All the Time That Be Time

What is going on this morning?  Not a lot, to be honest.  I’m off to get my nails done in a couple of hours, so I’ve sort of piddled around trying to motivate myself to write.  However, I didn’t sleep for crap last night despite being tired as hell, so my mind is a muddled mess.  So much so that I knew anything I tried to put down in the system would come out full of suck, so I haven’t bothered.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy . . .

For a few weeks now I’ve meant to make some changes to the time line that is the story of my kids at school, though change really isn’t the right word:  additions is more like it.  That’s the way my mind works, with lots going ’round and ’round all the time and things always popping in and out.  What’s been bugging me, however, is that I haven’t done anything about these pop ups for a while, mostly due to just feeling too damn exhausted to get in there and put things into my little Book of History.

And while I’m doing this I should mention that I’ve been rocking out to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with cannons at the end.  Only in Russia would a composer think, “Now, I need an instrument to make the climax memorably;  what should I use?  I know:  cannons.”  Yes, Comrades, in old Russia, orchestra blast you!

Since I’m down to my last three chapters of this novel I’ve begun getting things in shape for the stories to follow, while I mostly concentrate on three events that happen outside of school, though I fourth started taking hold in my mind this morning.  Two of those event involve both of my kids, and two of them involve Annie alone.  My little Bulgarian Pop Princess all by her lonesome?  Why not?  She’s a big girl, she can handle herself.  And don’t worry:  it’s not as if Kerry doesn’t get enough screen time on his own.  But sometimes a girl needs a little Me Time just to chill and be herself.

Now, I’m about to lay out something I’ve only parts of here and there, but this is the real deal now:  here is the time line I’ve used for B For Bewitching.  At least this is how I take my cues when I’m putting the story together.  First, we have the sections for Annie alone and Kerry alone.

Just a little of what the kids go through on their own--

Just a little of what the kids go through on their own–

What is up there is pretty much all the key points from the start of the novel to the end.  You can see there are a few details off to the right that, I will tell you now, aren’t going to be in this novel, but in the next–that’s one of the reasons a couple of points have been scrubbed, because I don’t want you to know what they are.  I will go ahead and spoil this now:  the event in the upper right hand corner in “Annie’s Story”, the 02 June Meeting, that starts off the next novel, C For Continuing.  The first novel started and ended with Annie, and this current novel started with Kerry and will end with him.  That means the next novel starts and ends with Annie.  Simple, huh?

Below this is another layout, seen here:

And what they go through together.

And what they go through together.

This not only shows events they enjoy together, but the very bottom lays out some of the school’s event–like, the entirety of racing season.  You’ll notice that a few more events are scrubbed here, because that’s necessary, trust me.  Below this I even have a mark showing the time covers by each novel, and at the very top I show when certain holidays occur during the year, so if there’s a question about when something is happening, I can look there.

This is a little of what I keep hidden behind the scenes, and like I said at the beginning, I’m adding to this.  Adding mean thinking through the story, and that also means research prior to plotting.  Really, you wouldn’t believe what I’ve already discovered in the last couple of weeks playing around with these various ideas . . .

And just think:  you only have a few years to wait before you see them come to fruition.

Timing the Trips Once More

Morning to all out in Blog Reading Land.  I’ve been a bad girl again, but not really.  I was thinking about writing last night, but after taking my shot and getting in a nap and then finding I had a real Need For Sweets, I headed out, had wine and cheesecake and another small libation to go with dessert, all the while speaking with someone I know.

You know what this mean:  no novel work last night.  Bad me.  And here I have ten AM appointment to get my nails done, so little writing from here unto the afternoon.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been working.

Since I was up at seven I decided it was better to start getting into my time lines and begin making adjustments there before I started writing.  And that has been the plan up until about twenty minutes ago.  Yes, I’ve been a busy little beaver getting some of those fixed.  Not everything, mind you, because there’s a lot out there to do.  For example . . .

Is this what I think it is?  Probably.

Is this what I think it is? Probably.

Believe it or not, those green lines under “Book Events” are the time frames covered by each of the novels:  the ones finished, in progress, and to come.  There’s a lot more here that you don’t see–part of which are the events in the A Level book that you see to the left–but I’ve got my times worked out.  More or less.

There has been a bit more work on this line because something I changed here affected another time line:  I have lines within lines, remember?  That meant it was necessary to bring up the other line and begin making adjustments there, and while I was at it I figured that something that was on the second time line needed major changing because of something changed in the first time line.  Does that make sense?  Probably not, but keep in mind that from point of view I’m sort of time traveling here, and one little tweak on one time line blows up event later on in another time line.

