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.

Conversing Round the Rotunda

A lot of strangeness this morning–starting off with waking up at 3:30 AM, laying in bed for ninety minutes before deciding that I needed to get up and do something.  Said something involved finishing up a scene I sort of stumbled through last night, which I mean with all sincerity, because I didn’t have my head in the story last night.  Some of it had to do with watching TCM last night while I made my way through some five hundred words of conversation between Annie and a fellow student from Lesotho, but the truth remains I’ve been tired most of this week, and writing at home is boring the hell out of me.

It’s nice to have a routine.  Writing is my routine; has been for a while.  But the last year, most of which has been spent in hotel rooms and a small apartment, have taken their toll.  I’m finding that changing things up a little here and these gives me more productivity, and that’s something I require at this point, because five hundred or so words a night ain’t cutting it.  Time has come to rev things up.

Really, though, it’s not usual.  Whenever you spend a lot of time working on the same project, doing the same thing over and over, in the same place and location for months, it seems natural that you’ll find a little burnout creeping in from around the bend.  Now if I was only like George R. R. Martin and I could take five or six or seven years to write a novel.

That would assume I’m making money from my novels, first . . .

"Also, I could write some hot, kinky, dragon action.  Just as long as I leave their mom out of it.  Right?  Right?"

“Also, I could write some hot, kinky, dragon action. Just as long as I leave their mom out of it. Right? Right?”

But I wrote this morning.  I managed almost six hundred words this morning, because when there isn’t anything on television to pull you away, and no one on the Internet to distract you, it’s easy to get things done.  I might even be able to snap out another five or six hundred words later today, or maybe even a thousand.  You can’t tell, can you?

Here’s the last part of a three-way conversation between Annie, Nagesa Okoro–the aforementioned student from Lesotho who has two friends out flying the same patrol as Kerry and Emma are flying–and Lisa, she of the Bad Attitude and the Magical Ownage during Sorcery class.  Needless to say, Lisa’s trying to break bad on Annie, and Annie is not digging it in the least . . .

 

(All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“I’m surprised you’re not out with Kerry.” Lisa looked over her right shoulder. ‘Then again, he’s gotta flyin’ partner—” She turned back to Annie. “Ain’t he?”

Annie slowed her breathing so as not to lose her temper. “Emma’s with him, yes. They volunteered together.”

“An ahm sure they’re havin’ a great time.” Lisa rubbed her hands together slowly. “Is that why you’re doin’ triage? ‘Cause if anythin’ happens, you’ll be here when he’s brought in?” The smirk returned as she looked around the Rotunda. “Those guys flyin’ around by the wall, they’re gonna be the first to get hit if there’s trouble—”

Nagesa laid a hand on Annie’s; she sensed the girl was about to explode. She turned on Lisa. “You are not helping with this talk; you are trying to upset us.” She twitched her head to the left. “You should rest—this may be a long day.”

For a moment Lisa didn’t appearer willing to take Nagesa’s advice, then shrugged. “Yeah, you’re probably right.” She waved at Annie. “See ya ‘round.”

Annie waited for Lisa to head up the stairs to the First Floor before speaking. “Thank you.”

Nagesa removed her hand from Annie’s. “I sensed you were about to say things that would have resulted in an argument—”

“Or worse.” Annie set her hands in her lap.

“Or worse.” Nagesa rocked her knees back and forth. “We do not need that sort of negativity here. We need to stay focused on our duty.”

“I agree.” Annie sat quietly for nearly thirty second, her mind swirling around Lisa’s comments. “Are you here because of your friends?”

“No—and yes.” Nagesa slightly turned her head so she could look at Annie as she spoke. “I am here to help anyone needing help. And were my friends brought in, I could help them as well.”

“What . . .” Annie didn’t want to ask the question, but found she must. “What if you can’t help them?”

“Then I would have the chance to say goodbye.” Nagesa patted Annie’s hands. “Don’t worry: your boyfriend will return safe. Professor Salomon would not have allowed him to fly with the patrol if she didn’t feel he could make the right choices when necessary.”

Annie squeezed Nagesa’s hand briefly before looking up through the skylight. “I’m not worried about him . . .”

 

Of course you aren’t, Annie.  You’re worried about someone else, aren’t you?

And speaking of Kerry and that girl . . .

Begging the Differences

A quite night led to some interesting editing, which is often a lot better than the uninteresting stuff I normally write.  (I’m only quoting some people I know; the rest will tell you . . . hum, I wonder about that.  Never mind.)

I rocketed through the flight and got the kids at the school, inside the Great Hall, and back into their Evaluations and Assessments–or as some people at Salem might call them, screwing with kids to see if you can break them.  It’s a bit of the ‘ol psychological torture, yeah, and depending on the mood of the Great Benefactor and Protector of the Institution–you gotta worry about any spirit that lives in an underground chamber called The Cauldron–she might just flip you off and send you packing, or . . . she might just drive you a little crazy before kicking your ass back into the hallway.

