Wide Awake but Dreaming

Slip into my thoughts and do watch your step


Leave a comment

Break Down in Russel Square

Hacking and Slashing (now there’s a term I haven’t used in a while) was hot and heavy last night.  I finally had my kids off their feet, out of the Tube, and into the restaurant, and the cutting and adding of words was underway.  By the time I finished for the evening, I had no idea what I’d written.  That’s because with all the deleting that was underway my total words written check was way off.  There are ways to figure this out, however–like copying the area you were working in and pasting it to another text form.  That way you discover you wrote and edited nine hundred and six words.  Easy as Pi, right?

With all my old scenes deleted–goodbye, you first draft messes–my corkboard looks like this now:

All my scenes lined up, sorta neat because they never go anywhere.

All my scenes lined up, sorta neat because they never go anywhere.

 

While my outline shows me where my word counts are:

The numbers keep going up.

The numbers keep going up.

The word count for my current scene is just under three thousand, but that’ll change.  Then I have to rewrite the trip through the Chunnel, which takes on an air of confusion for Kerry due to things happening in this current scene, and then I can move on and rewrite a few other things–

Then I can get back to Act Two.  Maybe.

So what did my kids do last night?  A little of this:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

A light rain was falling upon Russel Square when Annie and Kerry stepped from the Underground station and made their away across the street to the Pret a Manger cafe. The place was busy but not overwhelmed with people, so they found a table and ordered food. Since the lunch rush was coming to an end their orders were ready in under ten minutes. Kerry’s was first: a club sandwich with avocado and a mango smoothie. Annie’s came moments later: a chicken salad and a Lemon Aid. She returned to their table to find Kerry’s computer unpacked and powered up.

“What are you doing?” She sat across from him, twisting her neck to see if she could follow what he was doing with his phone.

He didn’t look up. “Bluetoothing the pictures over to the hard drive; I wanna make sure I get all the pictures we took.” He tapped tapped something on his phone. “This way I have plenty of room for more, and everything’s saved.” He lay the phone next to the computer. “That should finish in a few minutes.”

It was difficult for Annie to keep from chuckling: he always seemed so serious when it came to his technological toys. She wanted to talk about something else . . . “You said you’d been to London once before?”

 

Yeah, bluetooth those pictures, Kerry, and free up some space on your phone.  You never know how many more you’re gotta get with that little octopus hangin’ on to you.  This is where I wish I could draw, because there were some great photos they good that I could include.

As if I didn’t have enough to work with at the moment.


20 Comments

Anatomy of a Rebuild

With the new scene out of the way, the time had come to start tearing up an old scene:  lunch at the Pret á Manger outside the Russel Square tube station in London at 13:17, or 1:17 PM for you not on Universal Time.  Since I know some people will ask, “How do you know there’s a Pret á Manger outside the Russel Square tube station?” because just like Johnny Cash, I’ve been everywhere, man:

Resturaunt on the left, tube station on the right.  You're welcome.

Restaurant on the left, tube station on the right. You’re welcome.

Now, getting in and tearing things up isn’t always pretty.  I could have just copied the scene off and put it aside with, “Don’t Touch Until Ready to Delete,” but I didn’t want to do that because it just gets in the way eventually.  The easiest thing to do here is use the Scrivener ability to take a snapshot of your document.  The snapshot is nothing more than a saved copy of your scene/chapter/whatever at the time it was taken.  The nice thing about the snapshot function is that you can take as many as you like, and “roll them back” into the original any time you like.  Or delete them if you think they serve no other purpose in your writing life.

It doesn't really have the same impact without Ringo singing in the background.

It doesn’t really have the same impact without Ringo singing in the background.

I knew where my kids were going this time, but I now needed to make some notes concerning stations and the such.  Because I’m nutty like that, you know?  For this scene I’d already went into the Document References and attached a link to the map of the London Underground that I’d imported into Scrivener, so I split the screen and pulled it up so I could make sure I get some of the stations right–which came in handy later, because you’ll see why.