Is that why I'm figuring out a route between Germany and Austria?  You'll have to wait and see.

Is that why I’m figuring out a route between Germany and Austria? You’ll have to wait and see.

This isn’t even the major work I discussed the other day where I started I needed to work on a new line.  I may do that work tomorrow afternoon because I don’t actually have anything planed, so why not get in there and start playing with time and locations?  I actually know most of the locations, it’s just a matter of plugging in times.  And in doing this I need to make a major change on my main time line because reasons, that’s why.

Who knew playing with time could be such fun?

I’ll continue the novel this afternoon after I get my nails all prettied up, but I will leave you with this:  I have an important anniversary coming up this Tuesday, and I want to look good for it, so I picked out the outfit, which involves an skirt I picked up yesterday.  And it is–

Excuse the Resting Bitch Face, but that's how I usually look.

Excuse the Resting Bitch Face, but that’s how I usually look.

Given that it’s supposed to be in the 45 F/7 C on that day, I may just be brave and go bare legged.  We’ll see.

Anyway, off to get the nails done.  Ta!

Wandering the Side Streets of the Mind

If you’ve come hoping to find more racing today, hope for more tomorrow.  Something happened to me last night known as “getting way, way sidetracked,” and I only managed a few hundred more words beyond the last two hundred and forty you saw after the confused witch picture.  It’s something that happens, right?

"Yeah, easy for you to say, Professor, you never had to worry about getting you iPad taken away because you came out!"

“I could just walk away from this ridiculous conversation–wait?  Who am I kidding?  This is the Internet!”

You know it does.

But this gets me thinking, as I have been the last few days while there’s a lot of down time due to Elsa not letting it go on the east coast.  And I’m thinking, I need to get to time lining again.  Why, you ask?  Because I have major things that exist only in my head, but not down on “the line”, so to speak.

If I should say so myself, my time lines are a bit famous, but more importantly they’ve helped me stay on track with my stories.  Since I’m aware of when the big changes in my kid’s lives are coming, I can set up the story to meet those points and write into and past them.  For the most part I do know everything–

And I do mean everything.

And I do mean everything.

And sometimes I have to set up stuff in the past just so I can write about it at some point in the gigantic novels . . .

Like, "When was stuff built?  When did people die?"  You know:  important stuff.

Like, “When was stuff built? When did people die?” You know: important stuff.

Of late I’ve been thinking about four events that happen in my kid’s future, and other than a “notion” of what needs to be written due to things like maps and notes scribbled here and there, I have no real layout for those events.  Three need to be laid out with a certain amount of precision due to them happening over a short period of time, and the other one . . . well, it’s done more just for fun only because it marks a fun event in Annie’s and Kerry’s life, and I want to get it, you know, right.

There is another however that’s a whole lot different in that is sort of falls out of the purvey of these time lines of which I speak, only because it sort of exists, but doesn’t.   Call it Schrödinger’s Timeline:  it exists and doesn’t, both at the same time, and they are only real only in how you look at them.

Putting these today help me stretch my imagination, which at this point could use a little stretching.  I ran into this when working on the last novel:  you spend so much time immersed in this one story that you don’t have time for others, and given that you know what’s coming, it sort of shuts down the brain a little to keep it from working the way it should.  In short, unless you have something else working on your brain while you’re working the brain, the brain starts to get stunted by all the single-mindedness going on.  Which is probably why you find your job so boring:  it’s the same thing over and over, and the brain just gives up after a while.

I’m likely going to start working on this stuff over the next few weeks as I do my best to bring this current chapter to an end.  The results of my mind exercises won’t be seen for a while–

At least not by you guys.

Seeing Down Into the Past

Today there isn’t any writing to show, because you got it all yesterday morning.  The rest of the day involved being out almost the whole day, and once I was safely back in the confines of Casa Burg, I didn’t feel like starting on a scene that will be difficult to write.  Not to mention I have to start getting ready for work in about twenty minutes, because while it’s a holiday for state employees, as a contractor I only get paid when I work, so I need to roll in about eight and put in at least four hours.  Those bills don’t give a shit if I get a day off or not.

Walking around the city yesterday gave me plenty of time to think about where my kids are going.  Not that I don’t already know, but still, sometimes you want to get things down in your head a little clearer, while at the same time you go back over events that have occurred and you put a different eye on those matters.  Like last night I was reading an excerpt where Kerry said something, and for a few moments I had to think, “Okay, what was he saying there?” and then it came to me because I’ve been living in their heads for way too long.

