The New Plot

So, the plotting has begun.  Not a lot so far, unless you consider six chapters not a lot.

Yeah, let me start beating myself up here.

Yeah, let me start beating myself up here.

Then again, I feel like I should have more but I got involved in taking a nap and finishing up my binging of Breaking Bad, and, oh, yeah, I needed about an hour to chill my shit after my latest Sense8 recap received a comment from one of the creators/writers/producers of that show.  You know, pretty much a normal Saturday night–

So let’s see what I have laid out so far for C For Continuation, shall we?

Chapter One is pretty much straight forward, and it contains something I’ve yet to do:  there’s a flashback.  Looking at the dates and times of the first two scenes it’s pretty easy to tell where the flashback occurs, and you may be able to figure out how it’s coming into play.  Also, looking at the times, this is almost all an Annie chapter, because it seems like most of this is happening somewhere in the mountains of Bulgaria.

C For Continuing Chapter One

Chapter Two consists of summer get together, and one big surprise that you’ll have to see.  To save you the looking up, Rendlesham Forest is Kerry’s meeting with Penny, and The Great Gates of Kiev is Annie’s meeting with Alex.  I can tell you right now, these will be fun scenes to write when I get to them.

C For Continuing Chapter Two

Chapter Three is the winding down of the Summer of 2013, and there are going to be a couple of surprises here.  The dates of the last two scenes should be to let you know they happen about a week and a half before the kids leave for staging in Paris before heading off to school.

C For Continuing Chapter Three

That’s Part One out of the way; onward to Part Two.  Chapter Four will likely be a short chapters, perhaps the shortest of the novel.  It’s probably the tightest packed for time as well, because about a half hour passed from the beginning of the first scene to the end of the third.  Short, sweet, and about as to the point as I can get in this story.

By the way, Pour Rencontrer à Paris means “To Meet in Paris,” which is what my kids are doing.

C For Continuing Chapter Four

Chapter Five has the kids doing a little roaming around in The City of Light.  The first scene is going to see a new Party of Five in Paris, and they’ll have lunch in a cafe where I had lunch in 2006–no, really.  The third scene does not have anything to do with a Woody Allen movie of the same name, so don’t expect any time traveling.  But scene two:  oh, you can expect some tears there, all for reasons that will become apparent when I finally write that scene.

C For Continuing Chapter Five

Chapter Six has the kids leaving Paris and returning to Salem.  À Plus Tard Paris means, “See you later, Paris,” because–spoilers!–this won’t be the last time Annie and Kerry visit Paris together.  Not when this is Annie’s favorite city in the whole world, at least according to her.  The second scene will answer a question brought up in A For Advanced, and I’ll likely show a little of the background stuff that goes on when Foundation people are scamming their way through Normal society.  And the last scene of this chapter is pretty self-explanatory:  the kids finally make it back to the school–they are, so to speak, home.

As I have indicated I’m playing off events already laid out in Aeon Timeline, and this newest version is coming in handy due to the programs flexibility.  I particularly like that I can now expand events without having to enter the Inspector, which is now used for editing the events.

See what I can see?  And I'm not even a Seer.

See what I can see? And I’m not even a Seer.

And one interesting thing here is that Penny is almost exactly a year older than Annie, with her birthday coming not much after Annie’s.  Well, maybe not that interesting, but it’s something I pick up on right away when looking at these new timeline events.  We also know the school has been around away, but I didn’t bother with a creation date for Paris, because if you don’t already know it’s older than hell, you need to get into your history.

What’s up for today?  Well, I meet someone for lunch, then I begin adding more chapters and scenes.  I likely won’t finish plotting this out by tomorrow, but come this Saturday I’ll have the majority of it in place.  And since I already know how this novel ends I can begin writing before putting in the last scene.

Like with most of my trips, I know my destination.  And I will arrive there safely.

Chatting While Walking

Well, here we are again, and just like that last couple of weeks I have things to tell you, only in a form different from the writing way.  First, however, I have figured out how to embed images from my Instagram account, allowing you to better see my smiling face:

 

But the real stuff is right here:  the Saturday morning video.  And it’s about–what else?–writing!  Mostly what I have written, and what lays ahead for writing.  And there’s a reading as well from something just edited this morning, so I hope you enjoy it all.

The First Day Finds

Finally, after the rest and TV watching and getting images for tonight’s recap, I got into the novel and finished that first scene for Chapter Five.

Sure, it took three days, but it was worth it.

Sure, it took three days, but it was worth it.

