Towards the Future Unseen

Guess where I am?

Tell me you've never seen this place before.

Tell me you’ve never seen this place before.

Maybe you need another clue?

How's it looking now?

How’s it looking now?

It’s the Mahoning Valley Service Plaza on the eastern most portion of the Ohio Turnpike as you’re heading west–and that means one thing:  I’m driving back to Indiana.  Biggest different this time is that I arrived here about four-fifteen in the morning, which is why there’s no one here.

Which is probably why I look the way I do in this picture.

Which is probably why I look the way I do in this picture.

It’s also a safe bet that if it’s four in the morning, or there about, and it usually takes me four hours to drive from The Burg to this point in my journey westward, then I’ve not gotten much sleep.  And you’d be right:  I went to bed about nine-thirty PM, couldn’t fall asleep, said the hell with it, and took off.  So here I am, running with the shadows of the night, but no one is holding my hand, so I don’t feel all right.  But I will make it home, trust me.  I will.

It’s strange to be out on the road like this, but then I love traveling at night.  All ready I’ve been through light rain, fog, and even a little snow, before everything turned dry and cold here this side of the mountains.  I expect it to stay around freezing all the way back to Gay Hating State Indiana (with the new state motto, “Religious Bigotry R Us”), and if my calculations are correct, I should arrive back home between ten and eleven AM local time.  That will allow me to take a nap and maybe even crawl off to bed early tonight, but I’ll make no promises.

The one thing I’m pretty sure I won’t do is write.  I didn’t last night, and I’m usually burned out after the six hundred mile drive to want to do much of anything but rest, though I have been know to carry on conversations with people who want to talk writing, as I did last year on this same trip last year.  Though that happened on the way back to The Burg, so we’ll see if that happens again this year.

By the way I am wearing my Mary Janes with the three inch heels as I drive home, because that’s the way I roll, baby.

See?  Totally wearing heels.

See? Totally wearing heels.

There’s one other bit of news I should lay on people.  Because I have nothing better to do as a writer than, um, write, I’ve decided to set a date for when I will begin working on my next new novel–which, if you haven’t figured out by now, is the continuation of my last novel about the Witchy School at Salem, otherwise known as The Foundation Chronicles:  A For Advanced.  This next book is B For Bewitching, and if you check my blog page you’d see this:

Countdown, baby!

Countdown, baby!

Yes, I’m starting on 3 May because of reasons, that’s why.  But I will start, and I will see about having the first novel edited and the separate acts published, and all will be cool and beautiful.  Or so I hope.  At least I’m sure this new novel won’t be anywhere near as big as the first novel.

Almost sure . . .

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.

Charting New Paths Through Old Environments

One of the things I find I enjoy is being drawn to something I’ve done in the past, and discovering new ways to bring it out and bring it to life.  It’s not something I do because I’m just a nitpicker for detail, but more because I find that the detail helps me see how something should be laid out creatively.

For example, going through Kolor Ijo, I see in great detail how much my style has changed over the year.  I know if I went and started reading over Suggestive Amusements, it would probably look even more different.  Though I can remember some of the things I’ve written after that–just a couple of things–and I’m not sure if the style has changed that much, but I do realized that after writing through much of 2012, by the time 2013 rolled in I’d started developing a bit more as a writer, and for 2014–well, it goes without saying my style changed a great deal, because I spent all that year working on one piece, and I’d decided before I started writing I’d change up one thing–no “he said/she saids” to anchor dialogue–and I went through that whole project doing just that.

Now I’m onto something else.  I’ll get back to Kolor Ijo, but first . . . I’m going to let you in on some secrets . . .

I’ve posted this information once before, a while back, but in one of the future novels Annie and Kerry take off–I mean, literally, they take off and go around Europe on their own.  I mapped out the route a long time ago, and it looks a little like . . .

I think it looks like this.

I think it looks like this.

It looks like they are visiting a lot of places, and they actually are, but a lot of that trip is flying.  Now, back in late 2011, I figured out the time they spent flying, but frankly, I don’t want to go over that document again, and I’m guessing some of it is, shall we say, suspect?

However, if you have a map, and you know how to figure out time, well . . . why not time line this?

That’s what I started doing last night.  I thought I can not only track how long it takes to hit certain points, but I can track time on the ground as well, and even figure out how long they are in certain locals.  For example, lets look at the first leg of the trip.

Pretty simple, huh?

Pretty simple, huh?

