Handling Change Like a Pro

Now, while I didn’t do a lot of writing yesterday, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t working at writing.  See, I was down in the editing, trying out a new writing tool:  ProWritingAid, which is found online and for which I’m supplying a link.  This came recommended to me by another writer, and for those of my friends who also write I’m recommending it to you.

See, I know I’m not a perfect writer.  Sometimes I’m not even a good writer, and sometimes I’m a lazy writer because I’m tired and I’m just trying to make a word count.  There are things I do in my writing that aren’t right, and though I do my best to prevent that from happening, things slip through.

So having this tool is nice.  At the moment it’s a web application, but there is a desktop version currently in beta testing that will be availble for a licence fee of $40 a year.  Depending on how much you write, that $40 might be worth it.

Usage is simple.  First you cut and paste what you want analyzed into the window on the first page:

Here's a few words I just finished writing.

Here’s a few words I just finished writing.

Then hit the big green button and wait for your report.

Which you may or may not want to see.

Which you may or may not want to see.

I enjoy seeing the overused words, because know there are words in my lexicon that end up being rode like a lathered horse in my novels.  Under Writing Style Check you can see I have repeated sentence starts, which is probably due to using the word “she” time and again in this particular piece.  I have an issue with sentence length here, but it’s the opposite of what I normally get, which is three or four sentences that are too long.  Here they are two short, and that’s probably due to the amount of dialog used in that particular excerpt, which does not involve a character named John Galt.

This has helped me catch and clean up more than a few issues, and I’ll use it on the scenes I’ve already edited in A For Advanced while running my new work through it as well.  It might not make me a perfect writer, but I’m betting it’ll make me a better one.

Speaking of writing–

The last few days have seen us reading about what happened to Kerry on his big Coming Out Night, and we’ve went from “I’m a witch” to “Oh, shit!  You’re a witch!”  And given that at least one third of the Malibey clan is just a tinsy bit high strung it’s not surprising that shit goes off the rails fast:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

“I see.” Louise folded her hands across her lap and stared unfocused into space. “I need you leave.”

“I beg your pardon?” Ms. Rutherford cocked her head to one side. “Is there a—”

“I need you to leave.” Louise straightened as her eyes turned cold. “I want you out of this house, and I want you out now.”

Even before picking up Kerry this evening Ms. Rutherford had known there was a possibility things might not work out for the best, and events seemed to be taking a turn in that direction. It wasn’t her intention to argue or make Kerry’s parents see reason: her only concern was being with Kerry during his reveal and making certain he was aware of his options should the situation at home grow worse. “I understand.” She reached for her handbag which was on the floor. “I’ll be on my way.”

Wait.”

 

Ah, the old Facebook trick of getting ready of telling someone to leave a group, but then taking a few minutes to get in a few verbal licks before kicking them to the curb.  Good thing Ms. Rutherford isn’t on Facebook, though she is completely aware of how this trick usually plays out, because it’s been used in movies a million times–

 

Ms. Rutherford never liked situations where she was told to do something, then ordered to do just the opposite. It usually never went well. “Yes?”

“I want you to tell whomever it is you report to that I am not happy with what transpired tonight.” Louise paused to take a breath as she appeared to try and control herself. “I’m not happy with what I’ve learned today, and I’m certainly not happy that we’ve been lied to by your organization. I am particularly upset with the fact that we’ve had no input on our son’s education, and that your school feels they are the only one with an opinion here.”

“I’ll let them know.”

“Also—” Louise’s green eyes took on a dark hue. “Let them know that we are going to seriously reconsider allowing Kerry to return in the fall.”

What?” Kerry was almost out of his chair after his mother’s comment. “You can’t—”

 

Oh, please Kerry:  you knew this was coming.  And you had to expect what follows:

 

Shut up.” His mother’s eyes flashed anger as she jabbed a finger at her son. “This is partially your fault for not saying anything.”

“What was I supposed to say? That I was a witch?”

