Four Seven Four

Last night, about eleven-forty PM or there about, I posted this on a few pages on Facebook:

 

And this just happened a few minutes ago:

From and including: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
To and including: Sunday, February 15, 2015

Result: 474 days

It is 474 days from the start date to the end date, end date included
Or 1 year, 3 months, 17 days including the end date

That’s how long it’s taken me to finish this latest novel.
It’s done; it’s over.

 

I even have the photo conformation:

If you don't see "The End" it really didn't happen, did it?

If you don’t see “The End” it really didn’t happen, did it?

Sunday was all about writing.  Finishing up Kerry’s return home and blogging about it in the morning; editing a book for about three and a half hours in the afternoon; taking a nap and trying to get back into writing in the early evening; writing Kerry’s last scene before The Walking Dead came on at nine PM; and writing Annie’s last scene–and the last scene in the novel–after ten PM and finishing it up in the time it took me to hear the live version of The Duke Suite by Genesis–and that time is twenty-eight minutes and thirty-six seconds.

As soon as I was finished I backed it up to my two off-line drives, posted the information on my author’s page, and calculated how much time it had taken me to write this novel.  There were a few days where I didn’t write, but 424,674 divided by 474 days works out to 896 words a day.  If I hadn’t missed four or five days because I simply couldn’t write, or because there were some nights where it was impossible to get more than a few hundred words down, I likely would have averaged a thousand words a day, for 1 year, 3 months, and 17 days.

That’s a lot of writing to get out of the way.

And it makes my novel look so pretty.

And it makes my novel look so pretty.

No more excerpts, no more discussing how much they love each other–or if they really do–no more Midnight Madness, no more Mile High Clubs, no more putting their lives in danger and sending them to the hospital with concussions and broken bones and forcing them to spend the night in Bay #1, Bed #2.  Yeah, that last was a real hardship, let me tell you.

But that’s over:  they’re home for the summer, and both are sad.  Kerry is back in Boring City, wishing he was back at The School, and Annie?  She just wishes she was with Kerry.  She wants to touch and hold him.  She thought she wouldn’t miss it that much, but no matter how much of a cold Dark Witch you are, you will miss the embrace of your warm Soon-to-be-Dark Witch of your own.  It’s why she know’s there’s eighty-six days remaining before she hold him again, and you can bet, she will.

I have a little more writing work to do on other things, but for now this novel is over.  What started as a promise in 2012 to tell the tales of these two kids came to an end almost three years later.

The tale is told.

The kids made it, learned, and grew.

And I didn’t even cry when I wrote “The End”.

I’ll leave that for later.

Second’s Out

There are moments when one must sit back, take a moment, and say, “Yeah, I did that.”  I did that last night.  With a bit over seven hundred and fifty words put into the system, Act Two of my novel was finished, done, completed.  After almost six months of writing every night and during a few afternoons, the middle third of The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced came to an end.

Out with the old--

Out with the old–

The last scene is a bit of an unusual one, in that neither Annie or Kerry are mentioned–I believe that’s a first–and it’s a set up for entry into Act Three.  It doesn’t tell you much, other than it’s the end of January, 2012, and the headmistress has her own joint on school grounds.

But why don’t you see for yourself?  Enjoy.

 

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

Mathilde exited the Pentagram Wall and made her way slowly down the covered walkway leading to the Instructor’s Residence. She pulled her wrap around her; the weather wasn’t as cold now as it had been earlier in the month, but it was cold enough that outside the confines of the Pentagram Wall she could feel the light, winter wind.

The headmistress wasn’t alone. Walking along with here were Jessica Kishna, Helena Lovecraft, and Erywin Sladen. They were coming from the Saint Brighid’s Day feast and were heading out for a night cap at the Headmistress’ Residence, Rhiannon. It was a tradition she usually shared with three or four of the instructors, and this year her Mistresses of Transformation, Chemical Magic, and All Darkness, decided to take her up on her offer of a sniffer of cognac she’d picked up over Yule Holiday.

They’d walked from the Great Hall in silence; it was only after they’d ventured past Cernunnos Tower and were beyond the Wall that Erywin spoke. “I do miss the days when we used to call this holiday Imbolc.”

“I don’t mind calling it Brighid’s Day.” Helena pulled her long leather jacket tight around her neck before retaking hold of Erywin’s left hand. “Besides, I didn’t know what Imbolc was, or Brighid’s Day, or even if you put the bloody Saint before her name, before coming here.”

