Life in Three Acts

I know what you’re thinking:  what, no writing again?  Yeah, that’s been happening of late as I’ve really been in the middle of some intense socializing for the first time in months.  Actually, it’s been kinda the perfect storm of interaction of late, with my trip back to Indiana, meeting people there, then doing things on this end–yep, that actually leaves a few holes in the writing schedule.  But I’ve needed the interaction for a while, and it’s helping me recharge a little.  Actually, I was a bit weepy for the most part yesterday, and getting together with someone for dinner helped bring me out of that funk.

It was either that or spend all my time crying while writing.

But this is a good time to get into something else that’s important to writing, or at least to my writing.  And that’s to answer the question, “Why do you lay things out the way you lay them out?”  Besides the answer, “Because I’m strange,” it’s really due in part to helping me keep action organized in a format that’s fairly well-known to writers around the world.

First off, let’s speak of something known as three act structure.  This is probably one of the most basic of all writing tools that’s used in so many stories that once you start getting heavy into reading the works of others, you’ll recognize it immediately.  Stephen King employed it to good use in most of his novels, particularly with The Stand and IT, and Joss Whedon has used this in both his Avenger movies.

The set up is easy:  the story is broken into three acts, often known as the Setup, the Confrontation and the Resolution.  The Setup is mostly exposition, where the story is set up, the character met, backgrounds laid out, and so on.  The Confrontation is just that:  the challenges are met and things start getting a little dicey.  The last act is the Resolution, where everything is tidied up and the hero–or heroes–walk off into the sunset victorious–or in a case of a couple of kids separated by the continent of Europe, they go home and get sad.

I had this structure in my last night, A For Advanced, because, really, it helped determine how I should sell the book when I sell the book.

I have the same thing in the current novel, 'cause why get rid of a good thing?

I have the same thing in the current novel, ’cause why get rid of a good thing?

The first time I used the three act structure was Kolor Ijo.  My characters meet in the first act and find out what’s happening.  In act two things ramp up, and in act three the move in together and take on the big bad.  That worked well enough that I decided to keep it for The Foundation Chronicles novels, while at the same time divided the story up even further.

In these two novels, acts are broken into parts that are basically a collection of interrelated things.  Let’s look below:

Hey, looks like there's a dance going on.

Hey, looks like there’s a dance going on.

Part Four, Under Pressure, deals with events in Annie’s and Kerry’s lives that affect them in different ways.  Those events becomes chapters, which contain the telling of those events.  Samhain Festivities is an event that’s good for Annie and Kerry together.  The Manor Called is something that affects Annie, and From Queens to Dreams affects Kerry.  The last, Restricted Dreamspace, is something that again affects them both, and sends Annie off asking questions.

And lastly I have scenes, and this seems to be the place where a lot of people look at me and go, “Huh?”  Since I think of my story in somewhat cinematic terms, a scene, to me, is a segment of a chapter relating to a particular event, like one would see in a movie or television show.  Let’s go back to the first Avengers movie.  You start out with the Tesseract acting up and Nick Fury coming to see what the hell is happening; that’s a scene.  Loki appears, gets his meat puppets, and scoots with the loot; that’s a scene.  There’s the chase out of the facility as everyone finished packing their shit and leaving before it all blows up and Loki vanishes with the goods; that’s a scene, and the end of a chapter.

I do the same above.  Kerry finds out he’s on the A Team–scene.  The A Team meets–scene.  They start the race–scene.  They end the race–scene.  Off to the dance and meet the other students–scene.  While Kerry dances, Annie talks–scene.  It’s all part of the festivities, and if I wanted to I could break those up between the Samhain Races and the Samhain Dance, and I may do just that when I get home.  This is why I like Scrivener, because it allows me that freedom, and given that I transition sharply from the race to the dance, it’s possible they could be two separate chapters.

That’s how I do thing, but more importantly, why I do it that way.  It also helps me keep things neat and organized, even if it looks like a huge mess.  Then again, this is what I used project management software to write my novels.

It helps keep the insanity to a minimum.

The Samhain Dance: Off to the Dance

It’s finally that time:  the big Samhain dance, aka Halloween for all the people outside the Salem Wall.  It’s a time of racing–which we got–and dancing–which is gonna happen–and bonfire walking, which is in the future.  And none of this Mother of Dragons bonfire walking, either.  Though at this place there are a few people who could pull that off.

Lets get into this, and I’ll lay out comments as I go . . .

