Travelogues and Time Lines

I know I said I was going to edit last night, but . . . I got off on a side track.  I know:  me?  Off on a side track?  Heavens forbid!

But that’s what happened.  I started thinking about one thing, then I flipped off to another, and before you know it I started working on this blasted future time line for my kids which started taking up nearly all my evening time.  As I’ve been told already, “You can’t leave those kids alone, can’t you?”

I would appear I can’t.

I found myself drawn back into working out this time line, because it’s something I need to finish now that I’ve started.  I get like that at times when I find myself unable to concentrate on what I should be doing, and end up doing something I want to do.  And this thing, this map and plan, are something I’ve wanted to do for a while.  So, in order to get my mind off things, I’m in it.  The editing won’t suffer, but I can’t do that every right, right?

Where am I now?  Well, how about here?

That's a lot of moving around for two 14 year olds.

That’s a lot of moving around for two 14 year old kids.

So far the stops are Rome, Florence, Milan, darling, Nice, Barcelona, and lastly Lyon.  That’s where I ended, with them arriving in Lyon, where they’ll take a short jaunt to the west to visit Deanna before heading on to Paris.  It’s all flying until they get to the stretch between Barcelona and Lyon, where I put them on a train running from Barcelona to Montpelier, France, where they pick up the TGV that takes them into Lyon.  Why go that way?  Because Kerry wants to ride the TGV, and Annie’s curious about what it’s like as well.  The fortunate part there is I’ve done that same route:  stayed in Barcelona for a few days, then traveled by train to Lyon and Paris.  So here I speak from a point of some experience.

Using the map as a guide, I’ve managed to work out my time line in better detail . . .

With cute names, too!

With cute names, too!

The bar at the bottom of the screen tells me I’m about a third of the way through the trip, but I know from experience that Paris is going to be a long stay, because the kids love Paris.  In their history they stayed there before heading off to their C Levels, and a fun time was had by all.  It was also the first time Annie and Kerry actually got to hang with a few of their covenmates outside the school, which made parts of the experience even better.  So it’s a fair bet I’ll have them there for a week to enjoy the city, and . . . well, something else happens, too.  Something important.

One last thing I got into yesterday was putting down, on the above time line, what hotels they’re using.  And just to let you know, these kids aren’t roughing it–Annie has money, remember?  Now, while they aren’t going five star all the way, they’re for sure not staying in any hostels.  Can you see these two staying in a dorm?  I can’t either.  It’s fortunate that the places they’re staying have a Foundation connection, otherwise someone might think it a bit strange that two kids dressed in leather pants and bomber jackets come in with nothing but backpacks and confirm their already paid reservation–

And yes:  they do get a discount when they show their Student IDs.

Time Into the Grind

This has started out to be a strange, busy week.  I have a number of things to finish up at work, but none of them really require me to spend more than an hour or so here or there working on them.  I was in a bit of a panic over something that happened to a friend yesterday, and discovered later that it was really nothing.  I’m preparing to head back to Indiana for a week, and dreading the time I’ll spend on the road, and even a little of the time back home, because I know it’ll be full of stress.

And I’m looking at what I have for writing.

I finished up a rather large chapter of Kolor Ijo last night, and I have another to do tonight and another to do in a few days, but the tale of the tape shows there are five chapters–including the one I should do tonight–and about sixteen thousand words ahead of me remaining, and then the pass through this edit is over.  I was fortunate that I’d figured out the mystery ahead of time, because it made things easier when it came to writing it out, and I don’t have any discernible plot holes staring me in the face.  Given the amount of work left, I will finish Kolor Ijo this weekend.  And then come the question–

"Should I call her maybe?"

“Should I call her maybe?”

Uh, no:  not that one.  It’s the one about what comes next.  The one I’m always having.

This is where I need to get disciplined about what to do, because there’s more to writing and, um, writing.  Creating is one thing, but getting that creation out there for people to see is another, and I’m solely lacking in the later.  Since 2011 I’ve only managed to publish three things, and nothing new has gone out in three years.  That wasn’t my real plan when I started on this trip, and getting behind another big project is going to press me further from getting another work out there.  It’s great to be writing, but it’s also great to have people reading your writing.  And plopping down a few coins for the pleasure of doing so.

