The Spells Her Destination

Here’s a tip for anyone listening:  if you know you’re going to get your blood pressure taken, do not drink a double espresso that morning, even if you do it like four hours earlier.  Did that yesterday before driving off to have a consultation with my HRT doctor, and she was about ready to order an EKG.  Lessons learned, I guess.

That little event kept me out of the house most of the day, and once I did return to The Burg it was a matter of eating and watching some television before getting into the Orphan Black season finale.  That meant watching some old Star Trek TNG, and coming up with another one of those things that didn’t come to mind years ago, but hit me as a really important plot point:  whenever any of this alien races that still used money to get around the galaxy demanded payments from Star Fleet personal to get something/go somewhere, what the hell did the Federation people pay with?  They didn’t have money!  Did they pay with toenail clippings?  Cat litter?  Sexual favors?  It never really bothered me in the past, but these days it’s obvious as hell a huge plot hole.  Everyone in the Alpha and Beta Quadrants had to know the Federation didn’t deal in currency any longer, so why demand payments from their people?  In the end they were gonna get stiffed.

It was only after Orphan Black finished that I finally found the third wind I needed to get into the story.  But not before I discovered something with Scrivener–pretty colors!  I mean, most of the time my display looks like this:

Pretty simply, right?

Pretty simply, right?

But then I discovered I could color the folders . . .

This is looking a bit more interesting.

This is looking a bit more interesting.

Then I started coloring the binder–

Ooh, where did this come from?

Ooh, where did this come from?

Or, if I want, I could color the folders and pull that over into my outline!

Reminds me a little of an acid trip I took in 1978.

Reminds me a little of an acid trip I took in 1978!

For those of you with Scrivener, play with F5, F6, F7 (this affects the cards on the Corkboard), and F8, and you’ll see the same thing I’m showing you here.  Have fun!

About the writing . . . as I said I would do, I finished the scene.  It ended up taking a little over an hour, but I chewed it up like a cat with a catnip mouse.  I just had to finished the sucker, because–well, there was a urgent feeling that completion was necessary.  In the process of getting this written, I came up with this little moment on the spell floor . . .

 

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

“The thing is . . .” Annie thought he was pressing harder against her forehead, even though she didn’t feel an increase in pressure. “I listened to what you said, and if I’m good, it’s because of what you’ve done for me. It’s all because of you.” He tilted his head a little so it seemed as if they were facing each other. “That’s why I have faith in you.”

“You have faith in . . . me?” Kerry’s confession caught Annie by surprise. She’d never heard anyone say that her actions made them better—and she suspected that Kerry wasn’t used to having anyone show enough interest in him to want to make improvements in him. And he probably found it incredibly difficult to tell me that . . .

“I have faith in . . . faith.” He smiled. “’It isn’t necessary to something to believe in. It’s only necessary to believe that somewhere there’s something worthy of belief’. That’s from The Stars My Destination—” He lightly touched Annie’s chin with his left index finger. “You’re the something that’s worthy of my belief.”

 

For those of you who aren’t aware, The Stars My Destination is probably one of the greatest science fiction novels ever written, and even if you’re not a fan of the genre you should still read it, because it can stand beside anything one might consider “literary”.  And in case you can’t find the novel to buy, the Internet Archive actually has the scanned issues of Galaxy Magazine from October, 1956, November, 1956, December, 1956, and January, 1957, which were the issues where the novel was serialized in four parts.  You won’t be disappointed.

That little snippet, however . . . that’s another of Kerry’s breakthroughs in terms of dealing with this whole girlfriend/soul mate thing.  He find Annie worthy of his belief; she’s important to him in ways that makes him feel she’s sort of the center of his universe.  He knows, he believes, that she a point upon which he anchor himself–his center, so to speak.  After all, he’s already told her that she’s made him a better person, and how many eleven year old boys would ever tell that to a girl they’ve only known a month?

There’s more going on here than you can image, though, and I know this.  You don’t.  Not yet.

One day . . . yeah, you’ll find out what’s happening.

You can believe in that.

Clone Me Maybe

It was warm in the bed this morning and I really didn’t want to crawl out, but I had to because work and this–my blog.  Well, really, more the the blog, because all work is good for is paying the bills.  It’s not like I get any kind of stimulation from it other than the exercise walking to and from the local.

If you were here yesterday you’ll know I had a bit of a meltdown Wednesday night.  If you’re here today, you’ll know things are much better.  These things happen, and this one happened in part to a combination of situations that brought up a bunch of bugaboos in my head.  Yes, that is a technical term, so you can trust me.  Your mind can kill you, and mine has done of good job of trying that for–oh, maybe fifty years now?

The walk to work was refreshing.  The morning was bright and quiet, I didn’t feel bad, I was taking in the fresh air, and I had the song Borderline running in my head.  Why?  Because I’d picked it up after reading something on one of the blogs I follow, and that’s how I role with the earworm.

But this tune got me thinking, and by the time I rolled into work I had a question that needed answering.  So I shot it off to my beta reader and Trusty Editor(tm):  what is the soundtrack of Annie’s life?  What music defines her?  This I had to know, because I was getting my inner Tatiana on–

Allow me to explain.

Though I didn’t pick it up on the first run, I am a big fan of the show Orphan Black.  (And you should be, too, but that’s a different story.)  It’s the story about a lovely lady who discovers she’s really a bunch of lovely ladies, one of a batch of clones born in 1984.  She leans this when one of her clones takes The Big Dive right in front of her, and Sarah, the clone the story revolves around, ends up taking over that woman’s life.  And in the process he discovers she’s also a soccer mom living in the same city, and an American student, and a German rocker, and a crazy Ukrainian bitch who wants to kill everyone, and . . . well, it just goes on and on.

