Light As a Feather, Changed and Now Bored

It’s almost forty-two thousand words into my new novel, and still not one day of class.  So much set up, so much to do even though I feel like I’ve done it already.  It’s one of those things playing at my mind, that I want to get into this story . . . and then I realize, I am in the story.  This is needed.  And I’m writing it, slowly but surely.

So let’s get going.  In the story is 1 September, and a year before Annie and Kerry were walking into this joint.  Today . . . they’re doing something different:

 

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

After the jaunt Annie slowly stumbled in through the south entrance of the Sloan Powers Center, escorted by one of the students who studied there. One of the girls who helped Vicky during Annie’s testing walked alongside: she wasn’t actively helping, but was rather there in case Annie needed any assistance.

Annie wasn’t completely worn out, but she felt the strain of the last two hours.

Doing magic required expending personal energy to extract magical energy: it was the trade-off that witches incurred in order to craft their art. Usually the person energy expended wasn’t close to the energy retrieved, but as with any physical activity, after a while the witch in question will grow tired—even more so if there is continual crafting.

None of the crafting she’d done over the last year required using a lot of physical effort; her most strenuous class from her A Level was Advanced Spells, and two hours of crafting there ended up being no more difficult than taking a long walk from The Pentagram to the Observatory. This time, however, she’d found herself crafting almost non-stop for two hours, and while she wasn’t exhausted, the experience had certainly tired her. Instead of the experienced feeling like a walk to the Observatory, Annie felt more as if she’d jogged there.

And she knew if she felt tired . . .

 

I’ve not talked much about the thing in the south part of the school, and for good reason:  there isn’t much there.  See below:

The Pentagram and all points south.

The Pentagram and all points south.

You can see The Pentagram and Great Hall, the Spell Center on the left, and the Transformation Hall, the Chemistry Building, and the Instructor’s Residence on the right.  In this image “above” those are the Tesla Science Center and the Sloan Powers Center, and slightly above them in a short, long building known as the Hanger.  Above the Hanger is the Aerodrome, and almost due left of that is the Flight School, sitting on the edge of the light green area that is Selena’s Meadow.

In the upper left we have The Diamond, the racing stadium that can also be used for training.  All the way at top center is the South Wall and Gloucester Bend of the Green Line, and beyond that the town of Gloucester.  Beyond that is a lot of forest, and the remains of what was once known as Dogtown.  Over in the lower right, where that portion of wall and a tower sit, is the area where Emma and Kerry crashed down during the Day of the Dead attack.

I should point out that the Hanger is on its third incarnation.  The first one was built in the 1930s; that was later taken down in 1971 and replaced with a structure that looks quite like the one standing today.  The second incarnation was blown up by Maddie’s husband in 2000, during the Scouring.

It’s in the Hanger that Annie was doing her Gifts testing–which is what is happening in this scene–and Kerry is doing his in the Sloan Center.  The Tesla building looks like a T, and the Sloan Center is to the right, shaped like a U.  That’s where the action is taking place, and this is a part of the school–a small part–that has not been seen yet, because this area is for the Gifted and the Mad Scientists who are also witches, but are more technowitches and “mutants” than anything else.  They need the love, too.

Speaking of love . . .

 

The girl stopped next to a door and opened it about half-way. “You can wait in here. The professors will be with you as soon as they’ve finished examining your results.”

“Thank you.” Annie nodded at the girl as she pushed the door open the rest of the way and walked into the room beyond. Its wasn’t large: there was a table and a few chairs to her right, and a few large chairs—much like the ones in their Pilot’s Briefing Room in the Flight School—only these reclined.

One close to the table was fully reclined: the person in the chair, who wore loose light blue lounging pants and a gray tee shirt just like hers, looked up and slowly waved. “Hey—” Kerry pointed to the chair to his left. “Come sit.”

“I will.” She sat in the chair and marveled at its comfort, recognizing it was likely enchanted to feel this way. She reclined so she could seen Kerry without having to twist around. “This is nice.”

“It is.” He slid his hand behind his head. “Where did they take you?”

“Over to the Hanger.” The Hanger was one of three structures on school grounds where air craft could be stored and tested, though its main purpose was so students from the Tesla Science Center had a place to work on their projects. “Vicky and three students did the testing.”

“What did they have you doing?” Kerry stretched as he tried to stifle a yawn.

“A lot of levitating.” Annie stared at the ceiling as she recounted her experience. “I’d levitate something, then I’d levitate myself; then a few other things, then myself; then more things, on and on.” She rolled over so she was facing Kerry. “Then they had me stay in the air for about an hour while I levitated dozens of objects.” Annie stretched her right arm out towards the top of the chair and lay her head down. “What did you do?”