This is how you get around with a map--and a bit of imagination.

This is how you get around with a map–and a bit of imagination.

Now that I knew my stations more or less, I brought up the document notes–and the London Journey Planer website that I’d also embedded in a note card in Scrivener, and started looking at the route I’d taken.  There were a few points on the trip where I wanted the kids to walk, so I plugged in a few stations, knowing that walking is something they do in London, and the website keeps track of that.

Yes

Yes, you can walk this route in ten minutes if you’re healthy–and training for the next Olympics.

You can see my notes on the right as to where the kids are going, what stations they’re arriving at/leaving from, and in this shot I’m figuring out if they can walk from the London Eye to Big Ben tower–and since Westminster Station is right across the street from there, and this Journey Results tell me I can probably walk it in ten minutes if I push it, then, yes:  it’s very doable for a couple of eleven year old kids.

One of the things I left off of here, and didn’t realize it until I was writing, was the place that Kerry hinted at going.  So I popped up Google Maps, got the location, then looked for nearby tube stations that would take them to Russel Square.  Found it–probably because I’d actually almost used it before–and added that note in as well, saying they’d summoned a cab–or a dragon, hard to say which–at taken it to the place Kerry wanted to see.

Lastly it was time to skim and see where new stuff needed to get added, and old stuff that didn’t make sense needed to come out.  One of those things that came out was a few comments about Collin and Alicia and why they weren’t invited, but since Annie had made those comments in the prior scene they didn’t need to be here as well.

I made a few comment markers in the story and highlighted them so I’d know where I should put my new stuff and where I might need to edit the old.

Just like some of us used to do in school--when we did that study thing.

Just like some of us used to do in school–when we did that study thing.

With all that out of the way–about an hour’s work or so, not counting getting the maps and stuff a few days ago–it was time to write.  And in that empty space between the two orange comments, I wrote.  I had Annie taking Kerry around London; nothing major, just out to London Bridge, then down the Thames to the London Eye, then over the river to Big Ben and St. John’s Park and a look at Buckingham Palace . . . a nice little walking tour where kids could talk and take pictures–and at a couple of points in the narrative, Annie managed to get a little touchy-feely with her newest traveling companion.  That girl–whatever is on her mind?

When I finished I’d had my best night in a while.  The count said 1,063, but that didn’t take into consideration the one hundred and thirteen words I’d cut before I started, so the final count was far closer to twelve hundred words.  And that’s just the start.

There’s more to come tonight.  Much more . . .


13 Comments

Questions Answered

Finally, thirty-five hundred and sixty words later, the new scene I’ve been working on for my novel is finally finished.  With getting in five hundred words here and six hundred there, there was a week of writing, but it’s there.  It’s finally there.

First Draft?  That means it's okay if it sucks, right?

First Draft? That means it’s okay if it sucks, right?

I don’t mind that it took a while to get to this point:  I was working with a different mind set for the scene, and it was greatly different from the scene it replaced–for one, two characters were pulled out, and the dynamic is strictly one-on-one in both instances where characters are speaking.  It also sort of establishes that Ms. Rutherford and Annie are of the same world, and Kerry is just some interloper who happens to be there because–we’ll, you find out in Part Two and Three.

For now, however, one of the questions that kept getting asked is finally answered:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

She realized she’d made Kerry a bit uncomfortable, but there was the possibility that his mind was focused on her, and when she asked him the question again, his mind wouldn’t wander. “Would you like to do something? Would you like to go somewhere with me, Kerry?” She leaned every so slightly towards him. “I’d rather not spend all day in the hotel, but I’d also rather not wander about London by myself.” She moved ever-so-closer. “I’d like it if you’d join me.” She sifted in her chair, sitting back while never allowing her eyes to drift from him. “Please?”

Annie didn’t need to read minds to see Kerry was suffering from a great deal of indecision. She began wondering if perhaps she’d pushed too hard, if the selfishness her mother often railed at had taken over, and she’d scared him away. He has no idea what he wants . . .

