Long Journey Starting

Blessed Samhain, or Happy Halloween if you prefer–the time of holiday is upon us today.  As was said on American Horror Story last night, Halloween is the one day when you can always be yourself–though if they are really descended from Salem witches, they should be talking Samhain, but I won’t quibble.

Lets move on to the main story . . .

It was just after six PM.  The soundtrack was Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs by Derick and the Dominoes, followed by the Rolling Stones’ Beggars Banquet.  It was scene one of the prologue.  It was writing time.  I was on it, baby.

Though I said last night I would go distraction free while writing, I lied.  One one hand I was checking out the TV every so often, and on the other hand I was “conversing” with someone in a way that was really more like an argument, and one not leaving me in a good, happy place.  Enough of that:  I got writing to do.

I’ve said before that as I grow as a writer, it takes longer to get the words out in a form I like.  I caught myself making mistakes here and there, probably because of distractions, though I did catch them and get them fixed right up.  I tried something in this scene that I’ve never tried before:  removed the “said” and “asked” parts of a conversation.  Instead of writing something like, ‘”Are you?’ asked Annie,” or “‘Of course I’m ready,’ said Annie,” I went another direction, setting up a descriptive moment before words were spoken:

She threw a hard stare at her father.  “Are you?”


As she passed through the doorway Annie glanced back over her shoulder.  “Of course I’m ready.”

I’m going to do this for the whole novel.  I’m reminding myself not to use any sort of word that indicates a person is speaking, but rather set up the scene and let them speak.  Make it natural.  Make it seem the way it should seem.

Still, it was hard work.  I feel that the better I become as a writer, the harder writing becomes.  It’s because you know all these things that you don’t want to do, while at the same time you want to tell the story.  I know the “rule” about NaNo:  no editing as you write.  I don’t believe your rules–I know how I am when I write, and I want to get things as right as possible when creating my first draft.  So I watch what I’m writing, and fix things when needed.

But when I was trying to describe a lake–man, what a pain in the ass.  No matter how easy you think it’ll be, it isn’t.

I didn’t do everything I wanted to do last night.  I didn’t finish the first scene, but rather I’m probably a couple of hundred words from the end.  Not a problem:  I’ll finish that up tonight, then bring my other main character on stage.

In the end, however, I made my count for the night:  1,864 words.  It’s been a while since I’ve written that much, and tonight I hope to do better.

I’m on my way, kiddies.  NaNo has come early for some of us.


The Unknown Path Begun

Though it may be six-oh-five AM, already I have the opening line of my next novel in my head.  I actually came to me about a half-hour earlier as I lay in bed, growing slowly awake.  I edited it a bit as I ran the line over and over, so that I now is set as how I want it to appear in the story.

The path is waiting, and I’m ready to hike.

I should have started writing a couple of days before, but I didn’t.  There are various reasons I can point towards, but the truth remains I wasn’t ready.  I get in this strange state of mine where I know whatever I’m going to write will suck, or seem ridiculous, or simply isn’t worth the time I’m putting into the story–and then I break through all that crap and start.  I do this with almost every story.  It’s all that negative reinforcement I used to give myself back in the Bad Old Days, when I’d tell everyone I was working on a story, when in reality I was doing nothing but thinking about how great it would be to write.

Today I start.  I know I will because I created a spreadsheet to track my NaNo progress.  Oh, I hear you now:  “You’re not suppose to start until Friday!  Cheater!”  Yeah, yeah, go find a name for your dragon, ‘kay?  ‘Cause I know this, and I compensated.  The spreadsheet shows fifty-four thousand words being written over thirty-two days, and when you work out the averages, that’s 1,688 words a day, with just over fifty thousand of them written in November.  I’ve got it covered, don’t worry.  I do this for a living.

I’ve said a few times already all that remains is the writing, and soon that’ll be behind me.  I know where this story is headed, probably better than any story I’ve ever written in the last two and a half years.  Because it seems as if I’ve spent forever dealing with this and the characters.  The only other stories I’ve fallen into this much are my Transporting stories, and I’ve had over twenty years to think about those characters and what will happen to them.

