A Day At the Races: Only the Climb Ahead

You can blame Skye Hegyes for this post.  Kinda.  It’s always the kinda with stuff like this.  I’m a kinda kind of girl.

But back into the post . . . after yesterday’s post she left this comment, which I point out now that I know was fully tongue-in-cheek:

 

Wait… So you didn’t know everyone’s names, their covens, or even where they’d place behind our beloved ones?!? I’m surprised at you, you slacker, you. 😛

 

Like I say it know it was said in jest, but at the same time there’s a kernel of truth there as well.  The last few months have been tiring and stressful, and I’ve been here before and usually get through it, but this time it’s been a bitch of a bitch that doesn’t get the hint that I don’t need this shit in my life right now.

"Stressed stressed, you got my best . . . screw rhyming the rest of this crap."

“Stressed stressed, you got my best . . . screw rhyming the rest of this crap.”

So when I started putting this current chapter together I did slack in some areas–like knowing who the hell everyone was.  It was a lot of work, and given what I put into laying out the track I didn’t much feel like getting down a name on everyone there.

However . . .

I also felt bad because I usually have this stuff worked out.  I mean, that’s what I do:  I get all the details worked out.  I didn’t this time, and I didn’t like it.  In fact I started thinking about it at work, and thinking turns to obsessing, and obsessing to the Dark Side turns, and . . . sorry, wrong world.

You know where this is going, don’t you?  Damn right you do, because if you’ve read this far into this blog–and that would be a long time, as today is blog post one thousand, seven hundred and fifty–you know exactly what’s coming–

Ladies and Gentlemen, the current Salem Coven Racing A Teams:

 

Salem Coven Racing A Teams (Current rosters, March 2013):

Åsgårdsreia

Rivânia Suassuna — E — Uruguay — Captain
Getasew Berhanu — C — Ethiopia
Rezi Lahood — C — Lebanon
Lisa Glissandi — B — United States
Anna Laskar — B — Germany

Blodeuwedd

Tsuchiya Ryoko — E — Japan — Captain
Sofie van Lanen — D — The Netherlands
Soroushi Amouzegar — D — Iran
Maritza Iglesias — C — Argentina
Felisa Ledesma — B — Mexico

Ceridwen

Lee Fang Qing — E — Singapore — Captain
Fana Okeke — E — Senegal
Amitee Jaramillo — D — Chile
Sudarat Chiangmai — C — Thailand
Burney Shaw — C — Ireland

Cernunnos

Manco Mamani — D — Peru — Captain
Darius Roy — D — Canada
Penelope Rigman — C — England
Alexandria Chorney — C — Ukraine
Kerry Malibey — B — Wales

Mórrígan

Malaya Lacsina — F — Philippines
Nadine Woodley — D — United States — Captain
Argus Pelham — D — Tasmania
Nattat Adriano — C — Angola
Emmalynne Neilson — B — United States

 

A few things to point out.  First, Mórrígan is the only team where the team captain is not the oldest person, and they have two members from the United States; they also have the greatest spread of talent, from the F to B Levels.  Blodeuwedd is the only all-girls team:  everyone else has at least one boy.  Cernunnos has the only male team captain, and has three fliers from the same continent, while Blodeuwedd and Åsgårdsreia have all five racers from five different continents.  Also, in researching Getasew Berhanu’s name, I discovered that Ethiopians don’t really have last names, and in his case his last name is actually his father’s given name.  So there.

And given this, here is the lineup for the current race with the best last and the not-best first:

 

Mount Katahdin Cross Country Race 2013

16 — Nadine Woodley (Mórrígan)
15 — Rivânia Suassuna (Åsgårdsreia)
14 — Penny Rigman (Cernunnos)
13 — Rezi Lahood (Åsgårdsreia)
12 — Alex Chorney (Cernunnos)
11 — Kerry Malibey (Cernunnos)
10 — Emma Neilson (Mórrígan)
9 — Fana Okeke (Ceridwen)
8 — Getasew Berhanu (Åsgårdsreia)
7 — Tsuchiya Ryoko (Blodeuwedd)
6 — Nattat Adriano (Mórrígan)
5 — Maritza Iglesias (Blodeuwedd)
4 — Amitee Jaramillo (Ceridwen)
3 — Manco Mamani (Cernunnos)
2 — Soroushi Amouzegar (Blodeuwedd)
1 — Anna Laskar (Åsgårdsreia)

 

Now we know, and so do I.

All that took up about ninety minutes and two hundred words, which means I didn’t have a lot of time for real writing.  Why is this?  I fell asleep when I got home, and I was fighting the Return of the Cold last night, so for a while I had dope head from the medication.  I feel better now, but today we start the watch for Snowmageddon 3:  This Time It’s Personal, and people in The Burg are starting to lose their shit bad.  We’re expecting about a foot of snow by the end of Saturday, and this means I’ll have to go out tonight and pick up staples to help me get through the weekend and into next week.

