Molly and Learning New Techniques

I’ll bet some of you thought you’d get an update on March Madness when it was over, hmm?  Well, the week kind of got away from me so here it is a bit late.

I managed 9,672 words on Molly for March Madness.  If you remember back to my last post, this is just over 4,000 shy of where I wanted to be.  While that is a sad thing, it’s not as bad as it might sound.

Last year, in the midst of my medical disasters, I wrote about 9,550 words for March Madness.  I was determined to do better this year, and I did…by just over 100 words.  While this was not the margin I’d hoped for, there’s another side to this story that is the much more important one.

After the 2008 March Madness, I put down the novel with an exhausted sigh…and still haven’t picked it up again.  Karth’s Story is currently moldering in the corner, marking the first unfinished novel I’ve written since possibly 1995 or even earlier.  That said, I do have plans to jump back in and finish it up at some point, but I’m avoiding it for the time being.

What’s different about this most recent March Madness is that Molly has already gained three more scenes and stands at 12,340.

For me, this is a creeping pace, and it’s very rough going, but there are reasons for that which do not involve failure on my part.

Molly is an experiment, a novel being written using another writer’s methodology.  As you might remember, I’m taking Holly Lisle’s How to Think Sideways course right now.  I’ve found some parts of it click into holes in my process with a smooth glide while others it is like jamming a puzzle piece into the almost appropriate opposite.

Now I’m not your typical Thinking Sideways candidate, especially on the writing side, because I already have a serious pile of finished first drafts.  This has led to a disconnect with some of her lessons where I have already developed a system that works for me, sometimes similar, sometimes taking things a step further, and sometimes completely on another plane.  None of which negates the value of the class.

As a writer, I feel I should be constantly open to exploring new methods, new avenues.  Even if I have something that works perfectly, by expanding my horizons, I may discover a way to grow as a writer that my old method was obscuring.  And stagnation is something I oppose with every atom in my body.

Besides that, in the areas where my process is still mutating, having solid advice from an experienced writer who is able to communicate her methodology in ways that allow other writers, especially newer ones, to understand is never a bad thing.

However, speaking specifically on the process of preparing a story to fly, I’m too organic for her methodology.  While hers is valuable as a companion tool to recognize which scenes are solid and which scenes are likely to end up on the cutting room floor, it does not click me into the story enough so that I am living and breathing it.  I still need to make one of my style of outlines to achieve that, something it’s too late in my process to do at this point for Molly.

So, my plan now is just to struggle through and recognize I’ve got a serious editing project ahead of me.

Oddly, this is a good thing because my editing process is still under development.  I’ve completed quite a few edits I think are successful, but the process is more cumbersome than I appreciate.  If Molly‘s first draft came through mostly clean, it would make a poor learning manuscript for the editing phase of the class.  We learn more when things are broken and going rough than when we can just skate, whether talking writing, academics, programming, or what have you.

Ultimately, Molly‘s in for a hard ride, but if she can come out gleaming, not only will I have learned a thing or two, but I think she’ll have a nice run at the YA market.

And stats:
New Words: 721 words
44 scenes
14 complete – 32% of the novel
30 Scenes remain
26,443 Remaining word count
38,783 Estimated length – with an average of 881 words per scene.
12,340 Current Total

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