Setting the Strange to Sense

The creative process is a fickle beast.  There are times when you want to do something, and you can’t bring yourself to put down word one in the computer or on paper or whatever it is you use for your medium.  And there are other times you get into your grove and start writing, and before long you sit back and realize that if you ever show other people what you just creative, they’re going to imagine you the most disturbed person who’s ever lived.

"What . . . the hell . . . did I just . . . That's not possible!"

“What . . . the hell . . . did I just . . . That’s not possible!”

And there are times when you set out to write something, and when it comes time to write you can’t, because you realize that what you want to write simply makes no sense.  You can’t start writing because you have no idea why you want to say.

That’s what happened to me yesterday.

It’s like this:  the planning process for this novel has been a long one.  I pretty much thought about doing this story for almost two years, and actually began putting this story together in June, July, and August of 2013.  That was when I took some old designs I had of the Salem School grounds and began building the current grounds as a three-dimensional map in Blender, as well as designing some of the buildings using other construction programs.

Remember this?

Remember this?

Building the school was really the catalyst I need to get serious about writing this current novel, and from there all other things flowed.  Once I knew where everything was, I could sit and plot out the novel, which I did starting in September, 2013, and finished up the following month.

A lot has been said about how I’ve plotted out the novel in it’s entirety before setting down the first word.  There’s a bit of a risk doing that, because you don’t know if what you’re plotting will actually work for certain, and you have no idea how long it’s going to take you to get to the later parts of the novels.  When you hit those later spots the possibility exists that you’re going to see something you laid out over a year before, and the first thing that comes to mind is, “Huh?”

That’s what happened yesterday.

I finished up the two scenes with Kerry’s birthday and his meeting of the minds with Annie over what it means to be a sorceress and a Guardian.  There were two scenes following in Chapter Thirty-Nine, but when I looked at the meta data for the scene–the little notation that tells me what the scene is about–I looked at it and when “Huh?”  Because when I saw the scene that followed, I realized that much of what would be discussed in the scene I was suppose to write last night would get covered again–and I liked the scene that would follow, titled Graduation Picnic, much better.

You keep looking at it and you know if you write anything out you’re just wasting your time, because in the end the scene won’t work.  I’ve been lucky in that my plotting has been very right on, but this was a case where something obviously isn’t going to go, so why bother?

That meant that instead of writing I needed to figure out what to do instead.  Surprisingly, it took me a while to figure it out, because I was tired and the brain wasn’t working right.  But when the solution hit me, it made oh-so perfect sense.  There was a scene in Chapter Forty-One that I knew I’d use, and as I thought things out last night, I saw that it made more sense to move it into Chapter Forty and make it the scene following Graduation Picnic.  Then, in Chapter Forty-One, I saw that I did need a scene that would explain an event happening to Annie and Kerry, and it would fit in as the last scene of that chapter.

Which leads me with this:

Behold the Last Days of Salem.

Behold the Last Days of Salem.

You will notice that, yes, I jump right from the beginning of May to the end, because this story is about my kids and not so much about them finishing their classes.  27 May is the last Sunday at the school.  The scene that was moved, Last Madness, takes place on Friday, 25 May, and the following Friday is the time when everyone goes home–as is seen in the scene Goodbye for Now.  That means not only these last five scenes with “To Do” in the Status area are about their departure, but the next part and the two chapters located there all involve their last few days together.  Three chapters to get through two days:  yeah, that seems about right.

After I return from my doctor’s tonight I’ll start in on the next scene.  It’s gonna start getting sad from here on out, and I’ll do my best not to cry as I write.

It won’t be easy, though . . .