Office Space For the Magically Inclined

Well, it happened.  No, not that, whatever you’re thinking.  The thing I’m talking about is I hit one hundred and fifty thousand words.

See? It’s right here.

The funny thing is I wasn’t even aware as to how close I was until I did a quick check after making some edits over what I did the night before and saw I was about one hundred and twenty-five words short.  I ended the evening putting about seven hundred and fifty words into the scene, but I spent about fifteen minutes setting up my milestone on my author’s page so that likely cut into the amount–

No, it didn’t.  I ended the scene at a good place.  And that place happens to be where Annie and Kerry are starting their test and getting set to kick homunculi butt–the Kali Test I’ve talked about for a few months now.  It’s finally Go Time and they’re in for the toughest time of their lives, at least at school–

But before we can get to that point we need to get this all set up.  That’s what most of Chapter Eleven is about:  the before, during, after, and after-after of this test.  And since we’re starting Chapter Eleven, that must mean we’re showing how the before begins.

However, a little history first…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Unless there was pressing business elsewhere on the school grounds, Friday afternoons found Ramona Chai in her first floor office in the East Transept of the Great Hall. Though she had an office in Gwydion Manor, once she was finished with Beginning Self Defense and Weapons there wasn’t any need to remain there unless she needed to take care of an issue that could only be handled at the Manor.

Normally every instructor had two offices. There was one in the main building where they taught and another located either in the Great Hall, or in the coven towers. The only ones who were lucky enough to have an office in the coven towers were, of course, the coven leaders, though due to the pressures put upon their time, they surprisingly spent little time there.

There were also a few instructors who are of a mind that if students needed to see them, they could come to their office in the place where they taught. Matthias Ellison was one of those instructors: even though he had an office in the Great Hall, it was rarely used, as he preferred conducting business at the Auditorium. The same was true for those witches who taught super science and give control. Polly Grünbach had an office in the History and Arts Building where she taught science and math: Fitzsimon Spratt and Inyx Armanjani had offices in the Tesla Science Center; and Tristyn Julin maintained her office and the Shone Powers Center. Fitzsimon made the best case for this choice, pointing out that what they did was slightly different than what the other witches at Salem did, so why not stay close to their parts of the magical world?

Ramona didn’t see any reason to fault his logic.

As always her office was quiet, though everything in this corner of the building generally remained quiet day and night. At one time, perhaps a hundred and fifty or two hundred years ago, all of the instructors had offices in this section of the East Transept, as well as occupying a few offices along the first floor level of the East Hallway.

These days, however, all of the offices on the first floor of the East Hallway had been converted into activity rooms and used for a few smaller classes, as the onslaught of students that seers and Prognosticators saw arriving at the school in the last few decades of the Twentieth Century never materialized. Some claimed the students never came because by building all of the extra space, the visions of a Salem with over five hundred students became invalidated. Other seers believed that none of these early visions anticipated The Schism and the rise of the Deconstructors, which was considered one of the primary reasons the Aware population hadn’t grown as rapidly as expected.

It didn’t matter to Ramona. She was a natural optimist and believed that the time envisioned by those Prognosticators had not yet arrived and within a few decades the visions would begin coming true. She believed there was nothing wrong in anticipating events decades or even centuries before the occurred; therefore, she saw no reason to lament the over-construction of the Salem grounds.

The students were coming—though the possibility existed that they had not yet been born…

“I hope I haven’t caught you at a bad time?”

 

There hasn’t been much talk about why the Great Hall is so, well, great, but now you get a little insight into this history.  See, at one time people saw that there would be a lot more witches coming to school that then currently existed, so plans were made to get the Hall as big as possible.  Also, when Salem started out everything was kept inside the Great Hall:  classrooms, offices, dorms, kitchen–you name it, it was here.

But all of those seers and prognosticators were wrong for various reasons, not the least of which is something called The Schism.  Yeah, you’ll hear about that later.  Maybe not this novel, but later for sure.

Now, about these offices.  While we’ve never really seen them, we have seen them.  Sort of–

Hey, remember this?  I think a kiss happened down one of those halls–

Yes, it was right down in this area that almost two years earlier–two years!–a certain Ginger Hair Boy got lip locked by a certain Ginger Girl From Boulder.  The kiss happened in that upper hallway on the left, whereas Kerry went to cry and feel betrayed in the hallway on the right.  And if we want to know everything, the kiss happened right outside Ramona’s office.