But I did add to the story–three hundred words exactly.  And now we know is who and what they are doing:

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

The field ahead began slowing, indicating they were coming into Crossing. Anna quickly whipped to the right; Soroushi tried to do the same and Manco pushed hard to her left trying to get around the Iranian girl, or at the least race her side-by-side up the South Branch section of the course. Iglesias pulled along side Jaramillo as Okeke went wide and almost flew outside the elevation gate. She pulled back hard to her right and sailed back into the middle of the course, causing Iglesias and Jaramillo to nearly crash into her. This was the opening Kerry needed. He dove low and took the turn as hard as he could while keeping good speed. Jaramillo was close enough on his left that he thought she might bump him, but it didn’t happen.

What did happen was his finding four fliers threading the line directly behind him. Tsuchiya Ryoko from Blodeuwedd had managed to reach his six once more, but she was being pressured by Emma, Alex, and Penny behind Ryoko. He didn’t see Rivânia or Nadine, but there wasn’t time to look—

It was time to begin climbing up South Branch.

Technically the only section of the course ahead of Kerry that one could legitimately call South Branch was the long, slow left following the quick right, but all the fliers refereed to this stretch by that name because it more or less followed the stream of the same name on the right and the road to left. It started a hundred meter climb to the turn fast turn. By the time Kerry was ready to leave Section 1 of the course he’d find himself six hundred meters higher than he was now—

But it started here. It was time to make the climb.

 

There you have it:  I’ve got names, I’ve got places.  What I don’t have are faces, but give me time:

I’ve been known to find those as well.

All In a Name Change

There are crazy things in my life, that’s for certain.  One of them is writing, which seemed to take up a bit of my personal time here and there, though you’re going to discover that yesterday wasn’t one of those times.  It wasn’t like I wasn’t going to write, but . . . well, that’s the whole point of this post, right?

In yesterday’s post I mentioned that it was going to be a busy day.  Right in the first paragraph I wrote, “Today I start working on the forms for my name change–“, and that was more true than you can imagine.  Probably fifteen minutes after I created that post I went out to the State of Indiana website and found the electronic form I need to fill out my petitions.  It’s nice they had that option, otherwise I would have needed to fill out four different forms, eight pages of information, all by hand, before making a copy.

I will tell you, I was more than just a bit nervous:  those suckers were rattling around hard, and it was one of those moments when I started printing things out.  That’s when you realize you’re about to take another of those “big steps” that will change your life, and changing your name over from what you were given at birth to the name you feel you want to carry with you the rest of your life, that moment starts growing inside, and it scared me.  Not that I haven’t been here before, but this . . . another step in the right direction.

Then it was off to the courthouse to do the filing.  Went in, walked through security, headed up to the clerk, and had them process my papers.  I paid and then headed up to see the judge who would do the actual change–one nice thing that I didn’t know is you get to pick your judge.  So I picked to only judge who is a woman, because I felt I’d be more comfortable that way.  Got a court date and then it was back down to the clerk to get my forms notarized so everything was official.

This all took about forty-five minutes and ran me $160.  I then went home and had lunch before running off to a local paper to run the ad that I need to show I’ve told everyone in the area I’m changing my name–that was $85.  So $245 total for something that would have run me over a thousand dollars if I’d gone through a lawyer.  Sure, they’ll be the expense of driving back from The Burg for my court date, but I was coming back for Thanksgiving anyway, so no biggie.

The result of all this will come 9 November, 2015, when I stand before a judge and she’ll tell me if she approves my petition or not.  The chances are she will, and that means when I walk out of her chambers, I’ll be totally legal name-wise.  Since that’s a Monday I can spend the rest of the week getting a new social security card and changing my bank information, and even updating my licence.  I’ll get new credit and debit cards.  My tax ID info will be updated, and next year, when I file, I’ll have my new name on the forms.

I may even be able to get my gender marker changed at the same time.  I’ll work on that info when I see my HRT doctor next week.

It’s all coming together, slowly but surely.  And now, the end of this trip is finally coming into view.

It’s all becoming real–

The facts remain the same, even though the names were changed.

The facts remain the same, even though the names were changed.

 

Into the End at the Beginning

Yesterday was a busy day for me, as some of you may have noticed.  Two posts, a few videos–I did one that I posed in a group of the snowfall here in Harrisburg that was freaking everyone out–and then the late night videos I did on makeup.  I did a lot of editing.  I watched movies.  I listened to music.  I even started working on a segment of Annie’s an Kerr’s life that, in retrospect, needs to be changed, because given things that have happened to them in their A Levels, and things that will happen to them in the future, there are incidents in their lives that make no sense.

