Massaging the Dreamspaces

A couple of hundred words here, a few under there, and before you know it you’re almost two thousand words into a scene.

Time flies where you're sorta not paying attention to it.

Time flies where you’re sorta not paying attention to it.

This was a tough scene to get through.  Not only was I trying to figure out what this little dreamscape thing looked like, but I’ve been working through some heavy depression of late, and it hasn’t made writing fun, let me tell you.  There are times when you don’t want to get out of bed, and yet you need to go off and do the adult things, but when you come home and have time to yourself, the last thing you want to do is write–you sort of want to lay down and do nothing.

And yet, you have to write.  Well, I do.  Even if it’s only a few hundred words here and there.

My progress has been like this:

 

Words 09/02/2015: 678
Words 09/03/2015: 512
Words 09/05/2015: 342
Works 09/06/2015: 465

 

Seriously, that’s not my norm, but then nothing been of normal lately.  But I’m working through it as best I can.  However . . .

There is writing.  And something else:

 

(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

This is the space Kerry and I share. This is our dreamspace.

This new space was larger than hers and the color was different: the green remained, but there was pink instead of blue, and the chiffon was darker, much like the color of blooming goldenrods. The surface was solid and unmoving: Annie wondered if that was due to their not using the space. She floated around to the other side and found an identical corridor shooting down and away at an angle: right away she saw this as the path to Kerry’s dreamspace.

Before she departed she ran her hand over the frozen surface. It was body-temperature warm, soft and comfortable and familiar. It’s like touching Kerry. She floated her dream fingers across unyielding substance. This is the same sensation I have when I slide my hand down his arm. She pushed back from before turning towards the other corridor and following it down. I wonder: if he could dreamwalk, would that surface feel like me?

It didn’t take her long to reach his dreamspace. Right away she felt him in every segment of astral energy that made up the space: she could tell it was Kerry just by being in the presence of this construct. Annie believed that the familiarity was brought on by her being more or less in his mind, and she was really sensing all his unconscious thoughts. There wasn’t any time to ponder this matter: she sailed close enough to the pinkish-blue sphere interspersed with gold and hovered.

 

Playing around in Blender a little, I came with this:

Background needs to be brighter, but that's it.

Background needs to be brighter, but that’s it.

Colors are a tricky thing, because I’m limited to what I can do so far–which is to say, I don’t know how to do a lot of fancy stuff in Blender yet.  Also, I did this over the last twenty minutes prior to posting this image, which is some pretty flying-by-the-pants shit if there ever was any.  Give me time and I can probably come up with something nicer.

But that’s how I see these things.  It’s taking what I see above and converting it into words.  I mean, that’s what a writer is supposed to do, but it isn’t always being the smith of words.  If Annie could realize it, she’d know writing is a little like being in a dream:

 

The moment she did that sparks of light shot through the sphere, and Annie stopped her activity. She watched for a few seconds as she made the connection with the events occurring before her. He’s dreaming. He’s in there now, living through a fantasy . . .

She patted her hand against the surface several times before pressing her fingertips into the foam. This time they sank about two centimeters in before meeting resistant, and after a few moments of applying pressure Annie gave up. There wasn’t any reason to continue: while she could dreamwalk this far, trying to reach his this way wasn’t going to work.

She glanced up at their shared space floating off in the distance. For a moment she considered using the connection they shared to access Kerry directly, then discarded the idea as soon as her head began spinning. I’m pushing myself too hard. She took a deep dream breath of something that wasn’t air. I’ll snap myself awake if I’m not careful, and that will hurt. She looked up at the shared space once more. Now that I can get here, there’s plenty of time to explore.

 

Annie is smart enough to understand Backlash and Snapping, a couple of things that will pop up from time-to-time.  They aren’t good, and it was mentioned in the last book that backlash killed a student during Isis’ stint as chief of security.  Snapping out of a dream is a little like being cracked with a whip, so you don’t want that to happen, either.

