Through the Door of Imagination

Coming to the end of my scene last night–and I should mention, the end of Chapter Sixteen as well–I wrote this final paragraph:

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Erywin sat staring at the empty chair across from her, fingers tapping against both arm rests. “There’s something we, the instructors, say—” She slowly turned her head so she was looking at both children. “—that pertains to both teaching and counseling, Annie. ‘We can show you the door; we can even hold it open for you. But you have to be willing to step through to see what’s on the other side’.” Erywin rose, straightening her pajamas. “She insisted there isn’t anything on the other side, and that’s as far as I can take her.” She respectfully bowed her head. “Have a good evening, children.”

 

I use the symbolism of a door a lot in this novel.  Passing through one door to another and finding something incredible waiting.  This was the end of Kerry’s Evaluation and Assessment:

 

He nodded slowly. “Okay, Doc.” He looked for the exit. “How do I get out of here?”

The doctor nodded at something behind him. “Go out the patio doors.”

Kerry turned and started walked towards them. After three steps he stopped and turned. “There really isn’t a patio out there.”

“There is if you want one.” She gave him a knowing look. “You’re going to find out that around here vision and willpower—and knowing how to apply them correctly—go a long ways towards making things you want happen.” Again she nodded toward the doors. “Go on, Kerry. Enjoy what’s waiting on the other side.”

 

Kerry did, and slipped right down into the rabbit hole.  Annie did much the same for hers:  she walked through one door, found she had to walk through another to meet with her adviser–and ended up telling a multi-millenniums old creature that she could stuff it, she was there at school for her reasons and her reasons only, and to hell with everything else.  What did she get for her troubles?  Shown to another door which should have lead to a nice, comfy bed–which in a way it did, where she said something to a certain doctor/nurse, and that led to questions and answers and reveals and . . . well, the start of something great.

Annie did the same thing to Kerry in London.  When she suggested he come with her on a walking tour of London, she didn’t say, “Pack your shit, Welsh Boy, we’re going out.”  No, she asked, “Would you like to do something? Would you like to go somewhere with me, Kerry?”  She showed him the door, but in the end, he had to decide to walk through and investigate the wonders she was about to show him.

Writing a story, a novelette, a novella, a novel–when you start they’re all like standing before door, wondering what you should do.  The door is the idea, but what is on the other side–that’s your imagination.  What you’re going to find on the other side . . .

Hey, you gotta open it first.

Hey, you gotta open it first.

What you’ll find is a room full of jumble.  Plots, characters, scenes–they are everywhere.  It’s the way things are.  Stories are a messy thing, there’s stuff all over the place.  But if you work that idea enough, if you think about your characters and where you want them to go, what you want them to do, what sort of adventures they’ll have–in time, you’ll tidy up that room, get things in order, and eventually produce something.

Or as Dwayne Johnson might put it:

 

When you walk up to opportunity’s door, don’t knock.  Kick that bitch in, smile, and introduce yourself.

 

And then start moving things about and getting that story in shape.

I’m always thinking about my stories.  If not the one I’m on, then the next.  Though this time is different:  I’m eight months into writing, 201,101 words into the story, and I might have another six, seven, eight months of writing ahead of me.  I’m going to make a push to knock off twenty thousand more words by the end of July and get extremely close to the end of Act Two–and then I’m gonna start editing another novel, because publishing, that’s why.

I think all the time about my stories, my characters, where I want them.  It’s a non-stop thing.  Once I’m through that door I have to stay and get things done.  That’s why you get a little crazy writing, because you want out of that room, but you can’t leave until you finish.

But not everyone is like me, wanting to write grand, sweeping novels.  Some people are really good with short stories.  The process is the same, the time frame is a lot different.  And keep in mind, there’s writing, and there’s editing.  Writing starts the story; editing builds upon that foundation, allows you to correct what isn’t right.  No story is perfect on the first draft:  I know this all to well.  Keep polishing.  Make it pretty.  In time, you’ll get it there.

Your stories are waiting on the other side of a door.  I’ve shown you that door–

It’s up to you to go on through.

Outrunning a Sunset of Feelings

After a long day of getting up, blogging, packing, and driving, I’m finally back at Casa Burg, aka my Harrisburg home away from home.  Unlike when I left The Burg a week before, I kept caffeinated where necessary, and alternated between working out scenes with my characters, and playing music real loud.

And having a Butterbeer Frappachino, only because someone said I had to try it.  Well, she didn't say, "Try it," but you know what I mean.

And having a Butterbeer Frappuccino, only because someone said I had to try it. Well, she didn’t say, “You have to try it,” but you know what I mean.

One of those magic moments I had on the return home was watching the sky turn a deep blue before setting into black not long after passing through the Allegheny Tunnel.  I was playing REM’s New Adventures in Hi-Fi at a comfortable but you-can-feel-the-music volume, and there were certain songs that simply hit me a certain way.  I’d had that happen a couple of times on these trips to and from The Burg to The Vall, but they usually hit me hardest when I’m zipping along a twisting turnpike at seventy miles per hour, or one hundred and twelve kilometers per hour, which makes it sounds like I’m on a road course.

The coming of the night brought out some unusual feelings for me.  Feelings for others, feelings about my work, feelings about others close to me.  There was a lot of crazy shit bouncing about in my head for most of the trip, but during that three hour run through the mountains and the tunnels, I think I was as close to epiphany-grade thinking as I’ve ever gotten.

One of the scenes I played with on the way back is something that happens in this novel, right near the end as one of the last scenes in the book.  In fact, I can say with certainty it’s not the penultimate scene, but the one before that, whatever “Two Scenes Before the Last” is called.  (I looked it up, of course, and that is called the antepenultimate or propenultimate scene.  You can thank me anytime.)  It’s when Annie and Kerry return to Amsterdam after leaving school, and being reunited with . . . in Annie’s case her mother picks her up, and in Kerry’s Ms. Rutherford comes to collect him.  One has family, one doesn’t.  One can talk about being a witch all they like to their witch of a mother–and I mean that in a good witch way–and one can’t say a word about what really happened the past year at the strange, hidden school in the middle of Cape Ann.

Kerry gets introduced to Mama, there is pleasant small talk, and then it’s time for the Annie Family to hit the road.  Annie and Kerry say their finally goodbyes for the year in front of the adults, and then handle the emotional impact in their own way . . .