This story I wanted to start last year, but didn’t because . . . various things.  It’s always various things with me, but it was enough to know I shouldn’t try writing it because it would have ended up a mess.  And it still could:  I’m under no illusions that I’m going to write something so wonderful it’ll burn the very paper upon which the story is set with its magnificence.  I just want this tale told, just like with any other story, and it’s high time I get about telling.

It’s been a while since I’ve plopped down close to two thousand words a day, so back into Discipline Mode I go.  Cut out the games, cut out the distractions, cut out–as my one true friend Trusty Editortm calls it–the insane, time-wasting crap that envelops us whenever we sneak online.  That’ means I’ll be an unseen presence prowling here and then–which, if I’m honest, is how I spend most of my time online these days.

It’s time to write.  I’m ready.

That’s what matters right now.

Leaving the Known Paths

Though I’d been up since three AM because of fire alarms going off–due, I was told by the office people, because someone was cooking at that time of the morning–I wasn’t as tired as I expected.  There were things I should have worked on last night, but I screwed around in Blender while The Graduate played in the background.

This was prime writing time, and I missed it.

Well, I didn’t miss it:  I ignored it.  I could have been doing something worth while towards getting the next story started, and I potted it.  Save for a quick short story the first week of September, there hasn’t been anything new written since the end of July.

Yes, I know:  moving in August and then again in September, that takes a lot out of your available time and energy.  Still, last week I was ready to go, and this week as well, and though I want to write, I haven’t felt the need to make a story.

There has been a strange funk that’s laid over me for a while now.  Where I once had great need to write things, these days I feel like the person I once was:  the one who said they were a writer, but who only wrote stories in their head and never truly developed anything.  I know, in part, what’s driving this:  fear.  Not fear that one day I’ll be successful; oh, hell yeah, bring that on.  If I could make high five figures every year writing I’d be happy.

No, it’s the other fear.  The one where you spend a huge amount of time and energy putting something together, but when it’s over only you and a few other ever see the results.  Yes, I write because I want to see the story as a living, breathing thing.  But I would love to do this all the time, and do well enough that I could make a living penning entertainment for others.

It’s not an easy path; it’s a damn hard one, if you’ve ever done this for real.  The known paths are the easy ones, because they’ve been walked by everyone, so they’re nice and smooth and you don’t have any worry of getting lost because the path is so well trod.

This novel that’s next, it’s scary.  It’s something I’ve never tried before.  It’s a bit out of my comfort range because it’s huge, and I’m going places with it I’ve never gone before.  I just went over a list of characters in my head, and there’s twenty-seven characters with speaking parts in the novel–and I’ve probably missed a couple.  Sure, some of those characters won’t have more than a scene or two, but they are there . . . twenty-nine:  I missed a couple of students.  See how that works?

I’m off a lot of paths I’ve walked with this one, but I imagine that’s the way most writers are when they are starting something big and new.  By now one would think I’m used to this, but no:  I always feel a little apprehension when I start a story, because there’s always this notion that I’m going to end up writing something silly . . .

But I won’t know if it really is silly until I start, right?

Walking with Witchy Poo

Today already feels like a bit of a grind.  The fire alarm went off in my complex at three AM, and I’ve been trying to wake up from a perpetual doze since everything quieted down an hour later.  It’s never a good thing to start the week with your head in a fog after a few hours of sleep.  I’ll manage, but I’ll be a wreck tonight.

Eventual it was time to crawl out of bed, get ready, and walk across town to my job.  Yes, walk.  I live about three-quarters of a mile from my office, so rather than drive in, I walk it.  It’s good exercise, and a great time to be alone with your thoughts.  And since there aren’t a lot of people out and about at six-thirty in The Burg, you can work out scenes aloud if you are of a mind–

Which I usually am.

