Back Home Again in NaNo Land

I’m like Rule #1 for The Doctor:  I lie.  I said I wasn’t feeling the NaNo Love, that I didn’t know if I was going to get the job done this time . . . and I rip off twenty-two hundred words yesterday.  Sure, it took me most of the day, because it seemed like I could only write in two or three hundred word spurts, but I got it done.  Sure, that was yesterday, and today is today, but I have a plan to hit my word count today no matter what–long before The Walking Dead comes on and we find out if Beth is still doing the damn singing on the show.

It was work, though.  I couldn’t seem to keep my head in the game.  Was it distractions?  Yeah, a little.  Was it thinking about what I wanted to write and not simply throwing crap on the page?  Yeah, a little.  Was it not feeling the writing energy?  Yeah, a whole lot.  Was because my characters wanted to do something else?  No, hell no.  My characters are my bitches, and they do nothing but wait for me to paint them upon my literary canvas.  Because . . .

Preach it, Boromir.  Before you get filled with arrows.

Preach it, Boromir. Before you get filled with arrows.

What I managed to do was finish the scene with Kerry at his grandparents–with something happening that I’m not showing, sorry–and moving to Christmas Eve and a conversation between Annie and her mother.  And from this word smithing came and interesting passage between Kerry and his grandparents:

 

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

“When we first heard you were selected to go to this private school, we were surprised.” Aaron tapped the table hard twice with his fingers. “But I’ve been telling your mother for years that you’re special, that the only reason you weren’t doing well in school is because they weren’t giving you a challenge.”

Margaret nodded. “You’re doing well, I hope?”

“Oh, sure. I’m doing extraordinarily well in everything.” Kerry wasn’t lying, either: the midterm status report he received last Thursday said his marks were Extraordinary in all seven Proficiencies.

While Aaron seemed impressed, he had to comment about someone who wasn’t. “Your mother complained that she hasn’t seen a report card from your school.”

“Yeah, I heard.” When he was first emailed on the family holiday gathering at his grandparent’s house, his mother made a point of asking about when she’d get a report card on his progress at school. She’d brought it up again yesterday, at which point Kerry had to remind her, once more, that the school didn’t give out report cards, and that they didn’t grade the way his old schools graded.

“I told you mother to never mind; I’m certain if you weren’t doing well, the school would let them know.”

Yeah, they’d send me home and farm me off to another school. Kerry knew all about no doing well: he’d discovered that last week two students were told that they were on “probation” through the end of the school year, and that they needed to show “improvements”. Annie mentioned that anyone on probation before Yule holiday would not likely return to the school unless they were discovered to has a hidden Gift, and there was a possibility they’d be placed in another school before Ostara. “Oh, they would. I’d know, too.”

 

Writing that third paragraph forced me to come up with something else, which was the actual grading marks given to the students.  The list below shows, from top to bottom, the worse to the best:

 

Worthless

Inferior

Poor

Below Average

Average

Above Average

Remarkable

Excellent

Extraordinary

 

There you go:  you suck at Salem, and you are Worthless, baby!  These witches, they don’t pull punches.  Kerry knows he’s in the Extraordinary group, and you can bet his Bulgarian Soul Mate is as well.  The next thing I’ll have to do is figure out the Proficiency, some of which I already know, but which aren’t written down.

One of the things that will keep coming back is that Kerry’s parents think it’s strange that this new school doesn’t grade the way Kerry’s old schools graded.  He’s Extraordinary?  At what?  Well, there is some BS the A Levels with Normal parents were told to pass along as the truth until such a time that they are given permission to say, “I’m Extraordinary at turning you into a frog.”  Which Kerry may be able to do at some point, so stop asking about the grades, Mom.

I moved the action to a few hours before Christmas, with Annie moving out to her private abode on her parent’s property.  Really, it must be nice to be a twelve year old girl and have a place to you can call your own and use as a place to chill when the family is getting on your nerves.

 

Annie sat in her lake house alone, staring into the fire as she waited for her company to arrive. She suspected that they were held up by events over which they had no control, but would arrive soon.

