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.

The Path to Knowing is In the Missing

Here is an interesting quandary:  I was supposed to work on Kolor Ijo last night, because when you’re in the editing, you should edit, right?  And editing doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, because the novel is only (I would put that in quotes but then it feels like I’m showing off if I do) twenty-four chapters long, with a prologue and a code that stretches it out to twenty-six chapters, the whole novel is sixty-eight thousand, eight hundred words total.  And nearly all of the chapters are short:  in Part One the longest chapter is just under three thousand words, and that was a standard with my last novel.

See?  Just little bitty chapters.  The good ol' days when you could rip off something like this in a month.

See? Just little bitty chapters. The good ol’ days when you could rip off something like this in a month.

The nice thing that comes from editing a work like this is that you can take your time reading the tome and see what needs to be changed, and what has to be changed.  I found a lot of interesting but messed-up sections in the chapters I’ve read, and without a careful re-reading, that crap would have slipped through.  That’s one of the hazards of NaNoWriMo:  you’re writing so quickly at times that words just flying into the page, and there are sentences where those words make no damn sense.  I found about a dozen of them so far, and it’s a scary thing, let me tell you.

But at the same time I’m editing this–and I should mention I’m taking my time editing, because I’m reading this once for the first time in over two years, and it’s taking me time to get to know the characters once again–I’m thinking about another couple–and you know who they are.  Over the weekend I began thinking about something that happens to the kids–here it comes–after they leave Salem, because they do have a life outside the reinforced walls of that environment, and the things that happened to them when the Real Annie and I started thinking about their lives at school have changed slightly.  Meaning their future has changed slightly as well.  This is a perfect example of Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey stuff going on, and one must adjust.

There are things that happen to them both that need to be adjusted, because what happened before was, frankly, a little strange.  Also, life is a little different in The World of the Foundation, and it’s pretty obvious that Annie has her sights set on doing something that she wants to make her own, and it seems likely that Kerry may follow in her footsteps.  They’re gonna be busy kids from their F Levels on for a couple of years, and later on into their lives.

In fact, one of the things I was time lining out was . . . hum, should I do this? Naw, better to keep you guessing and wondering.

I don’t need to wonder:  I know what’s coming.  In both the future and the past.

I just gotta get their on my own power.

 

Revisiting Old Horrors

I have to confess:  while I was editing another project I realized that I was missing something, and I think you know what I was missing.  When is put down almost sixteen months of your life to a single project, you tend to put your heart into said project, and now that it’s not in my life at the moment, things feel lonely and just a little bit empty.

I was looking for ways to keep busy after editing, a little of which was done by catching both Judgement at Nuremberg (a movie I’d only seen the first fifteen minutes of a long time ago), and Dr. Strangelove (which I’ve seen dozens of times and never get tired of seeing, only because I want to exceed my authority and launch a nuclear attack), so I sat down and did something I started on a few days ago.  And that something looks a little like this:

You also now know when the Last Madness of the 2013/2014 school year is held.

You also now know when the Last Madness of the 2013/2014 school year is held.

I’ve always been curious about the time line of the “books”–I guess I can call them that now–and now I know.  The first three are the “shortest” in terms of calendar time, with A For Advanced the shortest of them all.  Why?  Because it picks up right as the kids are getting ready to leave for Salem, and any discussion of their summertime fun is seen in flashback.  The time between the B and C Level books is deliberate:  the story, as I see it in my head, actually starts on 2 June, then immediately flashes back to the night before.  Why?  You’ll have to wait for me to write it, that’s why.  But it does, because I know how it starts.

And the last three novels, particularly the last two, cover a year in their lives.  In reality, there’s almost no break in the story between the start of the B Level book and the end of the F Level one, save for the month that passes between the D and E Level novels–and you’ll know what’s going to happen in that month because it’ll be discussed at the end of the D Level novel.

There you go:  I know the road.  Just have to write it now.  And know that between the screen borders on the left and right of that shot, I know just about everything that happens to my kids.  Everything.

But this didn’t keep me up all night.  Nope.  I got into something else . . .

First off, I finally moved my Foundation novels off my computer drive and placed them on my external drives for safe keeping.  It’s a sad thing, I know, but when I’m finished writing those stories I move them away for safe keeping.  And in return I moved something back onto my computer–

Welcome back, 2012 NaNoWriMo story!

Welcome back, 2012 NaNoWriMo story!

I started editing Kolor Ijo last night, and let me tell you, it’s so different to go back into a work you haven’t actually laid eyes on for over two years and started reading it again.  As you can see I began editing the Prologue, and . . . oh, boy.  Was it a little rough?  Yes.  Has my style changed?  Tremendously.