“Minor transformations—” Kerry rolled towards Annie. “Trying to change things like hair, eyes, lips, complexion, then trying to copy the same things from two other students.” He rolled his eyes upwards. “One of them was a girl, and Jessica had me trying to mimic her hands and feet.”

Annie perked up. “Did you?”

“Twice.” Kerry shrugged. “Though I did her fingers first . . .” He flexed his right hand. “It sort of hurt ‘cause her hands were smaller.”

Annie held her left hand towards Kerry. “That tends to happen.”

He reached out with his right and touched her extended fingers. “I’ve noticed.”

 

Poor babies hanging out in nice easy chairs while wearing yoga gear.  It’s hard out there for a witch, I tell ya.  But I’ll get into the writing tonight, perhaps finish this scene and move to the next.

I really want to get into the classes.  I think.

Tea and Visions

Let’s get to the personal stuff right away, shall we?  First off, the friends I spent time with last Sunday drove up and met me for a few hours in The Burg–and they brought me something . . .

This is the face of evil, I tell you.  Evil.

This is the face of evil, I tell you. Evil.

I’d pretty much came from work so I didn’t change, and this is one of my nicer tops.  As you can see, I was given a nice little pink box.  And what was inside the box?  A hand-made necklace and a note asking if I’d be my friend’s maid of honor.  Of course I said yes . . .

I was also told I do have other expressions besides Resting Bitch Face.

I was also told I do have other expressions besides Resting Bitch Face.

So I’m wearing that into work today.  Nice, nice, nice!  Tomorrow nails, and Sunday I’m going to a makeup party.  A girl never has enough time in her life . . .

Oh, I also wrote.  I wrote . . . well, more than the night before.  In fact the scene is just short of thirty-one hundred words, which makes it a big scene, and it’s something I should finish tonight.  “Should” being the operative word.  I’ve seen that plan fall through more than once, but I’m confident I should finish tonight.  Should.

As a few people guessed, when Deanna and the Kids (that’s gonna be my next band name, by the way) speak of “tea”, they mean “visions”.  Hence today’s title.  Deanna does talk the kids into trying her little trance-inducing experiment from the year before again, and they’re both game.  Sorry, Ren, but Annie just can’t hear you:  lalalala, I’ve got fingers in my ears!  She wants to see what happens, too, and so there aren’t any questions–we’ll save those for the end–here’s the majority of the scene as written:

 

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

“Don’t worry.” Deanna let her hand hover over the water kettle, crafting a spell to heat the water. “When the door close the note outside switched to indicate I am in conference—” She filled two infusers with loose-leaf tea and dropped them into cups. “—so there isn’t any need to worry we’ll be interrupted.” She crafted a spell over the cups, mumbling something softly as she set the enchantment in place. “There.”

Kerry watched with interest as Deanna created the trance spells before bringing the cups to Annie and him. While it seemed so many of the witches at Salem crafted their art the same way, there were enough variations among the staff that it reminded him there was more than one way to—as Wednesday had said more than a few times last year—Make Your Art Real.

He smiled as Deanna handed him his cup. “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” She passed the other to Annie. “Let me get the water.” She returned with the kettle and two spoons, which she handed over right away. “Just like last time, let me pour the water, and once that’s done, look into your cup as you start stirring. Don’t worry about the infuser getting in the way—”

Annie looked up. “Why not?”

“Because it won’t.”

Kerry coughed. “Do we really need that?”

“Yes. Because if everything goes right, you may need something to drink when this is over.” Deanna chuckled softly. “Are you ready?”

“Yes.” Annie barely heard Kerry’s response as she kept her eyes locked upon the center of her cup. She waited for Deanna to stop pouring, then started stirring, noticing out of the corner of her eye Kerry doing the same. She didn’t hurry, for there was nothing to do but allow trance to come over her—if it really were going to happen this time . . .

Your eyes are locked up the darkening sky, clear and growing darker. The sun had set off to her left some fifteen minutes earlier, but there’s still considerable light here, two thousand meters up.

You don’t know the stars the way Kerry does, but there are a few you recognize on sight. Polaris is nearly straight ahead, and the Summer Triangle is easy to make out now that it’d getting dark in the east. The moon is setting with the sun, and once the sky is dark there won’t be anything but the stars—

Which are being drowned out by the city ahead. Your destination—both your destination. You glance to your right and there’s Kerry upon his Espinoza, five meters away and keeping pace, the collar of his flying jacket turned up against the chill of the high air. You wait until he’s finished with whatever he was checking on his tablet before getting his attention. “How much longer, honey?”