Annie internalizes most everything except with the right people.  Mama is not the “right people,” and the last thing she’d ever talk about with her is how walking away from Kerry is making her feel.  It’s been a strange, hard, first year, and leaving her Ginger-haired Boy behind is tearing her up inside.  She won’t show it, though.  She’ll get home, great her father, have dinner, and go to her lake house where she’ll sadly reflect her loss.

Kerry’s not like that.  Before coming to school he’d kept his emotions shut down, and only on certain occasions for a certain someone would he actually reveal what he felt.  But not anymore.  In the last few days of school he’s discovered that love and pain go hand-in-hand, and watching the person you’ve been attached to for more than nine months walk off complete in the knowledge that when you wake up tomorrow morning she won’t be there to greet you, to share meals with you, to walk hand-in-hand with you–

He loses it in the airport.  Major crying jag, has to hold on to Ms. Rutherford because he needs that human touch, and she helps calm him, gives him words of encouragement, and helps clean him up because she doesn’t want his parents to see him that way, distraught over having to “spend the summer without his special love.”

And what happens after that?

You know, one day I will get around to writing those last two scenes . . .

The Future Through the Past Today

Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday, which was the main reasons why I returned home last Friday.  I’d told her I’d be her to help her celebrate, and true to my word, I did.  I also watched a mammoth get its ass set on fire, which had its moments, believe me.

All they needed was for someone to quip, “Have fun storming the Wall!”

With all this happening yesterday, there wasn’t a lot of writing–which means I did manage about six hundred words at some point after 9 PM local time.  It wasn’t much, just Wednesday ratting out the kids with the video footage of what was happening down in Spell Cell #3 earlier that afternoon.  Though “ratting” is probably a little too harsh–Wednesday’s really not that sort of person.  After all, she did tell someone about that time she killed the school’s sorceress . . .

 

(This excerpt and next from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

A video began playing on Mathilde’s display. “What am I seeing?”

“This took place earlier today—Spell Cell #3. Had a couple of students request a fire cell because they said they were going to try a fire spell.” Wednesday glanced over to the headmistress. “Emphasis on ‘try’.”

“Why do you say that?”

On the video two students entered the spell cell. “Keep an eye on them: you’ll see.”

Mathilde closely watched the students—a girl and a boy—bring in two totes before unloading books and electronic gear. “Who are they?”

“Annie Kirilova and Kerry Malibey.”

The headmistress recognized the name right away. “Our Cernunnos A Levels? The ones the instructors are talking about?”

Wednesday nodded. “One and the same.” She punched the fast forward. “They’re putting wood in the fire pit, save for . . .” She returned the playback to normal, and pointed to one piece of wood set against the wall. “That one.”

“I see.” Mathilde leaned her right elbow on the armrest of her rather comfortable chair and stroked her cheek with her index finger. “And the reason for that?”

“Watch.”

 

Yes, watch the magic, because that’s what’s happening.  That and what I ended the scene with . . .

 

Mathilde spun her chair to face Wednesday. “What project are they working on?”

“Holoč’s first part of the school year project. They decided they wanted to make charcoal?”

“And did they?”

“Yep.” Wednesday sped up the display, which showed the two children standing close together. “Not much to see here—”

“What are they doing?”

I was hoping I didn’t have to answer this one. “They’re hugging, maybe kissing.”

 

Kids, you’re so busted!  Not only are you on video snuggling, but the Headmistress is seeing this.  Wends, so not cool.  Then again, Miss Mathilde has probably seen them vanish under the comforters during the Midnight Madness, so is she really surprised?  Probably not.

Never fear, though, because there’s a method to Wednesday’s madness, and it’s coming out in another scene that’s coming up.  I’ll get there by the end of the week.  I think.  I feel I’ll finish this scene today, or at least I’ll put a big push on to get it done today.  After all, I don’t have that much to do . . .

But yesterday was also time for reflection, all because of a song.  See, yesterday I was playing a bit of Elton John on the computer, and Rocket Man was one that hit the repeat more than once.  That got me to thinking, because there was a novel I wrote–which is still unpublished, of course, story of my life–where that song came into play.  What novel am I talking about?  The first novel I ever started:  Transporting.  The one that took me twenty years to finish.

278,000 words of fun.  You gotta start somewhere, right?

278,000 words of fun. You gotta start somewhere, right?

The scene in question was one I wrote probably way back in 1990, maybe 1991.  Maybe.  It’s all so fuzzy, really.  I suppose I could pull up the original documents . . . which tell me nothing, because when I moved the original documents to my off-line drive in 2005, the creation dates were changed.  So I’m stilling with 1991 or so, because why not?

Rereading the scene in question I realized how much I’d missed these characters.  The moment I started reading I remembered everything about it, even though I haven’t looked at this particular scene in maybe three years.  But there it was, all coming back as I reabsorbed the words.

The scene is simple.  One of my time traveling people, Audrey, is back in time and on another planet trying to help the civilization there.  She’s in her private air/space ship Liberator, flying along with one of the residents of the planet, Callia, and the ship’s AI/Avatar, Maggie.  Since Liberator can fly through air or space, Audrey decides to take them up into orbit and let Callia see what her home looks like from a few hundred kilometers up.

That’s what this scene is about:  taking someone up and showing them secrets that no one else know, because Callia’s planet has only known air travel for a few decades, and space flight is something a bit off in their future.  Audrey is giving her a special experience, one that she alludes to she doesn’t feel is all that special to her anymore.

Because I’m in a good mood today, I’ll share it with you.  Keep in mind that Audrey, who is not from the 32nd Century, which is where she lives throughout the story, but was actually from the period of 1950’s to the 1980’s–when she was found and, ahem, taken–swears a great deal.  I make no apologies for the frequent f-bombs; if it’s any consolation, Audrey doesn’t, either.

Here you are.  Enjoy.  It’s allowed, you know.

 

(Excerpt from Transporting, copyright 1992, 2012, by Cassidy Frazee)

After a couple of minutes Liberator appeared to level out. The ground was still above the ship, but Callia could see it was far, far away. She understood the concepts of orbital mechanics, and so realized they must now be in orbit, falling around her planet. A slight tinge of excitement ripped through her body as she understood that she, of all people on her planet, had become the first people to ever see their home this way. She pulled herself up into a kneeling position, gazing outside, watching the surface of her planet rush by. She wasn’t aware the engines were off, the music had stopped, and Audrey was standing behind her, silent, letting her enjoy the moment.

