Quiet Twilight, Unquite Night

Yesterday wasn’t my best day ever.  It happens.  Sometimes you simply aren’t on your game and everything feels like it’s falling apart, and about all you can do is hang on and ride everything out.  Sort of like whale riding, only without the whale.

But You still get through.  I took a nap–something I never do these days–then chatted with a few people.  I didn’t get to writing until about eight-thirty, which is late for me, and only wrote for about an hour.  The feeling wasn’t there, but I could sense what I wanted to write, so I took my time an worked it down to the paper.

As a treat, here is everything I wrote last night, all six hundred and fifty-five words without an edit.  Enjoy.


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

Dinner was an early affair for Annie and Kerry. After Basic Spell Casting came Basic Science, running from thirteen to fifteen, taught by Polly Grünbach, a young woman from Lithuania with a long braid of black hair cascading down her back. When the class was over they had the afternoon off, so they returned to the tower to relax and nap before eating.

They napped because there was an evening class: Astronomy, starting at twenty-one thirty and running until half-past midnight. The classes were held at the Observatory, which sat in the middle of the far-northern area of the campus, far away from all the other building. As it was placed so far from The Pentagram, it made for the longest hike to any classroom: a kilometer and a half straight line, which translated to almost seventeen hundred meters overland or through the tunnel system. That meant walking a mile there and back, and not getting into bed until nearly one in the morning—something neither Annie or Kerry were thrilled to do, but saw no other way out of the predicament.

It was early, however: class wouldn’t start for another ninety minutes. Kerry could have used the time resting, but Annie wanted to go out and explore. They’d covered most of the southern part of the campus, and also walked along the walls, but they’d not ventured north of the Witch House yet. The buildings here weren’t clustered together: there was plenty of wooded land between each classroom, and one was expected to cover six or seven hundred meters to get from one location to another.

They walked the main tunnel from the Arts and History Building towards Memory’s End. Kerry found a surface entrance—more of a sunken tower encasing a spiral staircase—that brought them out a few dozen meters from Memroy’s End. From there they began following the path to the Witch House, then after ten meters turned left onto a not-well defined path that wasn’t in any way marked.

Kerry asked Annie why she wanted to go this way, but her only reply was that she wanted to “see something.” He could have checked the map on his tablet—he found he could get excellent wifi everywhere, even in the tunnels—but every time he hauled out his computer while they were walking, Annie would give him . . . It wasn’t a dirty look but more like a slight irritation, as if she couldn’t believe he was going to hop on-line to look up something while they were out together. He’d quickly learned over the weekend there were times he could bring out the computer, and times he should leave it in his backpack.

This was one of the later times.

It was getting dusky, and the sky over head and to the east was a deep purple. It was just a little after nineteen, and actual sunset would happen in about ten minutes. Kerry had read yesterday that the pathways were illuminated in “unobtrusive fashion,” which he took to mean the lighting was probably just enough to keep someone from wandering off a path and getting lost in the woods. Neither of them had been out past the Pentagram after dark, so wandering to the Observatory along a dark path was going to be an unusual experience.

Annie said nothing for most of the walk: she held Kerry’s hand and sauntered along the path, absorbed in the gathering gloom. She’d been in a good mood after Basic Spells, feeling better about having performed magic, and having seen Lisa get her comeuppance. She’d also expressed pleasure that Kerry had managed the same, which he still found amazing. He told her after Science that he’d felt something tickling the back of his neck, just the way Professor Douglas described it might feel. When that happened he just though of the power going into his image and—pow. Magic.

Every writer has moments when they think they suck.  George R. R. Martin has said he’ll look at what he’s written and thing, “How the hell did you ever become a writer?  This is crap!”  He probably thinks that after he kills off a dozen characters in a tragic orgy held in a dragon’s nest, but that’s another story.

I’ve become used to having ups and downs when I write.  There are many times when I think I should just give up and call it a day, because nothing is happening with what I’m doing.  Then I read what I’ve posted above and think, “Yeah . . . it’s not that bad,” and I keep going.  There are even moments when I think I’ve written some great stuff.

Oh, and my dreams last night–screwed up.  One of them had me on a train with a woman I know, going off to rescue someone.  I think her kids.  I’m not sure.  All I know is there were a lot of nervous people around, and I was like, “Yeah, sweat it out, I got this covered.”

Now to be that cool in real life.

School Bells Ring and Children Dreaming

Today is probably going to be hard.  I seemed to have slept okay, but at the moment I can’t tell.  I’ve already spent a half hour this morning on worthless stuff–mostly trying to get my computer to do something I wanted it to do, but it was being nasty to me–and I feel like I’ll find myself getting way more frustrated as the day progresses.