“We should be down in fifteen minutes—” He sits up and points ahead. “Yonder lay our city, Sweetie.”

“Yes, I can see.” You slide-slipped the broom a few meters to the right, getting closer for no other reason that to get closer. “I’m so glad we decided to fly tonight—” You look around at the deep twilight sky. “Though not really dark enough to make it night.”

“It’s dark enough.” Kerry keeps his attention on you, letting his broom more or less fly on its own for a few moments. “Twenty down—”

“Thirty to go: I know.” You adjust your heading a little to the left, and Kerry matches you. Structures you know so well are coming into view as you both approach at high-speed. “Ready to descend?”

“It’s about that time.” Kerry adjusted his goggles and nodded at something ahead. “You wanna go over there first before checking in?”

You can’t keep the smile off your face. “Most certainly.” You begin descending, reaching out as if to push away a stray cloud—

Touching the room door as Kerry holds it for you. “Hello, again.”

He enters and gently latches it shut. “I made certain we got this room.”

You turn and wrap your arms around his shoulders. “I know you did.” The kiss you place upon his lips is more soft and sweet than most. “Because you know I love this room.”

“It’s a good one for me, too.” He helps remove your backpack before he slips off his own. “It’s been a long day.”

“And tomorrow is almost here.” You hold your arms to the side and stretch before shrugging off the stylish black leather flying jacket and hanging it on the back of the door. “Give me your jacket?”

He hands you his jacket before removing your roll-on bag from your backpack’s Hammerspace. “You want to shower before bed?”

“It’s not like we need it. We should be good until tomorrow.” You sit on the edge of the bed as Kerry retrieves his own roll-on bag. “I thought maybe we’d get up breakfast, then come back here and nap before cleaning up and going out.”

He listens and nods. “That’s a good plan. You have anywhere in particular you want to go?”

You shrugged before smiling. “I want to do some shopping—”

“Really?” Kerry looks over his shoulder, mock surprise upon his face. “I had no idea.”

“Silly.” You stick out your tongue before wrapping your hands around your knees. “I want to pick up a couple of nice outfits.”

“This is the place to do that.”

You pause before asking the next question. “Any chance we’ll see her here?”

He slowly turns and leans against the chest of drawers, facing you. “No.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m sure.” He smiles as he crosses his arms. “I told you she wouldn’t.”

“I don’t know—” You twist your head and cock it to one side. “It’s a chance for her to pick up a few nice things—”

“Now who’s being silly?” He comes over and kisses you as soft as you kissed him. “After the day we’ve had, sleep is of the order.” Kerry starts to zip open your luggage. “Which pajamas you want?”

You stand and take a single step towards him. “My love.”

He turns. “Yes.”

You reach for the heme of your tee shirt. “I believe I’d rather wear—” Your words are muffled as you begin pulling your shirt over your head—

“This.” Annie’s shirt was two-thirds of the way up her torso before she realized she was sitting in a classroom in Memory’s End—and that Kerry was facing her, helping her with her top. “Kerry.”

Annie.”

 

Hey now!  You kids, get a room–oh, wait . . .

There you have it:  Annie’s vision.  Last book we saw Kerry’s vision, only because if we’d seen Annie’s–no, we don’t want to go there.  As it was we did see her vision.

Something else happened last night, however.  In the process of getting Annie’s vision completed, the novel crossed the forty thousand word mark.  I know because I checked, and I even found the exact moment . . .

Yes, I keep track of things like exact word that makes my work a novel.  Don't you?

Yes, I keep track of things like exact word that makes my work a novel. Don’t you?

I went back and figured out the Novel Line moment, and put it in my notes to the right.  So I’ve hit novel time again, just three days past a month into writing.  Like I said, I’m almost on NaNo Pace with this story, and that isn’t bad.

At least I’ve got the kids at the school.  What’s the worst that can happen to them now?

Once Upon a Dreamspace Dreary

You wouldn’t know about it to look at it, but the eight hundred plus words I wrote for the latest scene took about two and a half hours.  I was super distractionable last night (is that a word?  Is now) and it seemed as if it were never going to get written—it damn sure wasn’t going to write itself, because my characters are too tired to do it without help, and guess who that is?

Also, after writing the longest scene of the novel, I turned around and wrote the second shortest.  Must be a “I need some time” thing happening there.  But, believe it or not, there is a lot happening in this scene.  It’s not just filler between one event an another:  it’s something more.

Here you go–you get it all.  Enjoy and be puzzled.