When she thought the moment was right, Audrey said in a quiet voice, “Pretty fuckin’ awesome, huh?”

“It is incredible, yes,” Callia half-whispered back.

“You want me to get pictures?”

Callia turned, her face a mask of excitement. “You can do . . .” She realized how ignorant her question seemed. “Damn. That’s foolish of me.”

“What? Forgot where you’re at and what I can do?” Audrey laughed. “Hey, it’s okay. You’re entitled to it.”

Callia bit her lower lip and turned back to the view outside. “You’re far too kind to me, Audrey,” she said with a great deal of reverence.

Audrey shrugged. “Naw, not really. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be here.”

“Anyway . . .” Callia nodded, then turned back to her alien friend. “Thank you, regardless. This is something I’ll remember forever.”

Audrey really didn’t know what to say. To her, this sort of thing had become commonplace. Sure the first couple of times . . . it was a total gas. Now it was like driving to work: Been there, done that, seen it. Callia’s innocence and glee caused something to well up inside Audrey. She didn’t think she was going to get maudlin, but . . . it had been a long time since she’d done anything that had made someone this happy.

At least, she felt, not since the holidays.

“Yeah, a real Kodak moment.” She realized there was something else she could offer Callia. “Would you like to try free fall?”

Callia turned away from the window for just a moment. “How’s that again?”

“You know: weightlessness?” Audrey started making hand gestures of something floating in the air before her. “Like floating on air?”

“I understand some of the theories behind space flight,” said Callia. “I just thought—”

“You didn’t want to ask me about it?”

“I figured you’d likely have to turn off your systems and make the whole cabin . . . weightless.”

Audrey shook her head. “Ah, no way. On some other loser’s ship, maybe. But not mine.” She raised one eyebrow. “Wanna give it a shot?”

Callia’s face lit up with anticipation. “Yes, of course.” Her smile was blinding. “I’d love to try it.”

Audrey moved back from the front window, positioning herself to the side of her main seating area. “I think from here to the window would be a good zone,” she said. “Maggie, you wanna give us some help?”

Maggie appeared, rising out of the floor like Venus from the sea, only Maggie was wearing a simple long dress and sandals rather than being naked. “I know what you want,” she told Audrey. “How else can I be of assistance?”

“You think you can step in and help Callia keep her orientation?” asked Audrey.

Callia looked puzzled. “Won’t Maggie be affected by lack of gravity as well?”

Maggie stepped closer to Callia. “I’m the ship,” she said, smiling broadly. “Remember? I can’t float about. It’s impossible.”

“How awful,” said Callia.

“Yes, but there are many other advantages,” said Maggie. She put her hands on Callia’s shoulders as if to steady her. “Such as what I’m offering you now.”

“What?” Before Callia could react Maggie started lifting her slowly off the ground. A few seconds passed before Callia understood that Maggie had altered the conditions in this section of the ship so weightlessness was possible.

Maggie positioned Callia so she was perpendicular to the floor, then slowly moved her closer to the window. Hand rails appeared in the wall, allowing Callia something with which to situate herself on her own. “Comfortable?” asked Maggie.

Callia nodded. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Some people don’t adjust well at first: Space Adaptation Syndrome, it’s called.” Maggie decided that detailing the symptoms—swelling of the mucus membranes, dizziness, nausea—was not in order. As Callia seemed to be adapting quite will, Maggie thought it best not to put any ideas in the girl’s head. “But you’re coming along very nicely.” Maggie released Callia and gave her a tiny push towards the forward window.

The lights dimmed in the main cabin. Callia didn’t know if it was Audrey or Maggie who’d dimmed them, but it didn’t matter. The view just outside the window became even more brilliant as the planet below them passed into darkness—or was it them who were passing?—and the lights of the cities began to glow through the thin cloud cover. Callia held on to the railings for a moment, then let go and allowed herself to float free, her eyes locked upon the tableau below.

Music was playing throughout the ship once more, but as before Callia didn’t understand what was being said. Audrey was singing again, and Callia could pick out some of the chorus: something about it being a long, long time, and the touchdown bringing her around to find that she’s not the man she was back home—that was all very strange.

Callia was glad Audrey wasn’t a male, because only another woman would understand what Callia was feeling this very moment, understand that she wanted to see what one future was like, to be able to experience it, and then, when everything was prefect, to be left alone with her thoughts and emotions.

She performed a slow roll, stopping with little difficulty. She sighed softly and wiped away the globs of tears that had formed around her eyes. She mumbled a thanks to Audrey, knowing she’d never hear her words. Whatever the girl could do for her people, whatever the future might bring . . . it all paled compared to what Callia was living this very moment.

For these were the memories one was fortunate enough to take with them to their grave.

Flashing Between Both Sides Now

Once in a while you need to go back and look back on what you used to do.  Sometimes you want to see what you were doing a couple of years ago and find out if things are getting better, have gotten better, or if they’ve slipped off the shelf and fallen right into the crapper.

It’s been a strange two years for me.  At that time I had just finished a novel and was trying to edit it so I could publish it one day–that day being almost a year later–I’d written a novella, I was working on another novella, and I was thinking about working on another short novel.  Also, I was working my first contract job after having done nothing for just over three years, and the experience was a bit unsettling because my place of employment wasn’t the greatest in the world and it was leaving me bummed like few things did.

At the same time, today, two years ago, I had my first meeting with my therapist, and started on the road I am today to becoming more like I should.  And I’m still writing.  Not publishing anything, no.  Not at the moment, because I have to rethink how I do that.  But writing, yes.

Always Be Writing, or you get no coffee.

Like this:

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

How do I work this, then? Do what Annie said: think of you making it turn. In order to do that— Professor Douglas told them she didn’t want them using foci, but was one making a motion with their hands a foci? He’d seen Annie flip her fingers and hands when working her spell, and if the professor didn’t say anything to her . . .

 

You go there, boy.  And always listen to your girlfriend.