She watched his eyes shift from side to side as he considered her proposal. She couldn’t read him because of a mask of semi-confusion etched upon his face. Being able to read him didn’t mater, though: there were only two outcomes for her question—

Kerry rubbed the side of his face with his left hand. “Well . . .”

Failure, or

He met Annie’s piercing gaze. “There is this place I would like to see—” He turned his eyes towards the floor for a moment. “Would that be okay?”

Success.

She nodded slowly as a slight grin appeared. “I’m sure we can fit that in.”

 

See?  Not that big of a deal.  One just didn’t see the fifteen hundred or so words needed to get Kerry to make up his mind and decide if he wanted to stay at the hotel, or get out and pound a little London pavement.  And that will lead into the next scene, which is getting rewritten a lot as well, and will incorporate parts of a scene that was cut out and cast aside–one of those two cards in the picture with “Delete” written over the top of them.

Ask a question, get it answered.  Simple, yeah?

 


11 Comments

Fear For Your Lives

Despite the promises that I’d get a lot done yesterday, very little was actuated.  Call it holiday blase or whatever, but the writing spirit wasn’t there.  Also, the two rather hefty pints I had for lunch probably didn’t go much good for the mood, either.

But, hey:  can’t have every day being a writing day.

Thing is, when I look at my notes for the current scene I’m in, I realize that I can probably wrap up the whole thing in a day or two.  If I really jammed it out tonight, and I do it for sure, because all that remains it (a) having Annie tell Kerry there is no way in flippin’ hell she’s asking the other two monsters if they wanna see the city, (b) she answers his question about why she’s asking him to run around the city with her, and (c) asking the question for the third time and getting an answer.  Easily peasily, as Pinkie Pie says.  (Who, some quick research show, shares a birthday with me.  Um . . . okay.)

Annie is trying to get what she wants, which is something she does a lot.  That was something my beta reader told me about her:  she’s a leader, not a follower, and she does things.  She wants to go out, and she’s gonna drag this kid along no matter what.  Well, if he says “no” she’ll probably get steamed and then go after him in another way, but–yeah, Kerry’s hitting the town with her, like it or not, and that’s that.

"Aren't we supposed to be walking through London?"  "Pretend for a moment we're not in a stock photo, Kerry."

“Aren’t we supposed to be walking through London?” “Pretend for a moment we’re not in a stock photo, Kerry.”

In the original version of this scene Annie was the passive one and Kerry was Mr. Take Charge.  Someone who’d only been to London once was about to drag around a girl who’d been all over the world–yeah, that didn’t seem right.  Particularly after it’d been pointed out to me.  Now the feeling seems a little different, a little better–

I’m still afraid of Annie, though.

I wrote her wrong in the start–or, as I was told, it felt like I wrote around her.  She had no personality, no feeling.  As she points out in this new scene she’s been all over the world, but that didn’t come across the first time.  Now it’s better, but there is still the feeling, when I enter the scene, that I’m still afraid of her.

Or, maybe, I’m getting her too right, and that starting bringing on memories that I’d rather keep repressed right now.

Makes any sense?  No?  That’s the way writing is at times:  the writing knows what they hell they’re rambling on about, and the read is left to wonder why.  Needless to say, I’m becoming less afraid of Annie and more willing to write her as she should be–just as I’m doing with Kerry.  The juxtaposition of personalities is happening, and it’s forcing me to go slow with my scenes and get their out the way they should.

But with all things slow and steady, in time you reach the end.

Usually in once piece . . .