 

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

The second Kerry opened his eyes he recognized the dreamspace Annie and he shared. No matter the location there was always something that made him understand he was in a dream, and that his physical body was sound asleep. Most of the time it was because he was dressed in his pajamas, and he found it necessary to change into more suitable clothing.

Tonight it was easy to well he was in a dream: everything was a uniform gray, much like when he was was in the clouds near the top of Mount Katahdin prior to the Mile High Flight. He felt something solid under his bare feet, but it was hard to say if he were standing inside a structure or not: there was nothing here that gave any indication of shapes or forms near him—

“Hello, Kerry.”

It was a girl’s voice, though none he’d ever heard before—for certain it wasn’t Annie, for even here her faint Bulgarian accent came though. He quickly found the owner of that voice, however: she was standing directly across from him, perhaps eight meters away, slightly shrouded by the grayness. He wasn’t surprised that he’d heard her voice so clearly, for sounds and images came across far differently then they did in real life.

“You’re not Annie.” He didn’t shout, for there wasn’t a need. Just as she’d spoken in a normal voice, Kerry knew she’d hear him perfectly.

The girl took a step towards him. “No, I’m not.”

“You shouldn’t be here.”

Though she wasn’t completely clear yet, Kerry saw her look about. “And yet here I am.” She chuckled softly. “Can’t say why Annie isn’t here, but it’s probably a good thing, don’t you think?”

“I don’t know about that.” The gray spread away from his dreamspace visitor, and Kerry was able to see her clearly. While he couldn’t quite judge her height, he figured she wasn’t much taller than Annie or him. She wore a faded pair of jeans, sneakers, and a V-neck tee shirt. Her hair was shoulder length, curly, and a shade of red almost identical to his. Though he couldn’t make out her facial features well, even from this distance he saw she shared the same pale Irish complexion his mother and he possessed. “I’d rather Annie was here.”

The girl shrugged. “Maybe tomorrow night.”

Kerry finally found the opportunity to ask the question he wanted to ask at the start. “Who are you?”

The girl grinned. “You know who I am.”

“Afraid I don’t.”

“You sure?”

“Yeah.”

“Oh, well.” She snapped the fingers of her left hand. “Funny how memory works, isn’t it?” She took another step in his direction. “Don’t worry: in time we’re going to know each other well.”

Something twisted around in Kerry’s head, making him shiver even though there wasn’t any way he could feel a chill. “What do you mean?”

“You’ll see.” She motioned for Kerry. “Come a little closer.”

“Why?”

“Because eventually you’ll want to see me better.” She giggled. “You gotta trust me on that one, Red.”

Kerry took one step closer towards the girl, even though he thought getting closer to her was a bad idea as soon as it was mentioned. “How do you know that?”

“Know what?”

“That nickname.” He slowly took another step towards the strange girl. “Only Coraline uses that nick.”

“Oh, well . . .” When she smiled her teeth were bright against her alabaster skin. “You’ll find there’s a lot about you I know.” She she half-turned her head to the right as she pointed at him. “It’s you that needs to know about me. That’s why we’re finally meeting.”

Taking another step towards the girl made Kerry uneasy, but at the same time the urge to discover who she was and why she was here was a bit frightening. I should be able to make myself leave the space, but things are playing out for some reason. It’s like what happened with Annie and me in the last dream . . . “What’s some important about me getting know about you?”

“Because you need to understand—”

“Understand what?”

“Everything.” It was only after she winked at him that Kerry saw her eyes were as green as his. “You have to know everything.”

He finally forced himself to stop moving towards the girl, which seemed to surprise her. “Stop it.” After the evening he’d just had with his parents at dinner, he’d wanted to spend time with Annie talking and cuddling—not dealing with some dream sphinx. “Stop with the puzzles.”

“Sorry.” She stopped walking as well. “I forgot you’re analytical: you don’t deal with the abstract—at least not until you’ve had a chance to give it some thought.”

“Yeah.” He huffed out a semi-held breath. “Why do you want me to know everything about you.”

“Because . . .” She hooked her thumbs in the pockets of her jeans. “You hold my life in your hands.”

 

“You hold my life in your hands.”  Not like Kerry hasn’t done that already, but this is . . . something different.  How different?  You’ll find out–in time, of course.

So, there is only one scene to go in this chapter . . .

Looks like someone's making a Skype call to America.

Looks like someone’s making a Skype call to America.

And the novel is just over the fifteen thousand word mark.  This next scene may or may not throw it out of novelette size and into novella length, but if not, that will happen by the following scene, of that I’m certain.

And then it’s off to Berlin and a “Welcome to the Next Nine Months” meeting with a certain Chestnut Girl.