 

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

The night was growing cooler now that the sun had set, but the sky remained clear, allowing the starts to shine bright in the enhanced darkness the light elimination enchantment allowed the grounds inside the Salem school walls. Annie and Kerry walked down the covered walkway from Cernunnos Tower to the Great Hall. They noticed the orange glow to the south and realized the Samhain bonfires were aflame and awaiting those who wised to walk between them and burn off the remnants of the last year.

Annie felt the nervousness she’d felt earlier in the evening fade now that Kerry and she were out in their costumes in public. She never thought of herself as having a comfort zone, but tonight, when they were putting their look together in their private lab in the lower levels of the tower, she’d felt slightly self-conscious about how they were going to look. Much like she’d done with Kerry earlier in the afternoon when she worked to remind him of his racing accomplishments, he’d reminded her that in a school full of witches and transformation experts, they were probably going to be the most sublime couple in attendance at the evening’s festivities.

 

Bonfires are going, so it must be time to party:

Looks like some witches have been hard at work.

Looks like some witches have been hard at work.  And pay no attention to that fire truck in the back . . .

Really, this is even a bigger symbolic event than Beltane.  Everyone wants to go walk between them; everyone wants to feel the heat wash them clean.  I used a metaphorical walk between bonfires to come out online, and Kerry would have used the moment to tell Annie of his love were it not for déjà vu.  That will even come up in a later scene–as well as something else.  Maybe?  We’ll see.

 

They moment they were through the West Entrance and into the transept Annie heard the music emanating from the Dining Hall. She wasn’t certain of the song, but it was made for dancing, and she was that was already underway. She’d waited since this time last year to dance again with Kerry, and he’d told her several times in the last week—including twice while getting ready—that he was ready to dance with her. Last year he approached the dance with a bit of timidness. She hooked her right arm around his left. Not now; this year, he couldn’t wait for us to arrive . . .

They stepped through the west back entrance to the Dining Hall where Netra Bonds, one of the member of the staff who oversaw kitchen operations and the management of the dining area, acted as one of the official greeters. She was much like she was last year, her human form transformed into a chrome and plastic body that most Normal imagined when they thought of artificial people.

Netra turned to the children as soon as they were inside. “Welcome to the evening’s festivities. Who may I have the honor of announcing?” Kerry removed a card from his jacket and handed it to her. She needed only a second to scan the card before turning to the revelers inside. “May I introduce Miss Annie Kirilova and her escort, Kerry Malibey, both of Cernunnos Coven.”

Kerry nodded and smiled. “Thank you, Netra.” With that he slowly led Annie into the gathering of staff, instructors, and students perhaps numbering one hundred at the moment, and likely to see the arrival of the rest of the school body in the next fifteen minutes.

 

Kerry was a bit nervous the last time because it was his first dance with a girl–really, his first dance ever, but having a date ramped up the nerves just that much more.  Also, there was the matter of a song dedication . . .

This time it’s Annie feeling the nerves because–of their costumes?  Hum, no mention of them yet–maybe in the next segment?

 

It was much like Annie remembered it being last year. The dance floor was in the front center of the room, where maybe half the people were dancing; around the outside of the floor were tables, chairs, and sofas; and in the darkest part of the room, to the south near the main entrance, were the seats where those who didn’t want to leave the room, but desired some privacy and quiet, retired.

A lopsided grin slithered out on to Annie’s face as she thought about the few people who’d head there later to snuggle and kiss. They go there to hide— Kerry slowed then stopped, and she did the same. They go there because they don’t want people to see them. They go there because they’re still afraid. She slid her hands down to take Kerry’s. We don’t need to hide

“We have nothing to hide.”

Kerry turned to his left. “What did you say, Sweetie?”

Annie turned to face him before touching the back of his left hand with here right. “I said we have nothing to hide, my love.”

“Why would we?” He chuckled as he turned his left hand palm up so he could play with her charm bracelet. “I’m glad you wore this.”

“Why would I take it off?” It was her turn to giggle. “I would wear anything you give me.”

Kerry’s right eyebrow shot upward. “Anything?”

Annie nodded slowly twice. “Anything.”

“Hey, you two.”

 

Hey, who could that be?  You’ll find out tomorrow.

And notice:  no mention of any costumes.  You’ll get that tomorrow as well, because I actually spent about an hour going over things for what the people we’d meet would wear.  And I guaranty there won’t be anyone in a “sexy witch” costume:  too many of the already real sexy witches would probably rag their ass if they showed up dressed that way.

Talk about taking the fun out of partying.