Also, I have their Timelines.

The timelines for these stories have become almost mythical, at least to my thinking.  They’ve been in place for about a year and a half, and I’m still adding to them whenever I get an idea.  It’s my way of keeping track of things, like when they did meet, when did they have their first dream together, when does Annie have her first little witch–oh, wait.  I shouldn’t talk about that.  Spoilers!

Well, guess what?  I’m far enough along on this trip that I can now show some of things of which I’ve discussed.  Because why not?  You’ve already ridden with my kids for a year and a half, so why not see how they arrived at where they are today?

It’s funny how I’ve had to keep these hidden and secret, because there are things on here that do give away a lot of the what’s coming.  At the same time I’ve really wanted to bring them out in the open, because putting them together was great fun, and I’ve always wanted to share.  With the A Levels behind me, and a good chunk of the B Levels, too, it’s time to show you how it got to where I am.

First with Aeon Timeline, it’s possible to segment things into different groupings.  So you can have a “Global” area showing events that affect your world and everything in it, and then you can create little areas that show events for that particular section.  What I did, besides having a global event, is set up sections for Annie and Kerry individually, so if there is something particular to them, it stands alone.

Like this:

As you can see, each kid is special to me.

As you can see, each kid is special to me.

There you see Annie’s Story and Kerry’s Story, going back to when they not only started school, but they were first introduced.  “Annie and the Tree” and “Kerry Gets Picked” were the first two scenes in the first chapter of the first part of the first act, and it only went from there.  If you’re watching the points you see they start in 2011, but end in 2013, which is where we’re at now in the second novel.

But don’t I have things they do together?  And what about the school?  Glad you asked:

Because here they are.

Because here they are.

Here are all the things they do together, and below that are all the normal school events, like the duration of racing season, the beginning of classes, when the first and last Madnesses occur, and the dates for Samhain and Ostara celebrations.  You also see the duration of each Level:  A you see from start to finish, and B is still on-going.  You can see the start of their loving one another, Kerry’s trip to the hospital in what turned out to be their first night together, and while you don’t see the timeline for the attack on the school, you see a little mark next to the point, “Kansas City”, and clicking on that opens up another time line showing what they did there.

When you look at the top and bottom pictures–which, in Aeon, are directly above and below each other as illustrated–you may see some points above matching up with those below.  That’s because I’ve pointed out individual things that happen within something that happened to both kids:  Kerry’s Fifth Time in the Hospital and Annie Goes After Lisa is one example of that.  There’s also some detail in some points that doesn’t show up here, but I can access it if I open up the segment in the program’s Inspector.

Here’s one of my guides, and you finally get to see a small segment of this.  Believe me when I say it goes back in time several hundred years, and also forward in time about the same distance.  I’ve used this for a long time, and you have no idea what I have set up ahead–or some of the things I need to add.  It’s all so very strange.

And speaking of strange, this afternoon I’m going to try something that I haven’t done in a long time–and it may just be the strangest thing I’ve attempted yet.

Writing When it Isn’t

This is one of those posts where I really get more into what goes into the story than the actual story itself.  Because, as you’re gonna see, there isn’t a hell of a lot to the story.

See, I fully to sit down and really get into the story, but the truth is, I had too many distractions.  One, I was busy catching up with people I hadn’t seen in a while.  Two, I was really sort of burned out from all the writing I did over the weekend, and pushing away this huge cloud of depression that’s hung over me (and is still there, which is why I’m writing at three-thirty in the morning right now), and three, I needed to do research for something, the something being in the excerpt below.

It’s all about Crazy Wanda, who caused me problems.  You can see it below, right after the first two paragraphs which were posted in yesterday’s excerpt–

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

“Me? No.” She set the bag on the floor and folded the desk up into the cupboard and shut the doors. “This desk was put in when the building was constructed in 1804.” Deanna chuckled. “You can thank Crazy Wanda for both of those things.”

Annie gave a surprised laugh. “Crazy Wanda?”

Deanna chuckled. “Wanda de Meeuwsen from Dieden, Netherlands, which is still a small down on the southern banks of the Maas River. The story is she showed up before Founder’s Gate one morning in June, 1791, a twenty-one year old woman with a sack full of books and the clothes on her back, and told the then headmistress that she was there to take over as the new Divination instructor.