The funny thing is, during that time, two years gone now, I’d written maybe sixty thousand words between the first of the year and the middle of May while working–and here I am, having written about eighty thousand words between the first of December and the middle of May while working.  Is that good?  Is it better?  Honestly, I’m not sure.  Volume doesn’t mean quality, it just means you’re spending a lot of time in front of the computer typing.

Like this:

 

He pointed his left index finger at his spindle and visualized how it might appear were he to place his finger upon the object and turn it around. But I don’t have to touch it, I only have to imagine I’m touching it. With the image firmly in his mind, Kerry felt the tingling at the back of neck telling him he’d once more tapped into that mystical power source that witches used to alter all around them.

All that remained was one little thing.

 

And that little thing is–what?  We’ll get to that in a moment.

Two years from now, if I am still alive, I will have seen pictures beamed back from Pluto, which will be pretty cool, planet or not.  I’ll probably still be on-line, hearing all sorts of crazy shit, most of it BS that can be refuted with a simple Google search, but where’s the fun in that?

I’ll also be writing.  Always Be Writing, or . . . you know how it goes, right?  In the meantime . . .

 

Kerry slowly circled his finger to the left, and the spindle matched his movements. He performed three circles to the left, stopped, then repeated the motion, circling his finger three times to the right before bringing the spindle to a complete stop.

He looked up at the student progress board and saw his name flashing green.

Wednesday walked over, a pleased look upon her face. “Well, Kerry, I’d say you got that one down. And you did it in nearly the same amount of time as Annie.” Her eyes shifted to the person on his left. “And I believe there was something you were going to do?”

Kerry touched Annie’s arm, his fingers light upon her wrist. “You can do it. I know you can.”

Annie nodded slowly as she focused on the spindle. She raised her hand and slowly curled back two of her fingers. “Yes, love—” She smiled as the spindle smoothly rose ten centimeters from the table surface. “I know you know I can.”

 

See?  Even when I’m writing I’m finishing up my scene from last night.

Always Be Writing, folks.  Sure, it’s only three hundred fourteen words I put down this morning, but after a while, it adds up.

That first draft is always the best draft.

That first draft is always the best draft.

By Lovely Lake Lovecraft Once More

So this happened last night:

 

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

“Thank you.” She walked slowly out into the hallway. “I enjoyed our talk as well.” She turned and headed towards the steps leading to the lower level.

Deanna’s eyes unfocused for perhaps a second before she snapped back to reality. “Don’t take the tunnels.”

“What?” Annie spun around quickly. “What’s what?”

“Don’t take the tunnels to The Pentagram. Take the paths.”

“Why?”

“It’s a nice day; you never know what you’ll see on the way.” She nodded towards the main entrance. “Go on.”

She wouldn’t be telling me to take the paths unless she knew something. Annie grinned a little, then turned and headed slowly to the main entrance. Once there she turned, her hand pressed against one of the large doors. “Goodbye . . . Deanna.” Then she slipped outside, the doors closing behind her with a whisper.

Deanna kept her own grin affixed until the door were closed. The moment she was alone in the building her face took on a far more serious demeanor. She stepped back into the middle of her office and closed the door, then slipped deep into thought.

She finally pulled herself back to her surroundings and looked about. “So I was right.” She reached for her table. “I need to speak with Trevor.” Deanna’s eyes narrowed. “He’ll know who to contact.”

 

Damn seers:  they know everything, and tell you nothing.  Sneaky like cats, I tell ya.

The rewrites are, as far as I’m concerned, finished.  Character corrections are completed and there really isn’t anything more to do–save get back into Act Two and start writing.  Except . . . I gotta go through all the last scenes before the end of Act One and check for mistakes.  I also get to reread things:

 

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

Annie returned her gaze to the path. Rather than retracing the route Kerry and she had taken on their first trip to Memory’s End, she took the longer, wider path leading to Gwydion Manor. From there she thought she’d head south to the main Witch House path, or take the path winding around the south and west shore of Lake Lovecraft. Dolvan Pavillion sat upon the west shore, and Annie saw it as a good place to sit and reflect upon what Professor Arrakis and she had discussed. Maybe she would ponder her dreams of the past, and try and imagine what the future would bring—

“Excuse me, Miss?”

Annie heard the voice and looked around, expecting someone to jump out from behind a tree. But that’s Kerry’s voice, and he’s not in the trees . . . She looked up and saw nothing, then turned to her right and saw a shadow slowly moving along the ground behind her.

She twisted around and looked up again—

Kerry was hovering maybe five meters above her, floating around to position himself before Annie. She watched as he dropped nearly to the ground, then rotated about so he was facing her. “Do you have a moment to hear about the horned god of our coven, Cernunnos?” He settled down until he was hovering a meter away, eye-to-eye and grinning wildly. “You’ll want to hear about it now before you sleep in the tower tonight.”

Kerry.” She bounded the short distance to her soul mate, standing to his left.  “Look at you.”

“Yeah.” He took his hands off the broom and lifted his goggles.  “Look at me.”

 

I can see this routine going over well in Boston.  Then again, he can knock on your door with his broom and float away if you don’t want to listen.

Though I managed to delve a little into the last scene, the last one I worked upon in full was Lovely Lake Lovecraft–which, as the resident Dark Witch tells everyone, has nothing to do with her.  Here is the scene in full:

 

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

The sunshine lay warm upon Annie’s face while she squinted up into a sky full of light clouds. After a morning of flying and exploring, she was resting upon her back on the north short of Lake Lovecraft, and the moments Kerry and she had shared played through her memories.

They’d flow over the school grounds at a low, leisurely pace—”bicycle speed” as Kerry said. They found buildings they didn’t know existed—all three of the groundskeeper’s buildings scattered around the grounds, and a long building north of Lake Lovecraft that they’d not walked near, but that Kerry recalled reading that it was known as the Firing Range. They flew over all the science buildings, the Hanger, and the Aerodrome. They found another lake and a small spring, with neither appearing to have a path leading to either. They found courses cut out through the woods that Annie knew were used for racing.

They flew over The Diamond and were astounded by its immenseness. They flew around the Observatory where the dome was open with a few students standing about, taking in the bright noon air and looking at the scenery beyond the walls. They managed a touchdown on the outside deck, much to the surprise of the students and Professor Bashagwani, who was working on the telescope. They stayed long enough to enjoy a small mug of her special hot chocolate before sailing off into the sky once again.

