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Novel in progress

by Frank on December 9th, 2013

Working on the third sequel to Final Mercy now, tentatively titled “The Shaman Only Rings Twice.” After a couple of months, I’ve got the major plot elements in play and have sketched several chapters. Felt like I hit a impenetrable brick wall today though. But, as happens to us all, that feeling often precedes a breakthrough. Found myself penning this journal entry at the end of the writing day, just to gather thoughts:

Chief, I can’t believe that we pulled it off, but Shaman now has what I think is a decent first chapter, the makings of a good second chapter (with developing crisis) and a fairly clear way into the rest of it with some confidence.

What’s the deal? Why? What are the lessons, if any, in what happened to today? For one thing–you just have to keep hammering away at it and deal with the angst as best you can. And there will be great angst along the way. Plenty more still to come on this one.

Two: the book develops in stages, and—for me at least—you’ve got to do scene-work on the ground level, and lots of it, even when the overall idea is still vague. That’s what really points the way, where the magic is discovered. There will be bursts of inspiration between doldrums of hopelessness and anomie. Switching back and forth between high level story planning and ground level work seems essential. It’s like breathing. Inhalation and exhalation. Or like fly fishing. There’s the learning of the cast. There’s the creation of the flies and the scouting of the river. There’s the wait for the right time, then, some times just by being on the river enough, there’ll come the right chance to lay out your line over the right stretch of water.

Thirdly, accept intermittent despair as part of the process. Feel it, express it, then get back to work. Despair doesn’t kill the project. Not working is the only sure way to fail. We are weird creatures swimming in waters we don’t completely understand and never will.

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