Remembrances of a Year Past

The close of business yesterday wasn’t the best.  I had to run out and get a new inflatable bed because my last one sprung a leak, and in the process of doing that my bank thought someone was using my card and disallowed the charge (fortunately I had backup), and I split a nail.  Not chipped, not broke:  split it right down the middle.  It wasn’t a bad one, but this is the first nail issues I’ve had in months, and it totally pissed me off to have to cut and file and watch my manicure become damaged.  I know, First World Girl Problems.

That didn’t put me in the best of moods for writing, not to mention I was fading like crazy after carrying this heavy inflatable bed from car to elevator to underground passage to elevator to apartment and then having to set it up.  But there was work to do, and I got to it.  First, I got Act Two organized so I’ll know how many words I’m into it, and still be able to see how much has been added to the novel as a whole.  I filled out the coven rosters a little bit more, and ended up putting Not-Tanith-Anymore where she belonged, and made a change to the racing team rosters because, oops, I made a mistake in the original setup.

My head was all over the place, but still:  six hundred fifty words in, one thousand eighty total for the scene, and here it is, all for you, because you got to hear about other things yesterday:

 

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

Kerry felt complete calm as Annie and he finally reached the Great Hall. The last Saturday of October was Samhain Celebration, and everyone was already in the mood to hang out, relax, and enjoy the festivities—particularly the last part, with the high point being the costumed Samhain Dance. Kerry realized how lucky Annie and he were to still have their lower level lab to used as a place to practice magic and plan other activities, because Penny, Alex, and Jario were driving them crazy trying to learn about their costumes. As Annie told Penny during last night’s Madness, “You’ll see our costumes when you see them.”

Keeping their outfits for the dance under wraps wasn’t the only thing on Kerry’s mind. Unlike last year, where he and Annie spent most of the time hanging out in the Observatory watching racing before getting ready for the dance, this time he’d run at least one race as a member of the Cernunnos B Team. The B Team heats ran from nine-thirty until eleven-thirty, all of them three lap races with Class 1 PAVs on the Green Line. After the B Teams were finished there would be an ninety minute break, and the A Teams would take over from thirteen until fifteen-thirty. Each coven would complete three times over five heats, flying Class 2 PAVs for six alternating laps starting on the Green Line before moving to the Blue Line, and then moving back to the Green.

This month he’d run two races as a member of the Cernunnos B Team, and had done well in both races. While he’d not won yet, the last race he’d finished forth, just missing a podium, and his first race he’d finished second. The schedule had him in a heat at ten between Cernunnos, Blodeuwedd, and Åsgårdsreia, and depending on the outcome of that race, he would either race Ceridwen and Mórrígan, or Ceridwen and either Blodeuwedd, and Åsgårdsreia again. Before last night’s Madness Professor Semplen told Kerry he had a good chance at another podium finish during the first heat, as he’d gotten his podium finish during a race with Åsgårdsreia.

No matter the outcome of his race or races, Kerry would finish by noon, after which Annie and he could relax in the Dining Hall, watch the afternoon races, and get ready for the dance. It wa going to be a good day for racing, and an even better day to enjoyed the evening’s entertainment.

Not to mention having the opportunity to take another stroll through the garden at midnight with Annie at his side . . .

 

B Team stuff there, and though it’s just two races, Kerry seems to be doing well, with a podium and near-podium finish.  And if you’re not familiar with that, think of when you have first, second, and third standing together on boxes, only the boxes are a podium, and that’s what we’re talking about.  Here they take their racing seriously, and laugh at fictional games on brooms.  I mean, flying around throwing a big ball through a hoop while enchanted cannon balls try to knock you out?  Really?

Kerry has his mind on something else, however . . .

 

There was a tap on the back of his left hand: Annie was doing it to get his attention. “You’re off in thoughts again, my love.”

“Yeah, I know.” He waved open the doors of the West Entrance and waited for Annie to enter ahead of him. “Just running over everything in my head.”

“You mean for today.”

They slowed as they walked through the West Transept. “I’ve got the race on my mind, then just, you know . . .” He shrugged and smiled at her as they walked into the Rotunda and turned right. “The dance tonight.”

Annie gave a slight node. “Um, hum. Are you thinking of anything else tonight?”

“Yeah: the walk between the bonfires.”

“As am I.” She stopped him, swung him around to face her, and moved to within centimeters of his body. “I’m also thinking of something after that, my love.”

“So was I, Sweetie. Maybe—” He smiled. “A walk at night in the Pentagram Garden?”

She ran her fingers lightly along his jaw line. “That would make for a perfect end to a wonderful day. Like you, I want to walk between the bonfires.”