Hate to say it, but concentrating on writing three stories–a novelette and two novels–in the last two years has pushed everything to the back burner.  And while the urge to get into writing another novel is high, the urge to get something out for people to buy is even higher.  And it’s needed, because I can’t keep working in a vacuum with my writing.

It’s my intention to stick to my schedule as I planed it a few weeks back:  continue editing Kolor Ijo and get it ready for publication.  Now that I have B For Bewitching mostly plotted out, I can start the process of working it out in my head even more, so that when I do begin writing, I’ll know the literary route I must take.  Really, the most difficult thing I’m dealing with now if finding covers for my books, but I’m working on that, trust me–

I’m guessing that if any new writing starts, it’ll come around the first of May.

That gives me a whole month to get organized . . .

Be End of the B

It seems like not too long ago I said I was going to go ahead and start plotting out the next Foundation novel, probably some time in May.  And it wasn’t too long after that when I mentioned on this blog when I mentioned that I’d started said plotting, mostly because I wanted to get started on that.

And now I can tell you I’m finished, most or less, with the major plot out.  This is what happens when you have these things in your head and they want out:  you can’t say no to them.

I have finished Parts Ten and Eleven, and that’s all there is, folks.  One change I made was moving Part Seven to Act Two, so that now Act One is Parts One, Two, and Three, and Acts Two and Three have four parts each.  There are thirty-two chapters, which are ten fewer than the last novel.  Still, after looking at what I did today, I added fourteen scenes to the story, bringing the total, so far, to one hundred and twenty-nine scenes.  I’ll likely add a few more along the way, so I’m guessing the novel will top out around one hundred and thirty-five scenes, which should work out to an estimated two hundred thousand words.  Only about half the last novel, but still . . . it’s a lot of words.

I’m still thinking a quarter of a million is going to be more the real length.

Let’s see what we have.  Here’s Part Ten.

Sort of looks like May is here.

Sort of looks like May is here.

As you may remember, 3 May is Kerry’s birthday, so there are a few scenes dealing with that event, just as there is a chapter dealing with Annie’s birthday.  This is something that will show up in every novel, because if there is one thing these two kids need, it’s birthday time together.  And the scene Tag-a-Long . . . That will be the last time Emma is in a scene, and probably the last time any flying is observed.  And Kisses at My Madness–the time means something, it really does.  And it’s something that’s going to happen in a later novel as well.  It’s even going to become a tradition of sorts between these two . . .

After that we have The Three Bindings, and when I speak about something happening a while back in this novel that changes everything with these kids, this is where they get into details on that.  It’s also where Erywin talks about shenanigans, and Deanna says something to Annie that makes her blush, so it must be good.  I expect Sitting by Sunset to be something short and sweet, and perhaps the moment where the kids are absolutely certain about their future–or at least the future they know they could have.

Then there’s Part Eleven–

It's one more, it's the end!

It’s one more, it’s the end!

The two chapters deal with two days.  Chapter Thirty-One deals with the departure from the school and the night Annie and Kerry spend before flying back to Europe, while Chapter Thirty-Two deals with the flight back, the arrival in Germany, and Kerry’s return home.  Annie’s last scene is the penultimate scene–which translate as “Goodbye For Now”–but she’s going to do something before leaving that will be far different than how she acted in Amsterdam when she said goodbye to her soul mate.

As you can see by the notes on the right side of the screen–said notes attached to the scene After Breakfast Jaunt–I’ve figured out the time in four different cities in four different time zones.  That’s how when I get to the penultimate scene I know the time in all four of the locations selected.  I’ll have to show you how I do that one day.

That’s it, she’s finished.  As I said, I’ll probably add a few more scenes in time, maybe as I write, but for now this is the layout for the next big project.

And I’m already thinking about that . . .

Flights of Imagination

After the long, somewhat sad post yesterday, I was ready for a change.  I went out and had my nails done–something I’d planed a few weeks back–because nothing makes me feel better than having my brows waxed and my nails painted, ’cause it makes me feel pretty.