Kerry showed Annie the route Professor Salomon and he took when they buzzed The Pentagram. They did it once, then ten minutes later did it again, only at a speed like the first time Kerry had flown the route with the professor. This time, however, instead of flying past Åsgårdsreia Tower, they circled around and landed inside the Pentagram Garden near Mórrígan Tower before heading into the Great Hall to get lunch.

Annie heard the murmur running through the Dining Hall the moment they both entered wearing their flying gear and carrying their brooms. She watched Kerry the whole time, noticing how confident he appeared, as if how he was dressed and what he was carrying had become a normal part of his life. She saw that he wasn’t strutting about the room, that none of the attention was going to his head. It’s time for lunch, and he’s talking a break from flying—nothing more or less. He’s not about showing off; he only wants us to eat.

At no time in her life did Annie believe she’d share a moment like this with anyone. Her mother told her a few times that her Papa was the flier in the family, that she’d done what was necessary to get through A Level Flying, and that they rarely flew together except during class. Annie was aware she wasn’t much of a flier, either, and after her disastrous first flight, her interest had become less than zero.

But when Kerry asked her to fly with him, she couldn’t say no. His desire to see her fly, and his confidence at her unseen abilities, drove her to show him, her love, that she could meet his expectations. And his confident spilled over onto her being, for she’d never expected to sit upon an Espinoza and have it perform as expected.

Today, she’d piloted her broom as if she’d piloted one for years.

They flew another thirty minutes after lunch before setting down on the northern shore of Lake Lovecraft, unzipping their flight jackets and laying down next to each other upon the grass. Everything seemed so perfect to Annie—or as perfect as anything she’d felt since meeting Kerry two weeks ago. The weather, the company, being together on another adventure: given how the day has begun, she couldn’t ask for a finer interlude.

Yet something nagged her, and she soon understood that there was something she had to tell Kerry . . .

She stared into the sky while moving closer to him. “Can I ask you to do something for me?”

Kerry was lost in his own thoughts, but he heard Annie’s voice clearly. “Sure.”

“If you should ever meet my father . . .” She reached for Kerry’s left hand, holding it tightly against her stomach. “Please don’t tell him about this day.”

He knew the chances were slim that he’d meet Annie’s parents any time soon, but he respected her wish enough not to ask why. “Sure, Sweetie.”

“Thank you, my love.” She held onto his hand, as if she expected to float away without an anchor. “Thank you for everything.”

 

And that’s where I leave them, at a spot at the school where so many feelings will come to them over the course of this year:  a moment of rest, a moment of confession, a moment of remembrance.  But those last two are some time off in the future, both in the book and writing.  Tonight they go home–and I can move on with my kids, in the way they were meant to be seen.

Though there seems to be some confusion about what sort of students they're rousting.

Though there seems to be some confusion about what sort of students we have at this school.

The Editing Muse

There was no editing last night.  None.  Nada.  Absolutely zero.  And I’m certain my story feels badly about the whole thing.

"We miss you!"

“We missed you!”

I’m sure you do, pumpkin, but mommy had other things to do last night.  Like drive to Silver Springs, MD, and hang out with an author friend I’ve know for a long time, but never met, Dana Myles.  We walked, we ate, we chatting–you know, doing things that normal people do.  It was fun, and it’s something I should get out and do more often.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t think about my story.  Oh, no.  We talked about it.  A lot.  Dana wanted to hear all about my story, and I was ready to tell her–

But I was also thinking about something else on the ride down, which was a nice, long one because someone decided to take out a lot of guard railing in Baltimore, leaving me stranded in a five mile long backup for almost an hour.  I thought about editing.

Yesterday’s posted elicited a few comments on editing, and the consensus seems that editing is the suck.  Most writers I know hate editing.  Even though they know they need it, when their story tries to send them to editing, they say no, no, no.  I was the same way; I dreaded getting into editing mode.  Such a pain in the ass–

Well . . . not really.

One thing I’ve learned over the last couple of years is that editing isn’t a necessary evil, it’s just necessary.  Because no matter what you do to get your story off the ground, no matter what you do to make certain it’s going to become a good story, there’s always something . . . off.

A lot of my feelings on the matter of getting your first draft perfect match what I wrote back in late January of this year:

 

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

Kerry didn’t look at Professor Ellison as he mumbled a reply. “I don’t . . . I’m not sure I’d be any good.”

“I can understand that.” Ellison now moved a little closer, relaxing to keep his body language neutral. “Are you worried you’re gonna suck?”

Annie almost laughed; Kerry looked up a bit surprised by the question. “A little.”

“That’s okay, you know—” The professor leaned against the machine closest to Kerry, but he kept the boy the center of his attention. “As a creative person you have permission to suck—particularly if it’s your first time trying something. Writing, painting, drawing, playing: the first time you try any of these things you’re probably going to suck—and that’s okay.”

“I’d rather not suck in front of a bunch of people.”

“No one does, but even the best do now and then. And between now and and the weekend after the 21st of March, you’ve got about five months to practice and get better.” He decided to try another approach. “You know who never sucks?”

Kerry almost said “Professionals,” then caught himself because he knew of numerous examples where they had. “No. Who?”

“The people who never take a shot. The ones who are sitting in the audience going on about how people suck, how you suck, all the while sitting there running off their mouths.” He let himself relax, so as to put Kerry at ease. “I can get you a good tutor. I know just the perfect one for you, too.” He stepped away from the synthesizer and stood before the boy. “What do you think? Wanna be one of the few A Levels who gets up and shows everyone what you got?”

You are allowed to suck, but it’s a good idea to keep the sucking to a minimum.  That’s why Professor Ellison wants to get a tutor for Kerry–because there is sucking, and then there’s “That’s one hell of a train wreck, fella,” sucking.  It’s one of the reasons I spend so much time setting up my novels before the first word goes on the page, because far too many times I’ve seen people put up a post about how they’re seventy thousand words into their story, and it’s a complete hot mess and can’t be rescued–

That’s train wreck level sucking, and I stay away.  I always try to figure out my story well ahead of time, so I get rid of the plot holes and the such.  One of the reasons I time line things out the way I do is because I don’t want to mess that stuff up.  Like I pointed out last night, there are events that happened to Annie and Kerry in Part Three of Act One that never get resolved until about Chapter Twenty-Eight of Act Three.  There’s something that happens to Kerry in Part Three of Act One that doesn’t get resoled until the third book.  There are things that I just have to know, because . . .