 

Walking between bonfires is a highly symbolic ritual at Salem:  you’re basically cleansing the old you of crap you no longer need, and preparing yourself for the seasons ahead.  The bonfire walk as Samhain prepares you for winter and spring, and those at Beltane prepare you for summer and autumn.  And ritual is huge at Salem:  they have just over three hundred years of school history to draw upon, and centuries more that came before that, so it’s there:  it’s always present.  The way certain events are kept in the memories of the students shows just how much the school still believes in ritual and traditions.

Speaking of memories . . .

 

Kerry remembered their walk after the dance, where they’d slowly walked between two huge bonfires letting the heat wash over them before they walked back to The Pentagram in the cool, misting rain. At the time he’d thought it was as perfect as thing could be: their first school function, where they mingled and chatted and danced, where he’d dedicated a song to Annie and they shared the floor alone, a moment where he’d held her close because he feared she may grow light-headed and faint.

It was an important moment for Kerry, for that night he almost told Annie that he loved her. This was before he’d remembered he’d known her through his dream all his life, and that he’d expressed his love to her years before. Last Samhain all he knew was that Annie loved him, that he’d fallen in love with her, and he was being a horrible person because he’d been afraid to express that love.

He’d wanted to tell her that night, but fear and déjà vu prevented the words from coming out. It was only a few days later, after the school was attacked during the Day of the Dead, after he’d saved people and was almost killed by an Abomination, after a night in the hospital where an old dream finally began breaking through the wall of around his mind and heart that he’d accidentally created causing him forget Annie, that he finally told her he loved her—

“My love?”

 

Kerry knows all this now.  He remembers all the stuff about Annie and him before losing his memory of her, and how he re-developed his love of her over time.  As he’s said, maybe there was something in the back of his mind pushing him to remember, and that’s possible, but there new memories of how he fell in love with her again will never go away, either.  It has to be incredible to know that you did return to loving someone as you had once before, and it would have to mean that you were made for each other, yeah?    Deanna was right when she told Annie, “He fell in love with you twice:  how many girls can say that’s happened to them?”

Not many girls at Salem.  Scratch that:  none of the girls at Salem.  Annie’s the only one.

 

Kerry snapped back to real time, to where they were standing just under the first floor landing on the west side of the Rotunda. “I’m sorry—” He slipped his arm around Annie’s shoulders and hugged her. “I was thinking about last year, Sweetie.” He kissed her forehead. “My little sarmi.”

Annie laughed as she playfully slapped his chest. “I am not stuffed cabbage leaves for you to enjoy.”

He laid his hand over hers. “But you do taste good.” He cocked his head slightly to the right and slowly raised his brows.

For just a quick moment Annie blushed, then placed her fingers over Kerry’s lips. “Shush, you. You’re supposed to keep that to yourself.”

“I will, then.” He nodded towards the dining hall entrance. “Shall we?”

 

In case you’re wondering, sarmi is a Bulgarian dish of cabbage leaves wrapped around a mixture of meat and vegetable–in other words, stuffed cabbage leaves.  And Bulgarians love to cover it in a tomato sauce and serve it with a side of sour cream or yogurt.  First she was his pumpkin, and now she’s Kerry’s savory cabbage roll–

Annie:  tasty and delicious since 2011.

Annie: tasty and delicious since 2011.

With all this talk of food, it’s off to breakfast, yeah?

 

“Yes.” She lightly slapped his chest again. “You need your strength.” Annie took him by the hand and led him towards the Dining Hall and breakfast.

They didn’t go far, however. They were just passing the stairs to the hospital when a voice they knew called out. “Kerry.”

He looked up the stairs; Penny was standing about a quarter of a way from the top. “Hi, Penny.”

“Hi.” Penny seemed ill at ease. “Could you come up? We need to talk.”

 

That certainly sounds serious.  And if I’m not too burned out tonight, you’ll find out just what it is going on.

A Samhain Coming

Welcome to Act Two!  Yes, it’s true:  I started last night.  Not in a big way, but the ball is rolling.

Before I start I should tell you I went out last night and had dinner to celebrate one year of hormone replacement therapy, and enjoyed a beverage at the same time.

As you can see, it's not a Frappuccino.

As you can see, it’s not a Frappuccino.

That’s a year down and a year to go, but I only need see my doctor three more times before she’s finished with me.  In fact, I’ll see her the Monday after I return from my little side trip to Indiana next week, then not again until January, and then not again until next July.  After that I’m considered a “graduate” of Transition University, I believe, and all that remains from that point on is surgery.

Let’s talk about the story, however.

It’s Samhain, as I mention in the novel.  Actually, it’s the Samhain celebration, because the real Samhain isn’t for a few days.  We already know there’s a costume dance in the evening, an bonfires down in the meadow, but the biggest event going on that day is the racing.  It’s one of the few times when all five covens get a chance to run wild in the streets and go at each other as much as possible.