It Must Have Been a Bad Week to Write a Book

Don’t get worried by today’s post title that it’s a portend of bad things to come.  Get that out of your mind.  Sure, I didn’t write much last night, but a lot of that had to do with my screwy emotional state and the beverages I had at dinner.  (Don’t worry:  I walked two block to the restaurant to eat, so no fear of being out on the road afterwards.  One of the nice things about living in the city.)

Now, the day didn’t start bad, though the week has been a real pain in the ass, if I may say so myself.  However, yesterday was sort of nice in that it was warmer than it has been, and I was in my long skirt, flowing top, and platform sandals, giving me that total “hippie girl” look.

I would have worn a shawl, but Stevie Nicks stole them all.

I would have worn a shawl, but Stevie Nicks stole them all.

However, the day started going to hell slowly, and by late afternoon I felt like I needed a ride across the River Styx.  It . . . wasn’t good, and when you hear a pair of size 11 platform sandals clopping about the office going somewhere in a hurry, you know happy times aren’t about to show up smiling.

Anyway, after I made it home I decided it was time to get my feeling out in a video, then veg out in front of the television and watch Jurassic Park III, which I like just because of the Spinosaurus and Raptors, followed by the first thirty minutes of Van Helsing, which is one of the biggest loads of cinematic bullshit to ever hit a screen.  Abandoned windmills exploding like they’re made out of C-4?  And where did Doctor Jekyll get those huge cigars made?  And why was Kate Beckinsale’s character’s brother the only one with a pistol with silver bullets?  The other dozen morons who showed up for the werewolf party (Werewolf?  There wolf–) couldn’t bother to make them?  And wearing a tight corset is like the bestest article of clothing to wear when you’re fighting, and running like hell from, werewolves.  I should have stuck around for the wooden carriage that explodes upon impact and turns into a claymore, because of course–

Making the video was good, though, even cathartic.  Sometimes one needs to sit down and get their thoughts out in a form other than writing, and video allows me that release.  And I’ve had the urge to get out the camera and do a video for a while.  So when the urge hits, and you’ve had a couple of libations to help smooth the journey, get to filming, people.

Hope you enjoy.

There you have it:  taking care of my emotions and getting it done.  And getting ready to write and probably clear ten thousand words total today.

And to leave a little cherry on this video sundae, I’ll leave you with what I start listening to this morning.  This is how I get my titles at times, if you must know . . .

From Makassar to Massachusetts

Though there hasn’t been much comment on the subject of late, I’m three chapters into the edit of Part Two of Kolor Ijo.  Really, truly, I am, because I actually worked on two chapters last night.

See?  A manuscript!  It does exist.

See? A manuscript! It does exist.

I was surprised that editing went so quickly last night.  Well, I shouldn’t say quickly:  I finished up Chapter Seven, then polished off Chapters Eight and Nine before settling in for the night, watching a little television, and going to bed.  Actually, I didn’t get heavily into editing until after watching Planet of the Apes, so that means I spent about an hour before that movie came on, and two after, going through about four thousand words.

Now that I’m through the intro–and believe it when I say that Part One really is an intro–I’m starting to enjoy the editing on the story.  I’ve been cutting stuff out; not a lot, but enough that I’ve probably dropped the word count by over a hundred up to these last chapters.  Last night was the first time I ended up with words added to the count:  fifteen exactly.  Wee hoo!  Better watch out, it could be the start of something bad!

There is a pleasantness in being able to read something that I haven’t see in a while, and that makes it easier for me to take my time, read the passages, and see all the little mistakes that were made–or, as the case was last night, a couple of big mistakes when I found paragraphs that made no sense at all and needed some massive fixing.  That’s the idea of an edit–to find stuff like that and get it right.

So it’s coming along nicely.  I plan to get through the next chapter tonight, and this is one of the longer chapters–as you can see from the image above, I started getting a bit wordy in this part of the story, which is normal for me.  At the rate I’m proceeding, I feel I’ll have the first pass edit finished in a couple of weeks, and then I’ll probably send it out for beta reading while doing another edit.  If I can find a cover for cheap, I’ll likely go ahead with my plans to self-publish the book in June.  Or maybe I should just bite the bullet and start sending it out to some of the local horror houses.

Speaking of novels . . .

I’ve been bothered by the lack of my kids in my life of late.  While I haven’t been thinking much about A For Advanced, yesterday did trigger a lot of thoughts about Annie and Kerry.  As much as writing a four hundred thousand plus word novel was a total pain in the ass, I realize that I do want to tell what happens to them, and that their first level was just the beginning.  There’s a whole lot more ahead–not just their school years, but stuff that happens after.