I’m like that.

And yet, no matter how good you are with a story, there are times you get something wrong–something that is way, way the opposite of right, and then your story–more likely a beta reader who hates what you’ve done with a character–turns and comes at you like an unstoppable creature who has you tied up in the bathroom, and is hell-bent on forcing you to return to the story and rewrite things so they become right!

"You have her crying--crying?  No, no:  you will go back and you will fix her!  I look serious, do I not?  Then, when you are finished, we have Jell-o with lots of sugar--"

“You have her crying–crying? No, no: you will go back and you will fix her! I look serious, do I not? Then, when you are finished, and all is correct, we’ll have Jell-O with lots of sugar–“

There’s a muse you do not fuck with.

You do it because, as a writer, you have to get it right.  You’re allowed some sucking on that first draft:  there’s no excuse after that.  That’s why I edit.  And guess what?

I actually kinda like it.

Begging the Differences

A quite night led to some interesting editing, which is often a lot better than the uninteresting stuff I normally write.  (I’m only quoting some people I know; the rest will tell you . . . hum, I wonder about that.  Never mind.)

I rocketed through the flight and got the kids at the school, inside the Great Hall, and back into their Evaluations and Assessments–or as some people at Salem might call them, screwing with kids to see if you can break them.  It’s a bit of the ‘ol psychological torture, yeah, and depending on the mood of the Great Benefactor and Protector of the Institution–you gotta worry about any spirit that lives in an underground chamber called The Cauldron–she might just flip you off and send you packing, or . . . she might just drive you a little crazy before kicking your ass back into the hallway.

Now comes up one of my favorite scenes in the story, and last night while putting about to get ready for bed, I realized how something important changes in the story based upon how the characters have been altered.  That’s because in the first draft Kerry was sort of the “I wanna explore” sort of person, and it was he who dragged Annie all over London, taking her places he wanted to see.  She never said anything because she was hiding what she really was, and was happy to go along for the ride.  It was only once they arrived in Amsterdam that Annie was like, “Hey, let check this out.”

As I was reminded, however, Annie is really something of a world traveler, and there’s even a scene in the book where she talks about walking around Hong Kong with her mother.  She’s been everywhere, while Kerry has pretty much visit Jack Shite, UK, and little else.  Also, from the first chapter you know Annie is hangin’ with the Normal kids–that’s what The Foundation calls them–so she’s sort of a Changeling pretending to be like them.  Since that was the case, there was no point in hiding her true nature, and since there is a reason for her wanting to spend time with Kerry–reasons that came out in her E&A–it makes sense that she’s the one dragging ‘Ol Ginger Hair Boy around London and Amsterdam.

Therefore, I was thinking, when I get to the upcoming scene, it not only makes Annie’s reasoning for what she was doing far more clear, but it makes Kerry look all the more clueless about his friend’s motives.  He really, totally, completely, ends up looking like he’s been walking about with eyes wide shut and wholly oblivious to what was happening between his new found friend and him.

Which means it should hit him like a much bigger hammer when Nurse Coraline delivers the good news.

It’s really fun to watch the dynamic change between my characters after just a few little personality tweaks.  Some moments will remain where they’re pretty much on even ground–usually about the time magic starts happening–but the way I’m viewing things now, Kerry is back to where he should be:  always pondering just how great his little Dark Witch is, and how he feels she’s so much better than him.

"Kerry, remember when people thought I was only here for you to tell me what to do?"  "That's because the person writing us lost her mind."  "What do you mean 'the person writing us'?  Are you saying we don't do these things on our own?"  "Umm . . ."

“Kerry, remember when people thought I was only here for you to tell me what to do?” “That’s because the person writing us lost her mind.” “What do you mean ‘the person writing us’? Are you saying we don’t do these things on our own?” “Um . . .”

Yeah, kids, if you were telling me to what do, why didn’t you tell me months ago?  I swear–lazy characters . . .

Bookin’ it Back Again

Whereas the night before I was adding words to a scene, last night saw a balancing of the books, so to speak.  Second rewritten screen, and this was made somewhat better because silly little things were removed, and I keep someone sitting in the shadows until the last moment.

It’s all a matter of perspective.

Mostly I felt great writing last night.  I’d been thinking about what was needed for the rewrite, and it hit me some time back:  keep the room dim and keep Annie sitting.  Have her in the shadows, but put Kerry there, too, so that they can see each other, but not very well.  Keep her in here chair, watching this strange boy who doesn’t seem to know where his book are.  And keep the name reveal until the last moment, so she stands only to tell her name and hear his.  And then be shocked.  Or her version of shocked, at least.

This would be Annie if it were darker--and she were in a chair--and in shadow--and didn't have . . . oops, this is the future.  Never mind.

This would be Annie if it were darker–and she were in a chair–and in shadow–and didn’t have . . . oops, this is the future in a different library. Never mind.

There were days and days of hesitation, so being able to get into the story, look at what was written, and then just start writing was a marvelous feeling.  It was even better knowing what I was going to write, and when, and just wrote.  Sort of like old times before I was stressed and weirded out by a whole lot of things.

One of the things I’ve been playing with in Scrivener the last couple of nights are snapshots and using a drop-down function in Compile to make it easier to do a chapter at a time.  The snapshot is what your your scene/chapter/document looked like before you started messing with it.  As there were a few things in the Book Store Scene I wanted to use, I needed to ensure I didn’t get cut happy and waste a section before realizing, “Hey, that was important.”  So I snapshotted it, gave it a name, and left it to sit while I did my biz.  Since I’m happy with how the scene turned out, I’ll delete it tonight.

The important thing about the snapshot is being able to “roll it back” into the existing document.  That way, if you totally hose up your scene, you replace your new hot mess with the old, and things are good as new.  Though if old was a hot mess as well, good as new might not be an improvement.

I’m sending off the rewrites to a beta reader, and to do that I’m compiling them into pdfs.  Since I don’t want to play “Click That Scene” to get the right one to compile, I’ve used a drop-down box on the Compile Pop-up to get to the scene in question.  Just roll through your manuscript, find the act/part/chapter/scene, pull that out and click it to select.  Then compile and get your print out.  Easy as pie.