It’s almost like we’re returning to the scene of the crime.

But we won’t get into that moment–instead, someone wants to speak about this test…

Entering the Big Empty

Let’s just set the bar right now:  yesterday was a miserable day.  I needed to do a lot of running around for one, and that really kept me away from the keyboard.  While I managed to hunt down all the medical prep stuff that I’ll need very soon, and I found a great camera tripod for $50 that I think will come in very handy for me in the future, it also meant that by the time I did all this, and covered lunch, it was close to two before I rolled back to the apartment–

The apartment with no A/C, I should mention.  It crapped out Friday evening.  Friday and Saturday weren’t bad, but yesterday was getting kinda nasty inside, so I had to break down and pick up a high powered tower fan.  It’s keeping me cool at the moment, though once the air starts to stagnate in here, it’s probably going to blow a lot of hot air around.  I’m hoping that after I make my call to the management this morning, they’ll get this probably fixed in a reasonable amount of time.

I also fell asleep reading a book, which is more than likely why I was first up at four AM before drifting off into a fitful sleep–one that was marred by some strange dreams beforehand.  I swear, where are the nice dreams I used to have?  Now it’s all about people ignoring me, and telling me I can’t buy things, and so forth and so on.  And in one case being flat out ignored by someone.

Where are the dreams where I’m asked, “Were you found in a compromising position with a woman who you adore?”  And my answer is . . .

But of course!

But of course!

When I came time to writing I was pretty much out of it, about to fall asleep–and I pushed it hard to get the four hundred and seventy-seven words I show you below, where the kids come into the totally empty Dining Hall after their night class.  Good or bad, it’s all there.  Enjoy as I check out into my own big empty . . .

 

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

Entering the Dining Hall at just past twenty-two hours, Kerry felt, for the first time, the size of the room. He’d seen The Great Hall empty before: during his first night here, before and after taking Annie to the hospital, on a couple of occasions after Astronomy Class, when Annie and he had walked through the Rotunda on their way to the tower instead of taking the Pentagram Wall passage between Åsgårdsreia and Cernunnos, and during the aftermaths of the Midnight Madness.

But he’d never been in the Dining Hall late of night when it was empty. He’d wandered into the hall when it was nearly empty during the day, but those moments didn’t carry as much weight as now, with Wednesday leading her seven students into the hall after the completion of Advanced Spells. Now it struck Kerry like a large, dark cave room, full of darkness and shadows and subdued echoes.

He didn’t find it frightening or intimidating at all: he found it fascinating. The room was one of the oldest sections of the entire school, and Kerry could almost imagine what it was like here, over three hundred years ago, maybe with people sleeping here, or doing some late-night studying, or having a conversation with another students while sharing a midnight snack—

Though he doubted very much that the room was completely empty like it was now.

This is what made the room different from the times Annie and he departed a Midnight Madness. The sofas and chairs and tables and beds were still present when they walked back to Cernunnos Tower. Now there was nothing but empty space: no tables, no chairs, no podium for the Headmistress to address the students from. Even the fireplace at the north of the room was out.

Wednesday walked towards the center of the room close to the fire place, speaking in a normal tone of voice. “New Advanced Spells configuration, please.” In a matter of sections a sofa, a large armchairs, and two love seats appeared before her, all facing each other across a a low oval table. Wednesday pointed a finger at the fireplace; the wood inside erupted into flames before settling down into a nice, cozy fire.

The students found their seats as Wednesday continued standing, looking as though she was waiting for someone. There was a soft pop as a woman teleported into the room, only a couple of meters from the instructors. “Good evening, Professor.”

“Good evening, Zora.” She nodded towards the students. “Could we have grilled cheese and hot cider?”

“The usual servings?”

“Not tonight.” She pointed at Annie and Kerry sitting together in the love seat. “Some new blood joined us. Make that servings for eight.”

“Have it right out for you, Professor.” Zora vanished as Wednesday turned and headed for the arm chair closest to the fireplace.

