Out of the Home and Back Into Class

Right now it’s raining like hell here in The Burg, so much so that there’s the look of flooded Armageddon out there.  And I have to walk in this stuff.  Oi.  Time to get out the heavy coat again, because it’s in the low sixties out there, and it’s gonna feel chilly.

But that’s not really important, because I did it, I really, really did it.  Act One is rewritten.  All the stuff I set out to do five weeks ago is accomplished.  I finished up with this, something I’ve never shown before:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

Annie hugged him tight. “I’ve never been this happy either, Kerry. I wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t come.” She pulled away so she could wipe his tears from his cheek. “I love you; I do.”

“I know you do.” He smiled and looked away for a moment, then kissed her on the cheek. “I know I love you, too. It’s just . . . I’m not used knowing what it’s like—but I like how it’s starting to feel. And I don’t want it to ever end.”

“Good.” She leaned in and quick kissed him on the lips, feeling his happiness flow into her. “Because you’re going to feel my love every day.”

She stepped back and looked at her surroundings for a second before turning back to Kerry. There was so much she wanted to tell him: what she’d discussed at Memory’s End, how she almost didn’t come to Salem, how tortured she felt because he didn’t remember her from their dreams, and how she felt because they still weren’t seeing each other there now.

But she also wanted to tell him how she felt flying with him today, how wonderful it was being alone in the sky and sailing along at a leisurely pace, loving that he never tried to get her to push her abilities. As he’d told her, it was like bike riding in the sky—and she knew what his old bicycle meant to him.

You make me happy, Kerry. She tilted her head to one said and imagined her name next to his in the special book up in her room. I don’t know why you don’t remember me, or why you find it as difficult to love me as I love you—but I don’t care. I have you now, and I will live with that joy forever.

Annie held out her right hand. “Come on, love. Let’s go home.”

Kerry wordlessly took her hand and quietly walked beside her to the place they would share for the next six years—

They went home.

End of Act One

"See ya!"

“See ya!”

Then decided I was going to take a break and–nah!  Are you kidding?  I went right back into the last new chapter I started:

"Well hello again!"

“Well hello again!”

And showed Wednesday and her frustrated students a week later:

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“Why is this so hard?” Felisa Ledesma nearly threw up her hands before mumbling something in Spanish. “This isn’t fair.”

The second week of class, and the mantra that Wednesday Douglas knew was coming had arrived: It’s too hard; I don’t get how I’m suppose to do magic; I can’t visualize what I’m suppose to do. And the oldest but best of the lot: This isn’t fair.

Wednesday knew it wasn’t easy for Normal kids to get the basics down right away. Magic was a lot of “Do or Do Not” work: either you could bring Visualization, Energy, and Willpower together and make it all work without much difficulty, or you were going to spend some time struggling. Not that if you were good with magic you weren’t going to struggle now and then, but if a student couldn’t develop a good grasp of the VEW triumvirate, and do it quickly, they weren’t going to much of a witch.

I can only show them to the door and open it for them. Wednesday returned Felisa’s frown with a smile. It’s up to them to step through and make themselves at home in the world of magic.

 

It’s not fair that I can’t turn Bobby into a frog yet; magic is hard!  Oh, and somebodies were getting accused of cheating, which is sort of where I left that chapter–

No, actually, I left my kids in the Spells House library, with Annie trying to explain a certain magical concept to Kerry before he starts marching down the wrong path to witchdom.  No way Annie’s gonna let him do that, no sir.

Just for the sake of having to know, I checked the word count on Act One when I was finished messing with it.  I’d cut out scenes, but I’d also added a few things here and there to clarify the new stuff.  And the final word count was . . .

149,700.

Before I began the rewrites the total word count had been 140,290, so how in the hell did I end up adding a short story to this already huge sucker?  Oi, again.  Also, I added almost a thousand words to the new scene last night, while chatting with a friend, because yeah, that’s how I am.

Oh, well:  I get this sucker published, no one can say they aren’t getting their money’s worth . . .

Act Two of Act One

As I mentioned a couple of weeks back, when you have time on your hands and you’re looking for something to do, you might end up, oh, I don’t know, editing a whole lot of words because you don’t want to do it later?  It wasn’t enough that I was editing someone else’s novel, but I decided that I was time to get into my own.  I mean, time be time, right?

So, in the period of just under two weeks, I put my just under one hundred and forty thousand word novel through a first pass edit.  I fixed words; I rewrote passages that were wrong; I deleted words that weren’t needed; I add those that were.  And what do I have?

Nice and shiny, it is.  Oh, yes:  it is.