Therefore, I reached a decision last night.  In May, probably the first weekend in the month, which happens to be 1 and 2 May, I’m going to set up a project and stay laying out the novel.  If I stick to my normal process, about the time Salem would be shutting down for the summer, and Annie and Kerry would be on their way home, I’ll likely start writing The Foundation Chronicles:  B For Bewitching.

There.  I said it.

So it is written, so it is done.

Weaving Through the Emotions of the Day

As I stated in yesterday’s post, it was the one month anniversary of my coming out at work, and therefore the anniversary of my going into true full-time living.  And like life itself, yesterday was pretty much an up and down day.

It started out fine, albeit snowy and cold.  A storm rolled through Sunday and there was a lot of stuff on the ground, which made walking into work a bit of a chore.  I don’t mind that; I’ve done it more than a few times in the past.  No, the morning and lunch time were fine.  It was in the afternoon that things fell apart . . .

I was working on a program that I’m going to help demo today, and it wasn’t so much there was an issue with the program as there was an issue with the data–which, to use a technical term, sucks.  I run into this issue all the time–and it doesn’t help that I’ve mentioned it as well, how it seems like nothing really works when I try to test, and sometimes I spend hours attempting to verify if it’s the program that’s acting wonky, or it’s something in the data.

Yesterday it was something in the data.  And it was driving me beyond frustrated.

"Why do you do this to me?  Why do you hate me so?"

“Why do you do this to me? Why do you hate me so?”

Here’s something else to consider:  last Friday afternoon was Shot Day, which I do every other week.  I do my injection and get the estrogen into my body.  It’s usually a few days later before I start feeling moody and emotional, so if I do a shot late Friday, it normally starts hitting me about . . . Monday afternoon.  And that’s when I really started to feel like I was loosing it hard . . .

By the time I left work I was a semi-angry, emotional mess.  Then I have a mile-long walk ahead of me, which allows time to think about things and stuff, and the stuff and things that were on my mind weren’t good.  Nope, not at all.  Which means by the time I’d reached the front of the capitol building I was pretty much on the verge of tears, and I fought off the urge to let it all out for about three blocks–

And that urge ended as soon as I was inside my apartment.

I got dinner going, and as the computer was coming up I broke down.  It was a pretty epic meltdown, one that I haven’t actually had in a while.  It’s the kind that involve a lot of tears and even a little screaming, and it went on for about ten minutes straight.  It was straight-up nasty, and I wasn’t feeling all that well once I had the computer up and I was still a mess–

And then I found a message waiting for me.

I don’t want to say that there’s someone I know out there in Internet Land who has a connection to me, but when their first post is, “How are you feeling?” and a little while later in the conversation you’re told that they felt you calling and that they needed to check in on you–yeah, something’s there, and that something helped me feel better.  Upside to this all is I was far better an hour later, and by the time I went off to bed, while I might not have been feeling one hundred percent, I was better than I when I’d first walked through the apartment door.

I even managed a bit of editing last night–maybe three thousand words.

All in all, not a bad day for a massive roller coaster ride.

Tales of Writing For Tanya

Here I am, once again, with questions about writing, and I saved some of the best–and longest–for last, all from my friend Tanya, she of the video I released just the other day.  If there is anyone who knows me as a writer it’s her, because she’s been with me from the start of when I began writing once again.  That means she also knows what questions to ask.

And those questions are:

 

What does your writing process look like? Do you have any writing habits that might be considered strange or unusual? Just how important are names in your books? What is your LEAST favorite part of the whole writing/publishing process? Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder to write than others? Have you always enjoyed writing and if so, what were some of the earliest things you remember putting pen to paper about? Do you tend to write your stories in order or do you skip around?

 

A lot of questions, so let me address them one at a time.

 

What does your writing process look like?

 

I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m going to write, then I start gathering data for my story–if it’s necessary–and once that’s all finished, I plot things out and start writing.  While I’m writing I’m constantly thinking about what’s just around the corner in the story, and I’m working out future scenes in my head as I going through whatever I’m working on currently.  I also do that because with a large enough work–like this last novel–you find that some things didn’t work, some things need more explanation, and sometimes you just gotta add or remove scenes to have the story work.  I try to write every night, and I try to get in between five hundred and a thousand words a night.  Five hundred words doesn’t sound like much, but if you keep at it every day, it adds up.

 

Do you have any writing habits that might be considered strange or unusual?