A favorite question to ask is, “Where do you get your ideas?”  I think it was Robert Silverberg who said he had a service in Schenectady, New York, who mailed him new ideas every Tuesday, but I could be wrong.  That’s a good comeback, though, because ideas generally just come to people.  Something hits you, and there you have it:  idea.

While walking across The Burg I was thinking out a scene between one of my main characters and the school’s flying, levitation, and teleportation instructor.  In the mater of a few blocks I established that one, the current batch of A Level students don’t seem all that interested in flying PAVs; two, that a couple of A Levels appeared the day before asking if they could fly; and three, managed to establish that the instructor is Jewish.  The last I already knew, but the other two came to me . . . Oh, and also established that the instructor likes metric, because screw that goofy Imperial system.

But then it was time to talk about different Class 1 PAVs, and I needed names.  Easy enough:  just like cars, name them after people who developed them.  So you have Covington Trainers, and Espinoza 6000s, and the Higoshi Rally–

Lastly, about the time I was standing in front of the Capitol, came the Wilhelmina A’s through D’s.

Who was Wilhelmina?  A student from the 1960’s whose mother was a practicing Wican before her little girl–who was also a witch–went off to school to become a real real witch.  Then she discovered science, figured out how to work both together, and went on to greater glory.  But while she loved flying she hated the training brooms, so during her E Levels she built the prototype of the Wilhelmina A in Practical Science and Magic class.  Because she could.

No one at school called her Wilhelmina, however:  it was too much of a mouth full.  Because of her background–and because kids be kids–her nickname was Witchy Poo.  Which is what everyone calls her brooms.  Which is why my instructors says, “This is a good broom:  it’s a Witchy Poo B.”

Just like that, I had my scene in ten minutes time.

And added just a little more realism to my world.

Time Be Time Again

Here we are, the end of the month in sight and a lot of people appearing in a heightened state of anxiety over what they’re going to do come 1 November.  Fortunately I’m not in that camp.  I was a bit in 2011, when I finished up the research and detail work on my first NaNo novel, but now, two years later, I’m just here for the writing.

Well, that and fooling about with things.  After laying out my little track Friday night, I looked at it after setting up yesterday’s post and thought, “Hey, I know I can follow paths in Blender, so I wonder if I can do that with this track I created?”  Yes and no.  Yes, you can do that in Blender:  it’s actually a very simple operation.  No in that I didn’t set it up correctly at the beginning.  In order to follow a path I needed to create the track as a path, and I’d used a circle instead.  That meant if I wanted to create a short animation of flying around the school, I’d need to redo my track–

Hey, what else was I going to do yesterday?

So it was “Overlay the circle” time, and I spent the better part of ninety minutes doing just that.  Then it was attach the camera to the track, then launch the animation–Whoa!  It was like being in hyperspace, ’cause I did the course in about three seconds.  That meant it was time to play with slowing things down, and adjusting the camera position . . . took another hour or so, but in the end I had something that, from my seat at the laptop, looked pretty cool.

Then I looked at a spot on the track and thought, “Hey, isn’t there suppose to be a dip there?”  Played with the z-axis and not only put in a drop, but made it a double dip.  Then I looked at the point where the track crossed the main road and thought, “Yeah, they’d fly over that at height, not at ground level,” and raised that and turned that section of the course into a climbing turn.  There were a couple of other spots where I needed to do the same, and when it was all done, there I was in, flying along in three dimensions.

Fun little exercise, let me tell you.

Where is the video, you say?  Well, I started rendering it last night, but the moment the render function kicked in a noticed a few things–like, my outer walls are a stark, almost glowing white, and just won’t do.  Things look one way when you’re setting it all up, and completely different when start rendering things, and that means I have to work on materials and colors before I can animate anything, otherwise it’ll be more of an eyesore than it already appears.

The decision I have at the moment is when to start writing.  Sure, I could wait until Friday, but it’s more about getting the novel written and not the word count.  I know I can do fifty in a month; but can I finish this story by the end of the year?