Nice and shiny, it is. Oh, yes.

Act One is a First Pass Finish, and “They went home” is probably as good a close as I’ve done.  And now I’m about to get the kids into some insanity, so that’s going to keep me busy for a while–

In fact, I may start on that insanity tomorrow.  Maybe today.  Maybe today.  But right now I’m so ready to write I’m about to flip out.  Not that I haven’t done that before, but this is a good flip out.  Particularly after I worked up one of the scenes in my head yesterday, and when I realized it was going perfect lead-in for a few scenes that follow, I had to pat myself on the back and say, “You rock when it comes to this shit, Cassie.”

What does the story look like now?  Cleaner.  I did a good read of manuscript and caught things that were missing, and removed words and phrases that were redundant.  But I also added a few things.  How much?  Well, the First Draft was 139,375 words; the Revised Draft First Pass is 140,290 words–a net addition of nine hundred and fifteen words.  Not bad, really, particularly if it makes things better.

What will happen now is I’ll remove Act One from Compile status and set up Act Two that way, so Scrivener will track the word count for all the new material.  I say with all my heart that I don’t want to write another one hundred forty thousand words for this part, but I’m pretty certain it’s gonna top one hundred thousand without a problem.  Transporting is two hundred forty-five thousand words, and I see myself getting damn close to that total by the time I get to the end of Act Two, where I’ll type something along the lines of, “Good evening, Headmistress; ladies.  May we have a word?”  See?  You already know how Act Two is going to end, which means I’m in a good mood, since I almost never give away anything.

It’s a happy day around here because I’m ready to get into the three or four month slog for the second act of my novel, where Annie and Kerry are gonna learn things about their abilities, and both will find themselves in some incredibly deep caca at a couple of points in the upcoming school year.  There will be blood and more than a few trips to the hospital.

It’s gonna be glorious.  I can’t wait.

"There's nothing I like more than torturing my characters!  Yay!"

“There’s nothing I love more than putting my characters though hell! Yay!”

Act One Interludes

About last night . . .

It is said that if you’re going to write a novel, you need to write every day.  Most writers will tell you that you have to do that anyway, because if you want to make this your job, you just do it.  You sit down when you don’t feel like it and write something, even if it’s just ideas that need jotting down.

I began writing The Foundation Chronicles Book One: A For Advanced on the night of 30 October, 2013.  I know this because I have it marked down on my Author’s Page on Facebook.  Last night, 18 February, Act One of the novel was finished.  According to the date calculator on the Time and Date website, that’s one hundred and twelve days.  And there were three days there where I didn’t write, because of travel and illness, so I required one hundred and nine days to reach a point where the last thing written was, “They went home.”

Simple and to the point.

"Twas nothing!"

“Twas nothing!”

There it is:  Act One with Part Three–my longest part–finished.  Seventy-seven thousand, five hundred words to work out a week in the lives of two kids who are leaning what the words “special” and “witch” really mean.  Of course the first week of their adventure required the first two parts, and sixty-one thousand, eight hundred seventy-five words as well.  I’ve actually sat and looked at this and went, “Really?  Almost eighty thousand words to work out a week?”  Yeah, I do that.  Some writers write as much, or more, going on about one day, so I’m in good company.

Since there isn’t anything planed for tonight, I’ll adjust my schedule a little.  There is a little Italian restaurant just across from the capitol building that I’ve had my eye on for a while, so after work I’m gonna stroll on in there for a quiet sit-down dinner.  Don’t know what I’ll eat, but I do know I’ll order a glass of red with the meal.  Then take my time enjoying both, because this is a thing I’ve earned, and most of the time when I’ve either finished a work I’ve just went, “Eh, what’s next?”  Not this time.  This one was a hell of a job, and one hundred twelve days of coming home and bringing up the manuscript so I can get back to adding more to the story–it’s like finishing the first leg of a triathlon.  It’s a lot of work, but there’s still two legs to go.

That doesn’t mean I won’t stop thinking about what’s to come.  I do that anyway.  But I won’t start on Act Two until the last day of March, and if this next section were to run another one hundred and twelve days, I’d finish Act Two on 21 July.  Then a nice break until the first week of September, and that begins the leg of the race that takes me to The End.

I’ve got it all figured out; I only need stick to my schedule.

In the mean time having some moments to myself is a good time to edit and bring out the stories that could stand a little publishing.

A writer’s work is never done . . .

Slipping Past Penultimate

The day off saw a lot of working getting done.  More than I expected, actually, but because there wasn’t a whole lot of other things to do yesterday, it was writing time.  This last weekend has been a good one for it, honestly.