“You can be quiet—”

You wouldn’t have believed me if I had told you.”

SHUT UP. We’ll discuss this later.” Louise was on her feet facing Kerry’s case worker as Dayvn looked on embarrassed. “You can go now.”

 

Yes, Kerry, it’s your fault you’re a witch!  And you didn’t tell Mommy, so double your fault.  However, that doesn’t mean your case working doesn’t have a parting shot–

 

“Very well.” Ms. Rutherford got to her feet slowly. “One last thing before I leave—”

“What is it?”

“The Foundation believes that only among his own kind—among other witches, that is—will he flourish. They’ve already seen him grow both in both skills and personally, and they feel this will continue until he graduate.” She lowered her voice slightly. “Trying to prevent Kerry from returning to Salem would be a mistake, and The Foundation would take an extremely dim view on that action.”

Dayvn finally stood next to his wife. “Is that meant to be a threat?”

“Simply a statement of fact, Mr. Malibey. Nothing more.”

“Never the less—” He pointed towards the kitchen. “As my wife said, you need to leave.”

“And I will.” Ms. Rutherford turned to Kerry. “You’ll be all right?”

He looked up and nodded. “I’ll be okay.”

“He’s not your concern.” Louise now stood face-to-face with the Foundation witch and acted as if she were about to give the woman a push. “I’ll show you to the door.”

“That won’t be necessary.” A slight grin formed in the corner of Ms. Rutherford’s mouth. “I’ll show myself out—”

 

It’s official:  the Malibey’s have gone all Vernon and Petunia Dursley on their boy and are not happy there is a witch in the house.  Given that they’re always seemed a bit distant from their son anyway, Kerry will probably take this all in stride and chalk it up to more parental bullshit he needs to deal with.

However, Berniece Rutherford is speaking with Annie, and she will know the whole story of how Coming Out Night went.  She also knows how crappy Kerry is treated, and that Mommy Malibey has struck Kerry on occasion only because she can, and that’s something that doesn’t sit well with the Soul Mate of Pamporovo.  So one has to wonder:  how much longer before Kerry’s mom figures out that this Girl Who Writes is also a witch, and when does she discover that’s Annie’s also the Witch Who Can Blast You Through a Fucking Wall If You Piss Her Off?

"Hi, Mrs. Malibey.  I hear you have a problem with my soul mate--"

“Hi, Mrs. Malibey. I hear you have a problem with my soul mate–“

I have a feeling Annie will be one wife who doesn’t put up with bullshit from her mother-in-law…

Stranger Things, Season 1, Chapter 1, “The Vanishing Of Will Byers”

We’re now getting into “Stranger Things”, and Rachel is gonna tell you all about them.

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

Netflix Stranger Things Season 1 Episode 1 Boys in the rain [image via Netflix] The time is November 6, 1983. The place, a secret laboratory that isn’t really so secret because it’s just there, right in the middle of a small town called Hawkins (referred to as “Spielbergian Americana” by one of the Duffy Brothers). It’s so not secret that Will Byers (Noah Schnapp) passes it on his way home from a D&D tournament at his friend, Mike Wheeler’s (Finn Wolfhard), house. As a result of this, when there is a breach and something escapes the not-secret secret lab, Will is the one that comes across the critter with big hands in the woods. It is also the reason why he goes missing. But, before that can occur, we learn that weird things happen with the electricity — and, in particular, the lighting — when the not-secret secret thing with big hands is about. Even still, Will manages to get home, load up a…

View original post 784 more words

Truthing the Magical Way

Yesterday I promised that we’d get to see Kerry showing the parents what he could do witchy wise, and today that time has come.  We know Kerry is trying to convince his folks that, yes, he’s really one of those people who do real magic and just don’t pretend, and given that they’re being such hard sells–well, sometimes drastic measure require drastic actions …

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry sat back slowly while keeping eyes locked on his mother. Before leaving Berlin he’d told Ms. Rutherford that his mother would have the hardest time with his coming out, and expected at least one outburst from her. “Okay, Mom.”