Before she leaves, however, she catches something:

 

There was nothing to hear the astral breeze and a faint thrumming emanating from the dream sphere. Annie was about to turn away when she heard Kerry’s voice, faint and muffled, through the foam. She concentrated, hoping to catch something—

There were only a few words: Walk. No. I don’t— But there was something else: Annie swore he wasn’t alone in his dream. There’s someone else there. She closed her eyes though he caught a phrase spoken in another person’s voice.  Is it her? Is it that girl?

Annie floated back from his dreamspace, a puzzled look upon her face. She replayed the moment again where she thought she heard the other person—the girl—speak, and she was convinced she wasn’t mistaken. What did she mean? She began to fade as she returned to her own sleeping mind. Why did she say, “It won’t be much longer”? Annie’s last image before darkness returned was of Kerry glowing, active dreamspace. What is she doing with him?

 

Annie has questions, and while she’s certain she heard something, could it be her own imagination playing tricks on her?  After all, she is dreaming, and does she have full control of her own dream?  Well, I have exactly a thousand words to write to reach one hundred and thirty thousand, so perhaps . . . I’ll find out.

Tilting My Horizons

With all the writing I’ve been doing of last–believe it or not, about three thousand words yesterday–I haven’t had a chance to talk about something I’ve started playing with.  But if you have Goggle Earth on your computer–which is something that comes with Maps and requires a newer computer–then you’re in for a treat.  Because now, you can feel like you’re flying over cities, hills, and plains.

I discovered this one day while fooling around with images, and I saw one of the icons in the lower right that, when I hovered over it, said “Tilt the View.”  Being curious I clicked it and saw that, yes, the view did tilt, making the scene look as if I were approaching the area from the air.  I figured I’d return things to the “flat” view and clicked it again . . . and everything flattened out more.  Whereas the first view made it look as if I was pretty much overhead, this new view shows me everything as if I were sitting several hundred feet in the air and seeing everything all the way to the fuzzy horizon.

You know where I started going with this, don’t you?

When I started putting together Emma’s and Kerry’s Scavenger Flight, I started looking at the sights as they may see them.  Now, this kind of viewing isn’t perfect:  the computer is trying to render a stereo-graphic image of a satellite picture, and sometimes the scenes look as if they came right out of The Lawnmower Man.  Other times it looks pretty great, and there are some images that are pretty damn spot on.  But if you’re a writers, and you want to get an idea of what a particular area of the world looks like, and you want to see the area in a way that you can reimage your own way on the printed page, then this is a fun tool to use.

For example, this is what I see when I’m over Cape Ann looking west:

You can't see the school--only I can see it because magical.

You can’t see the school–only I can see it because magical.

Even if there were buildings there, most of what you’d see are trees.  We’re directly over Selena’s Meadow here, and you would see the Areodrome, the west wall, Sunset Tower, maybe a few other things, but that would be here.  That brown section of trees in the middle of the picture?  That’s where Emma and Kerry had to hide out during the Day of the Dead, and where Annie asked Kerry to be her Dark Witch.  Now you know.

Thirty clicks to the east you find the Danvers Apartments, site of the original insane asylum:

Looking just a touch Lovecraftian here--must be the non-Euclidean geometry.

Looking just a touch Lovecraftian here–must be the non-Euclidean geometry.

And way off to the west and southwest, the Connecticut capitol building in Hartford.

Pretty much see at the angle Emma and Kerry would see.

Pretty much see at the angle Emma and Kerry would see, though they would be closer.

You can actually hold down the left mouse button and move the image around a little, but if you hold down the shift and the left mouse button, you and start tilting and rotating the scene to get the best view.  Doing that helps you get things to look as you would like them to look.

South of Hartford we have the Port of New Haven, which Team Myfanwy had to visit–

As it would have looked while they approached from the north on their way to Long Island, just across the sound.

As it would have looked while they approached from the north on their way to Long Island, just across the sound.

And then, finally, their trip into Queens.

Ballpark, World's Fair site, Unisphere . . . and keep an eye out for aircraft landing or taking off.

Ballpark, World’s Fair site, Unisphere . . . and keep an eye out for aircraft landing or taking off.