One of the things the main actress, Tatiana Maslany, does to get into the character of the women she’s playing was to create playlists of songs for each character.  So when she’s getting made up for Sarah, she listens to The Clash, Dizzee Rascal, and the Streets; when she’s Helena’s it’s Antony and the Johnsons and Tom Waits; Cosima is Grimes and electro/Diplo music, and Alison is show tunes, Les Miz and West Side Story.  She puts on the music and gets into the grove, and that’s what allows her to play three different people all sitting around wondering what they’re going to do with their lives.

If the three people sitting around getting hammered on wine are all you, do you get wasted that much faster?

If the three people sitting around getting hammered on wine are all you, do you get wasted that much faster?

When I had the chance I role played out a scene between Annie and Kerry, one that I’d written back in November and was told was lacking something–namely, Annie didn’t feel right.  Since I used to role play a lot–and most of that almost meant I was the game mistress–I’m good at doing different characters because I had to be.  So that came into play, and by the time I arrived back at the apartment, I had a good idea about the interaction.

Then the email came, and I had three tunes, and the first one, I was told, was probably the best one to describe Annie meeting Kerry for the first time in person.  (I’ll leave that “in person” dangling here . . .)  So I started rewriting, taking my time, getting things the way I thought they should . . .

And when my editor came on and read the part I’d finished, she was like, “You got it!”  She loved the new action, and the new Annie.

I’ve been tired and under a lot of strain the last few months, and it’s shown in my writing.  A lot of adverbs need to go bye-bye, so they gotta go.  But I need to relearn things, to be more descriptive, to roll back into the role playing, get it out there more.

My characters are different, but they aren’t their own real people.  They are me, and I have to live them.

Otherwise they’ll never have a life of their own.

Selling the Sorcery

I’ll tell you, Sundays are never a good day.  I was busy all morning, busy all afternoon, and by the time you get to writing you feel dead–exceptionally dead.  Sort of like the Resident Evil movie that was on last night:  brain dead but still moving, albeit slowly.

However, I did think more on the idea I posted yesterday about the Mórrígan and Åsgårdsreia students–mostly the girls, the boys would probably feel foolish–squaring off during the Samhain Ball in the great hall.  Since everyone’s in costume, you’ll have your various interpretations of the Goddess of War on one side of the room, and your Valkyries and shield maidens on the other, and it’ll be like:

Come at me, Bro!

Come at me, Bro!

I am no Bro.

I am no Bro!

Yeah, I gotta write that.  Even if it’s only a short scene, and it’s taking place outside the Hall, and they aren’t really using swords, but being how they’re all witches and gifted students and technogeek mad scientists, they can probably come up with something else.

Part of the business was due to an article I was writing.  There was tons of research I needed to do, and at one point I was getting tired hunting down the correct papers I needed to write.  Still managed to get out five hundred words, and I’m not finished.  I’ll do my best to get that wrapped up by this weekend, though no promises.

That meant when it came time to actually write last night, I did about five hundred and fifty words.  Not a good total, but I’ll take it.  As I’ve mentioned before, some times you feel the words, some times you don’t, and perhaps it was a combination of being tired and feeling distracted that put me off my count.  Not worried, not worried:  I’ll bounce back tonight, hit a thousand, and start my, “Helena is a Bad Girl” section of the scene.  It’s gonna be great.

One of the things I like doing is setting my story in the current world while indicating that most, if not all, of our pop culture references do exist.  You’re in a school full of witches and super powered kids, with a mad scientist thrown in here and there, and when you have a room full of eleven-year-olds, who isn’t expecting to hear something asked based upon what they may have read or heard in the Normal World:

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

“This leaves sorcery. Whereas the other disciplines can used against another person, sorcery is designed to work against a person, whether directly or indirectly. You all encountered what Professor Sladen eloquently called the ‘Hell Shawl’ yesterday—” Helena grinned, satisfied by the looks on the faces of her students. “An example of my handwork.

“Sorcery is all about dominating people, controlling them, hurting them . . . killing them. You can do it directly, or you can do it with cursed items and various chemical product—” She heard a few students say, “Potions,” and almost mentioned that it was a good thing Erywin wasn’t there to scold them, for if there was anything she truly hated, it was hearing her lovely formulistic magic called potions.

“There’s also two lesser branches to sorcery: necromancy and daemonmancy. Adric will instruct you in the ways of dealing with spirits and the recently deceased, but even he won’t touch necromancy—we teach you that together. As far as daemonmancy is concerned . . . I only teach that on a need to know basis.” She half turned to her right. “I doubt if many of you will need to know.”

Helena was ready for her experiment. She had every student’s attention, had then following her every word—and now it was time to do what she’d planed for most of the week. All she needed was for someone . . .

“Is there like a main spell used for killing people?”

She didn’t know who asked the question, but Helena didn’t care. Every year someone asks that, and I have to answer. She turned her attention back to her students. This year I’ll have help . . . “There is more than ‘a main spell’. I can think of a half-dozen different ways to kill someone with little more—” She raised her right hand and snapped her fingers. “Than that.”

With that out of the way. . . “Miss Kirilova.” Annie’s eyes snapped towards her. “What is the name of the discipline set aside for the various means of killing within sorcery?”

That Helena:  she doesn’t care to keep hearing about all this fantasy crap, does she?

Lastly, I was upset–well, just a little–that Orphan Black‘s Tatiana Maslany didn’t win a Best Actress Golden Globe award last night.  You play seven characters, some whom interact with each other in scenes that take the better part of a day to film, and people just don’t give you props.  I’ve fallen in love with Orphan Black, mostly for the acting and writing, and the life Tatiana brings to each member of the Clone Club.

The hell with them.  Lets get out on the floor and move to our groove.  Go, little psycho bitch, go!

And this is the part of the post where we dance with the tail!