 

There you have it.  If I can stay awake tonight–and if the apartment isn’t a hot box–I’ll start getting into something interesting in this scene.  At least I hope it’s interesting–

If not, we could get up and dance.  It won't be a Clone Dance--wait!  We can do that here!

If it’s not, I could have the kids get up and dance. It won’t be a Clone Dance–wait! We can do that at this school!

Printsessi and Yoghurt at the Line

Had to hunt around a little for the tunes I wanted, but finally settled on video of The Wall Live, performed in Chicago by Roger Waters, and The Joshua Tree by U2.

I have finally reached that magical place where the official finish line for NaNo is in sight.  I am less than a thousand word from fifty, and I have the end in sight.  Well, this end at least.  There’s another to reach this weekend, and then I gotta finish this novel.  But that’s all to come.  Right now I have the fifty goal to reach, and then the rest is just puttin’ down the words as they come.

You may not have guessed it by the title of the post, but my kids are finally, finally at breakfast in the Great Hall.  Nearly all the students are there, there’s a big buffet table of breakfast foods from all over the world present–but, yeah, my main female character, she’s just gotta ask for her printsessi and yoghurt, and if it means someone’s gotta cook it up for her, then they best get into the kitchen and fire up the stove, ’cause there’s a girl out here and she’s hungry!

It was funny writing this part because now I’m starting to get into the day-to-day, and certain things will be said, certain truths will come out.  There was only a couple of hours for me to write last night, because it was necessary to go out and do some running about, but I got it, and even spent twenty minutes after watching the damnedest thing on American Horror Story to get the story up over eighteen hundred words, and closer to the finish.

What I have for writing tonight is the headmistress comes in and lays a little smackdown on the new students, after which they head out and see the campus.  Then it’s back to real life to get some things going.  I’m going to travel tomorrow and a small amount of packing is required.  As strange as I am, I’m already thinking about where I’ll stop so I can eat and get my blogging done, but I did that on the way out to The Burg, so why not do that on the way back to The Real World?  It’s all about getting the wordage down, right?

That means I will find the time to write tomorrow night.  I might not need to do close to two thousand words, but now that the novel is on, and there’s no stopping.  I’ve made my goals–and, yes, I do want to publish this sucker.  That’s the idea with my writing:  it all get published at some point.  Even the bad stuff–which is probably most of it.

This NaNo hasn’t seemed as bad as that others, probably because I’m not churning out words to finish something in a month.  I’ve planed for this moment as much as I’ve planed the story, and when you stick to this kind of plan, it’s not that bad.  Sure, it may not be spontaneous–

But it gets it done.

Daily word count:  1,815.  Total word count:  49,048.

Pentagram Garden Party

Yesterday’s music, here for you to day, and it’s a varied bunch.  First, Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version of The War of the Worlds, followed by Random Access Memories by Daft Punk, and finishing with Love Over Gold by Dire Straits.  I think I covered the gauntlet there.

After all the good writing vibes of Friday and Saturday, there was little motivation yesterday.  Part of that was likely due to the fact it was warm enough to sit out on my balcony, and I really felt like sitting out on my balcony and taking in what passed for warm weather one last time.  Might get a little of that today as well before the temps slip back down into the 40’s.  I’ll see how I feel before I venture out for a bit of relaxation.

But I wrote.  I finished up a scene that I’d left dangling at an important point, and about fifteen hundred words later I had my main male kid ask my main female kid about said point, and I left the story hanging with a, “Oh, yes, that’s true,” line.  It was a good point of departure because it was about ten-thirty PM at that point and I wanted to go to bed.  I probably would have made a hash of trying to work out what comes next if I’d continued onward.

Now comes the part of the story where they don’t dance, but words are exchanged, and something a strange adviser who sometimes dressed in green spandex said is going to come back and slap one of my kids hard in the face.  Time to move on, boy, you only have nine more months of this crap.  But he should feel pretty good about it when it’s all over.  Should.