Today is Science Fiction Sunday on TCM, with Forbidden Planet starting at eleven, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind finishing up at eight, with a 2001 and 2010 interlude in-between, so I expect to spend most of the day watching that.  Three of those four movies are among my favorites, and these days I don’t get to see 2001 as much as I would like.  I have, however, watched the trailer the British Film Institute put out last year when they did a special release of 2001 on 28 November, 2014, and it’s a thing of beauty that always brings a tear to my eye.  Seeing it on a computer does not do it justice:  it needs to be seen on a huge screen with the sound system cranked all the way up.  And having seen this movie in theaters three times, I know what that’s like.

Today I answer another reader question, and this time it’s from Kim Jameson, another of my HodgePodge Crochet friends who knows the difference between a hook and a needle.  Her questions are a little like the one I answered yesterday, but at the same time they’re much different.

 

Do you plan your story and build a world ahead of time? Do you know the ending before you begin? How do you pick character names?

 

I’ll tackle the first one first, because it’s–first?  Actually it’s an easy one to answer, because I pretty much sorta answered it yesterday–

I am what is known in the writing business as a plotter, which means I figure out the story ahead of time before one word goes into the story.  I do that for a novel that’s gonna run a couple of hundred thousand words, and a story that will run ten thousand.  I do that so I don’t get lost about a third of the way in, thinking, “What do I do now?” and start thinking about the next story I could screw up the same way.  (Trust me, I’ve encountered this phenomenon more than a few times from other writers.)

And for really big stories, like A For Advanced, when you’re dealing with incredible events happening to a couple of kids who aren’t expecting anything out of the ordinary–beyond the extra-ordinary that’s already happening to them–one wants to make sure that you aren’t setting yourself up with unnecessary plot holes to fall through by winging the damn thing as you go along.  The entirety of the recollection of the dreams between Annie and Kerry, and getting Kerry to remember them, could have been screwed up completely if I didn’t know where they had been, and where they were going, story-wise, with the matter being further complicated by stretching the story out over a quarter of a million words.  Write that on the fly?  Not a chance.

And building a world ahead of time?  With A For Advanced I had to know as much about the World of The Foundation before I started writing about the events at Salem.  I knew the cities where The Foundation ran their business, the headquarter locations of the Protectors and Marshals and Guardians, and where every school The Foundation ran was placed and what they were named.  During the Day of the Dead attack, when Isis starts talking about schools she can no longer contact, though the names were mentioned that one time, they exist in a file, ready to be pulled up if I need that school, or another like it, in a future story.  When we are discussing a world-spanning organization that spends all its time hiding in plain sight, you better know where those hiding places are.

Do they all come to me at once?  No, not really.  I had the world built in October, 2013, before I started writing, but bits and pieces came to me as I went along.  The CDC as a Foundation location didn’t come to me until probably March or April of 2014, and that happened because I was thinking of using it in one of the future novels.  But it seemed perfect, and so it was used.  Now to see if any of the real underground bunkers I mentioned get used.  The show The 100 use Mount Weather as a location, so it’s not like it’s something new.

Do I know the ending before I begin a story?  Yes, pretty much.  Maybe I don’t have it locked down one hundred percent, but I know how a story will end before one word goes down.  That actually comes from something Issac Asimov once said:

 

Know your ending, I say, or the river of your story may finally sink into the desert sands and never reach the sea.

 

Since Issac wrote about everything and anything with fascinating clarity and intelligence, and did it hundreds of times throughout his life, I tend to believe he knew what he was doing when it came to the written word.  And I’ve seen this one happen many times before as well, where a writer who’s just pantsing the hell along (“Pantsing” is the term for a writer not knowing the story, but rather writing as it comes to them, like “I’m writing by the seat of my pants”) when, suddenly, they’re like, “Where the hell did my story go?  How the hell am I gonna finish this sucker?”  It’s fin and dandy to be a character in a Bob Seger song and just roll me away, but there exists the real possibility that because you have no real destination in mind your ass is gonna end up stranded in the middle of nowhere ’cause you ran outta gas, and then where you gonna be, bitch?

"This is as good a place as any to get lost and end up having buzzards stripping the drying flesh from my dead ass."

“This is as good a place as any to get lost and end up with buzzards stripping the drying flesh from my dead ass.”

And that last question:  how do I pick my character names?  That’s easy:  I just roll names around until I come up with something I like.  I might find a first name and think about last names to plug in, or a last and then look for a first, but that’s sort of it right there.  I may latch onto a famous name–Lovecraft was one that I used in A For Advanced, which I used for both a Founder of Salem and for Helena’s family name.  It was the same with Erywin’s family name, which was taken from the then recently deceased actress Elizabeth Sladen–or I may just pull out one that sounds good–Kerry’s family name is like that; it simply sounded right to me–but there’s nothing elaborate in the selection process.  Once I know it’s right, then it’s right.

There you are, a little more of that which makes me a writer unveiled for you.  And if you have any questions you want me to answer, have a go and post one.  You never know what I might say if I pick yours.