Sunday, January 9, 2011

Close to Finishing Shaman in Exile - one chapter left!

I'm doing 50/50 on my New Year's Resolutions, didn't fare too well with the attempts at becoming more social or in bringng my lunch to work instead of eating out, but did do much better on the others.
I am now one chapter away from finishing the first draft of Shaman in Exile, the follow up novel to my magical realism foray, Shaman Circus, which was published by ATTM Press one year ago this month.
I started Shaman in Exile in July of  2006, and lived part of those early months in New Hampshire so part of the novel takes place there, but it also wanders to France and then Folly Island, South Carolina, following the trail of Jacob La Querre, the voudou shaman. The book picks up with him a year or so after an accident in which he becomes partly disabled and has decided to leave the temple, his lover, and friends. The second novel incorporates more magical realism than the first and  its a good bit more free wheeling due to the fact its not tied to a large real event, but rather a series of smaller events.
I wrote Shaman Circus in 8 months. Shaman in Exile over 3 1/2 years.  I could never come up with an ending, because the earthquake in Haiti took place before I finished it and Jacob's family is from Haiti.  So I had to decide whether to incorporate the earthquake aftermath or not.  I realized, returning to Haiti would have to be another book.  There are too many complications with family, let alone the earthquake devastation or how Jacob would handle it. Jacob grew quiet for a while, couldn't tell me which way he wanted the book to go and so I started a other projects.
Now I'm glad I waited and didn't rush it.  It's working, and its another of those life lessons for writers to stand back from their book and let the characters tell their story.  This time, Jacob, Max, and Lily are doing the work.  I'm just a transcriptionist. At this point, the novel is running over 100,000 words and 59 chapters.  Not sure if that's how it will stay. 
Once It's finished, I plan to launch immediately into editing since there may be things that need changing due to the ending.

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