Only one way to find out . . .

Racin’ on the Rock

With all the things that I’ve meant to do for my upcoming novel, there has been one that I’d performed:  I’d not laid out the race course found within the confines of the school–

Race course?  Allow me to explain.

One of “sports” my school allows is racing.  This isn’t something done on dirt bikes or off-road dune buggies, or even late model stock cars.  No, at SIGEL, racing–at least for the A Levels–is done on Class 1 PAVs with an unrestricted top end of one hundred thirty miles per hour and an operational ceiling of about five thousand meters.  They’re based upon a design that was used for hundreds of years before The Foundation came along, which is why even with the superspace transmitters and pop-up HUDs, they looks a lot like a witch’s broom.  Of course there are other types of PAVs, or Personal Aerial Vehicles.  A Class 2 looks a bit like a levitating jet ski, and a Class 3 is a lot like an Akira bike that is even street legal.  And there are other classes that go higher and faster, but that’s neither here nor there . . .

They’re used to learning basic flying, but they’re also used for racing.  And if you’re going to race, you need a place to mix is up.  There’s a rather nice, enclosed bullpen known as The Diamond, which can be configured for all kinds of three dimensional oval events:  after all, if you can move freely along the z-axis, why restrict yourself to the x and y ones?

But there’s also an outdoor course that one can race along, and that was what I’ve been missing for some time.  Sure, I kept telling myself, “I need to do that course,” but I’d never get around to the building.  Mostly because I didn’t know how I should make it.  Draw it?  Map it?  Model it?

In the end it was a simple decision:  all you need is an unbroken line that goes around in a circle.  Nothing fancy, just a course line.  Because, in my head, I know what’s there.

Blender is was, then, because it’s easy to take a circle and stretch Course Layoutit out and made it go where you want it to go.  It takes time to get it things worked out just as you might like, but in the end, if you know what you want, you’ll get it right–just like I did in the picture at right.

The line the runs along the wall is the course.  Not sure of the total length, but given that the campus is a mile across at the widest point, and about two and and a half miles between the north to south walls, I’d say I have something along the lines of a flying Spa-Francorchamps.  And while there are “safety features” along the course that will keep kids from slamming into trees and the wall at high speed, that doesn’t mean one can’t get hurt enough to find themselves on the way to the hospital.  Hey, you gotta fly it like you stole it, right?

You can see the route.  The start-finish is down by The Diamond–at the five o’clock position–with the course going counter-clockwise.  Heading up the long, sweeping start and a couple of easy turns before hitting The Main Twist, then a straight run to the Sunrise Glides, through the Lake Gate and into the Esses, a left at the Polar Turn, then another left onto the Cove Straight before hitting the fast, sweeping left hand turn, Sunset Boulevard, leading into the hairpin Base Drop.  Through the woods to the right-then-left hand Goose Tail, then onto the Gloucester Sweep.  A slight straight before hitting the Diamond Chicane, then you reach the start-finish–and do it again.

Congratulations.  You just finished a lap on my new course.

I hope it sounds as good when my characters are crashing and burning.


In the Stark White Moonlight

Well, then:  that was an interesting bit of work.

Last night I was looking for something to do, something that would let me polish up my so I wouldn’t have to do any more work on the back end when Writing Time came.  What was there to do, you ask?  How about looking at the sky?

It was something I came up with at work yesterday while I was looking for something to do there.  I have a few scenes in the story that take place close to sunrise, after sunrise, around sunset, and in the middle of the night.  Sure, you’ll say, “It was getting dark,” or “It was dark,” and yeah, I know those parts, but I wanted to see.  Therefore, in order to see, I had to go look . . .

I’ve mentioned before that Sky View Cafe is a bit like a time machine:  you can see what the sky was like anywhere in the word at a particular time.  (We won’t get into how the sky only sees the past anyway, that’s another story–)  If you know your locations and you know your dates and times, you can set up your view and imagine what happened under that particular firmament.  I knew my locations and my dates and time, so plug and play, right?