Strangely enough, the thing that had me up at five AM–besides the fact that I’m almost always up at that time–is figuring out what each of my characters is going to see when they get to their towers and look out their bedroom windows.  Since I know the layouts of the towers it isn’t hard to figure out as long as you know the orientation of the tower doors.  Now that I know–hey, easy.  Annie gets a view of the northern section of the Great Hall and the Library, part of the Pentagram Garden, Åsgårdsreia Tower, some of the History and General Sciences building, and the forest stretching off towards Sunrise Tower.  Kerry gets to see a couple of the class houses, the Instructor’s Residence, the Headmistress’ House, and the forest stretching off towards Sunset Tower.  Sunrise, sunset . . . hum.  One could almost use that as a song title.

What remains tonight is getting the things said that need to be set, then getting them off to bed.  And after that, after nearly fifty thousand words of exposition, they finally get welcomed into the school and find out what the hell is going on.  By the time I’m though with this story, I may just have to cut it into a couple of volumes.

That could work, right?

Daily word count:  1,961.  Total word count:  43,371.

World and Tunnel Bound

Strange day, it is.  I was up at three AM, my mind full of trepidation and the nagging feeling that something was going to happen today.  Something did, but I’m not ready to speak of this thing yet, because . . . there are other things happening.  I will keep those who follow me–and you know who you are–in the loop, so to speak.

With nothing to write yesterday, I had to fall back on that old staple, fooling around.  Oh, sure:  I was told that there’s always something to write, and I’ll get into that come 1 August, but right now I just want to play and think.  There are so many things existing out there in my Idea Bank right now that having new ideas pop up is something I’m trying to avoid.  Yes, there is a new idea popping about in my head:  it has been there for a couple of weeks now.  And its an annoying little bugger, because it wants attention.

But I’m not going to write it, not yet.  I have other plans, sucker, so go away.  I’ll get to you in time.

I did have an enjoying time, however, helping someone out with building another world–one in space, mind you.  I offered some ideas that weren’t initially considered, and after thirty minutes, things were looking better on the other person’s side, or so I believe.  It always feels good helping out where one can, and in matters like this I like to go one-on-one with another writer.  As I stated last week, listen to the signal, cut out the noise.

I’ve gotten deeper into Blender, though, and I’m having fun laying out the setting of my last story in glorious three dimensions.  I did this throughout most of yesterday, usually while listening to the early albums of Elton John, but towards the evening I started working my way backwards through The Electric Light Orchestra’s catalog, and since about nine PM I’ve been playing and playing ELO 2, which–if you haven’t guess–is their second album, and probably their least commercial record.  It has a raw, unpolished nature–save for one song, and if you listen to the album you’ll know which one–and also contains the longest song ELO ever recorded, Kuiama.  The last song had me going, “Hey, I remember hearing that song on The Loop when I was the only kid in my school listening to FM in 1973”, and getting a little smile going as I remember those days . . . not always fondly, but that’s the way the world goes, right?

Back to the Blender . . . what originally started out a few weeks back as giving myself a look at the appearance of my Great Hall, and how it looks sitting in the middle of The Pentagram, has now become pretty much the whole of the core school, both above and below ground.  It’s big, it’s spread out–and there are tunnels galore for kids to use to get to classes when the weather sucks, or there’s a foot of snow on the ground, or they’re looking for a private moment.

And now it’s time to figure out how to build a road.  ‘Cause i need roads and paths.

So many things happening.  I’m counting down . . .

There and Back to the Big House

Oh, did you notice this is coming out late?  These things happen at times, trust me.  The delay is due to getting up at five AM, driving one hundred miles for a thirty minute interview, then driving home.  A little lunch later, as well as the fixing of a screen door has kept me off the computer for about two hours, and then–

Here we are.

It’s so far made for a long, tiring day, but at least I don’t have to cook tonight, because I’ve done enough of that for the last two days.  Kick back tonight, maybe pizza tomorrow.

Right now, we’re talking Great Hall.

The last two days I’ve been running about in Blender designing.  I should say, “Building,” because what I wanted to do is taking the build I’d made for my current story, and sort of see what it would look like if you turned into a three dimensional model.  I know, that’s being a bit obsessive about something that isn’t real, that’s just a part of my imagination.