 

Other that monthly sacrifices to Cthulhu, no.  I enjoy listening to music when I’m writing (as I’m doing right now, listing to a Genesis concert from Zurich, Switzerland, recorded during their Wind and Wuthering tour in 1977), but there aren’t any other unusual habits I have when I’m working on a story.  Though I suppose one could say that once I start a story I dedicate myself to finishing it and not working on or getting sidetracked by other stories that may pop into my head.  If that happens they go into the idea file and I move on.  Remember, kids:  stay focused on what’s before you, and stop with the “But this other story came up and I just had to work on it!”  If that’s the case, then the first story was never meant to be.  And if you get distracted by a third story after you start that second, don’t quit your day job.

 

Just how important are names in your books?

 

They’re important.  As I’ve pointed out in another post, I work on my names until I get them right, and I’ve worked on stories before (Her Demonic Majesty being one) where I had a character and I just had the hardest time writing about that person because I wasn’t diggin’ the name.  But once I know who “they” are, then I’m good to go and I get into them greatly.  Sometimes I get into a character’s name so much that whenever I hear it outside the story, I sort of flash on my character and wonder what they should do next.

 

What is your LEAST favorite part of the whole writing/publishing process?

 

Promotion is, for me, the worse.  That’s because I’m really not good at selling myself, and I always feel like I’m pushing my crap onto other people if I’m trying to get them interested in my stories.  Even though it’s the only way to get any exposure in these days of self publishing, I hate it.  And once you’ve seen another writer spamming every thread they can access with invitations to read their story, you feel like you don’t want to bother people with your requests.  Truly, I suck at this.

 

Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder to write than others?

 

A lot of people would imagine romance scenes are hard to write, but I’m actually go with those–I enjoy writing them, because if handled right, romantic scenes are great for character building.  Just look at Annie and Kerry and see how they grew in their romance.  (And, no, That Girl does not exist here.  Nope.  Not at all.  Move along.)

The scenes I have the most difficulty writing are action scenes, and here’s the reason why.  These days, action has become associated with visual presentations seen on movies and television.  We now have an expectation of how action is suppose to play out, and directors and special effects people know exactly how those are to look.

The only thing is, action on the screen is difficult to play out on the written page.  There are only so many adjectives one can apply to action before you start repeating yourself, or end up looking ridiculous.  And if you watch closely, some action scenes in movies play out forever:  it’s like they slipped into a Whovian Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey ball of stuff, and what should be over in two minutes gone on for twenty.

My action scenes tend to be short and quick, because if you were paying attention, the three main action scenes that were in The Foundation Chronicles:  A For Advanced–Kerry fighting the Abomination; Annie and Kerry against the homunculi in Self Defense class; and the Battle of Link Bridge–went fairly fast.  Well, two of the three, but we’ll get to that . . .  The reason they went fast is either due to some heavy-ass magic flying about–the Link Bridge battle–or one opponent was outclassed by the other–Kerry and the Abomination.  In the second example Kerry quickly came to the conclusion that if he hung around trying to fight this thing he was gonna die, and did what he could to get the creature off Emma and to come after him thinking he could somehow outrun the beast.  In the first example you saw that magic fights were a little like modern day aircraft or submarine battles:  if you get through the defenses and hit, you’ll score a kill.  As I showed, the Link Bridge Battle was over in forty seconds, and most everyone was in bad shape after that little soiree–even the winners needed a quick evac.

The exception to this rule was Annie and Kerry fighting the homunculi scene–or as I lovingly titled it, The Walking Tests.  That went on for about nine thousand words, due to the set up, the preamble of one coven getting their butts kicked, and after the fight hearing about how the test may have been set up, and our two combatants wandering off to clean up.  The actually battle seemed to take some time, only because there was some butt saving, and some talking, and most talking, and finally–well, once the kids figured out how to dust those loser homunculi walkers, it was over quickly.  If I had to put a timer on the action, I’d say Annie and Kerry were on the mat no more than a couple of minutes at most–and that took four thousand words.

Though I have to admit that scene was one of my favorites to write, even if it did take me almost a week . . .

 

Have you always enjoyed writing and if so, what were some of the earliest things you remember putting pen to paper about?

 

While I like telling stories, I can’t say I’ve always enjoyed writing.  Mostly because, at least in the beginning, one, I have horrible handwriting; two, I can’t spell worth a damn; and three, I couldn’t type.  Once I learned to type I only had Point Two holding me back, and spell checkers help out there greatly.

The first story I remember completing was a horror tale that was really about as amateur as they get, complete with creepy, unknown things going bump in the night, and the overused trope of the author (the story was told in first person point of view) continuing to write as the Horror Outta The Basement came to eat his ass–otherwise known as the Apocalyptic Log with the writing making sure everyone read The Last Entry.