“Now, things like this didn’t happen too often—in fact this had never happened before. There weren’t many people who knew of the school’s existence, even in Europe, and instructors were personally invited to join the school. And one couldn’t jaunt to the front gate, because the exact location of The Pentagram wasn’t known except to most of the instructors and a few of the advanced students. Which meant someone had to tell her about where the school was located and she hiked there from Gloucester, or she saw it in a vision, which is what she told everyone once they had the chance to sit down and talk.

“The interesting thing—or scary, depending on your point of view—is that the school seer left her position the week before to return to her home in Pennsylvania. The headmistress and coven leaders were still debating who they wanted to invite into the fold to teach, and had yet to reach a decision. There was absolutely no way anyone outside the school, much less someone in Europe, would have that information that soon.” Deanna shrugged. “The leaders assumed that Wanda’s story about having a vision was true, and invited her to teach.

 

And that’s where I left it off, only two hundred and seventy-eight words into the scene.  But it’s that third paragraph that caused me the most problems, because I needed some history for Wanda de Meeuwsen.  I mean, I knew she was twenty-one in 1791, which means she was born in The Netherlands in 1770, and I had a vague idea of where she was born, but that’s it.  So I had to look.

First off, I needed to find where she was born because it’s important–trust me on this one.  So I started looking.  I wanted her to come from a village on the shores of the Maas River, which is also known as the Meuse River in France and Belgium.  So I had to go looking for a suitable place, and ended up here:

Black arrow marks the spot.

Black arrow marks the spot.

So I had that.  Which leads to problem number two, and that is Founder’s Gate.  Now I know that in 1791 Founder’s Gate exists, because the school began in 1683, and the Pentagram Walls were one of the first things to go up.  Now, I had some old notes located in another source for when everything was built, but what bothered me was that I didn’t have this information on my main time line, which is like saying I didn’t have it right at my fingertips.  And that led to this:

Can't tell a coven leader without a score card.

Can’t tell a coven leader without a score card.

I decided to update my main timeline with all the good information, which not only included when most of the buildings were constructed, but the lives and times of the Five Founders.  Right off the bat you see that Astria Blomqvist, the leader of Cernunnos Cover where my kids hang out, was a few months short of her ninety-ninth birthday when the School at Salem was founded, and that Lucille van der Kroft was nearly fifty years younger.  Also, Vivian Lovecraft lived the shortest–6694 weeks, or 46858 days–and that’s probably because sorceresses got the short end of the stick back then, as well as the pointy one.  Oh, didn’t I mention she was a sorceress?  Probably just a coincidence that Helena and she aren’t related . . .

So now I know when all these things happen, when most of the stuff was built at Salem, and when certain people lived and died.  Should be done, right?

Wrong.

See, I had to go into my Blender Map and look up something, and while I was there I started wondering–remember when I said I was going to model Kerry’s broom?  Well, you might not, but I do, and I started playing around with forms.  Really, if I don’t want to get too fancy it’s all a matter of just sticking certain polygons together and joining them, but I have to get measurements correct, and make sure everything is proportioned right, and that takes time, too.  Then I had to remember how to do certain things, and as I did the realization came back that there are certain things in Blender that aren’t easy to do, so you have to do that stuff the old fashion way, which is slowly.  I also discovered that I didn’t know how to make the flattened nose of Kerry’s Espinoza, while at the same time I wasn’t interested in doing a hell of a lot of research on the matter . . .

The end result was I modeled his Class 1 Espinoza 4500, and built a couple of stick figures to stand next to it for size reference.  You wanna see?  Of course you do–

Can you tell which one is supposed to be Annie?  I bet you can--

Can you tell which one is supposed to be Annie? I’ll bet you can–

Now, the broom is hovering a little low, and the seat should be a touch thicker, but that’s it:  a meter and a half long with the frame about ten centimeters in diameter, which is about the same size as the candle I have sitting next to my computer.  Not much to look at, is it?  But now that I have this, I can probably model the Class 2 as well.  Just need a bigger processor in the back, handlebars, and the canards in the front.  Piece of cake.

And that’s what happens when you decide to throw in a witch for a scene.  Before you know it, all sorts of other stuff happens.

It’s a conspiracy, I tell ya!

The Pain of the Past and the Future of Uncertainty 

Today is a rough day.  Today is the day after my latest electrolysis treatment, and let me tell ya, it was a wild one.

I made it through:  I made it through the full two hours and I didn’t cry, though I twitched and squirmed and even hissed and shook a little.  But I finished, I paid, and I made it home–

Though it does look a bit like a tornado tore across my face.

Though it does look a bit like a tornado tore across my face.