I feel pretty, oh so pretty . . .

I feel pretty, oh so pretty . . .

And for those who might wonder, the polish is OPI Cajun Shrimp gel.  It’s a lovely color, and I may ask for a touch up when I go back in two weeks, ’cause it’s pretty hot.

At the moment I’m playing the Go-Go’s Vacation on something of a loop, because the song puts me in the right frame of mind and gets me going.  Also, it’s going to put in an appearance in a future Foundation novel–the D Level novel, if you must know.  Seriously, Vacation will be blasting out at some point in the lives of Annie and Kerry.  I’ll leave to you wonder where and why.

While Now, Voyager was playing in the background, I worked on B For Bewitching, and put Part Nine behind me.  Only two chapters, but it’s meaty, beaty, big, and bouncy, if I may steal from The Who.  It’s about flying:  Annie doing her final solo flight, and Kerry doing the last race of the season.  What?  You just now figured out those were real things?  Ha!  No, this is all happening, and from the layout of the story, it’s pretty much the focus of at least seven chapters.  Though I’m approaching Chapter Thirty, which leaves plenty of room for other shenanigans–a word Erywin will lay on the kids in an upcoming chapter.  I wonder what she’s talking about, as she doesn’t seem like the sort of person who’d use that word . . .

Here’s what I have for Part Nine:

It's so pretty, oh so pretty . . .

It’s so pretty, oh so pretty . . .

And Chapter Twenty-Seven has one of the longest title of any thing I’ve written, right up there with the title for Part Eight–and for the title of this novel, and the last, and the one to come.  Never mind.  The thing I like is that I’ve laid out this part, I know how it’ll flow, and I know the outcomes of both chapters.  I’ve also realized that Part Ten will be the last part of the novel, and there will probably be three or four, more than likely four, chapters in that part, which will bring the novel to a close.  And just as A For Advanced started and ended with Annie, B For Bewitching will start and end with Kerry, and the C Level novel will start and end with Annie.  Yes, I said C Level novel, ’cause I know you want to know.

Two things I figured out last night.  One, there are scenes that I need to add.  I should show something with the kids teaching each other what they’re learning in their special classes:  Kerry transformation magic, and Annie advanced sorcery.  I’m certain there will be other moments that need to pop up here and there as well, but I have the majority of the novel laid out, and it’s really all about the kids and their relationship, and how it’s building and growing.

And two . . . I’ve added up the scenes I have plotted into the novel, and at the moment there are one hundred and fifteen.  I’m figuring that it’s not going to be hard to do fifteen or twenty more, which will likely put me somewhere between one hundred and thirty-five to one hundred forty scenes.  Now, if I figure an average of fifteen hundred words per scene–and I have no reason to believe that average is out of the question based upon my last novel–then it’s just simple math to see if I go one hundred and thirty-five scenes, the estimated word count for the novel is around . . . two hundred thousand words.  I’m guessing it’s gonna be closer to a quarter million words, because I know some of these scenes are gonna run bigger that fifteen hundred words–

Didn’t I say at the start of this project I was worried this was going to be a short novel?  So much for that concern.

I think I’ll finish up the plotting in the next couple of days, but I don’t expect to start writing on this beast anytime soon.  By that I mean I’m not going to start on something new when I have so many other things to do.

Besides, I have to think on this story a bit more before decide what it’s going to say.

Out of Geekdom

Nothing about writing today, because I didn’t work on anything writing related last night.  It was a time to relax and recharge, and I’ll get into things a little tonight after I return from getting my nails done and grabbing something to eat.  No, I needed a nap and the need to sit and watch some TV last night, all the while thinking about something that’s been on my mind for a while.

It has to do with geekdom.  If you’ve followed the blog for a while you’ve seen some of my posts about my various steps into things geeky.  I’ve been into a lot of different things over the years, and I suppose I could say that I’ve tempered that love with a sense of reality, turning my love of various fandoms into a thing that I nurtured and cherished.