Now comes up one of my favorite scenes in the story, and last night while putting about to get ready for bed, I realized how something important changes in the story based upon how the characters have been altered.  That’s because in the first draft Kerry was sort of the “I wanna explore” sort of person, and it was he who dragged Annie all over London, taking her places he wanted to see.  She never said anything because she was hiding what she really was, and was happy to go along for the ride.  It was only once they arrived in Amsterdam that Annie was like, “Hey, let check this out.”

As I was reminded, however, Annie is really something of a world traveler, and there’s even a scene in the book where she talks about walking around Hong Kong with her mother.  She’s been everywhere, while Kerry has pretty much visit Jack Shite, UK, and little else.  Also, from the first chapter you know Annie is hangin’ with the Normal kids–that’s what The Foundation calls them–so she’s sort of a Changeling pretending to be like them.  Since that was the case, there was no point in hiding her true nature, and since there is a reason for her wanting to spend time with Kerry–reasons that came out in her E&A–it makes sense that she’s the one dragging ‘Ol Ginger Hair Boy around London and Amsterdam.

Therefore, I was thinking, when I get to the upcoming scene, it not only makes Annie’s reasoning for what she was doing far more clear, but it makes Kerry look all the more clueless about his friend’s motives.  He really, totally, completely, ends up looking like he’s been walking about with eyes wide shut and wholly oblivious to what was happening between his new found friend and him.

Which means it should hit him like a much bigger hammer when Nurse Coraline delivers the good news.

It’s really fun to watch the dynamic change between my characters after just a few little personality tweaks.  Some moments will remain where they’re pretty much on even ground–usually about the time magic starts happening–but the way I’m viewing things now, Kerry is back to where he should be:  always pondering just how great his little Dark Witch is, and how he feels she’s so much better than him.

"Kerry, remember when people thought I was only here for you to tell me what to do?"  "That's because the person writing us lost her mind."  "What do you mean 'the person writing us'?  Are you saying we don't do these things on our own?"  "Umm . . ."

“Kerry, remember when people thought I was only here for you to tell me what to do?” “That’s because the person writing us lost her mind.” “What do you mean ‘the person writing us’? Are you saying we don’t do these things on our own?” “Um . . .”

Yeah, kids, if you were telling me to what do, why didn’t you tell me months ago?  I swear–lazy characters . . .

Revenge Served Lukewarm

Last night was Hack and Slash writing time:  the cold was there in strength  and I was hacking like crazy, trying to get whatever had taken up residency in my chest the hell out.  It left the throat raw, but it did help clear the lungs–much in the same way a barium enema will eventually clear up that bloated feeling you’re experiencing.

I decided to go old school for writing last night, doing something I did when I started my story Kuntilanak almost a year and a half ago:  I cued up Emerson, Lake, and Palmer’s Pictures at an Exhibition, knew I had forty-four minutes to crank out some wordage, and went to town.

The story is picking up about a week and a half after the events of Chapter Eleven, and Keith is feeling somewhat–lets say different.  He’s in tune to the story; he knows what he wants to say, and he’s getting it all down in the written form.  Erin the Muse is busy with other things–things that got me a stuck-out tongue when I posted a few short paragraphs of the story after I was finished–and Keith is wondering hard if maybe something changed because they hooked up.  Anything is possible, because I’m Erin’s boss, and what I say goes, right?

Something is about to happen in Keith’s life, and I’d be lying if I said not only has this happened to me, but what follow is probably something I would loved to have done, but never did.  Call it Revenge Fantasy, which for me is petty mild, because the days where I’d plot and plot and plot some devious shit to those who’d wronged me are well in the past.  See, this is why you should go into therapy.  It does work.

I had some qualms about putting this chapter in the novel, but the more I thought about it, the more it seemed to make sense.  Keith is at a turning point in his life, and just as Erin kicked his butt to get him going on this story, he needs another kick to remind him that he shouldn’t live today for tomorrow like he was immortal, the only survivors on this world of ours are the warming sun, the cooling rain,
the snowflake drifting on the breath of the breeze . . . oh, wait:  I’ve been listening to too much Burning Rope.

But it’s true:  we don’t get the dreams we want, we have to go after them.  No one has ever walked into a place where I’ve worked, pointed at me, and said, “Cassie!  I need you to write a novel that’s going to be big!  Come on, girl, lets go!”  No, it’s always been something short of an eye roll whenever I’ve mentioned that I’m trying to become a full-time writer, like I should be happy cleaning up after ever mess ever left by an egotistical manager.  Don’t reach for dreams, they’re saying.  You’re crazy to think you can do something that you’re not suppose to do . . .

I’ve chided other people for buying into the revenge fantasy memes that pop up on Facebook almost every day, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have moments when I think I should have done something like flip over a table and run out of a room laughing like a loon.  I once did tell a room full of people, after being told I was being laid off, that it was a good think I was on meds, otherwise my departure might go a little differently–and that day I had someone watching me like a hawk the entire time until I was in my car and out the company parking lot.  Not that I would have done anything, but it’s always good to keep the suckers guessing . . .

I’ll give Keith a little room to move, to express some opinions that I should have, but didn’t.  Maybe he’ll even have a parting shot as he leaves the building–

Sometimes I just can’t help be a wise ass when the need arises.