2 Comments

Questions Asked and Yet Answered

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, I’m awake and alive (the two can be, at times, mutually exclusive), and I made it through another Saturday which wasn’t one of the best, but it was better than I expected.  There wasn’t as much writing as expected–I feel just short of six hundred words before I was busy doing some research during the afternoon, and there were distractions like Where Eagles Dare being on TCM (bit of trivia:  it has the highest body count of any Clint Eastwood movie–total 100 people–and it was the last movie where he didn’t receive top billing) and then Orphan Black Season Two starting an hour and a half later, seestras.  But the quantity isn’t important:  it’s the quality.  And it ended with one of the more important things I’ve written for the story:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie patted the envelope with her right hand. “Ms. Rutherford left prepaid debit cards with £200 on them for us to use. No need to worry about money for the day.”

“Oh.” Kerry’s eyes took on a far away look as he seemed to consider Annie’s words.

Seeing the indecision on Kerry’s face, Annie knew the time had come to push the forty-four percent odds in her favor. She reached out and touched his hand; Kerry’s head swiveled around to face her immediately. “Would you like to do something? Would you like to go somewhere with me, Kerry?”

 

Yeah, those last two questions are going to come back a few more times in this scene, and later–well, I know what sort of importance they play much later in the story, and the effects are going to be fairly tramatic.  You wouldn’t think that would be the case, but it will.  It’s gonna tear someone’s heart out.

Don’t worry:  they’ll get better.

Yesterday’s post seemed to generate a few of my more interesting comments, which were along the lines of, “Wait, there’s werewolf erotica?  Since when?”  Since people were writing, that’s when.  Off the top of my head I can’t remember the actual title, but back in the days when Rome was pretty much kicking everyone’s ass, one of the more popular books around had the main character turn into an ass and head off some sexual adventures.  It has been pointed out by no greater an authority on the mater than Cracked.com (I was biting my inner lip when I wrote that) that strange fetishes have been around a long time–sometimes centuries, sometimes a lot longer than we’d like to admit there’s recorded history.

I like to make fun of the various sorts of erotica out there on the Internet, until I remember that (1) these people are writing, and (2) some of them are selling a lot.  What that says about people in general I’ll leave to you, because if you read some of my stranger erotica, you’d likely lump me in with the dino porn women.

If you are curious about the the sort of things out there, never fear!  I’m gonna show you, because I’m that sort of gal.  Click on any of these links at risk of your own sanity, and lets remember that every link takes you to that wonderful purveyor of reading material, Amazon.com, and not some shady, back-asswards website where the Internet has crawled off to die.

Without further ado:

"How is that even . . . no, no, no!  Why did I look?  Why?"

“How is that even . . . no, no! Why did I look? Why?”

Maybe you’d like some Kraken erotica?

There are also some excitable werewolves, and a leprechaun you might not want to meet.

Maybe you’re not the Mother of Dragons, but you could be the lover or one–or two.

I don’t remember reading about this Minotaur when I was into Greek Mythology–

Speaking of Dino Porn–yeah, it’s here.

Gay Cuttlefish Shapeshifter Erotica–that’s not something I made up:  I’ve taken that right off the Amazon page for the story.  You’re welcome.

Even unicorns won’t escape my gaze!

Last but not least, if you’re interested in how someone works to write stuff like this, they talk about it in long piece from io9:  How to Write a Sex Scene Between a Unicorn and a Rainbow.

Hummm . . . I think my work here is done.


14 Comments

Sourcing the Odds

Though last night was one of those nights where it seemed like I was doing a dozen things at the same time, I managed to get a lot done.  It wasn’t crazy time or anything like that, just busy stuff that kept me going pretty much from the time I walked into the apartment until I was time to go to bed.

Let’s see:  I was writing my new scene, I was editing a story for a friend to read, and I was chatting with said friend about some of my old stories, most of which are strange erotica.  Of late I’ve gone through a lot of that old stuff, thinking about updating it and throwing out on Smashwords and Amazon to take its place alongside all the other strange erotica out there.  (What I want to know is why isn’t there more lesbian werewolf erotica?  I see a lot of gay werewolf erotica, but nothing for the ladies?  Or are we too busy being seduced by dragons and krakens?)