Yes and no.  When there’s no good way to get an image save for a print screen that is then cropped and saved, you have a bit of time on you hands waiting.  That’s what I had:  get the view, image it, crop the image, set it up in a text card in Scrivener, save it, link it to the scene in question.  I only had a couple of dozen to do, so it was make it work time, and after a couple of hours I was finished.

Why?  I hear you asking, I know you are.  Or maybe those are the voices in my head, I’m not sure right now . . . Part of it was just to do something last night, but in trying to put certain scenes in my head, it’s not just dialog and how the characters look–I need to see everything.  Location, lightly, weather:  it’s all part of the scene.  I like having that vibe that I know what’s going on, because if I do, there’s a great chance I’ll pass that vibe along to a reader.

That’s the trick:  making the reader feel what you feel.  Passing your images to them.  Taking everything I’ve created and making another person feel that creation.  If I can immerse myself into the world that I’m building, there’s a good chance I’ll pull someone in to join me.  They had better hope they can swim, however, ’cause the water could be deep.

I found a few other interesting things as well.  I’d mis-numbered some of my novel parts–can’t have that–and I had one scene that sort of made me wonder about it, ’cause I wasn’t sure why it was there.  After a few moments of reflection–which means I figured it out this morning walking to work–I knew what it was, and what it meant.  Problem Solved.

One problem eliminated.  Maybe a hundred to go?  We’ll see.

More Than This and Less

With the exception of maybe writing down a few addressed and double checking everything to make sure I’ve got it all in place, The Foundation Chronicles: A For Advanced is really to fly.  There is nothing more for prepping; at this point anything left is just busy work.

I’ve done prep work on novels before, and most of the time I’ve been over that stage in a few weeks.  My first NaNo novel was through pre-planning in about two weeks; my second in about a month.  This one has been going off and on since the end of May, but part of that was due to writing an intro novel to this series for Camp NaNo.  The actual work on this book has been going on for about three weeks, but my body and mind seem to think it’s been a lot longer.

My intuition tells me this story will top out around one hundred thousand words.  Throw in the fifty-three thousand I wrote for Camp, and by the end of the year there should be close to one hundred and sixty thousand words ready to edit.  Along with all the other stuff that’s ready to edit, which is in . . . well, lets see:  seventy-two thousand for Suggestive Amusements, around twenty-five thousand for Fantasies in Harmonie, six thousand for my short story The Relocator, and fifty-two thousand for The Scouring.  One hundred fifty-five thousand written this year, and this novel could take the world count to a quarter of a million.

Really not that bad.

But nothing published.  Yes, I have another edit to run on Couples Dance, but I’ve so many others ready to go.  It’s time to get the editing machine rolling.

After the first of the year there has to be a big push to get a couple of things published.  Edits and a cover for Couples Dance are required, but mostly edits; I do feel as if I need to give that story a process makeover.  Same with Fantasies in Harmonie:  I can see the story laid out in my mind, and there is a lot of “said, said, said” in it that I want to redo.  It’s something that needs fixing before anyone gets the book in their hands.  I’m also of half a mind to do that to Her Demonic Majesty and do a re-release.  Yes, nothing like a big rewrite to get things going again.

First quarter 2014 has to be a lot of editing and some publishing.  There’s too much waiting to get out, and the longer I sit on it, the longer it does nothing.  There is more than nothing, there is always something, but you have to make something happen.  It doesn’t do it on its own.  just like writing:  the characters don’t do thing by themselves, you make that happen.

If I don’t publish, then no one but me ever reads the tales.  I want more than that.

Big story and big plans:  it’s all ahead.  When does it start?

Sooner than you’d imagine.


Give Me a Home

Yes, I know I said I was done, but . . . I lied.  Well, not lied, just stretched the truth a bit.