However . . . this year I’ve stepped into a “geeky gift exchange” that was limited to a small number of people, and since joining I’ve been going nuts.  No, really:  I’ve been really beating myself up the last couple of weeks over being in this group.  I should point out that I get like this with any gift exchange, because I’m fairly particular about giving gifts.  It’s not the value that I want someone to remember, but rather, I want them to have something that comes from my heart and speaks to them.

And then I begin reading what people in the group already own, what they’ve collected–and I began feeling bad.  Not for them, but rather, for me.

To paraphrase Karen Blixen, I had a collection in geeky things in my library in my home.  It wasn’t big, but it was growing, and it covered a lot of different things.

My first love had always been book–science fiction to be exact.  I was a space travel junkie, but there were a few other stories that I loved just as well, and in the 1960s and 70s I spent hours reading and trying to find stories relating to my favorite authors.  I collected Omni and Twilight Zone magazines, both sadly gone these days, and both of which offered fantastic stories and information while they were out.  I had nearly every issues of the first and all the issues produced during the Twilight Zone‘s short, two year run.  Twilight Zone was famous for first-run printings of Harlan Ellison’s Grail and Paladin of the Last Hour, among his best writing and my favorite stories, as well as Steven King’s The Jaunt and his now-famous review of The Evil Dead where Steven pretty much lost his shit and gushed out his love for the picture.

Then it was Doctor Who, which I started watching in PBS in Chicago about 1980.  Yes, twenty-five years before all the fans who today talk about how they’ve seen ALL THE EPISODES of the show, starting with Rose in 2005.  Uh, huh, sure you have.  I was fortunate to be able to watch the show on one of only two networks in North America that ran it at that time.  (The other network was a station in Toronto, Canada.)  After a while I began taping the show so I could go back and watch episodes when the mood struck, and when our local station finally managed to get access to the then full catalog of existing episodes (just under a hundred are missing, having been destroyed during various BBC vault purges), I was kept busy buying VHS tapes in bulk.

Then I asked for a scarf.

The Forth Doctor was my first Doctor, and he was known for, among other things, his long scarves.  My first wife, pregnant with our son, felt like she needed something to do, so she found a pattern for the multi-colored, eighteen foot scarf, and made it for me.  It was big and heavy, but it was also glorious.  I would actually wear it out and to work, and I didn’t mind the stares shot my way by people who wondered what in the hell I had wrapped around my body.

I few years later I wore that scarf to a huge convention where I met several of the actors, watched the first North American viewing of the Doctor Who episodes The War Games and The Caves of Androzani, and eventually had my picture taken standing alongside a full-sized Dalek that two guys had made in their auto body shop in high school.

This is not that Dalek:  back in my day Daleks didn't sport v-neck armor.

This is not that Dalek: back in my day Daleks didn’t sport v-neck armor.

I went to several DW cons over the next few years, cosplayed a few more times (we just called it “dressing up in costume” because we didn’t know what I was going to get labeled in the future), and met more actors.  At one con I managed to spend nearly forty minutes chatting with Colin Baker, the Sixth Doctor, and we just talked about things–not always about the show, but stuff about what it was like to act, what it was like to be in other shows, what it was like to live in England and have to hop a flight to Chicago where he’d find himself talking to people like me.  We did get to talking about his not being allowed to have a Regeneration Episode, and he had a . . . few . . . choice . . . words on that matter.  Still and all, Colin was an extremely nice guy and a lot of fun.

Again, not Colin, but I am digging the blond, Helena-like blond hair that I'd like for my own.

Again, not Colin, but I am digging the blond, Helena-like blond hair that I’d like for my own.

There were several other things I got into over the year.  Role Playing Games, of which I have dozens, and some of the games I ran during the 1990s were, in a way, legendary.  I collected Battletech miniatures, some of which are impossible to find.  I’d have people paint them and put them on display around the home.  During the period I was between my first and second marriages I began collecting anime:  some movies, some OVAs, a few wall scrolls, more than a couple of figurines that could only be bought in Japan–which, thanks to the Internet, was doable.  I also began collecting animation cells from various productions.  Of these I don’t have many:  maybe a dozen.  The majority are from the original Sailor Moon and Urusei Yatsura, with a couple coming from Song of Escaflowne and Silent Mobius.