There is a point to all this, however:  having a designed floor plan allowed me to figure out where some of the action in the building occurred.  I know there are those who may feel that’s a little too much work to put into a project, that it’s getting down into the metadata a little too much, but screw them.  It’s my story, and it’s one I want to publish one day, so I put work into my background.  Hey, it’s either this or spend twenty years on some fan fiction that will never see the light of day, right?

Originally I started with what you see on the right:  a building Main Hall 518layout rendered in 3D that showed as much of the inside as I could dream up.  I still have this, and the information came in handy when I started writing about battles and running and flying going on inside.  Visualizing these things came about from working with someone else, and I’m thankful that I listened to them on this matter.  (As for the rest, I’m still working on that . . .)

But I wanted to see more.  I wanted to see the area around the Pentagram, I wanted to feel the size, the enormity of the area.  It’s a big school:  everything here feels enormous, or is at least should.  Therefore I need to model the outside and the grounds, and I couldn’t do it in the program I used for the floor plan.

So off to Blender, and . . . Pentagram SoutheastBehold!

It’s not much to look at unrendered, but that’s what I’m building.  I have the Pentagram walls, the Coven Towers, the Clock Tower, the covered walkways, the older South Part of the Hall, the transepts, and the newer, more modern looking Library with the curving windowed wall that I couldn’t do the proper way in my floor plan program.  I figured out the scaling for this monster so that it’s not taking up a whole lot of virtual space, and it leaves open the possibility of modeling some of the other buildings.

If you want to get a feeling for scale, look at this:  Pentagram Main Gateit’s the main gate of the school going through the fifty foot high and eighteen foot thick walls.  And there, standing in the arch, those little sticks?  Those are two students, each five foot tall, catching sight, for the first time, of the main entrance some two hundred feet away.

With the story almost finished, I’m ready to move onto the next project.  But come November, when I may or may not do NaNo again, I’ll start in on another novel, and that novel will build off the little novel I wrote this month of July.

Maybe, in four months time, I’ll have even more to see.

 

 

. . . In That Quiet Earth

It’s interesting that just a few days ago I was talking about using Nukemap to figure out explosions for my story, and all of a sudden both Time and io9 are talking about the 3D version of the site, which does let you see what your home town looks like with a mushroom cloud rising overhead.  Of course the site is down at the moment, ’cause everyone is busy nuking their old schools, or their last job, or the home of the significant other who gave them heartache.  Enjoy that W-76 in your corn flakes, butthead.

I finished the part of my story dealing with the, let us say, battle I had there.  I started writing yesterday morning after posting yesterday’s musings, and thirteen hundred words later I finished everything with a good mauling.  Really, someone had their face eaten by a lioness, which isn’t the worst way to go, unless that lioness also happened to be an instructor who the foolish character in question had done nothing but piss off for the last two years.  That’s when your face gets eaten.  It’s worse than being mauled by a bear, let me tell you.

I even managed another three hundred words late last night to show things getting a little back to normal, though there are some whispered tales of what’s happening and who died.  The end is close by, and the story will probably end up hitting the fifty thousand mark when it’s all said and done.

The thing is, I feel no need to rush and finish the story before the end of the month.  If I do, I do.  If not, I’ll finish it the first week in August.  I met my Camp goal, and surpassed it.  I even feel proud that I managed another novella if not a short novel.  Beyond that, however, I feel a bit burned out and a whole lot of stressed.  Some of that comes from things in my life, some from things online.

Either way, there are changes coming for me, for I need them.  I need to walk away from distractions, and get more serious about this craft I’ve chosen.  As soon as this story is finished, I’m thinking my way through on how to make things . . . different.  Whatever the hell that means, you know?

As I was told once, if you wanna feel professional, you gotta be professional.  The time for acting is over.  Besides, I received my first royalty payment from Amazon yesterday, and it was enough to make me smile.  So the possibility of breaking through is still there.  I just gotta reach for it.

As Chuck says, you might just be doing it wrong otherwise . . .

Lastly, since I’d finished my writing early yesterday, I thought I’d jump into blender and start fooling around with modeling out The Great Hall and The Pentagram as they are described in the current story.  Despite not really knowing what I’m doing, just having the vision in my head and a few layouts I’ve developed.

Imagine my surprise when I finally get it all set up in 3D and . . . whoa.

I’ll show you tomorrow.