Louise turned on Ms. Rutherford. “Why are you having us listen to this bullshit? Why are we really here?”

“We’re here because it is necessary for Kerry to reveal the true nature of his studies.” Ms. Rutherford remained icy calm as she faced a hostile parent—something with which she’d had personal experience in the past. “Everything Kerry’s told you is true—”

“You expect us to believe he can actually do magic?” Louise scoffed loudly. “You made it sound as if you had something important to tell us—”

“It is important, Mrs. Malibey—”

“And you throw this—this goddamn nonsense at us.” Louise looked as if she were about to stand. “This is—”

Kerry.” Ms. Rutherford put just enough volume and tone in her voice to shut down the conversation from the other side of the room. “Maybe now is the time to do what we discussed.”

He nodded. “Yeah.”

Louise immediately perked up. “Do what?”

Kerry’s eyes focused on nothing as he slipped into deep concentration. “Show a practical application.”

“Of what?”

He looked up and at his mother. “This.” Kerry held his hands up and flicked out his index fingers—

 

Do we expect you to believe your son can do magic?  No, Mrs. Malibey; we expect you to die!  Oh, wait:  wrong story.  Anyway, Kerry’s about the lay the mojo down, and–well ….

"I'm always amazed . . . that I actually wrote this crap."

“Yeah, Kerry:  show us what you got.”

Okay, then here goes:

 

All the window shades dropped simultaneously and what little outside light there was dimmed considerably. The door to the kitchen quickly closed and latched, and a black curtain seemed to fill the opening between the family and dining rooms. A moment later all the lights in the room went out, and the family room turned dark instantly.

A bright glowing sphere formed in front of Kerry and rose off his upwardly turned left hand until stopping a few centimeters short of the ceiling. It grew slightly brighter until the family room was filled with a soft white luminescence.

Kerry looked upward for a moment, then turned is gaze across the room to his parents. He crossed his arms. “That should do it.”

His parents sat looking about the room in surprised and confusion which Kerry had expected. Louise slowly turned to him. “Wha—what happened?”

“I used a variation of the levitation spell to drop the shades and shut the kitchen door.” Kerry sat back, looking somewhat pleased. “I threw a masking effect across the windows and did a kind of privacy curtain over the dining room entrance—” He looked to his left at his work. “It’s not that good, but I’ve only been working on something that big for about a month. And last I did a simple light spell and levitated it up towards the ceiling so we can see.” He shrugged. “Pretty simple.”

Davyn emerged from a semi-stupor brought about by Kerry’s crafting. “Simple?”

“Yeah, it really is, Dad—”

“What Kerry means is it’s simple for him.” Ms. Rutherford glanced over towards the boy on his left. “This is the reason he’s in all the advanced—”

“Stop it.”

Ms. Rutherford grew quiet and waited a few moment for Louise Malibey, who now seemed on the verge of being either confused or frightened, to gather herself together. “Is something the matter?”

Louise half-closed her eyes. “Stop this: just stop it.”

Ms. Rutherford nodded towards her left. “Kerry?”

“Sure.” He made the slightest of motions with his left hand: instantly the blinds rose to their proper open position, the door to the kitchen opened, the light ball near the ceiling vanished as the light came on once more, and the privacy effects on the windows and dining room entrance vanished. He leaned forward, rubbing his hands against his thighs. “There.”

Lousie stared hard at her son. “You did that.”

Kerry gave a slight nod. “Yeah, I did.”

“That wasn’t a trick.”

“No, it wasn’t.” He held back from chuckling. “No one from The Foundation came in while the house was empty and set this up so I could trick you.”

Dayvn seemed to relax though he appeared wary and apprehensive. “So you used—magic?”

This time Kerry nodded twice. “Yes: I used magic.”

 

Yeah, Mom, I used magic.  So this cat’s out of the bag and is never getting back in–then again, what cat ever does?  Boxes, however:  all bets are off about when they’ll get out.