I finished off about two thousand words last night, and I have been reading every words of this story, which is one of the reasons it’s taking so long.  According to my Scrivener numbers I’ve read and edited 61,300 and some words, and that’s a pretty good run for the last month.  Like I said, by the middle to the end of next month, I should have this revision complete.

The last part of this scene dealt with the headmistress getting up in front of the new students and telling them the truth:  there are Normals, there are Aware, most of the Aware are witches–oh, and guess which group you’re in?  It’s not the first time we’ve heard Normal used, but it is the first time Aware is used, and it’s the first time The W Word gets uttered.  All the pieces are in place:  now to torture the kids.

Not really.  Not at least yet.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t change things around last night.  One of the biggest sections was right here:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Once the returning students were out of the room and the doors were closed, the headmistress nodded at the instructors seated, and they moved about so they all faced the students. Only then did she begin speaking. “By now I’m sure that all of you suspect The Foundation recruiter who spoke with you and your parents wasn’t completely honest about the true mission of this institution.” She stepped away from the podium while remaining upon the riser. Even without a visible microphone her voice carried through the room. “It is now time to allay those suspicions and put them to rest.

“Several things were said in your meetings: that you would attend a private school, that you would receive a free education, that you would find yourself exposed to languages, math, arts, and science. That we were a one-of-a-kind institute, and what you were going to learn here could not be taught anywhere else in the world.

“All of that is true—there is nothing in those statements that is untrue. You will learn all that—” She stopped, pausing for effect. “And far more.

“Some history, first. This school was founded in 1683, and the first classes began on 1 September of that year, which means your coming here occurs upon the three hundred and twenty-eighth anniversary of that event. The Great Hall was begun in 1685; the Pentagram walls and garden were begun in 1688, and the Coven Towers followed soon after in 1692. All was completed by 1717—which means when you graduate, this dining hall will have existed in this form for three hundred years. Ours is a grand and wonderful history, started long before The Foundation actually appeared.

 

That was the past, and here is the preset:

 

Once the returning students were out of the room and the doors were closed, the headmistress nodded at the instructors seated. They moved their chairs so they also faced the students, and only once they were in place did she speak. “By now I’m certain that nearly all of you suspect The Foundation recruiter who spoke with you and your parents wasn’t completely honest about the true mission of this institution.” She stepped away from the podium while remaining upon the riser. Even without a visible microphone her voice carried through the room. “It is now time to allay those suspicions and put them to rest.

“Several things were said in your meetings: that you would attend a private school, that you would receive a free education, that you would find yourself exposed to languages, math, arts, and science. That we were a one-of-a-kind institute, and what you were going to learn here could not be taught anywhere else in the world.

“All of those statement are true: you will learn all that—” She stopped, pausing for effect. “And far more.

“Some history, first. This school was founded in 1683, and the first classes began on 1 September of that year, which means your coming here occurs on the three hundred and twenty-eighth anniversary of that event. Construction on the Great Hall began in 1685; the Pentagram Walls and Garden were started in 1688, and the coven towers followed soon after in 1692. All was completed before 1700, which means when you graduate, this dining hall will have existed in this form for three hundred and seventeen years. Ours is a grand and wonderful history begun long before The Foundation actually appeared.

 

Believe it or not, some of the dates in the last paragraph were wrong.  I thought I had everything correct, but no.  I didn’t.  And that meant I needed to head back into the time line and get things fixed.

Sometimes times doesn't be time.

Sometimes times doesn’t be time.

It’s rare that I get things off like that, but I think that’s due to actually writing the above section before I had all the details in the Aeon Timeline finalized, and I didn’t go back and check this part of the novel when I put in some of the information in the above line.  Now you know how I am always checking things, and how I have checks for my checks, and I now have keywords in place on the novel so I can find these timeline spots again.

And it all ends with the kids feeling–well, that’s hard to say:

 

All the instructors stood as did the students. Annie stood first and waited a few seconds for Kerry to get to his feet. After he was up he spoke for the first time since this private talk began. “Well, that was interesting.”

“Yes, it was.” She didn’t like the way he watched all the adults as they filed out of the room, and dread began to fill her once more. He is having second thoughts about being here? The headmistress’ statement that she’d “see what I can do to help” may have confused some students, but Annie didn’t need an interpreter: if any student had too difficult a time adjusting to the environment, they’d be sent elsewhere—perhaps even back to a Normal school.

And she was certain Kerry understood that as well.