Reading the prologue was like reading the writing of another author.  I was trying for a style and it felt clumsy, as if it were almost experimental.  That comes from writing a whole lotta stuff since then–probably close to 600,000 words if you include the end of my latest novel, and not include this blog.  It was a little tough getting through the work, and I ended up not only re-writing certain portions, but I cut out about fifty words.  That doesn’t seem like much, but it’s likely closer to a hundred when you take into consideration what I rewrote.

This is something I’m doing.  My mind is on other things, too, but I do want this story edited and even published.  I miss Salem, but I miss some of my other characters as well.

And it’s a change of pace to go back into the horrors of the past.

Back At Makassar

Last night was editing of another project, not any of my novels, and playing with time lines–you know, doing that thing that I said I wouldn’t do.  It was a lot of fun, actually, and I’m discovering something about a B Level novel:  there won’t be a lot of talk about classes, because it’s not about classes, it’s about people.  Most of the stuff that ended up in events had to do with personal things and improvements, though I did see where someone goes to the hospital twice in the course of the year–probably off to Bay #1, Bed #2.  And in one instance it’s almost a repeat of another incident that happened to a particular person, and they’re brought in unconscious after same person they collided with before sorta runs into them once more.  Yeah, that’s a thing again.

And there’s this:

Not sure what it means, but it involves being outside the school, that's for certain.

Not sure what it means, but it involves being outside the school, that’s for certain.

You know me and how I love to play with maps, and if given the chance I will.  I usually only do anything with them if it has something to do with the story, so you can rest assured that map above has something to do with another novel.  Keep in mind that it takes time to plot things out in detail, so the likelihood I’m going to start writing a second Annie and Kerry Novel within another week or so is slim.  You’ll have better luck finding Bigfoot riding on the back of the Loch Ness Monster.

What I have decided is that as soon as I finish the project I’m doing on the side, I need to get back into editing, because I have a novel I want to push out.  And that novel is Kolor Ijo.

Some people may remember my first self-published story Kuntilanak.  That was the first thing I wrote, and kept writing, and finished writing, and even went so far as to put it up for sale.  It was never meant to be a best seller:  I just wanted to say that I wrote a story, and that people have bought said story.

I was never certain I would ever expand upon the story of Indriani Baskoro and Kadek Bagus Surya Buana:  as it was the original story started out because someone wanted a Halloween story, and I wrote it only to discover later that it was too long for what the person wanted.  I thought those twenty-five thousand words would be enough.

And then NaNoWriMo 2012 came along.

I usually start thinking about what I’m going to write for NaNo about two months before November rolls around, and 2012 was no exception.  Really, the expectation was high for me, because I’d “won” 2011 writing Her Demonic Majesty, and I wanted to prove I could do it again.  And as I needed an idea I thought I’d write a sequel to Kuntilanak, but instead of setting the story back in Bali, I’d go somewhere else in Indonesia.

Like . . . here.

Like . . . here.

There are a lot of places to visit in Indonesia, and they are all so very different.  I moved the setting to another island, changed it up further by creating an urban setting, and started writing Kolor Ijo.  And when I finished–

That was it.  I hadn’t done anything with it in over two years.

I think I need to change that up, and it’s likely I’ll start editing it in a couple of weeks.  It’s not the monster A For Advanced is:  I could fit five Kolor Ijos into that binder.  Which means I should be able to edit it up right.

At least that’s my hope.

Let’s see what comes of this.

Off Into the Sunrise

The children are left behind, but they will return soon–tonight for sure.  Here we have the last time you’ll see any of the instructors chatting.  Salem is filtering away slowly, and this is the last of it right here.

For the school at Cape Ann is a memory now.  Sure, it gets mentioned, but in a few we’re not even going to be on the same continent.  We have three more counties to visit, and in the reverse order as we visited them almost four hundred thousand words ago.

Now, though, we have this:

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

Erywin sighed as she stood. “And with that I must leave you.” She leaned over and patted both children on their shoulders. “Enjoy your flight, and enjoy your time together.” She quickly left their cabin and made her way past the remainder of the students. She entered the closed-off section at the rear of the student section and shut the door behind her, letting out a loud sigh as she leaned against the bulkhead wall.

“Are they okay?” Deanna’s concern came through in her voice.

“Better than they were this morning.” Erywin took her seat to the left of Deanna. “But they’re still down. When Annie’s unable to push away her sadness after an hour, you know it’s serious.”

“It will be hard on them, but there’s nothing to be done.” Deanna crossed her legs and repositioned her tunic across her waist. “They’ll have to resign themselves to spending the summer apart.”

“I’m certain they have, but . . .” Erywin leaned closer to her traveling companion as the plane was pushed backwards out of the hanger. “Deanna, did we do the right thing letting them spend last night together?”