Really, I should have discovered this ages ago.  Guess I was too busy world building.

Really, I should have discovered this ages ago. Guess I was too busy world building.

Tonight that big “To Do” gets tackled.  I know what I’m going to say, because I’ve played that scene out in my head a couple of times.  Or three.  Or maybe a dozen.

It’s all relative when it comes to writing, you know?

The Ginger Rewrite

There was writing last night.  Not a lot of writing–though if one considers I added five hundred fifty words to a scene, I guess you might consider it a lot.

I finished rewriting the first scene in my current work in progress, the scene where Annie departs for school.  The first part of the scene was good:  it hit all the right notes and set a tone I set out to achieve.  Other than cleaning things up here and there and streamlining a few sentences, it remained the same.

Where I expanded was later, in Annie’s bedroom, where she’s looking over her things one last night–for the next few months, that is; it’s not as if she’s going away forever–and her father comes up to speak with her.  It was a good scene on its own, but as I was told by my beta reader, it was lacking something.  So . . .

Oh, you wanted to see what I was working on?  Well, look below:

Oh, you wanted to see what I was working on? Well, look below:

 

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

“Are you going to miss this?” She turned around and found her father stood in the doorway, watching her. “Do you want us to send you anything from here?”

Annie looked about the room, taking it in, considering her father’s question as she decided not to mention her previous thought. She shook her head slowly. “I think of anything, I’ll send Mama a message.”

Her father nodded. “I am going to miss you.”

“Are you?”

Victor was somewhat taken back by the quickness of Annie’s reply. “Yes, I will.”

“I’ll miss you as well.” The right side of Annie’s mouth twisted upward into the faintest of smiles. “Mama, too. I’ll miss you both.”

A few awkward moments of silence filled the room as Annie and her father gazed at each other without speaking. Victor didn’t know if Annie was being her normal self—quiet and contemplative—or if she were truly upset. It was impossible to get her to admit her feelings at the best of times, and Victor knew better than to press the issue now. The last thing he wanted was to see his daughter off on her great journey with her angry at him. “I do worry about you, you know.”

If there was one thing about her father that was true, Annie was aware that he worried about her. Even during those times when they had little to say, when he was away with his job, he always called home and asked of her well being. He does care—if he could only show it more. “I know, Papa.”

“And you’ll be away on your own, alone, having to do so many things for the first time . . .” His attention was drawn to the bay window. “Meeting so many new people . . .”

It wasn’t difficult for Annie to see where her father’s trailing statement was leading. “That’s true, Papa.” She twisted her head slightly to the right. “But I’ll be careful. You know I will.”

“I know, but . . .” Victor was almost squirming in his need to speak.

Annie decided to relieve her father from his dilemma. “But he’ll be there—yes?”

Victor nodded. “Yes. Your Ginger Boy.”

She’d wondered if this was the real reason for her father coming to her room: perhaps not, but it was enough to bring him upstairs. “There’s nothing to worry about with him, Papa. I’ll be fine.”

Given an opening, Victor was ready to voice his concerns—after a question. “When will I learn his name?” He raised an eyebrow. “Soon?”

“Mama knows his name; if she wanted you to know, she would have told you.”

Victor shook his head as he chuckled. “You women.” He rubbed his chin slowly as he met Annie’s unflinching gaze. “I know almost everything you’ve told your mother: you’ve known him for years and he knows you—”

“Yes, Papa.”

“But you don’t know him, Anelie. You’ll find seeing this boy in your dreams and then out of them are completely different experiences. Which is why—” He breathed deeply before continuing. “I worry.”

Annie had heard these same comments from her mother two weeks earlier—was it possible she’d spoken with her father? She dismissed the idea; the words coming from her father were not her mother’s. “I’ll be fine. I have nothing to fear from him.”

Her father wasn’t quite convinced. “I worry you’ll end up hurt.” He tapped his fingers together. “It is possible.”

She shook her head. “No, it isn’t.”

“Anelie—”

“Nothing bad will happen, Papa.” She almost cracked a smile to put him at ease—almost.

At this point arguing with Annie was going to lead to a confrontation, and that wasn’t what Victor wanted. “All right; I’ll take your word. I know what he means to you.” He chuckled again. “And I know when you’ve made up your mind, I shouldn’t try to get you to change—” He tapped his fingers against his legs. “Particularly where he’s involved.”

Annie did think it a little unusual that her father didn’t push his opinion harder, but his final statement said it all: he knew he wouldn’t change her convictions, and he accepted them. Maybe not fully, but he does. She went over and slowly slid her arms around him. “Thank you, Papa. It means so much that you trust me.”

 

And there he is:  The Ginger Boy.  You’ll learn more about that brat about sixty thousand more words into the novel–or will you?  Actually he’s hiding in plain sight, because one of the things I’ve changed up in these first few chapters is to not hide things.  I tried that and it wasn’t actually working.  While I’m not coming out and saying things–okay, I will come close to that later–if I’m gonna tell the tell, then I’ll tell it.  Tell it in a way that makes sense, but at the same time doesn’t show everything.

Yeah, it makes sense that things will get said by people who aren’t part of the Normal Group.  You have to show a little difference here and there to make the characters come into their own, to allow them to be who they are.

Hence some rewrites–

‘Cause you’re not always going to do it correctly the first time around.

Chestnut Breakdown

It’s Liz Parker Time around the casa once more.  That can only mean one thing:

I’m writing again.

I say I’m always doing something writing related, but now I’m actually back writing.  Slow, yeah, but I’m back.  Nothing new, either–unless you consider a rewrite of an existing scene that needs some tuning up and something added a rewrite, well, I’ll take it.  I’ve sections of Act One that are in need of rewriting and, in at least two scenes, to be made completely new.  There may be more, but I’m getting to them.  Because it needs getting to, you know.

There is one good thing to come out of all of this:  in deciding to completely redo a scene in Chapter One, something will happen there that will actually tie into a conversation that will happen in–let me look it up–Chapter Thirty-one.  It would be Chapter Thirty-two, but I think I can change the time line just a little, move a couple of scenes from there to Thirty-one, and eliminate a chapter.  Whee!  That means I’ll only have to write forty-two chapters–which, you have to admit, is a lot more geek-lined.