I wanted Kerry to do something that would show he’s really skilled with crafting the Art, as they say back at the school, but not do something that would literally scare the shit out of his parents.  Fireballs and Cold Fire?  They wouldn’t have dug it.  Shadow Ribbons?  Too sinister.  Air hammer?  Yeah, blowing out the windows in the family room would have made a statement.

And, yes, he could have done a little transformation magic like change the color of his hair or darken his complexion, but he’s probably aware by now that his parents would probably have freaked out even more if they knew their had their own little Mystique living under their roof, and that their child is a person who can literally become you if they want.

This, however, does lead to a few questions and a revelation–

 

Louise turned to Ms. Rutherford. “So all the students at school are witches?”

Ms. Rutherford remained calm. “Yes.”

“And the instructors?”

“They’re witches as well: it’s necessary.” She sat back just a bit. “And before you ask, yes: the staff at school are witches as well.”

Louise looked downward as she swallowed once. “That must mean—” She looked at the woman sitting across from her. “—you’re a witch, too.”

“I am.” Ms. Rutherford crossed her arms and gently rubbed her chin with her right hand. “I went to Salem, just like Kerry.”

Dayvn nodded slowly. “When did you go?”

“I started in 2001: I was among the first A Levels to begin the new century.”

“When did you graduate?”

“2007.”

Both of Louise’s eyebrows shot up in surprise. “How old were you?”

“Seventeen.” Ms. Rutherford looked at Kerry with a certain pride. “The same age as Kerry will be when he graduates.”

“But—” Louise looked down and away as if she were having difficulty understanding something. “That was only six years ago.”

“Yes, it was.” Ms. Rutherford chuckled lightly. “In case you’re wondering, I’ll be twenty-three in about six weeks.”

“You don’t look anything like twenty-three.”

“I know. When we’re dealing with the parents of children from Normal backgrounds—non-witches, mind you—we try to make ourselves look more ‘age appropriate’. It allows the parents to feel more comfortable when dealing with us. But now that you know I’m a witch, there really isn’t any need to keep up the charade—”

Though she didn’t change in height or size, Ms. Rutherford’s features flowed from that of a woman who may have been in her mid-thirties to someone who appeared to be maybe three or four years older than Kerry. The transformation took place in less than three seconds, and when it was over she spoke to the visibly shocked adults. “This is how I really look. And how I’ll look from now on when I speak with Kerry and come for him.”

 

Now this little bit of writing required that I do something:  mainly, figure out all the stuff with Berniece’s life.  I knew a little about her, but it was only in this moment of writing that I locked her down to an age and attendance.

And that means having to get a time line ready.

And that means having to get a time line ready.

And it also shows that The Foundation is thinking ahead in that they like the people who have to deal with their student’s parents to look–let’s say “professional”.  Which is to mean age appropriate, as she says.

And that makes things a bit more interesting when we realize that those moments in which Ms. Rutherford comforted Kerry when his moments of need, she’s really only ten years older than him and Annie.  And that means she probably does relate to him better, because it wasn’t that long ago she may have went through the same things he’s going through now.

It’s also easy to see that here are at least three people at Salem that she may have known, though it’s doubtful she was ever friends with them.  Even her covenmate Wednesday would have been an E Level once Berniece was out of The Fishbowl, and that’s a pretty big gap to jump in terms of friendship.  Still, she would have likely known those three people, and she likely would have had Erywin, Jessica, Maddie, Ramona, and Mathias as instructors, and maybe even Helena, too; I’d have to check on that last.  She’s a good person to have as your case worker if you need something done, because she knows people, yeah?

So now that the Malibey’s have seen transformation magic up close and personal, they’re okay with it–

 

Louise’s face froze into a tight mask. “You look like a teenager.”

“Well—” She glanced over to Kerry, who was examining his case worker’s true appearance. “I do look like I’m eighteen, but that comes with being a witch.” She turned back to Louise with a smile. “It comes with being what I am.”

“I see.” Louise folded her hands across her lap and stared unfocused into space. “I need you leave.”