At least it’s raining outside.  I love walking in the rain.  Now if I only had someone to walk with.

I’m finally into getting my kids to class in my novel.  It only took sixty-three thousand words, but I’m there.  I am too wordy, I believe.  That’s what someone I used to know would say about Stephen King:  “He’s too wordy, he says too many things in his books.”  But there’d nothing wrong with that.  Words tell a story, and sometimes the story is long and complected.  Sometimes you can’t just jump into thing and hope the reader knows what’s going on.  Some things you want to keep quiet, keep hidden, but other times you have to show why something happened along the way to your main tale–otherwise you’ll leave a whole lot of people scratching their heads wondering how a person did something.

So my kids have wandered into class, they’ve been seen by the instructor–and a few other people who will pop up later–and their history lesson is about to start.  The thing for me to do is keep this part under about three thousand words, but who knows there, right?  I think I can, because I know exactly what I’m going to say, and pretty much how I want to say it.  Stick to the script, Cassie, and all will be well.

Then it’s another short scene–maybe a thousand words–and then I get into a long section about flying.  Oi.  Why do I do this to myself?  Because I have a story to tell, that’s why.  I have something to say, and to get it all out and make it understandable, I have to throw in a few words, and this is going to make the scene long.  This upcoming scene may be my longest:  maybe five thousand words or so.  Or . . . I could be wrong.  I could be crazy and do this in a couple of thousand.

Yeah, right.

I managed just over nine hundred words last night.  There were a few distractions ongoing throughout the night, but still:  considering how I felt when I walked through the door to the apartment, I was lucky to get the computer turned on.  It was a soul sucking day.  But writing made me feel a little better, and I hope for more of that tonight.

Not to mention, I have this idea roaming in my mind.  It’s an idea I’ve had for some time, and I’m thinking that once I begin working on something new next year–after I do some editing of my backlog–that’s the story I’m going to do.  I get emotional thinking about it, because there are some rather sad parts to the tale.  But in the end it all works out–

Now, to get through my first week of school.

Layout Lowdown

It has begun.  Besides all the other stuff I did yesterday–and it was a lot–I started laying out my next novel.  I know I should have managed more, but I didn’t because I was busy chatting with people.  Sue me.

But the novel is getting laid out.  And the moment I started laying things down, I figured this is either going to have a huge number of chapters, or it’s going to be a monster.  Or both.  That has been known to happen with me.

I’m using a format that I adopted last year for my first novel, which is to break everything into parts, then break that down into chapters, then set up scenes within each chapter.  In the past I’ve written chapter by chapter, all one big thing, even if there were difference scenes.  This time I’m going scene by scene, which was how I did it when I wrote the lead-in novel for this novel during July Camp NaNo.

As you can Layout Stating 01see on the right I’ve my title page finished–though still not sold on the title, but I’m not sweating that–and I have two parts laid out with the third to comes.  Looking down the binder on the left, one notices the chapters inside each part, and the scene cards laid out.  You can also see my Camp Novel, The Scouring, right above The Magic Fishbowl, and somewhere below that is a folder labeled Book Two.  One project:  many stories.  That was my intention when I decided to write about this world, that I’d keep all the stories here in one place.  Now, if I need to go looking for something that happened years before, I know where it’s located.

When I get Layout Starting 02into each chapter I find my scenes looking like the ones I have here.  These are all nice and neat, without any metadata written upon each card.  Then again, the chapter tells me when it is, and the title of each scene tells me where I’m at, so the metadata is actually in place.  Those are my writing prompts, and with a little more information I know exactly what needs to be said.  More or less:  the mind is tricky, and by the end of the day my kids go from discovering magic to setting up their own meth lab and start cooking.  Not saying it would happen, but . . .

In getting Layout Starting 03this post together I discover one of the reasons I love Scrivener so much.  I decided to change the name of one of the scenes as I set up my pictures, and that made is necessary to find out the name of the regional transportation group in the Boston area.  Quick Google Search and I find it’s the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, or MBTA.  Now, I’ve used their website before, but since there’s always a chance I’m going to need it again–because, hey, my kids need to get around–I decided to set up a card with the interactive website feature, and–ta da!  Now when I want to get around the Boston area, I just go split screen, pull this up, and start plugging numbers.  Never know when I’ll want to send the kids off to Innsmouth–I mean, Ipswich.  Innsmouth isn’t a real place–or is it?

I’m not going to finish this all this weekend, but it’s started, and I’ll finish before I know it.  This won’t get dragged out to the end of the month–oh, no.  Another week and I should have this feline in the proverbial loose container.  But I see the end.