It seems if you get me to thinking about something concerning any of my stories, I’ll find something that I need to add.  For example–home.  Or better yet, homes.  Where do people live when they aren’t at the school sponging off The Foundation?  (Which, by the way, isn’t what one might think.  I figured out operating costs versus net revenues, and . . . no sponging.  And it’ll make a great line later.)  It’s also needed because when The Foundation is flying kids back and forth around the world, it’s a good idea to know which instructors are flying on which planes.  Instead of, you know, just pulling something out of my ass later.

To the maps, then, while pulling up my instructor’s list . . .

Now, a few of these were already done.  I knew one instructor lived in Chicago; another lived in Colorado; one lived outside Prague; another lived in Berlin, New Hampshire; two lived in Oregon and Hong Kong respectively; one lived in England while her partner sometimes lived in New Zealand; and one lived in the south of France.  As for the staff:  one in Salem, one somewhere in England, another in France, and as I’d established in my Camp Novel, one in Palm Springs, California.

Given all that, it wasn’t difficult to find places for everyone else.  I pulled up their card and wrote their homes in the Document Notes found in Scrivener’s Inspector, and like that I was finished.  On to the next, find a place, write it down, and . . . done.

That left just one person . . . one of my main characters.

I’ve always said that this particular character lives in Cardiff, Wales, and I even knew just about where in the city, because I’d seen the location on Google Maps.  But there was nothing ever concrete.  So time get to it, right?  Yes, I did.  I pulled up his card, found the location, and wrote it down in the document notes.  Then, just for the hell of it, I googled the address, because there is a method to my madness, and . . . wouldn’t you know it?  There are houses for sale in that area.  Besides telling you how much the homes are going for–in this case, £285,000 for the home I wanted–nearly all of the realtor sites show you–

Floor plans.

Ergo, rather than dream up what the inside of the house looked like, I just clicked on the Floor Plan tab, did a couple of quick cut and paste, and there you have it:  instant layout.  And just so I wouldn’t lose anything, I went into that card’s Document References–also found in the Inspector; the little set of books icon to the right of the notes–and set up three links:  one external to the home location link in Google Maps, and two internal for the ground and first floors.

With that my work is done–well, pretty much.  I need to come up with the names of seven people tonight, which is no big deal, and then I’m really though.

Until I come up with something else.  Probably today . . .

Ready, Steady . . .

After the big roll out yesterday, the final cross on the “T”, so to speak, I sat around Laputa last night wondering what to do.  When you’ve spent months prepping–off and on, of course, no way would I have done this all in one stretch–and you hit the “Pause” button so you can recharge and regroup, you find yourself going, “Hey, what’s next?”

What’s next is niggling little things that poke at you and the worry in the back of your mind that you’re going to miss something.  You start looking at the sky on certain dates to make certain that things are going to look right.  The last two scenes in my story involve characters looking at the sky at the same time, and one seeing something completely different.  I knew one would see the sun setting, but the other–I had to check Sky View Cafe just to make sure it was dark, ’cause I know how surprising sunrise and sunset can be in Europe during the summer–as in, they come earlier and later than you’d image.  I was fortunate that I’d figured right, and that I didn’t need to move anything around there.

I checked time tables for trains.  There’s two train trips at the beginning that I wanted to locked down.  I changed the time for one–I was off by about five minutes for what I wanted in the scene–and for the other . . . it’s really easy to book passage on the Eurostar these days, a lot easier than it was when I was putting together a train schedule in 2006.  If you look hard enough, you can find out how much time it takes to go from Downtown London to the English side of the Chunnel.  Answer:  not very long.

Just in case I need any of this information, I plugged in a few of the websites in my novel project, so if I need to look something up, I have it.  Once more I recommend the site Time and Date, because if you ever need to see a date or time for a location, or you need to know what time it is in Omaha, Nebraska, when you’re in Osaka, Japan, this is the place to go.  If you have globe trotting characters, this place can be a live saver.