Is he having doubts? Did he find the headmistress’ comments too unbelievable? Once more Annie felt nervous, and she wondered if they’d both make it through the day unscathed.

 

Annie, you worry too much!  Yeah, early on she was a bit of a worry wart when it came to the relationship, but she’s much better now.

And now they’re off to see their first instructor:

Emphases on “see”—

Up In the Anniversary

Interesting times for sure.  Nice dinner yesterday, made it home and caught up on a couple of episodes of Sense8–and let me tell you, I am so glad I have the equipment to stream these days, because I didn’t know what I was missing–and then I hit the editing, and managed to do maybe fifteen hundred words of editing as well.  Oh, and I set up an Instagram account, which means I’ll probably shuffle most of my phone pictures off to that area when I don’t want to keep them on my computer.

Fun times.

It’s first breakfast time on the first full day at the School of Salem, and I can remember how hard it was to write this part back during NaNo 20013.  I’m great at seeing things in my mind, but getting them onto the page isn’t always the easiest thing, you know.  I thought to myself at the time, “Yeah, these descriptions are a little doggy, I’ll fix them later.  Okay, so it took two and a half years, but I fixed them up.

Now, a couple of scenes which were among my favorites because one showed how different things were, and how Annie likes throwing out little jabs that show she’s on a completely different level that Kerry.  Also, we learn something important about her:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

“I don’t know. Over a hundred for sure; maybe close to one twenty-five? Can’t really tell.” He turned back to his breakfast, launching into one of the strips of bacon he’d picked up. “Man, this is good.”

Annie had eaten bacon on a couple of occasions, and while she didn’t mind it she did not possess any strong feelings for the dish. However— “I like pork. There are some marvelous Bulgarian pork dishes.”

Kerry spoke between bites. “I’d love to taste them. I love trying new food.”

“There is plenty of new food for you in Bulgaria—oh.”

The same woman who’d taken Annie’s order only a few minutes before was standing next next to the table with a plate in her hand. “Here you are: two printsessi.”

 

The girl does not like bacon, though she does like pork.  Mostly in Bulgarian dishes.  Which she would be happy to show Kerry, probably in Bulgaria.  While she’s a Bulgarian wife.  But Kerry hasn’t picked up on this yet, and we have a few hundred thousand more words of him stumbling along before he really knows what’s going on.

And then we get to meet some of the staff and see something that was just touched upon, in the story, the night before:

 

Kerry recognized some of the people at the tables. There was Professor Semplen, a few tables over on the left, sitting with a woman with long, straight, brown hair. The blond woman from the plane and her friend sat together near the west wall, and the black woman from the Rotunda was sitting with the other dark-haired woman they met on the trip over, and who was also in the Rotunda gathering up new students. Isis sat with a petite woman who looked so young he thought she might be a student—and that was when Kerry realized just how young Isis appeared in the light of day. The same could be said of Nurse Coraline—who sat next to a studious looking guy in a three-piece suit—and a few others up front.

He leaned towards Annie. “Some of those instructors look like they just graduated.”

One of Annie’s eyebrows shot upward, which was something he noticed she did after he’d made a rather obvious statement. “Yes, I know.” She smiled and turned her attention back to the front.

 

There’s that whole thing again about how young everyone looks, something that doesn’t seem to bother Annie all that much.  And why should it?  After all it’s something she’ll likely have people saying about her one day–

"I'm so qualified to watch over security. I mean, I've killed people with my mind--can you do that? No, I thought so."

“Don’t worry, I’m extremely qualified to do this job. I mean, I’ve killed people just by looking at them–can you do that? No, I thought not.”

Don’t worry, Kerry:  the upside to this is that when Annie is 30 she’ll still look like she’s 18, and that can be cool or creepy, depending on how one looks at things.

Now, on to the quick personal news.  Today,  7 July, 2016, marks my two year anniversary of being under hormone replacement therapy.  My first shot was on this day, and my forty-eighth was last Friday on 1 July.  This means I’ve pretty completely this part of my “real life experience”, and I pretty much hit all the bullet points on the WPATH Standards of Care sheet.

What does this mean?  Well, it means that if I ever get up the money and/or insurance, I can take that next big step, which some call–in whispered tones, of course–“The Operation.”  This is really what I want, but those finances don’t allow for it right now.  So I gotta play the waiting game and hope that at some point in the next few years I win the lottery or something.