However, getting to that link required thinking about how the story would play out on the other end, and that wasn’t pleasant.  Oh, the planning and whatnot is always a lot of fun–usually.  There are moments when it’s all a pain in the ass to get everything straight in your head, which is why I always make charts and such to help me along.

No, it’s when you have to get into your kid’s heads and understand why they do some of the things they do.

The scene in question brings up the matter of dreams, which in the world I’ve created are usually a lot more than they seem.  Particularly if you’re Annie and Kerry, who seem to have an issue when it comes to a special form of lucid dreaming.  These dreams have special meaning to both kids, and for the first time yesterday I thought them out, even made a few notes, because at some point gotta talk about them.

But it wasn’t those dreams that caused issues in these scenes:  it was remembering another dream alluded to in Kerry’s dream.  It’s something that explains an action he takes in Act One; it explains something that’s been bothering Annie since meeting Kerry.  It’s something that ties in something said in Chapter One–something she’ll say a few more times, as if she’s trying to trigger memories.

In bringing up this new dream, however, it pulled out a few memories and feelings of my own, one of which is particularly painful at the movement.  And in doing so, I had a full-on crying meltdown.

"These imaginary characters of yours are tearing you apart.  Why don't you take up another hobby--like, something without emotional connections?"

“These imaginary characters of yours are tearing you apart. Why don’t you take up another hobby–say, like, something that doesn’t involve emotional connections?”

The upside is I finished the scene, and made notes.  One moment I’m all about to fall to the ground crying, and the next I’m trying to set it down in writing.  I blame the hormones, which probably did play a big part in what happened last night.

But I’m back writing again.  I feel good.

Let see how long this goes.

Trials and Sombulations

There weren’t any last evening’s activities.  This whole weeks has found me struggling to stay awake after getting home from work, and there was no exception to this rule yesterday.  Work was something of a mind bender, and I even came down with a bit of a headache from all the concentrating needed to figure out why a program wasn’t working.

It’s enough to get you drinking if you wanted to drink . . . and there are plenty of times I want to drink these days.

But I did have the ability to think, however.  I couldn’t really write down what I was thinking, but I thought about thing anyway.  I wanted to go on my character design; I wanted to think about starting to write something I have developed, in my head, for a scene–

I couldn’t.  Not one word.

When those moments come around you begin to wonder “Is this from being tired, or am I ready to pitch this crap into the nearest bin?”  Those thoughts do run through my head a little these days, because that precious ego that I never really had was bruised, and I take a long time healing.  Not always a real long time, but it’s enough to push me into one of those quiet moments where I really want to walk away from things for a while.  Though the last time I did that, it was like ten years before I came back, and I don’t think I have another ten years left in me.

It all comes down to a matter of adaptation.  I need to make this character work, and I’m deconstructing her so I can put her back together.  There are some things I don’t like, or that bother me, about her personality, but that’s part of the character.  You have to work it out and own it, baby.

But in the haze that entered my mind about eight PM last night, I starting having my doubts if I could make it work.  If I could have this happen right.  Those doubty doubts:  I hate them.  You get them if you’re a writer, and when they come they play hell with you.

But then there’s the flip to that doubt.  If I got up and walked away from it all, if I said, “I’ve had enough of this bullshit, I need a break, I think I’ll take the next year off and think about never coming back to my writing,” that wouldn’t set well with a few people.  I can think of at least one person in particular who would react badly to that news, and all hell would break loose . . .

"You're upset because I've stopped writing!"  No, I'm not . . . just look at the flowers, Cassie.  Look at the flowers."

“You’re upset because I’ve stopped writing!  You are!” No, no I’m not . . . just . . . look at the flowers, Cassie. Look at the flowers.”

Okay, maybe not that bad, but there would be a lot of hurt feelings come out of it all.

I know what’s bringing on the tiredness I feel at night; I simply need to work through that.  Once that’s out of the way I can get my mind back on other things–

Like reconstructing the deconstructed.

No Rest For the Timid

There wasn’t much to get done yesterday.  I was falling asleep at work, I ended up walking home in the cold rain–and my walk is about a kilometer, or three-quarters of a mile–so by the time I arrived I wasn’t in the best of moods, and I was feeling a bit of a chill.  But there were packages waiting for me, and one of them were new jeans and a fleece jacket, and I had to try them on and check things out and get pictures and . . .

And by the time I finished doing all that and chatting with people, nine PM had rolled into town, and the brain wasn’t doing what it should do.  Never to mind.  It did a lot of that stuff earlier during the day, usually between moments when I was working on programs and going to meetings.

It’s how I pass my day when I’m working at my other life.

The other thing I’m into at the moment is mind mapping.  I’ve done this before, and talked about it on a few occasions.  These days I use Scapple–not because I work in Pennsylvania, but because it’s a good product.  Mind mapping is a good thing if you’re trying to work out something and you just don’t know how all the pieces fit together.  This isn’t the same thing as building a time line, though you can take the information here and build up your cause and effect–or your Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey ball of stuff if you’re in that sort of mood.

So I’m trying to rebuild a character, and I’m forty-eight notes of information into the process, and I’m still going.  I’m trying to be honest and saying the things that should be said from the questions being asked.  It’s from this that I’m trying to build the layers of the onion, and every so often it does make me cry–

 

This is your life in notes--I hope mine is more interesting.

This is someone’s life in notes–I hope mine is more interesting.

Why do you cry?  Because I’m not certain that I’m asking the right questions.  If you don’t ask the hard questions, you’re not going to get the good answers.  You’ll get crap.  You know:  garbage in, garbage out.  It’s just like a computer, only this crap is swirling about in your head before you put it on a page.

So I’m doing that.  I played out a couple of scenes in my head yesterday, because between panicky requests to make changes to a program, one needs to put their mind to other, more important things.  Like figuring out when Papa’s gonna ask about a certain boy, because he knows his only child is really off to school to meet this kid.  Or what someone does when they are the first off the elevator and they get strongearmed by their chaperon to take one for The Foundation and do something special.  I also realized yesterday that one of the new scenes I created in Scrivener isn’t needed:  that journey around London can be discussed while having lunch.  No need to tell everyone about it . . .

It’s taking time, but it’s all slowly coming together.

The real treat is when I start writing again.