It’s all last minute squirming about, wondering if everything is in place and ready to go.  It is, but when I get to this point after a long set up, I tend to OCD all over the place, hoping against hope that you didn’t miss anything.  I know I did, I know there are a couple of scenes missing, but I’ll get to those as I come to them.  It’s not as if the story is going to run off in the middle of the night, or that my characters are suddenly going to open up a branch of the Hellfire Club in one of the various basements around the school grounds.  Besides, if they do, who do I pick to be The White Queen?

It ready, it’s steady.

All it needs now is the go.

Done Ready

Since yesterday was a day to stay off my feet after spending a huge part of Saturday walking, it was time to work on the novel.  Yes, NaNo is only a week and a half away, and a certain amount of panic can be felt oozing through my laptop screen, but as the song goes, that’s the way of the world.  To paraphrase Dieter, “This is the part of the show where we panic,” and everyone starts flailing about like extras on The Walking Dead.  It has happened before, and it will happen again.

Since I look pretty strange flailing about, I thought I’d better do something about it, so once I got back from breakfast and shopping, I loaded up the novel.  I’d done a few chapters Saturday–more than a few, actually–but I was at a point where I needed to get in and work out some detail.  So up comes Aeon and I start time lining a situation.  That took some time because I had to look for schools, malls, and hotels in another city, and there was a bit of eyeballing Google Maps to get the local set in my head.  I should get a screen shot of the area for the project–I’ll do that tonight.

With that in mind I fixed out the time line, figuring out an important plot point in my mind for the part in question.  These will snap into place, and I should write them down in the Document Notes in Scrivener.  Just in case they start to slip my mind, like the one that popped up last night which I figured out almost two months ago when I started plotting this sucker out.  Got a place for notes?  Better us them.

Then it was back to Scrivener, and the finishing of the story.  I checked on the sky for a certain moment in the story, then looked up a flight time for another moment . . . and discovered I’d calculated wrong.  So time to look up schedules, time to check time zone differences, and to put that into the mix.  The last thing I checked were trains out of Paddington Station, London, because I’m a glutton for punishment, and with that . . .

With that I Final To Dofinished up the plotting.

Fifteen parts and forty-four chapters–don’t let that “Chapter Forty-Three” fool you, there’s a Prologue–and did I count them?  No . . . one hundred sixty-four scenes.  Figuring a word count of five hundred to seven-hundred and fifty words a scene, I could be looking at eighty-two to one hundred and twenty-three thousand words written before “The End” goes down.  Or it could be longer or shorter.  I’ll see once I start writing.

But for now I’m giving myself a break.  I’ll tweak a couple of things here and there, and set up more notes, and maybe get a screen capture or two into the project, but beyond that The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced is at the end of the plotting and development stage.  I’ve done about as much to this sucker as I can, and if it isn’t ready to go now, it never will.

The new goal for me?  31 December, 2013.  That’s when I finish this.

That’s when this novel finally becomes a reality.

Philadelphia Freedom

Really, if you read yesterday’s post, how could you not think I was going to follow up with this title?  After all, it’s the title of one of the most well-known songs of the 1970’s, and the name of a sports team that Bill Burr forgot to mention when he was ripping the city a new one a few years back.  No way I wasn’t going to make it my title.

Outbound from The Burg, the train left on time, but lets note that it’s a local train, so you end up stopping a few times along the way.  We were also held up by another train at one point, which is a major fault with commuting by train in his country–you have to share the line with freight.  When building high speed rail you need dedicated lines; when I rode the TGV back in 2006, it wouldn’t have done to bring the train to a stop from 180 mph just because a fright line was crossing ahead.  Gotta nip that crap in the bud.

This saw us getting into Philly about and hour late.  No real biggie, ’cause I wasn’t on any kind of time table save for my return trip, and I’d still have time to make it with time to spare.  Spent a few minutes looking for the subway station, and then realized that I had to leave the train station and walk across the street.  Bought two tokens–to get to 5th Street and then return–and I was on my way inside a car that seemed packed to the rafters with people.