The women who does my work said she couldn’t believe how much she accomplished, and I believe it, because I was there.  And don’t be fooled by that smug look:  I was really out of it right there.  I didn’t do much writing because it was hard keeping my head in the game.  I managed three hundred words right on the dot, with the last one being, “What?”  That coming from a student who just sort of burst out.  In Sorcery class.  In front of Helena.  It won’t go well.

But–out of it.  Right.  I was out of it, and spent about a half hour in front of the television icing my face.  I was so out of it that when I started changing for work this morning, I realized I’d put on my pajama bottoms backwards, and had slept in them that way.  But I’m much better now.  Sort of.  It’s just a good thing it was cool outside, ’cause the walk in would have been brutal otherwise.

However, the walk in did allow me to think–and I’ve been doing a lot of that lately.  The last few days I’ve been thinking a lot about Annie and Kerry and their future together–don’t worry, it’s not bad.  It’s just filling in a few blanks that I’ve had, and fleshing out some areas that I knew of, but I wanted to get better.  I’ve actually started taking note for this stuff, because I have too many things to remember, and it’s starting to spill out.

Like this morning.  Yes, I’m looking through things prior to writing, and I pull up the story and all of a sudden I’m thinking, “Hey, you know, I want to add too scenes, but . . . where to put them?”  Then I’m looking around the scenes and I hit one chapter and think, “What he hell was this about again?”  Because I hadn’t written down anything to remind me what was happening at that point.  So I had to pull up my time line for the story, because I knew it would have some information, and sure enough, it told me what I needed to remember.  I wrote down those notes with the promise of fleshing it out a little more, because the actions in one scene set up something that’s going to happen in a later scene.

As for those new scenes–

I'm looking at you, future chapters.

I’m looking at you, future chapters.

I think one of the new scenes is gonna happen in Chapter Twelve, and will be the first one.  It makes sense because I know what happens in From Green to Dream, and setting up the lead-in with a conversation between the two people in the new scene would fit there well.  As for the other new scene–it just came to me where it should go.  Because it makes sense.

So . . . get through this day, heal up, feel better, write more.

Make notes.

Should I leave myself a note to do that last?

Imaginary Journeys Past and Future

Back to work for a short time yesterday before heading out to get labs and dinner after almost twenty-four hours of fasting–a certainty that I’m back in The Burg and getting into my normal routine once more.  This also means that I’m back to the plotting and  planning and whatnot, and you’re right if you said I was up to something last night.

Most of the evening was taken up getting the last of the tour of Europe I’m sending my kids on in their future finished.  It wasn’t hard, believe me, because there were only three other cities to visit, with a stopover in Brno for a quick early lunch and a fast dart around the track before heading off to Vienna.

Who do you think won that race?  Wanna take bets?

Who do you think won that race? Wanna take bets?

It was a good thing I decided to plan out this trip, because it showed me where I could expand the stay overs to allow them their fifty days on the road.  It also allowed me to figure out where they were going to stay while roaming about Europe, and looking up hotels and imagining them waking up to see a Paris side street, or the historical square of Prague, or the blue Danube flowing past, was part of the entertainment that comes from putting stuff like this together.

Which is how I go from this--

Which is how I go from this–

To this.

To this.

And you should see the Junior Suites at the Hotel de L’Europe.  Oi.  Those kids got taste.

What does the whole trip look like?  A bit like this:

All through Europe, there and back again.

All through Europe, there and back again.

One of the last legs of this journey has them flying from Budapest to Sofia while following the course of the Danube for most of the way.  They end up spending about four hours in the air, their longest leg after the first.  Like with some of the other cities, staying in Sofia allows Annie the chance to show Kerry around the city and the country beyond.  It’ll also be a little comforting to her, to spend a few days in her home country before heading off for that lake house not far from her parent’s house.

And what happens after they arrive there?  I know what happens, but you’ll have to wait until I write the D Level novel to find out what goes down.  I’m just not telling you, at least not now.  All you need to know right now is that Kerry somehow ends up at Annie’s home in Pamporovo, he’s got his Espinoza, and he’s not afraid to use it.

But before I can get to D, I gotta get through B . . .

I checked my blog this morning and notice the countdown timer has changed–

I'm into days now!

I’m into days now!

Thirty days to go, and I wonder if when it gets down to less than a day if it’ll go to hours.  Doesn’t matter:  the time is set and it’s a go.  I will try to, at the least, finish the first scene, and perhaps the second and third as well.  The first scene starts off with Kerry back home, and then it goes from . . . there.  What happens next?

You’ll see in a month.