This is how I lay things out.  First, I know how long they are on tour, which is the first line in sorta red.  It’s basically six weeks on the road and in the air, with points in between.  The purple lines are the checkpoints, the amount of time spent in the air between landings.  And the green are Annie and Kerry doing something, whether it’s chillin’, thinkin’, or having a holiday in Roma.  I can take the points above and affix them on the map–

Like this map.

Like this map.

And you can see, they first stop in Lushnje for an hour, then fly a short distance to the edge of the Adriatic Sea, then zoom across to Italy.  Once over dry land, they head for Naples, take a right at Vesuvius, and turn northwest towards Rome, where I have them sightseeing for two days, but I may change that up once I have the line more plotted out.

And there’s detail on these remarks as well:

Because I can't keep all this in my head.

Because I can’t keep all this in my head.

You can now see that they left Annie’s house at seven-thirty, and arrived in Rome a few minutes before five PM, or seventeen hours.  They covered 1079 kilometers, or 670.5 miles.  They were taking their time, because in other detail I have them flying about 140 kph, save for the leg where they flew over the ocean, and then they kicked it up a bit.  That’s the nice thing:  they can get a lot of speed out of their equipment, so if they’re in a real hurry, it’s like taking a jet to wherever they want to be next.

Yes, it’s a lot of detail, and it’s a bit of work, but once this is done I’ll have it close to me, and I can make adjustments to the line whenever I am in the mood.  Nothing is really written in stone, and if I want them looking around somewhere for a while, they can.  And I can even map out a few side trips they’ll take, such as when they’re in Milan and Barcelona, and add them to this mix.

There you are:  my little side project while I finish this–

I figured I'd forgotten about this novel.  You were wrong.

I figured I’d forgotten about this novel. You were wrong.

Four chapters to go, and I can probably get through two of them tonight, and leave the big one for tomorrow.  Not bad for just working on my own.

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.

The Mounting A’s

First off, Happy Ostara, which is today, the first day of spring.  Also, happy Eclipse Day for everyone I know in Europe.  Really kind of an auspicious day, and in another reality, certain kids parents would experience the eclipse while they prepared for a talent show that would happen tomorrow.  Yep, that little festival goes off tomorrow night, but we all know there isn’t a real school hiding somewhere on Cape Ann–right?

In fact, Ostara was covered in my plot out last night.  Another five chapters were figured and plotted, and they are in the Scrivener mix, with help from a semi-adjusted time line in Aeon Timeline.  Let’s look at what I have.

First, Chapters Twenty-Two and Twenty-Three, finishing up Part Seven.

Over the Mountains and Into Spring . . .

Over the Mountains and Into Spring . . .

For a while I spent time going over the race course in detail, and I’ll probably go through this weekend and lay out the area with a little detail given as I go along.  One of the thing about race courses is that everyone has names for certain stretches, so I need to find some good maps of the area and look at what the features are called in real life, and then adjust.  What I can image is some flying through and above the woods all the while climbing and diving up and down mountain sides, with at least one section of the course flying three hundred meters over a lake.

Believe it or not, Chapter Twenty-Three is about racing as well, and Helter Skelter is a pretty good metaphor about a section of the course where Kerry will race.  This time there won’t be much said about the performance itself, though you will discover what he plays.  You will even hear about some of Annie’s art, some of which will come into play later in the story.

Now that we have that out of the way, let’s get to Part Eight, and Chapters Twenty-Four through Twenty-Six.

Pretty much what you'd expect from someone who is showing and not telling.

Pretty much what you’d expect from someone who is showing and not telling.

One Part, three chapters, twelve parts, that’s all, folks.  If you check the time line you’ll see that everything happens over the course of twenty-four hours, making this another kinda Day of the Dead, only there’s no attack, no real one at least.  But this is the most important part of my story so far in my universe, because as they used to say on Torchwood, this is where everything changes.  I mean that, too.  You don’t know how much I mean that . . .

The funny thing is, looking at how I have this part laid out, it’s bookended by Annie, who starts out the action by pretty much raising hell, and end it with a whole lot of comforting.  Maybe I should head-up every scene in a 24 motif:  “The following crazy-ass stuff happened between one and two AM . . .”  Yep, could totally get away with that–though there isn’t a lot of crazy-ass stuff going on, just a little.  And, at the end of Chapter Twenty-Five and the beginning of Chapter Twenty-Six, you get to meet someone you’ve heard a lot about but haven’t actually met . . .

In the last novel Part Eight was where Annie and Kerry split up for Yule and a certain ginger girl macked on Kerry.  Now, in this story, school is just two months from getting out, and while it appears that Annie and Kerry aren’t going out to work with the Guardians, there’s gonna be a whole lot of other tension building from this point on–

You’ll just have to wait and see what I mean.