“I beg your pardon?” Ms. Rutherford cocked her head to one side. “Is there a—”

“I need you to leave.” Louise straightened as her eyes turned cold. “I want you out of this house, and I want you out now.”

 

–Okay, maybe not.  Then again, we knew Louise Malibey was going to be a hard sell, and we weren’t disappointed.

The question remains:  where happens next?

I guess you’ll have to wait and see, won’t you?

Sense8, Season 1, Episode 6, “Demons”

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

[Image via Netflix] [Image via Netflix] We’re at the half-way point of Season 1 of Sense8, and this is by far the biggest change of pace for the season so far. Let’s see why:

Demons

Written by The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by The Wachowskis

Chicago:
Will (Brian J. Smith) is at a sports bar with a lot of other cops for the party he was told to attend. He greets his father and continues inside.

London:
Riley (Tuppence Middleton) is sitting in a pub somewhere in London.

Transitional Moment:
Will walks in and sees Riley: she sees him. This is the moment at the end of the last episode that started to play before Kala’s wedding interruption.

Chicago:
Will stops and starts to say something, and Riley says the same: I was just thinking about you. He sits at the table alone, though it’s obvious he sees her—while in…

View original post 2,222 more words

Sense8, Season 1, Episode 5, “Art Is Like Religion”

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

[Image via Netflix] [Image via Netflix] Today’s episode is kind of a change of pace after the revelations of the last episode, but just when you think it’s going to be a light-hearted romp–well, you’ll see.  Let us begin:

Art Is Like Religion

Written by The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by James McTeigue

Mexico, DF:
Lito’s (Miguel Ángel Silvestre) in his dressing room having makeup applied, and he’s not a happy camper. He doesn’t like the idea of shooting the end of the movie now? It’s ridiculous. I don’t think the makeup woman’s gonna know, dude.

Seoul:
Sun’s (Doona Bae) laying in bed as her dog licks the bottom of her foot. She finally crawls out of bed, not looking too happy either. She walks over and looks closely at herself in the mirror—

Transition Moment:
—and Lito does the same, remarking that he feels a little bloated. Sun must be…

View original post 3,109 more words

Sense8, Season 1, Episode 4, “What’s Going On?”

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

[Image via Netflix] [Image via Netflix] We’re a third of a way through Season 1 of Sense8, and some rather important things happen tonight. Rather than keep you guessing, let’s see those things now.

What’s Going On?

Written by The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by Tom Tykwer

Berlin:
Wolfgang (Max Riemelt) and Felix (Max Mauff) are at the Holocaust Museum waiting for someone. Felix is talking about obedience and revolution, and how they—Wolfgang and he—are having their own revolution by making this big score. Wolfgang is unimpressed: there won’t be much of a revolution if they can’t self these hot rocks they ripped off. The person they are waiting for arrives: an older Jewish gentleman. He understands that they have something that “coincidentally” came into their possession. He wants to see them, but at another location: one does not speak of money at a memorial to the dead.

Mumbai:

View original post 3,780 more words

Sense8, Season 1, Episode 3, “Smart Money Is on the Skinny Bitch”

The Snarking Dead TV Recaps

[Image via Netflix] [Image via Netflix]  Here we go again: it’s time to get rolling on Episode 3 of Season 1 of Sense8. And with that, let’s not waste any time finding out what’s in store for our characters—

Smart Money Is on the Skinny Bitch

Written by The Wachowskis and J. Michael Straczynski
Directed by The Wachowskis

As a man is working on the corpse of a woman as a young boy looks on. There’s a young girl in the shadows with him, imploring him not to look, as that’s how he got her. The young boy becomes a grown up Will (Brian J. Smith) who watches the man cut open the skull and reveals the brain—

Chicago:
—who lurches awake in a hospital bed. It’s the aftermath of his chase with Jonas, and the nurse on duty says she was told he’s some kind of hero for bagging a terrorist…

View original post 3,604 more words