She wasn’t concerned; things here at home were not the same at school. At Salem things were on a schedule, everything had a reason, events occurred as expected. At home one could expect to eat at certain times, but everything else simply happened.

Just like what had happened the first Monday home. After breakfast Papa took everyone off to Copenhagen for shopping and lunch, then they rode the train into Sweden and had dinner in Stockholm. After that they wandered about the city, enjoying the festival-like winter that had overtaken the city. It was fun: Annie hasn’t been to Stockholm in almost four years, and there were few places that were a wonderful in winter as Stockholm.

As much as Annie enjoyed the time, however, after a weekend away from school, she found herself wanting to share the moments in Denmark and Sweden with Kerry. Being with her parents was good: being with Kerry would have been great . . .

“You enjoy sitting in the dark in front of the fireplace?”

Annie’s mother was standing to her left, framing the entryway between the bedroom and the staircase to the loft, dressed in her dark red housecoat, and carrying her laptop cradled in her right hand. Annie slowly turned her head and cocked it slightly to the right. “It reminds me of the Midnight Madness.” She returned to staring straight ahead into the fire. “And in the Cernunnos Commons.”

“Bet they don’t burn cherry wood in their fireplaces.” Pavlina set her laptop on the dining table in the center of the huge, single room that was the ground floor of Annie’s lake house before walking over to the sofa, remaining on Annie’s left. She didn’t sit, but stood next to the arm instead. “Have you spent much time staring into the commons’ fireplace when it’s dark?” She half-turned her head and chuckled. “I seemed to remember the lights in the commons area not going completely out until after midnight.”

“It’s still that way.” Annie wasn’t going to play coy with her mother, not while they were alone, not after of few of Mama gently trying to learn more about her relationship with Kerry. “And, no: they don’t burn cherry wood.”

 

There’s an important little tidbit in that exchange that will show up again in Act Three, but what is it?  That Annie loves going to Stockholm?  Probably.

And Mama finally has a few pointed questions for her daughter:

 

“That makes sense.” Pavlina eyed Annie’s locket. “You never told me how he managed to get you that locket for your birthday.” She crossed her arms, looking motherly. “A Levels aren’t allowed off the grounds.”

“He asked two of the staff if they would buy it for him, and he paid them.” Since arriving home her mother had a few questions about the locket, but she’d never came right out and asked if it had come from Kerry. Annie had deliberately ignored the questions: she understood that eventually her mother would find a moment alone to ask her directly.

“It’s lovely. Did he have it engraved?

“Yes, he did.”

“Something personal?” Annie stared back, saying nothing. “I didn’t think you’d answer.”

Annie crossed her arms. “You were right.”

“Who were you waving to when you jaunted from the school?”

Closing her eyes Annie took a deep breath and released it slowly. “Kerry.”

Pavlina’s tone changed slightly. “But you weren’t really waving, were you?”

I’m not about to tell her I was blowing him a kiss. “Are you going to help me, Mama?” Annie’s stare turned cold, as did her tone. “I would like if you would.”

 

Mothers are so nosy when it comes to their daughters and their boyfriends that they’ve been sharing dreams with for at least a decade.  And why does Annie need help from her mother?  Do you feel like I left something out in this recap?

I’d say that’s a yes.  Let’s see if that gets answered today.

 

NaNo Word Count, 11/1:  2,217

NaNo Total Word Count:  2,217

Misting the Morning Away

It’s 1 November, and in the world I’ve built it’s an important day for my fictional kids:  this is the Day of the Dead, specifically Día de los Inocentes, the Day of the Innocents, which is where you’re supposed to remember the children and infants who have died.  It was the day that several students died, and a few more were prevented from dying due to quick and accidental thinking thinking by Kerry.

It’s also the first day of NaNoWriMo, and a whole lot of people stayed up until midnight to do a little spiriting and get in a few hundred words before going to bed.  It was their opening salvo to squeeze out fifty thousand words of fun and excitement, and get it down on a page somewhere.