When I logged on to my computer this morning the Windows 10 splash screen came up with the time of 5:03, which, as some of you know, reflects my birthday of 3 May.  So it’s a bit auspicious to have my one birth date come up right over the date I sort of consider my other birth date.  I’ll probably celebrate both from here on out, because they are both important dates to me.  And that means I took pictures walking into work:

Here I look a little grumpy.

Here I look a little grumpy.

 

Here I look much happier here.

Here I look much happier.

And so you get an idea of the changes I’ve gone through in the last two years, here’s a little side-by-side.  The picture on the left was taken the moment I go home from getting my first shot, 7 July, 2014; the one in the middle came after my twenty-forth shot a year ago, and the one on the right I took Sunday morning, 3 July, 2016.

As you can see someone is changing and improving.

As you can see someone is changing and improving.

The most important point, though, is that the picture on the right was taken in public, and there’s nothing in my demeanor to indicate I’m shy or worried about how I look, or that I’m even out.  And that’s because I’m finally comfortable in my own skin.  There are still things I want, and things that make me bothered–

But being a woman isn’t one of them.

The Opening Morning

After cranking out one of my largest recaps ever–which you can find here if you’re interested–I got into editing one of my biggest scenes so far:  just about forty-seven hundred words long.  Yes, nothing like getting into editing something big after writing something big.

At least it looks as if I'm about half-way through this part of the novel.

At least it looks as if I’m about half-way through this part of the novel.

The Fishbowl is really our first look at both the school and the dynamic between these two, fully together for the first time.  Why do I say that?  Because they are in the door, and from here on out their acts truly define who they are, and the only people who can screw up this ride are them.  Right now it’s all on their shoulders, and for one of them, they are about to discover just what sort of rabbit hole they’ve fallen into.

One of the best parts of this scene is having Kerry get through is first morning routine–and thinking how bad it was that he had a huge bathroom all to himself with no one telling him to hurry up–and feeling that something was just a bubble off:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

There was something nagging at Kerry, however, and that was the way he felt. Yesterday had been a long day with getting up at seven in the morning Amsterdam time, and by the time he’d finally lay down to sleep in the tower it was close to twenty-three hours local time. Working out the time differences before he went to bed he discovered that he’d been up twenty-two hours. Sure, he’d slept for five hours on the plane, but that wouldn’t be enough to off-set the jet lag he should still feel right this moment. Kerry figured last night that he’d probably pop awake at two or three in the morning and stay awake the rest of the day—

But that didn’t happen. He slept through the night and woke up right before his alarm was set to go at six-thirty. And after his morning ritual and a shower he felt even better, not the least bit tired.

But I shouldn’t feel that way. He stepped on to the stairs, turning to his right this time to descend the staircase opposite the one they used last night. I should fell pretty nasty. I should feel like it’s early afternoon and I’ve slept all morning and I’m dragging all over the place

“Good morning, Kerry.”

Annie was waiting in mezzanine commons and jumped to her feet the moment Kerry came into view. After days of seeing her in a skirt, leggings, and black flats, it was a surprising change to see her in jeans, a nice tee shirt, and sneakers. She’d pinned her hair back with barrettes so she wouldn’t need to bush it from her face as she’d often done in London and Amsterdam.

Kerry stepped into the mezzanine area, his eyes drifting to the main commons below. For the first time since entering the school he saw people other than the kids with whom he’d traveled. A couple of girls were talking by the fireplace, and a boy stepped off the stairs and on to the ground floor before heading across the room towards the entrance they’d used last night. He turned to Annie with a smile. “Good morning, Annie. Did you sleep well?”

“I slept wonderfully.” She skipped over to him. “How about you? Sleep well?”

“Yeah, I did.” He didn’t tell her of his concerns because besides wondering why he didn’t feel crummy, he was also collecting data based upon a few things he’d already seen, all with the intention of developing a hypothesis— “It was so quiet last night. You can’t hear any sound at all.”

“I know.” She giggled. “But I’m used to that in the mountains. It’s not like that in the city, is it?”

He shook his head. “No, not at all. There’s always some kind of sound.” He nodded towards the stairs. “You wanna head for breakfast?”

She straightened. “I thought you’d never ask.” They took the stairs to the ground floor, then turned and headed out of the tower, making their way to the Pentagram Garden.

 

I considered having Annie hold out her hand for Kerry to take at this point, but just as I did the first time I passed on that action?  Because Annie’s waiting for something here, and that’s an escort to breakfast.  She’s waiting for Kerry to make that move least she worry she’ll frighten him away.  Kissing in private is one thing, but holding hands in public is another.  Give it time, for a certain couple hasn’t quite jelled yet.