Because of this good weekend, my time is quickly drawing to an end.

The penultimate scene of Act One is probably the shortest one of the book so far.  It’s a story of the aftermath of a few hours of flying together, of what they saw and how it felt.  There’s a snippet where, after buzzing The Pentagram a couple of times, Annie and Kerry touch down in the garden and walk into the Dining Hall in their flight clothes with their PAVs slung over their shoulders.  It’s a nice little touch because the place would be about three-quarters full, and the rest of the students would recognize them as A Levels who are apparently out flying–on their own.  Not something that happens very much, and it’s designed to show that (a), they are doing really well their first week, and (b), they aren’t there to show off, they’re there to eat.

Then it was into the last scene, and there’s a short talk between Helena and Erywin about people being . . . concerned.  Why?  This conversation is taking place just after midnight Saturday, which means it’s the first moments of Sunday.  School started on Monday, 5 September.  Do the math, see the date, and hear Helena talk about how she’s fine, and that people shouldn’t think she’s a sammie short of a picnic and about cold fire the school to the bedrock.  They also talk about something Helena gave Annie–besides a promise not to electrocute her boyfriend again–and then we find the lovey-dovey couple fast asleep.

That’s where I left it, because I didn’t want to push the next few hundred words.  That’s for tonight.  That’s something I can save so I will have time to watch what’s getting written and get it right.  I know what’s going to be said:  I just want to say it right.  I’m almost at the end of the path:  I don’t want to make any missteps at this point.

"Why is there a signpost up ahead?  I have a bad feeling about this."

“Why is there a signpost up ahead? I have a bad feeling about this.”

There’s a strange sort of endorphin high starting to take over now that I know the end is close.  I’ve felt this before:  you feel relaxed and content and stress doesn’t seem to beat you down any more.  It’s all good and well, like the body is finally purging all the bad stuff that has accumulated during the writing of a piece.

Now all that remains is the “The End”.  But this isn’t The End, it’s “End of Act One”, and there’s a lot more to come.  A lot more.  There will be one story written this year, but it’s gonna be this story, and it’ll be huge.

That the future.  Right now, I have a present that needs dealing.

And then I can put my kids to bed.

There Beyond the Memory’s End

It’s a day off for me, the last one before I head home in March to do taxes and a few other things.  Which is to say I have another month before blowing The Burg and taking that eleven hour drive back to Northwest Indiana.  Then I’ll head off again in June after which–well, that’s a good guess.  I may stay in The Burg.  I may not.  I may run through all the nonsense of trying to find another contracting job.  Maybe by this summer I’ll be a big-time published author.

Yeah, keep dreaming, Cassie.  It’s what you do best.

The scene was written yesterday, started late in the afternoon after lunch was an afterthought and there’d been a very short nap.  It was written in parts, with the first eight hundred words completed before a television break, then the rest written in a mad dash to get to the end.  When it was finished another sixteen hundred words were in the story bank, and my kids, Annie and Kerry, were last seen floating into the sky over the school, ready to spend an afternoon flying and exploring.

It’s curious that so long ago, when I named the school’s center for Divination and Numerology, I’d call it Memory’s End.  Because the last couple of scenes had to do with memories, those remembered and those hidden, perhaps forgotten.  I’d chosen the name because, at the time, it sounded like a good name for a place where memories weren’t actually needed, because truths past and future were discovered through far different methods.

Now these memories will have to remain tucked away for a while, though there are a couple of chapters in Act Two which will bring forth a whole different set of memories, and this will lead down another that will answer some hereto unknown questions.  Maybe in another hundred thousand words you’ll see this happen.

I’ve already stated that whatever mysteries I’ve set up here at the end of Act One will find resolution somewhere in Act Three.  The resolution may open up a can of mystical worms, but it’s going to make sense.  Or as much sense as anything can make in this crazy world I’ve created.  Here near the end of this current writing cycle, the world has become more real than I’d have imagined.  And this last chapter has become something of a relief, giving me some room to play with the character, both in their joy and sadness.

There’s not much left to the story at this point.  I’ll be honest, I’m going to miss these last three-and-a-half months I’ve spent getting this tale together, and I’m setting the  week of 31 March as the starting point for Act Two.  I’ll get back from the Indiana Home and start in on three months more at The Burg, and during that mine I can probably make a significant dent in Act Two.  And whenever September starts, that’s the start of Act Three.

I have all this down.  I’ll remember it.

This memory isn’t about to end.

"That's easy for you to say--you know the ending!  Can't you write the ending now?"

“That’s easy for you to say–you know where this all goes! Can’t you write the ending now?”