I found one story that I’d even forgotten I still had, though I remember writing it so long ago.  How long ago?  Someone made a reference to Windows 98 in the story, that’s how long ago.  If I remember the situation behind the story, I think I wrote it about 1997 or so, and ended up posting it on a now-defunct website for all to see.  That way I could say to all, “I be published, yo!”  The other thing I forgot about the story is that someone actually illustrated the story for me, throwing in a couple of drawing for some of the stranger scenes.  Why did they do that?  Because they liked the story.

Ah, back in the day when I was such a hot-shot kinky erotica writer.

Did I mention I was also drinking last night?  Yeah, a little bit of the cognac to take the edge off a long week.  And it managed to get the creative juices flowing, too.  What can I say?

"I'm such a busy girl--next up on my list:  getting blind drunk and finishing my novel.  Worked for Hemmingway!"

“Next up on my list: getting blind drunk and finishing my novel. Worked for Hemingway!”

And through all this I managed to get back into my new scene.  Honestly, with all the jerking around I did last night I had no idea if I was doing anything right in the story or not.  It felt like I was writing, while on the other hand it felt like I was spinning my wheels getting little done.  By the time I shut the project down and headed off to bed, I’d clocked in just over seven hundred words, which isn’t a huge amount, but it’s inching back up towards a thousand, and that’s really where I want to be in terms of getting my word count on.

Which led to this little moment:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Ms. Rutherford was on her feet before Annie could react, and snapped her finger in the direction of the lifts. “Then there’s our third member—Kerry.” The chaperon’s smiling eyes followed Annie to her feet. “He’s gonna come out of those lifts any moment now because he’s usually early when he’s not sleeping in—” She chuckled as if she were keeping a joke to herself. “He’ll probably have his backpack with him, and his phone and computer inside. He’s going to look around, wonder where everyone is, and then head into the cafe because if there’s one thing that kid won’t miss, it’s free food.”

This much Annie knew to be true. “I noticed that last night.”

“The thing with Kerry is there’s a fifty-six percent possibility—”

Annie’s right eyebrow shot upward. “Fifty-six percent is a rather exacting prediction, isn’t it?”

“You think?”

“For someone who isn’t a Numerologist, yes.” She locked her arms across her chest. “Too exacting, actually.”

“I can assure you I’m not a Numerologist—” Ms. Rutherford didn’t bother to keep from smirking. “Though you don’t know what I took when I was in school . . . As I was saying: there’s a fifty-six percent possibility that once Kerry hears today’s news, he’s gonna head back up to his room, set up his computer, and do whatever it is he does on it all day long. And should that happen, we’ll not see him for the rest of the day.” She glanced down at Annie’s darkened expression. “Or should I say, you won’t see him for the rest of the day—I won’t see him ’cause I’ll be in the office.”

So she knows. Annie was aware that her family knew why she wanted to arrived in Amsterdam with the London group, but this was the first indication she’d received that other’s in The Foundation also knew why she was staging here. “That’s likely, I’m afraid.” She wasn’t about to give Ms. Rutherford the satisfaction of seeing her mood change for the worse.

 

Damn these Foundation people:  knowing the odds and your little secrets.  Well, when you do your best to run the world, you pick up on these little things.

Just wait until Annie is running things:  she’ll probably drive people crazy with her crap.


7 Comments

The Naming of the Names

Between various things–you know . . . how the rest of it goes–I was back into the new scene.  I rewrote some of what I’d written the night before, getting rid of some draggy stuff and adding information where needed, and then started writing the new stuff.  Not a lot was actually written–about another six hundred words–but something did happen in the discussion between Ms. Rutherford and Annie:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Ms. Rutherford’s last statement had Annie sitting upright. “We can leave the hotel?” She leaned towards the chaperon. “Without supervision?”

“Well, if I’m not here . . .” Ms. Rutherford tapped a fingernail against the envelope. “It would appear you’re on your own—yes?”