Back into editing tonight after I stop off for dinner, ’cause I’m in a better mood today, and I feel the need for a burger with wine.

And then I’ll get the kids breakfast.

The Writing In the Book

Today is 4 July in the US, or as I like to call it, “Americans Drinking and Blowing Shit Up Day,” because that’s something we do well.  And I’m certain before the day is over there will be plenty of “fireworks accidents” to report, because there always are.  But I’m not here for that, not today.

I’ve finished editing Chapter Four, finally getting the kids into their coven for the first time.

You can't see it, but they're getting ready for bed as we speak.

You can’t see it, but they’re getting ready for bed as we speak.

It’s interesting to note that up to this point I’ve edited 71,580 words, and there remains 93,840 words.  Once I’m through Chapter Five I’ll be more than half way finished, so I’ll actually take about a month to revise and edit half of Act One, leaving me to believe I’ll finish the revision by the middle of August.  Given that I’ll start C For Continuing in a week and half, I figure to finish the edit on Act One by 1 September.  And should I have my covers finished and in hand by then, I don’t see a reason why I can publish Act One by the middle of October–just in time for Halloween!  If I’m lucky I’ll also be about half-way through editing Act Two by then, and maybe press for publication by January, 2017.

Plans are coming together her, folks.

I did change around a lot of things with this scene, and there were one hundred and thirty-six words added, which is a lot.  This was due in part as a need to clarify things better, because I found some stuff a little on the iffy side when it came to giving a good description of what was happening.  But I also made a bigger change, one that you may say is me nitpicking only because I can.

Now, we all know Annie comes from a country where English is her second language, and when she’s home she always speaks Bulgarian.  If these novels were ever turned into movies I would insist that Annie and her parents be played by native Bulgarian speakers, and that all the parts back in Pamporovo be spoken in Bulgarian with subtitles shown.  Why?  Because why not?

We’ve seen her speak Bulgarian, too:  she does it a few times throughout the novel, and even does so in the scene newly edited today:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

As they climbed the stone stairs—which had only a low railing to keep one from pitching off towards the floor below—Annie stepped alongside her new coven leader. “Excuse me, Professor?”

“Yes?”

“If I may ask, where are you from?” She offered a polished smile. “Your accent sounds Eastern European.”

“Oh, it is. I’m from the Czech Republic.”

“Ah.” They reached a small landing where the overhang met the staircase. “Do you speak Bulgarian?”

His eyes twinkled as he nodded. “Malko. Govorite li Chekhiya?”

She shook her head. “Ne, az se strakhuvam che ne.”

“That’s quite all right.” He patted Annie on the shoulder. “It’s always nice to have an even somewhat native speaker around.”

“Your Bulgarian is very good.”

“Maybe now I can get in some practice.”

“Ah, hem.” Alica stood with her arms crossed. “The tour?”

 

When they’re speaking I always try write out the words in English-style letters for better understanding.  But there’s something Annie does in this scene, as well as doing it in an earlier scene.  And that’s write.  And how would she write?  Well . . . like a Bulgarian.

 

She returned to the bed and picked up the white-covered album she’d brought from home, the same one she’d looked through last night.  She opened it to the same page she’d viewed yesterday, then flipped to the very next page.  Annie pulled out a pen and scribbled today’s date at the stop of the page.  Below that she wrote a short, simple sentence in Bulgarian:  Пристигнах в Салем тази вечер.  The pen hovered over the page before she followed that with another sentence:  И най-накрая целунат от джинджифил коса момче.

 

The Bulgarian alphabet is actually the oldest Slavic script in Europe, and the Glagolitic alphabet, devised by Saints Cyril and Methodius in the 850s, was slowly replaced by the Cyrillic script near the beginning of the 10th Century.  So when Annie writes, she’s gonna write in Cyrillic, which is why everything looks a little strange above.

And what is she saying?

Something like this.

Something like this.

Fortunately she doesn’t write a lot, but I think it behooves me to keep her alphabet correct.  It’s really a little thing, but if there’s something it’ll do, it’s keep a certain husband to be from figuring out when she’s writing down something like, “Kerry keeps leaving his dirty underwear laying around!  What a butthead!”  Though we’ve seen him working on speaking Bulgarian, so how much longer before he starts trying to read and write?

Now on to Orientation Day, where we learn for the Fishbowl for the first time, and while there’s not writing, there is a bit of seeing . . .