Getting to Work

Well, I’ve started actually working this week. We’re in Sinaia (a town near the mountains in Romania, full of lovely sledding opportunities), recuperating from the trip for a couple of days.

As I’m participating in the Gumption Challenge, I need to post weekly updates.

(The Gumption Challenge, basically, is struggling to finish editing completely the manuscript of one of your novels by May 31st, 2013, in time to create the cover and such for the CreateSpace offer which expires in June or July. To provide an incentive, you must come up with something to give up for a month should you fail. My incentives are giving up recreational reading for a month, which will include most emails, FB statuses, etc. I’m also thinking of adding NaNoWriMo to that list— it would provide pretty much the most enormous incentive ever.)

Anyway, back to the point. To start with, I decided to go through the entire book and locate all my plot holes (and world-building and character-building holes). From then on, I think I’ll formulate all those notes into a to-do list of sorts, which I’ll have to get through before continuing on. I have no idea what I’m doing, but that’s alright.

I think at this point, though, I should offer some tips to help the rest of those struggling through the Gumption Challenge (if you’re not struggling, you are my hero. Share your secrets.)

Firstly, if you’re procrastinating on this, break it up into smaller chunks. Don’t try reading the entire manuscript in one sitting (everyone says you should, and try that first. But if you can’t make yourself sit down, break it up.) I’ve broken up Perfume into five-chapter spurts— I’ll slowly increase this over time, I think— perhaps six chapters or even ten if I’m feeling adventurous.

Secondly… remember all the movies that you really hate and could only find the niggling defects in. I watched The Three Musketeers on Tuesday, and my sister and I had a wonderful time bashing in all of the plot and action defects in the movie. Don’t hate your book, but don’t be nice to it either. Allow the inner editor to shine— let it pelt your book with the arrows and bombs of critique. Just don’t allow her to start telling you you suck, or that the book isn’t worth it.

If that pops up, tell the IE that you also wrote the book on awesomeness and epicality, which also looked a bit bald around the edges a bit at the beginning, and go back to bashing the book.

Thirdly, work every day. Except if you have put a day off into your schedule— don’t work on those days. Don’t even THINK about the novel on your off-day (that’s Sunday for me), and take lots of notes on all the fantastic ideas you have about the Gumption Novel to input on Monday.

How is your editing coming, and what tips do you have for me?

(Also, yes, I think at some point I will have to put up a cover and synopsis of this book.)