This brought forward another problem. “It might be a little difficult getting around—”

“—Without money?” Ms. Rutherford held the envelope for Annie to take. “You’ll find four pre-paid debit cards in there with instructions for setting up the PINs. Anyone wishing to do a little sightseeing won’t need to worry about fund.”

“How much is on each card?” It was a necessary question, because Annie was getting an idea for why Ms. Rutherford had handed her the envelope.

“£200.” Ms. Rutherford pulled her handbag to her lap and held it tightly against her body. “More than enough for buses, the underground—even a taxi if anyone wants to hire one.”

It wasn’t that Annie didn’t think she couldn’t handle the responsibility, but . . . “Why are you giving this to me?”

“Because you’re a Legacy.” Ms. Rutherford’s eyes shined brightly while rhythmically drumming her fingers against her thighs. “That means I should be able to trust you. Or . . .” She nodded towards the lifts. “Would you rather I give this to one of the Normal children?

This was the first time Annie had heard Ms. Rutherford use the labels that Annie knew, but didn’t expect to hear spoken aloud until everyone arrived at Salem. True, there wasn’t anyone close enough to hear their discussion—still . . .

Ms. Rutherford began digging around in her purse. “I doubt you’ll have to worry about handing out those cards; once you’re told the other they have the day to do as they please—” She set her gaze upon the area around the lifts and the cafe. “Would you like to hear?” She didn’t wait for Annie to give an answer. “If I were a betting woman—”

“Or a Numerologist.” Annie saw nothing wrong in voicing her own opinions now that Ms. Rutherford and she were speaking openly about their affiliation.

Ms. Rutherford didn’t respond to the taunt. “If I were a betting woman, I’d say two of your fellow students won’t do anything with their free time. Collin will come down, find out nothing is planed, and head back to this room to watch a football game, maybe get someone to come in and set up a video game for him.

“Alicia will complain, as she always does. She complain there’s nothing to do; she’ll complain she doesn’t like the food; she’ll complain there’s nothing to do in her room, and that she’s bored.” Ms. Rutherford gave the inside of her purse one last glance and snapped it shut. “She’ll probably come down here and complain to anyone who’ll listen about how bored she feels.”

 

And there you have it:  Legacy and Normals.  And a Nurmerologist, but what the hell are they?  Doesn’t matter:  you’ll hear that name come up again.  But I figured that rather than keep some of the stuff about The Foundation in the background–and since people, cleaver people, would already figure out that there’s something different about Annie, keeping things hidden when these two are speaking was rather silly.  Why would Ms. Rutherford entrust £800 to a girl a month short of the twelfth birthday?  Because she’s one of them.  And if you can’t trust them . . .

Then it’s onto the next scene, a big rewrite, probably a snapshot getting taken as well.  But I’m also going to use a function–well, not actually use it, because I already have looked at his a little.  But here is one of those nice things about Scrivener that can make your life easier when writing.

I’m talking about bringing in interactive websites while you’re working on something.

It’s very simple:  you add a new card, tell it when adding that you’d like to make it a website, tell it a little further in you want a dynamic website, put in the address, and click Okay.  And there you have it:  website in your project when you need it.

This means when I’ve got my kids walking around London, if I don’t feel like going to my browser and maybe getting distracted by whatever the hell distracts you on the Internet these days, I just split my screen and bring up this:

Anyone notice the time?  :)

Anyone notice the time? That’s, um, a joke.

That’s not a screen show, that’s the actual Journey Planner for the City of London website.  But what if I don’t know where I am in London, and where I want to go?  Well . . . I’m ready with that, too:

I started off by winding my way down Baker Street--hey, I already went there in the story.

I started off by winding my way down Baker Street–hey, I already went there in the story.

I bring up a map of the London Underground, and by using the image tools below the map–which I get by double clicking on the image–I can make it bigger or smaller.  When I’m done with the map I can arrow back to the story–using the arrows in the upper left hand of the left frame–and get back to writing.

Yep, it’s really that simple.  And once you got it in place, you never gotta worry about it again.

Until you need something new, that is.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,929 other followers