On their way out of New York they’d head east again, down Long Island, and all the way to Montauk Point and the lighthouse:

Where, if they come in over the south shore, they'll see the cliffs there.

Where, if they come in over the south shore, they’ll see the cliffs there.

Now, that radar dish on the left of the above image:  that’s Camp Hero, a holdover from Cold War better known as the Montauk Air Force Station.  At one time there was a hidden coastal battery here that was kept ready in case the Russians decided to invade New York City, and once they came this way their ships would get blasted.  Or if there were aircraft, that radar would discover them and rat their commie asses out.  The radar is the only one of its kind in the world, and you can actually walk around it, though it’s behind a big fence designed to keep people out.  There are rumors–otherwise known as crazy ass conspiracy theories–that say all sorts of strange stuff happened out here, including mind control, time travel, teleportation, and contact with aliens.  Maybe The Foundation knows something about this . . .

While I was at it I looked up a couple of locations that made it into the last book.  Like a certain pedestrian bridge in Kansas City:

The Deconstructors must be making things look so strange.

The Deconstructors must be making things look so strange.

The Foundation hospital where Annie and Kerry were sent after the Battle of Link Bridge, otherwise known as the Center for Disease Control:

And not a zombie in sight.

And not a zombie in sight.

And, lastly, the take-off point for the Mile High Flight, Mount Katahdin.

That lower "Mt." label is just about in the spot from where they departed.

That lower “Mt.” label is just about in the spot from where they departed.

And, just for laughs, I included this:

Because airports in the middle of the desert are so interesting.

Because airports in the middle of the desert are so interesting.

You may ask, “Cassie, what’s this?” and the answer is, it’s Groom Lake Test Facility, but you know it better as Area 51.  Why would I include this, because it’s not been mentioned.  Could it be because it may get mentioned?

You be the judge of that.

Images Out of the Resesses

Another thousand down.  Yep, the writing machine is on target once more.  If not for the distractions, I’d have likely put away more last night.  Make a mental note:  distractions should be distracted.  Stick to the writing, yobo.

More than any story I’ve written there is a singular lack of vision for this.  By vision, I mean I’ve had a difficult time visualizing the characters and story in my head.  When I write, the story often flows like a movie in my head; it’s like everything is there before I start putting word to screen.  This time, it’s almost the opposite:  as I write, the imagines come, and it feels more as if I’m creating the visual medium as the story unfolds.

Take my main male protagonist.  As I was writing Chapter Two last night, I had no idea what he looked like.  As I reached the point where he was looking in the bathroom mirror, the image that should stare back came to me, and I put that into the narrative.  At strange thing, that, that he should only become visible once he seems himself.

As for my muse . . . she’s proved difficult to pin down.  I’ve had an image of her in my mind for some time, but the closer I came to writing this story, the less likely that image became.  Why?  For one thing, the local of the story suddenly, at the last moment, became Las Vegas, and the outfit I imagined for her wouldn’t have made a hell of a lot of sense for a city in the high desert.

The idea, the visual of how she should look, came to me as I was driving home from work last night.  I have a much better view of her now, and that’s what I’ll transcribe tonight.  Without my numerous distractions, of course; I can do without that crap.  And I can stay up later tonight, because I have no need of getting up at five AM so I can make the trek into the big city.

I have a feeling this is going to be the way of the story, that it’ll present itself to me as I start each chapter.  It could also be that I’m not seeing anything differently than I’ve seen in the way I’ve written my other stories, but due to the mind fog I’ve suffered through my last few stories—my last few months, my memory of how I actually write has been skewed considerably.

Perhaps, also, this is my muse’s way of prodding me back into the true art of creation.

Will I do another thousand words tonight?  I hope to do a little more, maybe take Chapter Two out to its conclusion so I can get Chapter Three started tomorrow.  I know that these two will likely end up back to back, with only a few hours taking place between them within the narrative, so it’s best to crank them out quickly, least they end up feeling as if they were written with a considerable lag between then.

Then all I have to do is get my other female protagonist onstage.

I wonder how she’ll look?