Numbers on the Peninsula

I had a subject in mind for today, but that’s all changed because my mind is a swirling cesspool of my own scheming desires, which is a pretty good phrase that one might find in a Frank Zappa song, if you know what I mean.  So I’ll hold that off until–maybe tomorrow?  Maybe the day after?  Maybe Saturday, when I have time to stretch out.  I’ll get to it, just not now.

First off, if you haven’t heard, Scapple for Windows is live.  Buy it, play with it, take your notes and slide them directly into Scrivener–yes, I did this, and it works.  Yes, I still have Mind Map, but I love what I can do with Scapple, and it’ll probably get a great work out for character development and those plot points I need to work out on electronic paper.  Or I only have it because I’m a freak who loves software.  Either way, it’s mine, and I will hold it close to my heart.

Last night, however, I worked on the attendance figures for my school for my upcoming novel.  Because I’m the sort of person who has to know the numbers, because you never know if they’ll come up in conversation between my characters (spoilers:  they do), I knew I had to create the attendance numbers.

But it’s not a simple matter of creating numbers.  No, I need to know how many kids are in each level, who comes from what place in the world, how many are spread out among the covens, and what’s the gender breakdown.  I haven’t drilled down all the way–after all, I could do every level and coven by geographic location and gender within each location and coven–but I’ll leave that for another time, because right now I just need ballpark figures.

Which brings Attendence 2011me to this point:

There’s my breakdown, showing the numbers at the point where each level came in brand new and shiny, and slowly dropped in numbers as all but a few fell by the wayside.  I have my break downs, I have my totals, I can see that this isn’t going to be a stuffy hall filled with a bunch of boring white kids.  But I also know how big my school is, and I also know–because I already wrote this–that ten years before there were close to two hundred students inside the walls of this august structure.

I also see, based upon what I’ve put into place, that the school is still recovering from an event that saw an eighth of the student population die.

That was my Camp Novel, the events that saw students and instructors alike die in various and sometimes horrible ways, and that also set up the current batch of instructors and school administrators, a few of whom did some pretty bad ass stuff.  But I look at incoming numbers, I see the retention levels I created, and I know my school is gonna feel a bit like a huge mausoleum.

One of the instructors will eventually say something along the lines of, “Think of numerology as statistics with a foundation in magic.”  Some of you would argue that point, but I like the line and will eventually use the sucker.  The point is, numbers give you more than simple totals.  They tell you things, and if you listen hard enough you’ll see the magic they brings.

What have my numbers brought?

Atmosphere.

Now if they only told me what’s for breakfast . . .