter is actually where the adjustments start effecting the chapters around it.
I need to take three scenes from chapters 15, 16, and 19, and merge the important plot threads in one totally brand new scene at the beginning of chapter 18. Then the second scene needs heavy revisions and merging with a scene from chapter 17. Finally, for the last scene of the chapter, I'm again merging it with a scene from chapter 19.
And I may need to write a lot of fresh material to tie all this together. So there's a lot of organization I need to do, here, before I even begin writing.
Let's see how I do!
RISING TIME -- 6:30
That's acceptable, since I need some time to get used to the early morning, and a honestly a better start than I hoped. Being that it's Sunday I planned on spending most of the morning on non-writing, Christian-related goals and getting to work by noon. (This was one of my big goals in the original post about the challenge.)
FAST FORWARD TO WHEN I STARTED WRITING --
Spent time blogging and getting organized for writing.
Printed out all of chapter 10 and posted around room. Realized I need to look at my other beta's comments on this chapter and identify what I really think needs to be cut/revised.
Scanned my sequence board to familiarize myself with the scenes in chapter 17 and 18. Modified my goals for the beginning of chapter 18 based on the fact that I'm not really sure which scenes I'm supposed to be merging (one of my Stickys got lost!)
Turned on MIRRORPASS playlist. Motivation time.
Printed out the scenes I definitely knew were going to be merged into chapter 18.
Thought really hard about what had been on that lost Sticky note.
Got discouraged that I'd made so little progress, even though this was just a planning day anyway.
Thought a bit harder and poked through my numerous MIRRORPASS files and folders.
Aha! Remembered what was on the Sticky-note!
Quickly wrote some notes to self so I wouldn't forget again. Things connected. Went through printouts highlighting and making notes, then abruptly had an idea of how to fix chapter 10 and went kamikaze on it, using black sharpie to censor out sections to cut, and red pen to tell how I'll connect the pieces after the cut. Then I just went on and edited the whole hardcopy. I got a ton of work done within the space of an hour.
After that I paused to regroup and print out remaining scenes needed for the chapter 18 merge. Read a few writing craft blog posts (this helps keep me stimulated while calming me down after a frenzy of cutting, so I can come back with some focus.)
Got distracted by some blog posts. Then life happened and I had to leave the writing zone for a while.
Finally came back, went over my crazy scattering of pages and notes, and realized that although it was late, I had everything I needed to edit chapter 10, and everything except a printout of one scene that I needed to edit chapter 18.
AT THE END OF THE DAY --
I'd say I had mild success on my first day. I got interrupted twice by life, and twice it really killed my progress. On the other hand, I can jump right in and edit chapter 10 now, and I'm almost ready to revise chapter 18. There's still an issue about starting the edits for this chapter that I can't quite put my finger on.
I think in the middle of all this merging chaos, I've been overlooking a plot thread that's still essential to the scene. And maybe a feasibility issue? Knowing myself, this is something I need to brainstorm on when I have the scene open in front of me. So I think my goal for tomorrow is to begin writing the first scene of chapter 18.
GOALS MET/UNMET --
Worked on two out of my possible three writing needs
Completed one of out the three
Half-finished one out of the three
Definitely prepared to start writing tomorrow on chapter 10, though I'm unsure if I did enough prep for 18.
Didn't quite manage my time well enough to get everything else accomplished.
Didn't get to bed until 11:20 -- not good, need to move that up to 10, or I won't make it up by 6.
So all in all, for a first day, I think this went well! It's clear that I need to get the actual schedule down, however, to make the progress I want. So those are new goals for tomorrow.
Truly and always,