“You never heard of them from your mother and father?” Jessica was ambivalent on the naming of the Salem holidays: she enjoyed them all, and often referred to them by the names she’d grown up with as a child in Chicago before coming here as a student.

“Hell, no. My father never talked about the school, and all my mother wanted to do was teach me sorcery.” She laughed. “And my grandmother wasn’t much for the celebrations even when she taught here.”

Mathilde looked over her shoulder. “Your grandmother was teaching here before you were a student, yes?”

“Yeah. She stopped teaching a few years before I showed up.”

“I remember hearing about her when I started.” Erywin began slowly swinging her arm, and Helena relaxed and allowed hers to swing as well. “Scary woman.”

“As if you need to tell me.” Helena looked out over the cold open area between the covered walk and the woods. “I think the feast was rather subdued tonight.”

“I noticed that as well.” Mathilde stepped to her said and waiting until Jessica was alongside. “Why is that?”

“It’s the first school holiday here since the Day of the Dead.” Jessica rubbed her hands together and boosted her metabolism a bit to warm them. “They’re finally starting to remember what happened then, and that some of their friends are no longer with us.” Jessica allowed her voice to soften. “While they are here.”

“I understand completely.” Over Yule Mathilde had played the events of 1 November over and over, wondering if there had been more they could have done to prevent the deaths that had occurred. She’d finally come to the conclusion, two nights before Christmas, that Isis and all the others who’d participated in the defense of the school had done their jobs, and that there were things that couldn’t be anticipated, like having nearly a thousand Abominations hammer at the defense screens. And even then, they’d performed beyond their original specifications . . .

They reached the end of the covered portion of the walkway and turned left onto the path leading to the headmistress’ residence, situated just outside the tree line. An eighty meter hard path led to the entrance, and even taking their time the women covered the distance in a little over a minute.

Mathilde stepped up onto the porch and turned to face her guests as they joined her. “I think you’ll enjoy this cognac; it’s a X.O. that was recommended by a friend—”

“Then I’m sure it’ll be spectacular.”

All four women turned towards the voice that spoke. They all saw a man in a dark, heavy overcoat untangle himself from the shadows gathered at one end of the covered porch. He kept his hands in his pockets as he took a few seconds to graze at each woman. “Sorry for the rather unusual entrance . . .”

Mathilde wasn’t impressed by the gentleman’s entrance, but said nothing. She took two steps away from her companions. “What can we do for you, Mister Gabriel?”

The man got right to the point. “Quite a lot, I hope. The Guardians have question to which we need answers . . .”

End of Act Two

And there you have it:  the cliffhanger that takes us into Act Three?  And who are the Guardians?  They’ve been referenced a few times in the story, particularly where Helena is concerned since she’s still one, more or less.  They are the intelligence and dark operatives of The Foundation, very unlike the Protectors, who are like The Foundation police, and the Marshals, who you haven’t met yet, who act as The Foundation’s Special Military Op arm, and are extremely scary.  When they get turned loose, all hell is probably breaking out somewhere in the world.

Since Mathilde knows this Gabriel character by sight, that means he’s been to the school a few times.  Mr. Gabriel also continues my practice of using members of the group Genesis as side characters in my story–you’ve already met Mr. Mayhew and you know Ms. Rutherford, and if there is a third novel Mr. Gabriel will be replaced by . . . well, if you know the band history, you’ll guess the name of that character.  The only name that won’t get used is Tony Banks, since it was already stated he, the real person, lectured at the school.

Now beings Act Three . . .

In with the new.

In with the new.

 

Now starts some rather secretive stuff, some payback, a lot of end-of-the-year sadness . . . and we’ll finally learn about Annie’s and Kerry’s relationship–well, you’ll learn about it, I already know what it is.

I just gotta get there and write about what happens.

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/7:  888

NaNo Total Word Count:  14,771

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 . . .

Pack Up the Camp

According to the work count genie on the Camp NaNoWriMo page, I have fifty-three thousand, one hundred eighty-one verified words for my Camp story, The Foundation Chronicles:  The Scouring.  According to this statistic, I have not only met my word count total, but I’ve “beaten” the fifty thousand total that is the goal of all these NaNo events.