So it was I made it to the Park.

I arrived at the corner of Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.  Really.  You step out of the train station and to your Independence Hallright is the Liberty Bell, and as you walk across the park, there’s Independence Hall to your left.  It looks none the worse for wear, but then you’d expect that because being part of the national park system, there are people taking care of it.  At least they don’t have to worry about douchebags looking to destroy it because it’s old . . .

I didn’t go inside ’cause I was on a schedule, but I did take time to walk in and see the Liberty Bell, just to see if, like the Constitution, Nic Cage could steal it.  After giving it a close examination, the verdict is no, he couldn’t,  Liberty BellYou can see it’s pretty big, and doesn’t look as if it would be something you could pick up and run with, but hey:  maybe they’ll rig up something with explosives where they touch them off and Micheal Bay it right into the back of a U-Haul, and just like that, they off into the night!  Yes, Hollywood, you can cut a check for my idea right now.

Saw the first bank–it’s not ripping anyone off ’cause it’s closed, but it looks pretty cool.  Then I headed over to the location of Ben Franklin’s house, and why it’s no longer standing, you do get to see his privy hole.  What is a privy hole, you may ask?  The 18th Century equivalent of a nice outhouse.  It’s where your, um, “business” went when you were finished with said doing.  And, in Franklin Court, there were a number of covered privies, all marked so you’d know where people were pooping over two hundred years ago.  History!

I mailed a document from Franklin’s post office, the only one that doesn’t have a zip code or flies a flag–for obvious reasons if you think about it–and visited his print shop.  No where did I see his opinion on why having an older mistress is totally hot, nor of his connections to The Hellfire Club and if he partied with Sebastian Shaw.

Then it was back to the 5th Street Station and a return to the train station, and while waiting for the subway I could hear Bill Burr going on about “your shitty little subway”.  Yeah, after you’ve been on Chicago and Hong Kong’s subway, it seems small, but then it’s old as hell, too.  At least it’s still running, and I could get back and forth for a couple of bucks.  I really love traveling by subway, don’t ask me why, but zipping through the dark is sort of a cool rush for me.

I had to wait for my return to The Burg, so caught a little lunch before waiting for The Pennsylvanian to return me home.  For one the jobs I held in Chicago I had to pass through Train Station SouthUnion Station every day, and Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station reminds me a little of Chicago–though you have to walk down the famous Untouchable Stairs to reach the main floor.  But the feeling here is the same:  huge and majestic.  It’s one of the reasons I set a Train Station Northscene in Her Demonic Majesty in Chicago’s Union Station because nothing says timeless like one of these places.  I’m a sucker for buildings like this, and while I’m the first one to say I want to live in the future, seeing all these places disappear slowly gives me a sadness, because I know we’ll never see their likes again.

Then back home.  The The Pennsylvanian is more of a direct route home, so no stopping all long the line, which meant getting home when I was suppose to get home.  I looked up the route for this train, and discovered it takes five hours to travel from Philly to Pittsburgh, due in part to the line following rivers for most of the way through the Allegheny Mountains.  This is where high speed rail would kick butt, but ultimately be far more expense to employ, because you’re gonna do a lot of cutting through mountains, and where you can’t go over, you go through.  That’s going to mean long tunnels that you can go through fast, maybe some as long as fifty miles, and given the longest train tunnel in the U.S. is only eight miles, who’s going to build a fifty mile tunnel?  Hey, it’s been done.  And when it comes to getting water, distance doesn’t seem to be a problem

The end to all this was I ended up having dinner about four-thirty, then went out for a long walk.  When I returned to Laputa, my body felt as if someone had beaten it with a pool cue, and it was all I could do to make it through Torchwood.  I crashed and burned about ten-thirty, but today I’m alive and in much better shape.

Where to go next?  Well, now . . . that’s the question, isn’t it?  Back into the novel today–

Tomorrow, we’ll see where my mind takes me.