And right behind it is the beginning.  Yeah, that’s how it goes . . .

Weekend at Salem

I tried to get a little done last night, but it was Project Runway night, and you know how that goes.  Well, I did get something done:  I updated some fifty role playing games that I’ve bought over the years and never bothered to newer version whenever something was done to the pdf.  So there; I’m up to speed.  I can’t say, “Hey, I got fifty games I gotta update,” any more.

There is no games, there is only SIGEL.

Here’s what I have left for my next book:  I need to finish my characters names.  I have maybe six or seven people who need to get put into the system, because they may, or may not, have a speaking part.  Even if they don’t have a speaking part, I need them now, and maybe I’ll need them later.  I can say, right now, I know I’ll need three of the characters, so . . . do them.  Oh, and I need to fix a few names–no big deal, because I sort of know what the names should become.

Spell, powers, science:  I’ve got maybe thirty things on my list all ready.  As I come up with ideas, I’ll throw them in, because it’s not all that hard to imagine things.  What I won’t do is stare at the list and go, “Hey, do I need this?”  No, that’s counter productive.  I have access to many forms of communications to leave notes to myself, so if something pops up, it’ll get filed.  Simple as that.

Everything else is in place.  I could probably put down a few places in Salem and nearby Rockport and Gloucester that would be of interest to people in the story.  In my lead-in novel I did a quick trip around Salem, and I have a couple of places that I know the kids would visit.  I mean, they could take a picture of themselves in front of Samantha Stevens, or they could stand in front of the Crow’s Nest.  There’s one particular place that’ll show up near the end . . .

Lastly, however, there is the story itself.  I need to lay it out.  I have a time line, so I know what goes where.  I know the important places that need mentioning.  I have some family things to discuss at some point.  So the time has finally come to get out the corkboard and set upon it the cards that are The Foundation Chronicles:  Welcome to the Fishbowl.  Or something like that; maybe I need a better title.  Welcome to the Madness?  Into the Mouth of Magic?  Everything You’ve Learned Up Until Now is Bullshit?  That last has New York Times potential . . .

Either way, I finish this up.  My kids have been waiting long enough; it’s time to let them shine a little.  My grand edifice has waited in the shadows for a long time, and it wants to clap its flippers and bark like a seal. ’cause yo, happy times are finally here.

There are only so many weekends left in The Burg, and you gotta make them count.


Over the Finish Line

Her Demonic Majesty is a done deal.  Yesterday morning I started to prep the novel for upload to Smashwords.  When I mentioned to a friend that I was “thinking” of uploading the novel just to see if it made it through the Meat Grinder, she was like, “What’s keeping you from doing it?”  And she was right:  there was nothing holding me back.  As she told me, “Girls shouldn’t fear!”  Which is good advice to anyone who is fearful what they are doing is shit, but it struck a chord with me, because . . . there’s always fear.

Without further ado I set up the file and uploaded it, once again expecting the meat grinder to take a long time, and gaining great surprised when I was through the process in less than five minutes.  So here it sits on Smashwords, waiting to get sent out to other selling locations.

What about Amazon, you say?  Good question.  In the afternoon I started the upload to the Kindle Store, and just like with Smashwords the novel and cover were through the conversion process in about five minutes.  I’ve received notice from Amazon that the book is “live”, but when I try to find it, nothing appears.  I had this happen with Kuntilanak, where it took about a day before it started showing up on the Amazon pages, so I’ll wait until tonight before sending off messages to the Amazon people.

So here I am, three stories published, and this being my first novel.  I feel–well, relieved, actually, because I can move on to other things now.  I was thinking up a building design last night, one I need for a story, because while I’ve seen the building in my mind, I haven’t actually seen it as it should be.  It’s something I want to get done, even if I’m not starting on that particular story for a while.

What I need to do is get the word out about the novel.  I need to pimp it a bit.  I’ve done a bit of that already, but I want to get more going. I don’t expect it to become a best selling, but a few dozen would be a gas.  It’d be even better if it were a few hundred.

We’ll see.

One thing I’m going to do is do a give away, and there will be an interview.  When I mean “interview”, I mean something probably strange and unusual, since I myself am strange and unusual.  Also, I want to have fun, and I think I can come up with something that’ll fit that bill.  I’ve done the author’s interviews many times before, and while they were good, they seemed . . . well, they could have been a little more light hearted.  So something to else to put into my sights.

It’s finished, and with it a year and a half of my life that started at a minute after midnight on Nov 1, 2011.  All because someone told me I should try NaNoWriMo, and that if I did, I’d be able to finish–

And look at me now.  Top of the World, you know?