As I’d mentioned, there was a bit of set up work I needed to finished, and that involved getting the Cernunnos Race team finished, and laying out how the competition would work out.  That took a few hundred words and a bit of brain power, but I got it finished.

Can't tell your covens without a scorecard.

Can’t tell your covens without a scorecard.

What I have here is my binder on the left, the scene next to that on the right, my racing grid layout to the right of the scene, and on the very right my notes on the scene.  You see both the A and B Teams, and if they seem a little boy heavy, you’re not wrong:  in this world Cernunnos is the one coven that fields more boys than girls.  Must be that horned god thing going on .

You can see the gird I’ve laid out, with five heats total.  Most of the time the teams are running in head-to-head heats, until you get to Heat 4, and then they throw three teams on the course at once and let them race it out.  The Blackbirds of Mórrígan are the current leaders in the coven standing, so they sit out the first heat and then race one-on-one against another coven, finally getting the last race of the day.

The idea with setting up an example was to ensure that every coven got three races:  that way points aren’t all over the place, and a coven can’t say that they were screwed.  It is true that the teams who’ll get the best point advantage are the top two:  the three who race in Heat 4 have to fight harder to get a similar allocation–more teams, same number of positions for points–so they get screwed just a little.

And the scoring system used for normal racing is the same as the one used by Formula One during the years 1991 to 2002:

1st: 10
2nd: 6
3rd: 4
4th: 3
5th: 2
6th: 1

The only actual change in the scoring is during Heat 4–or whenever there are more than two covens on the course–and that’s when they use the Formula One scoring system used from 2003 to 2009:

1st: 10
2nd: 8
3rd: 6
4th: 5
5th: 4
6th: 3
7th: 2
8th: 1

There you go:  my racing setup.  It’s all set, just like the novel–

To do and not to do:  that is the question.

To do and not to do: that is the question.

That said, I look at Chapter Ten and realized I need to add two more scenes . . .

Feeling the Flight

I should say that while yesterday’s writing seemed to take forever, it got done.  Mostly because I got back into basics:  put in the earbuds, slipped on some tunes, and held the world at bay.  And it worked:  I wrote just over twelve hundred and fifty words, which brought yesterday’s work to fifteen hundred and seventy total, once you kicked in the stuff I did in the morning.  Not a bad day, even if it felt like I was struggling throughout a lot of the work.

Here we are, getting ready to get into the air, and Annie is feeling . . .

 

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

Annie sat quietly in the Flight School’s Ready Room with Kerry on her right, but her normally composed exterior hid the turmoil going on inside her body. She ate a light breakfast as she was certain a larger one would give her an upset stomach, and given what lay ahead, the last thing she wanted was being sick while hanging in mid-air without a broom . . .

Today was the day she’d been promised: today Isis, Kerry, and herself would venture outside the school walls for the first time. Up until this point she’d flown only in the Aerodrome, but last week, on the day after her birthday, for about five minutes Isis and she exited the Aerodrome through a roof opening designed for PAVs, quickly few to the Diamond, lightly touched down on the room there, then returned to the Aerodrome after a five minutes discussion about the best way to keep one’s self orientated when they were free flying.

Those few minutes dashing from one building to the other and back left Annie wanting so much more. She enjoyed flying on a broom—something she had admitted to Kerry but would be hard pressed to admit to anyone else—but sailing over the treetops with nothing between her and the ground save her Gift and her willpower left her with an impression of being completely unrestrained by gravity—

Save for those moments when she could lose consciousness and control of her Gift, at which point she’d plummet to the ground and die. She shrugged that thought off as soon as she returned to the floor of the Aerodrome and found Kerry waiting for their return, as she reasoned that were either of them to lose consciousness while on a broom, the end result would be the same.

If that were the case, there wasn’t any need to fly with fear.

 

If she’s ever mentioned any fear about falling to Kerry, he’s probably given her some advice about what it feels like to do that, and without any notion of whether or not he was gonna be able to stop before hitting the ground.

And here we find out that Annie has had one quick flight out of the Aerodrome, just to give her a feel for what it’s like to soar like the birds.  There is one thing, however:  is there a way for her to know where she’s going, how fast, how high, all that stuff?  Just like on a PAV?  Glad you asked–

 

It was while the three of them were together that Isis told Annie they were flying outside the school for the next class, and she presented Annie with her Band. Though it looked like a thin silver bracelet that fit sung around her right wrist, as Isis explained it was something Annie didn’t want to be without when she flying. Her Band was the same as the instruments on a PAV, giving her every she’d need to find her way displayed on an HUD, the same as on a broom. A simple double-flick away from the body would turn the Band on, and a double-flick towards the body would turn it off, but once on, she’d only have to request the HUD up verbally or by thought, and unlike a broom HUD, an enchantment would keep her HUD in front of her face so she could see it no matter what direction she was facing.