 

Erywin, as stated, is a lot like Kerry:  she wears her emotions out where all can see them.  Perhaps in the edit there’s a passage I’d like to add where Deanna mentions that Erywin is like Kerry, and that she identifies with both children, who in turn remind her a great deal of her own relationship.  But for now I’m leaving that out, because it’s not about Erywin, and that line would be a good one for the second scene of the next book, of which I know pretty much how the first six scenes will play out.

How does Deanna answer?

 

Though she possessed no doubts about their actions, Deanna needed to address Erywin’s concerns. “It was necessary.”

“I know you told us it was something we needed to do—still, they’re so miserable—”

“And how miserable would you imagine them this morning had they spent the night apart in the hotel with the rest of the students on this plane?” Deanna turned to face the woman next to her. “Yes, it’s possible one would have went into the other’s room, and it’s possible that wouldn’t have been allowed, given they weren’t being supervised by anyone from the school—”

“I know, I know. As you said, they were entitled to this moment alone, that it was important for their relationship.” She shrugged. “I do hope that all that happened last night—”

“They’re still virgins.”

 

Thanks for that TMI Update, Ms. Arrakis!  Though that wasn’t quite what Erywin was looking for . . .

 

Erywin raised an eyebrow and smirked. “I was going to say that all that happened last night was a lot of heartfelt moments between bouts of crying, but I suppose one can be thankful for that good news” She eyed the seer hard. “How do you know that?”

Deanna didn’t blink. “You know how I know that.”

“The same way you knew they needed to be together last night?”

“Yes.”

She knew she wouldn’t get an answer, but Erywin had to ask. “How much do you know about them?”

 

And there’s as damning a passage as any.  How would you like to have students under your charge, and know about the discussions they’re going to have about sex a few years in the future?  Or know that they had sex?  Or have a vision of them having sex?  Talk about a brain bleach moment.  But that’s something Deanna deals with, not just with these kids, but with others, and even with her friends and acquaintances.  As the next line shows, Erywin was also Deanna’s instructor at one time, and you have to wonder if she wonders if Deanna used to flash on details of their future together.  It’s one of those things that does have to drive you a little nutty, even in a world where nutty is pretty common.

So what does Deanna say?  Not what you might think–

 

Deanna stared at the bulkhead in front of her for about ten seconds, and Erywin was certain her former student would either ignore the question or reply that it was impossible for her to say. Instead Deanna responded in a low voice that could barely be heard over the whine of the starting engines. “Not as much as you think. When I first saw them I knew who they were—I’d seen their names, and I was aware of Annie’s family—but that didn’t register. Not even after I had the short vision of them at Memory’s End on Orientation Day did they register. It wasn’t until I spoke with Annie the following week, when she first discussed her concerns about Kerry and their dreams, that I realized they were a couple I’d seen in a few visions.”

She straightened her legs as she looked in Erywin’s direction. “There’s been a few others since they’ve arrived. Some you know, like telling Coraline to let Annie spend the night after the Day of the Dead. But there’s been others . . .” She shrugged. “I’ve seen one where they discuss the needs not to do that one thing, if you know what I mean—”

“I know what you mean.”

“It happens in the future, that much I know.”

“How?”

Deanna shook her head. “I can’t say. I can’t.”

Blasted Seers. Erywin almost rolled her eyes as the plane lurched on the way to its take-off point. Always teasing and never spilling. “Isn’t it true that even though you’ve had that vision, it doesn’t mean it’ll come true?”

 

In about a hundred words at the back end of a huge novel we finally see a little of Deanna’s visions, and the only snippet of what she has seen of these two in the future.  But if you think there’s more, you’re wrong.  Or are you?

 

“That’s true.” Deanna set her hand in her lap and began preparing herself for the flight. “A vision is only a possible future, and not only the future itself. There always exists the possibility that one of both of them will do—that—before they get married, and thus partially invalidate their feelings on their own vision.”

There was something in Deanna’s statement that caught Erywin’s interest. “You make it sound like they will get married.”

“I can’t say.” The seer exhaled long and slow. “Only the future knows.”

Only the future— Erywin stretched out her legs as the 777 made its final turn prior to departure. But you said you couldn’t say—not that it wouldn’t happen. She closed her eyes as the engines revved and the jet lumbered down the runway. How much do you know?

 

We won’t get an answer to that question, not here.  Not any more this story.  Nope, it’s flashing behind us as we sail down the runway on the way back to Amsterdam.  If there are any answers, they come later.

For now, we say goodbye.

So long, Salem Witch School.  See you next year.

So long, Salem Witch School. See you next year.