As for me?  I didn’t make it until midnight.  I did write out a little over five hundred words last night, but I’m not feeling the NaNo Love this year.  I’ll do my best, but I’m not worried if I don’t make my fifty thousand words this year.

Might have something to do with after having completed my NaNo 2013 novel, I've written five more in the last year.

Might have something to do with after having completed my NaNo 2013 novel, I’ve written five more in the last year.

Really then, if I don’t make my fifty thou this month, I’m comforted that I’m still at this monster, and I will see this through for another–what?  One hundred and fifty?  Welcome to my Infinite Jest.  Georgie Martin and his death dealing got nothing on me, save he’s getting paid to take his time writing.

It’s Kerry time, and he’s in California, not far from where he was born and spent the first eight years of his life.  Since he’s north of San Francisco you can imagine what the weather is like . . .

 

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

Kerry stared out the window of the guest room at the mist covering his grandparents back yard. It was just like the mornings he remember when he was a child. Kerry loved the mist; it was the one thing he missed about living in this part of San Francisco, and what he enjoyed on some morning at Salem. Annie had mentioned that she had morning mist where she lived as well: Kerry wondered if he would see that one day.

He’s been since about five-thirty; it was habit that he thought he’d put behind him after the weekend, but here it was, Monday morning, and he was up as early as if he were preparing for class. I thought Annie might get up early the first day, and I would do the same, but a couple of days later?

Thinking about Annie, even just a little, made Kerry wonder what she was doing. Calculating the time in Bulgaria was easy: she was always ten hours ahead of him. Eight here is eighteen there. She’s probably getting ready for dinner. Whereas I’m gonna have breakfast . . .

He left the room and headed for the kitchen.

 

Such is Morning in Marrionwood, as I titled the scene.  He’s off in a guest room, Mom and Dad are in another room, grandparents in another . . . and what about those grandparents?  We finally get to meet them:

 

His grandfather and grandmother were up: his grandfather Aaron was standing by the coffee maker and his grandmother Margaret was sitting at the little table by the window. His grandfather reminded him a bit of his mother: like her, he was tall, thin, and pale, and even at the age of seventy-three, he still had most of his bright ginger hair. Both looked up as he entered the kitchen, and his grandfather greeting him. “Morning, Kerry. You finally slept in.”

He didn’t want to say anything about getting up early and spending time on his computer. He opened the refrigerator and pulled out a container of mango juice, which had been bought special for him yesterday. “Yeah.” He gave his grandfather a pleasant grin. “It felt good.”

Aaron turned and topped off his coffee. “Nice to see you’ve gotten over your jet lag so quickly.”

Kerry had popped out of bed Saturday morning his normal time and was questioned an hour later if he’d been up a while due to the time change. He almost blew it by saying “No” and caught himself before he could possibly get caught in a lie. “It’s only a three hour different, and I have a lot of energy.” He turned away as he smile at his own wit. “Where’s Mom and Dad?”

“They’re out walking the neighborhood.” Aaron held up the pot of coffee while looking at his wife.

She nodded and held up her cup, and finished her husband’s statement. “They’d had the damnedest time getting on local time.

Kerry remembered how difficult it had been for his parents to get on Cardiff time after leaving Sleepy Hollow. And they’re older now, so it’s even harder. “I’m sure they’ll be fine in a couple of days.”

 

Yeah, they’ll be fine, Kerry–unlike you who had the help of a magical mixture that knocked you out for a few hours and readjusted your biological systems so your body thought it was on Pacific Standard Time.  Just like when you flew from Amsterdam to Boston.  Bet Mom and Dad would love to get their hands on that stuff before they leave for London.

Doesn’t look like much is happening, but in the next five hundred or so words is gonna get set up and discover something that will affect Kerry in a big way–

Probably when he begins dealing with stuff . . . you know, things?

Probably when he begins dealing with stuff . . . you know, things?

The order of business today is to finish up this scene–which shouldn’t take too much–and then jump back to Bulgaria and deal with Annie and her Mama.

Oh, yeah:  That’s gonna be fun.