All old school stuff, but as they are the original, hand-painted cells, they were and are worth a big of cash.  I know a couple ran about $200 in late 1990s money, and I believe the head shot I have of Lum set me back about $300.  The one I really wanted, the one I got into a bidding war with two other collectors, was for a full-body portrait of Sailor Saturn and her Silence Glaive, which was about as rare a cell as they came.  I stopped when my $850 bid was passed, and I later learned from the seller that the winning bid was $1,100.  Yeah, the things we did twenty years ago when we had money.

A figurine of what the cell would have sort of looked like.  Yeah, I just loved some World Destroying Firefly . . .

A figurine of what the cell would have sort of looked like. Yeah, I just loved some World Destroying Firefly . . .

So what happened to all this stuff?  Well . . .

You see, while I was happy in my geekdom, and wanted to continue adding to the collection, others close to me–otherwise known as First and Second Wives–had other ideas.  My first wife grew bored with my geekness–as she did with just about everything else pertaining to me–and began getting pissy with my collections and my interest.  When I got to where everything I did turned into a big argument, I stopped the pursuit of all things geek, though I didn’t actually curtail my gaming on the weekends.  It was during the time just after I moved out that I lost my Omni and Twilight Zone magazine collections:  my ex told me she sold them at a garage sale, but I’m more of a mind that she tossed them in the bin.  I later lost my Doctor Who VHS collection to my stepson, who my second wife allowed to make off with my boxes of tapes.  I was also “convinced” by my second wife to give him my scarf, because there wasn’t any need to keep it, right?

Some of the other things that happened during my current marriage has been the boxing of my figurines and the removal of my wall posters.  Some of them went to my daughter, but most of them have gone into garage storage.  I was told having them around the house looked–well, not good, right?  My Battletech miniatures are boxed up as well, since I was informed that it wouldn’t be a good thing to put them on display.  I never managed to frame my animation cells, either, and right now they’re sitting in my closet back in Indiana, still in their shipping sleeves.  I’m heading Back to Indiana in a week, and I promise to get a few photos of these and put them up for you to see.  One day my daughter will get them if she really wants them; if not, I’ll probably give them away to someone who’d love a pissed-off looking Sailor Mars about to fireball someone’s ass.

I really have no one to blame for my current geeky apathy other than myself.  Yes, I received little to no support in my pursuits, and in so many instances I felt as if I was working in a vacuum with my fandom, because the only one who felt an interest in these things was me.  Just like with my gaming–which I eventually stopped because I was told by someone that they didn’t understand why I gamed, and kept wanting me to scale back my weekend endeavors in that area–I agreed to curtail these activities, and ultimately I lost interest in the act of surrounding myself with things that reminded me of those interests I loved.

These days I keep my geekness to the area of intellectual endeavor, because I can always look something up and memorize facts and use that knowledge to kinda keep me warm a cozy.  It’s not always comforting, however:  it’s like the difference between having a sweater that keeps the chill away, and curling up under a comforter with someone you love who’s going to whisper in your ear, “I’d blow up a star to be able to speak to you one last time.”  No, not nearly the same.

Which is why I see what others I know have and love, and brings on the tears because it reminds me of what I once had–

And what, over the decades, I’ve lost because I didn’t want to upset people who didn’t support me.

Hey, it’s never too late to turn that around, is it?

Imagining Through the Holidays

I’m at a difficult point for laying out this story, because I feel like I want to terminate what I’m working on now for Act Two and back load four or five parts into Act Three.  Which would be strange because Acts One and Two have consisted of three parts each, and I don’t want to make it feel as if Act Three is so much bigger than the others.

However, this is just planning, not the actual novel.  I have to keep reminding myself that I did some major chances to A For Advanced after I started writing, including introducing the Three Act Structure, and moving/adding/removing parts, chapters, and scenes around as I went.  I think I was several months into writing the first novel before I was confident I had it as I wanted it, and even then, most of the Kansas City chapter was modified not more than a few days before I started writing.