Before coming out of the locker room she’d nervously practiced using it; within the next twenty minutes she use it in a real-life situation—

 

Annie’s all filled up with jewelry, but her Band isn’t just any pretty piece, though it is designed to fit in with anything else she’s wearing so not to look out of place.  It’s a smart idea, and of course the school would have something to fit the bill.  It’s probably a piece that’s also made on demand, because Flight Gifts are rare, and it’s not like The Foundation is gonna have a bunch of these just laying about.

Vicky and Isis enter, and it’s pretty obvious it’s Isis’ show to run, so she does.  There’s isn’t a lot for her to say . . .

 

The security director set her helmet, gloves, and goggles aside, before activating the wall map. “You know why you’re here: we’re flying for real, and we’re heading outside the walls. Annie, you and I will fly in a side-by-side formation, with you following my lead to go where I indicate. The primary purpose of this flight is to get you used to being in the air, at altitude and speed, for an extended period, and to learn to use your Band.” Isis gave Annie an inquisitive glance. “Questions?”

Annie shook her head once. “No.”

“Good. Kerry—” Isis turned slightly to her left and pointed. “You’re job is to observe and get the feel of being a chase. You’ll be on the same comm line with us, but for the most part there won’t be any communication. You’re not suppose to help out in any way unless instructed by Carrier, who will be monitoring us from the Flight Deck—”

Vicky spoke up. “Today I’ll run the Deck alone; same goes for whenever Isis takes you out on a training flight. But when you start flying solo, Annie, Isis will help out.” She turned back to the Chief of Security. “Continue.”

“Thank you. Our flight is going to be pretty simple.” She turned to the board and pulled up a map of the local area. “We’ll fly out from here, skirt Anniquan and overfly Farm Point on the way to Choate Island. From there we’ll continue until we reach this garden and nursery center just south of Ipswich, where we’ll start turning towards the south.” Her finger traced a long, wide arc until it reached a point over one of the small communities north of the city of Salem. “When we reach the Hamilton/Wenhan train station, we’ll head east, meet up with State Highway 128 and follow that to Gloucester. Once we’re over the Addison Gilbert Hospital, we’ll turn towards the school, head for the Flight School, and touch down.”

She turned back to the children, bushing her hands as if to remove dust. “Total distance covered will be between forty-five and fifty kilometers; as for time, we’ll take our time and stop to go over a few points along the way, so I don’t expect us to be out more than a couple of hours. Any questions?”

“No.” Annie smiled. “Not now.”

“That’s what I thought.” Isis zipped up her jacket and grabbed the rest of her gear. “Let’s get airborne.”

 

All of those points are real–

Because I have a map.  You knew I had a map.

Because I have a map. You knew I had a map.

–and if you check out the course above you’ll find all the points of reference Isis pointed out.  It’s a simple thing for them, a learning experience for both kids.  And that lesson is about to start . . .

 

Annie was immediately on her feet, zipping her jacket, gathering up her flight accessories and following Isis from the room, with Kerry right behind her. The excitement that had hit her the second she’d gotten out of bed was now peaking, and with great effort she pushed it down, for the last thing she wanted was to find herself unable to free fly because she was unable to control her emotions—

They walked out of the hanger on to the edge of Selena’ Meadow. All three fliers finished dressing, snapping their helmets and goggles into place before slipping on their gloves. Isis turned to Kerry. “Saddle up, Starbuck.”

“Rodger.” Twenty seconds later he was on his broom hovering a meter off the ground, awaiting instructions.

Annie gave her gloves one final tug. “What’s your call sign, Isis?”

Isis broke into a wide grin. “Sekhmet.”

“I’d have thought you’d get tagged with Hathor.” Kerry set his goggles in place. “I mean, you’re named after the goddess of health and marriage, so it’s not a stretch.”

“That was actually my first call sign.” Isis rolled her arms to set her jacket upon her shoulders. “After The Scouring it was changed because of the part I played in helping remove the Deconstructors from the school.” She relaxed and took a couple of deep breaths of the cool air. “Hathor was known as the goddess who welcomed the dead into the next life, but Sekhmet was the one who sent them to her. The later name seemed more fitting.” She slipped her goggles down over her eyes. “You ready to roll, Athena?”