At the time I thought I was doing something great, but now it’s not hard to see it was complete crap.  I really had no idea what I was doing, and I was totally coping the style of a write whose work I enjoyed.  All writers do this (well, almost all), and I learned from that work, because my next two were much better.  The second story I wrote was done with original characters, and involved a trio of time travelers realizing the part they had to play in the assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981.  It was the first time I worked with original characters who weren’t just there as part of the scenery, and there was the first inkling of a story starting to play out.  (True story:  this was written as an assignment for an adult writing night course I was taking.  The instructor had wanted something along the lines of four to five pages; I turned in twenty-eight.  She made certain to tell the whole class that I’d actually turned in a story, which I found a little embarrassing.)

And my third story was really sort of a fan fiction, as it took place inside a role playing universe that I was running at the time–however, I used all original character (save for two who were really in a position to help drive the plot along), and there was an actual history developed in the course of telling this story, where I was giving background on some of the characters, and even giving them, in the course of the story, motivation for their actions.  It was also my first really cinematic story, as I could see scenes playing out as if I was watching this play out on HBO–and given all the swearing and mayhem that occurred in the story, it would have been perfect for HBO before the coming of the show known as A Song of Breasts and Dragons.

The most important thing about the story, however, was the length:  it was about forty-five thousand words, which means long before I wrote my first novel, this was my first novel, at least according to the guild lines set down by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America.  And only a few friend ever heard the whole story:  I never posted it on the Internet, I never tried to get it published because I know, as a derivative entity of an existing work with a legitimate copywrite, I couldn’t do anything with the story.  I read it at writer’s meetings, and that was that.

None of these works exist any longer.  They all resided on the hard drive an old computer that eventually went belly up, and were lost to history.  I managed to find a hard copy of almost half of the third story about fifteen years ago (all these things were written in the late 1980s, early 1990s), but even that has vanished.  I could, however, rewrite the third story if I had to, because even to this day I remember it well, because, really, you never forget your first.

 

Do you tend to write your stories in order or do you skip around?

 

And we finally come to the last question, and the crowd goes wild!  Just kidding . . .

I write everything in order, and even I find that a bit strange, because as I have my stories laid out so well, it doesn’t make sense that I start at the beginning, work my way through the middle, and work towards the end, because if I know what’s going into a scene months before I get to it, why not write said scene?  Writing software makes this possible, and with all my scenes for my last novel developed before setting down word one, then why not skip around?  Why not write about what happened to Annie and Kerry in Kansas City long before they go to the Samhain Dance, or why not write the ending–which I knew before I started writing–and then get the kids together?

Because even though I know what’s going to happen before I get to those scenes, I don’t know what’s going to happen until I get there.

Allow me to explain.

When I laid out A For Advanced I knew the kids would go to Kansas City on a field op for the good guys.  And, in a metadata view of the story, I knew certain things would happen there.  What I didn’t know were the details, and I didn’t start working on those until I was about ready to write them.  This was after I had months to think about that adventure, and even when I started writing, I only knew maybe six events in any kind of detail.

Annie and Kerry talking about France outside the school?  Came to me that day before I wrote the scene.  Same with the Dreamspace scene; had that idea the night before because I knew it made sense given what they knew.  The CDC?  Also figured out the day before I wrote the scene, based upon what I knew of the world I’d developed over the last year.  And the Magic Show the kids gave in the park only came about due to knowing what they had already done magically, and want I wanted to bring up in a later scene.

In short, I couldn’t have written any of the Kansas City scenes without knowing what my kids had been through before getting there.  I mean, I could have, but those scenes would have been completely different, and it’s very likely I may have needed to rewrite them completely to fit with what I’d written if I’d decided to work the whole field op out of order.

There are scenes I could write now for later novels because I know them well–and believe it when I say I would love to sometimes, just to write them out.  But I would probably end up rewriting them later, and I hate to do that.  It’s best to get to them in the right order so I know that my kids have advanced the way they’re supposed to advance.

Though if I did write out The Polar Express now it would answer one burning question . . .

"She finally tells us if Kerry nailed that tramp Emma and ends up cheating on Annie, who is just way too good for him!  Yay!"

“She’s finally going to tell us if Kerry nails that horrible tramp Emma and ends up breaking Annie’s heart! Yay!”

Ummm, on second thought, I’ll just keep that information to myself for a few more years.

There you have it:  twenty-five hundred words telling you a bit more about me as a writer.  I hope you found it entertaining.

Because I remembered things that I thought I’d lost.  And that’s a good thing.