What do I have as of last night?  This:

More of the same, only different.

More of the same, only different.

Chapters Fifteen and Sixteen are all about the holidays, and they could expand as I think about those times more.  Chapter Fifteen is all about the kids being home, which we already know they are because of the preceding chapter.  As I have it now, there are two discussions between the kids and their mothers, and then . . . well, it would seem that I may have the kids getting together in their dreams.

I was going over the “discussions” between Annie and Kerry and their mothers, and I came up with a sort of dynamic between them.  It would seem that Annie’s mom has reasons up her sleeve for why she does some of the things she does with her daughter, and Kerry’s mom–well, that one is a little trickier to work out, because, deep down, I feel Kerry’s mom isn’t really conscious of why she does some of the stuff she does to her son, she just does them.  The thing is, I know why she has such a conflict with Kerry, and I can’t talk about it in this novel–or even the next.  It’s something that won’t come out until Kerry’s ready for his D Levels, at which point it should make sense.  Should.

Then they come back, and Goodnight Vienna is something of a trick for me, because Kerry returns to Salem with Annie, and there is a possibility that Annie’s father will be there to see her off.  Which means–does he get to finally meet the Boy of His Daughter’s Dreams?  Or do I save that?  I’m in a bit of a conflict here, and letting them meet sets up a scene much latter in life–not this book, nope, sorry, but in another–that would really press home something that Papa suspects.

And then something happens, because you don’t have a scene titled Telling Annie unless there was something to tell.  I worked that scene out last night, and it hurts, it really does.  Not for the reasons you may think, but . . . it does.  Gotta go with me on this one.

Now to decide what to do tonight, because I’m way behind on my editing . . .

The Trip Through Part Four

I spent a lot of time going over the novel yesterday, between bouts of being hungry and feeling like I was going to loose my lunch.  Couldn’t figure out if I was coming down with a cold again, or if it was something I ate, but for most of the afternoon I felt queasy and ended up sleeping in front of the TV for about an hour.

But in the process I put three chapters out of the way in Part Four, and . . . I’ll get to that in a bit.

Here is what I have:

It's shapping up quite nicely.

It’s shaping up quite nicely.

There’s a lot there, but then again, there isn’t.  This covers maybe four, possibly five, events in the story, it seems like there isn’t a lot going on there.  Until I start thinking that with all those scenes, each probably being between fifteen hundred and two thousand words each, there’s twenty to twenty-five thousand words in those chapters.  Which means if I’m worrying about the novel being short, I shouldn’t worry.

But there are private matters here.  I talk about dancing and racing, fighting and injury, dreaming and looking for connections.  What about school work?  Bah.  This isn’t about being in the class, though that will come up–I’ve got something after the start of the year for sorcery class, it’s just a matter of knowing when it’s going to happen.  Which I’ll have in my time line sometime tonight.

Here it’s all about the relationship, and some of the things related to the school.  School work is work, and I want to avoid getting bogged down in that here.  It was a bit necessary in the first novel, because it helped to introduce the instructors, and give people an idea about how the classes work.  But now that people have that information, there’s isn’t a need to go into it once again.  You know the players, and you know how things are gonna go.  It’s a matter of moving the relationship along.

Which brings me to another item:  the holidays.  And . . .

Did you think I'd forget this?

Did you think I’d forget this?

I managed to get into the next part and the next chapter, and it deals with the kids heading home for the holidays.  And if you look at my synopses metadata, you can figure out that Annie and Kerry leave the school and head to Vienna together, then split up and head for their own homes.  A big change of pace from last year, which means that Kerry won’t have to hang out all day in the Great Hall and be placed in a position where he’ll have to curse someone again.  Last year Annie’s mother jaunted into Vienna to pick up her daughter–is Dad gonna be there this time as well?

It goes without saying that Chapter Fifteen will deal with the kids at home.  It won’t be a long chapter, but you’ll see a dynamic between the kids and their moms.  Yes, there will be a conversation between Kerry and his mom, and you’ll discover something interesting about her–and Annie will find out that her mom is working hard on something with her as well.  Curiouser and curiouser, as the saying goes.