I wrote throughout the day, because life kept me busy, so between prepping dinner and cooking it, eating it, and cleaning up after it was over, I’d roll up here to my computer and start typing.  A hundred words here, a couple of hundred here–and when you’re through with the typing, you’ve written another fifteen hundred words and put said story to rest.

I’ve been here before, but this time it felt as if I’d never reach this point.  The whole month of July has been a grind, and seeing how I’ve written eighty-six and seventy-one thousand word novels during the last two NaNoWriMos, this time I felt as if I could take a break and do something shorter and simpler–

Oh, yeah.  What was I thinking?

Originally I believed the story would run about twenty-five thousand words, and I went doubleplusandthensome on that estimate.  Maybe that’s why I felt worn out by this story, because it just went on and on . . . though that’s more the fault of the writer and not the story.  The story consists of the words I have in my head that I put into the computer.  The characters aren’t writing the damn thing; if they were, I could wake up every morning, look at my Scrivener project, and say, “Oh, isn’t that nice?  Jessica wrote out her second confrontation with the headmaster.  And Erywin threatened to kick his ass.  Thank you, ladies:  now I have a few more free hours to spend playing games.”

That never happened.  If it had, there probably would have been fewer deaths.  Maybe.  Hard to say, since I’ve created some bloodthirsty characters in my time.

So, that’s three new stories, almost one hundred forty-seven thousand words, written this year.  With two novels and a novella completed this year, I’m not about to dive into anything new.  The next thing on the menu is to finish editing Couples Dance and get it published, and if there is any time left over before October rolls in, then I’ll start polishing Fantasies in Harmonie so I can get it ready for publication.  But no new work, not until November–

By then I’ll know if I’m writing my novel as part of NaNoWriMo, or if I’m going to say “The hell with it,” and just write.  While the NaNo thing can be conducive to productivity, I no longer need it to get my ass started on a project.  I don’t need to produce fifty thousand words in thirty days, because I have done that, and can continue to do so when necessary.  I can track my word counts, which I normally do anyway.

I write because this is what I want to do, because this is what I want to become.

It’s easy to do, you know.  You only need sit and do it every day.

 

Closing Doors

And so it came to be that Replacements was pushed into Final Draft status, and all the remains is the formatting and the cover, and the author saw that it was good, and relaxed.

Or something like that.  Sounds a lot more complicated than it was, but the reality is far more boring than the truth.

With only a couple of chapters left I figured I better get to editing, ’cause chapters don’t edit themselves, as much as writers wish they would.  I’d already edited nine chapters–two of which were brand new–and I was hovering about the sixteen thousand word limit for a couple of days.  I did not want to go over seventeen thousand five hundred words, because then I was on novella territory, and if I got up about eighteen thousand, then I might as well have gone twenty thousand words, because . . . that’s how I roll.

So I edited.  I knew Chapter Ten was about twelve hundred words, so not a problem, I’d burn through it.  What I had forgotten was that Chapter Eleven, the last chapter, was almost two thousand words–hey, though, these things happen.  Besides, I’d done the same thing the night before, so why get serious?

As it was, the last two chapters had been well written, so editing was not a chore.  I did one, then the other, then saved, then sighed . . . and commended myself for a job well done.  For Replacements is the first ready-to-publish story I’d done in over a year.  There’s been a lot of writing, but almost no publishing.  Once I have a cover, Replacements is going up to the big Kindle Store in the Internet, and maybe this strange little tale will get noticed–

I say strange little tale because it is.  There’s sex and some BDSM, but not so much that it’s going to trip the erotica wires.  There’s romance, but not that kind of romance.  There’s drama galore, but if I had to pin this sucker down, I’d say it’s science fiction, because it deals with things that one normally wouldn’t find in real life.

This is something I find myself doing:  I write in genres that actually contain so many other elements.  I’m a child of the New Wave of Science Fiction, and that could get out there in terms of what one might read.  (Check out “Riders of the Purple Wage” by Philip Jose Farmer is you want a great example.)  There might be robots, and murder, and sex, and they might all be together in the same story:  that’s what I used to read, and that’s what I tend to write.

The door is closed on Replacements.  It is, as they say, what it is, and I own it.  That’s one thing I do with my stories:  if I finish them, they’re mine.  If I don’t finish them, then they were never meant to see the light of day.  I’ve had that happen a few times, but only once in the last two years.

The story is ready, the song is over.  All I need is a cover–

Seems like the story of my life of late.