 

Sekhmet was the Egyptian goddess of just about all the bad shit you never wanted to encounter in your life, which is, in a way, what Isis is for the school, as we’ve already seen.  And since I’ve said on more than one occasion that Isis and Wednesday played a part in saving the school, I should maybe run that scene, just to show you what they did.  Maybe tomorrow.  But leave it to Kerry, Mr. Clueless Geek, to know about Sekhmet.  I wonder if he knows about how Ra really turned Hathor into Sekhmet, and had to get ‘Ol Sekky drunk on her ass in order to change her back.  Hum . . . probably not yet.

With all this said, Isis knows it’s time to get the party started–

 

“I’m ready, Sekhmet.” She twitched her right wrist twice to activate her Band, then brought up the HUD. It floated about a half meter in front of her eyes. “Everything’s working properly.”

“Just want I want to hear.” She looked around to see if there was anyone around: the field was clear. “Get your light bending in place and we’ll take off.” She tapped the side of her helmet as the kids began to vanish from sight. “Carrier, we’re ready to take off.”

Vicky’s voice came though clear. “Rodger, Sekhmet. I’ve got all three of you on active tracking.”

“Rodger.” She spoke softly over the comm, knowing Annie and Kerry, now invisible, would hear her. “Athena, Starbuck: lift off and go straight up to three hundred meters. As soon as we’re above the Flight School, rotate your spells so we can see each other, but we’re flying under UFP.”

Annie lifted her feet off the ground and felt herself hovering. “Rodger, Sekhmet.” She climbed straight up slowly, and as soon as she saw the edge of the the Flight School she flipped the spell so no one on the ground could see her. Now that everyone was flying using Unseen Flight Protocols, Isis and Kerry popped into view, rising into the sky with her.

She watched the altimeter on her HUD until she neared two hundred ninety meters; at that point she slowed her assent and stopped completely at three hundred. Annie’s heart was pounding as she looked around. She been this high before—and higher—on a broom, but right now there was nothing under her but air, trees, and ground. She took a deep breath before noticing Kerry sitting about three meters way, grinning and giving her a thumbs-up sign. She returned the smile and the gesture before spinning around and finding Isis. “I’m . . . here.”

Isis knew exactly what the girl was feeling, because she remembered the first time she’d climbed into the air with only her Gift and willpower to keep her in the sky. “You feel up to flying? You’re not dizzy or too giddy or any shit like that?”

Annie laughed. “I feel great.”

“Which is what I thought.” Isis pointed at both kids. “Annie, I want you three meters on my right; Kerry, I want you four meters behind Annie. I’m the flight pilot here, so follow my instructions and lead. Got it?” Both fliers acknowledged her command. “Okay, then: follow me.”

 

And gets them up in the air.

Annie be flyin'; haters be  . . . well, not knowing yet.

Annie be flyin'; haters be . . . well, not knowing yet.

She’s about as free as a girl can get.

I wonder if she knows Kerry looking at her butt the whole time?

Additions In the Afterthoughts

It’s a bright start to the Summer Solstice here in The Burg, though this morning the humidity was so high when I arrived at my morning breakfast location that the windows were wet with moisture.  It was a strange sight, let me tell you, and one I haven’t seen in some time.  It’s going to be warm and a bit cloudy today, and there may be more rain, though nothing like the downpours we had last night.

There has been a bit of writing–some of it last night after the season finale of Orphan Black, and some this morning.  Since there isn’t a lot to do today, I’ll likely get to writing more this afternoon and evening, at least enough to finish up this scene in which I’m currently involved.  It’s a big day for someone to go flying, and right before I started in on this post I left the scene with Isis getting ready to laying out the plan for Annie’s Friday Morning class, which involves leaving the confines of not only the Aerodrome, but the school itself.

They'll probably fly past Annisquam Lighthouse--no mermaids hanging out today, I'm afraid.

They’ll probably fly past Annisquam Lighthouse.  No mermaids hanging out today, except for those flying overhead.

I’ve hinted over the last few posts that I’ve felt there are additions to this novel that need to be made, and after I finished working on my scene I’ve sat and given the matter some thought.  I’d actually come up with the scenes in question about two weeks ago, so it hasn’t been as if I’ve needed to put a whole lot of thought into what was going to happen as much as it’s when.

The new chapter covers the first overnight camping trip that the Advanced Flight 1 class takes outside the school.  None of this pitching tents somewhere in the woods on the grounds–nope.  The kids are gonna mount up and head off into the gathering darkness of December, proceed to their campsite, and set up their tents.  Wingmates camp together, which means–yes, the flight team of Neilson and Malibey will share a tent.  Don’t worry:  they’ll have their own cots and sleeping bags, and I’m sure Vicky and her minion will be close by to keep an eye . . . anything.

The thing I needed to see was set up this chapter in Scrivener.  That’s not a difficult thing to do:  it’s simply a matter of adding a folder, typing up some metadata, and throwing together a few scenes.  But you know me; I gotta have a bit more information.  Like when does this take place.

It was pretty simple, actually.  Since I know the chapter before ends on the afternoon of 8 December–which is a Saturday–and that the kids are going to leave for Yule Holiday on 21 December–which is a Friday–that leaves only a time period over which the overnight trip can occur:  the night of Thursday, 13 December, with a return on Friday, 14 December.  I can also check that information from Scrivener because I have a link to the Time and Date website, which has all sorts of handy calendar information.

When you absolutly, positivily, need to know a date, just split the screen and bring up the right website.

When you absolutely, positively, need to know a date, just split the screen and bring up the right website.

This is why I get so goofy with dates and times in my scenes, because there are instances when it’s quite necessary to know if something you’re working into a story is going to fit into that story.  In this case, the scene fits, and all I need do now is check the weather for that day along the route they’ll fly–which I already know–so I’ll know what sort of conditions they’ll face along the way.  I also need to rename chapters today, ’cause, you know, everything is off right now.

Oh, and Kerry’s going to do something interesting during the flight.  You just gotta trust me on that one.

Madness Among the Blanks

There is a strange part of me that doesn’t ever shut down when I’m away from a story.  All the time my mind is going on about what’s going to happen, when it will happen, and how it should happen.  And even though I have things plotted out in my story and I know the path upon which it walk, it doesn’t take much for it to find another branch upon which to follow.

I’ve discussed adding one scene already to the dialog, and last night, while writing, I kept getting distracted by another scene that has been nagging at me for a couple of days.  I’ve already thought about two scenes to add to the novel, and figured out where they would go, and now I have another that, well, came into mind simply because of something else I wrote a few days earlier.  I even went so far as to do a few other things related to that scene, because I wanted to see how it played out, and . . . yeah.  I think I will write it.

The question is, where to put it?

I have a pretty good idea where it goes, only because I do have the novel laid out, and timelines constructed.  It’s simply a matter of plugging in the scenes and getting the dates and times right.  And maybe renumbering chapters–something I did a couple of times in the last novel when inspiration struck and I wanted to get it right.

This is actually a good sign, that even after having written, as of last night, sixty-two thousand, three hundred words, I’m still watching the novel evolve.  I’ve said before, while I plot out thing, that’s by no means how I’m going to write it, and if something comes to me that makes sense, then put it in.  Just as I removed a couple of scenes from the last novel because they didn’t make any sense, so there was no point in writing them.

Speaking of scenes . . . last night was a short one, almost seventeen hundred words total, and it would seem as if not a lot happens, but it’s the kids reconnecting on an event they love.  And having something else pop in . . .

 

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

As was the norm Annie and Kerry heard the sounds emanating from the Dinning Hall before they reached the door. Inside the party had always started: Annie estimated about three-quarters of the students were already here, all of them in their pajamas, all of them spread around the front half of the Dinning Hall, sitting in chairs, spread out on sofas and love seats, stretched across beds and, in one case, one girl was bouncing on a bed as high as possible while her laughing friends looked on.

They slowly made their way across the room as Annie eyed the instructors and staff sitting at the front of the hall. Helena and Erywin were together on a love seat, holding hands while they spoke with Jessica and Ramona. Deanna and Trevor were also sitting together on a love seat, speaking with Adric and Tristyn, while a couple of seats over Wednesday and Isis were stretched out on a sofa while speaking with Coraline and Holoč, apparently having decided that there was no further point in keeping their relationship a secret from the student body.

Kerry was the first to see the spot where they’d sat all the last school year during every Madness. “No one’s in our spot.”

“I didn’t think anyone would be sitting there.” Over the summer Annie had wondered why no one ever sat at “their” spot until after they’d taken over the sofa and gotten comfortable. Deanna confided before they left for the year that whenever they didn’t attend the Madness the seats remained empty, as if people were unaware the location was unavailable.

She didn’t have an answer for this puzzle, but there was enough here concerning them that didn’t make sense that having one more item on the list didn’t seem important . . .

 

No, not important at all.  Is there a reason for that?  Hummmm . . . maybe?  I’m not talking.

Now that they’re in the Madness, there’s only one thing left to do–

Write the next scene and get them out?

Write the next scene and get them out?

And then we can get out of the first week and move on to the real fun.