Laying in the Bed in the Bay: A Final Reckoning

There is so much to show today, I don’t know where to start.  How about at the beginning?  Good idea, Cassie!

Yesterday I sent off two pitches for cover ideas.  I thought I’d share those with you, so that perhaps you can see my thought process, and see what I see as far as images are concerned.  I’ve included the photos I sent as well, because I’m all about imaginary, yeah?

 

Kolor Ijo Ideas:

This takes place in Indonesia, in the city of Makaasar.  Here is a picture of an area that is actually in the novel known as Losari Beach:

Kolor Ijo Makaasar Losari Beach

One of the things I like is the calm in the area, but right beyond, there is bustle and a lot of things unseen.  It’s one of the main themes of the novel.

The characters:

First is Indriani Baskoro, woman, late twenties, Muslim though she is pretty secular.  She’s usually attired in jeans, a pullover of some kind—loose top or tee shirt—and sneakers.  She has a pink backpack that she takes with her nearly everywhere.  She never wears a hijab, because as mentioned she’s pretty laid back with that stuff, as are most Indonesians.  She started out as a paranormal investigator, but now is kind of “freelance” and shows up to look up things and try to solve events.  She is a true believer because of something that happens in the previous story of her adventures, Kuntilanak.  She is missing two fingers and part of her right hand, lost during an investigation on Bali.  Most of the time she’s called Indri.

Second is Kadek Bagus Surya Buana, usually known as Buana.  He’s in his late thirties, about ten years older than Indri, and is a traditional healer from Bali.  As a traditional healer he’s in tune to the supernatural world, and has seen many of the creatures who walk there.  He dresses casually:  loose flowing top and trousers with sandals.  Sometimes he wears a wide-brim hat if he’s out during the day.  He carries as keris, which is a traditional knife used for protection from things living and otherwise.  Follow this link for more information.

Kolor Ijo is Indonesian for “Green Underpants Demon.”  No, really.  It comes from an event that happened around Jakarta in 2005, and is a known hoax—this is something that Buana even mentions early on in the novel.  One of the images I see would have Indri and Buana standing here at Losari Beach looking down one of the streets of Makaasar, where one can see traffic and people stretching off into the distance, but at the same time there are, just viewed on the side streets, ominous shadows with a tint of green to them.  I should point out that neither character would wear green in this scene, because they’re standing close to the ocean, and the Queen of the Sea would come up and snatch them away to their death for doing such a thing—particularly Indri, as the Queen hates beautiful women in green.  (That last is actually a true Indonesian legend.)  The characters never touch; there isn’t anything romantic between them.  They both work to find a solution to the supernatural problem, and whatever romance is in their lives is with others.

That’s what I’m looking at right now.  Feel free to send me your own ideas.

 

And now the second:

 

Foundation Chronicles: A For Advanced Act One Idea

So, this is what I have as an idea for this series. First, allow me to introduce the characters–

The girl is Annie Kirilova. She’s eleven, five foot tall, a Bulgarian Caucasian with a touch of Romani blood. She has wavy chestnut colored hair that falls just below her shoulder, and eyes are hazel and piercing. She is confident most of the time; the only time that confidence fails is when she fears failure in front of others. She is refined and intelligent, but not haughty, though many will see her that way: in the novel I’m writing now, she knows she’s seen as something of an “Ice Princess”, cold and aloof. Annie’s facial appearance is based somewhat upon actress Jodelle Ferland.

The boy is Kerry Malibey. He’s also eleven, five foot tall, Caucasian with an exceptional light complexion due to having an Irish-American mother and a Welsh father. He has short, slightly curly red hair, bright green eyes, freckles, and wears rectangular pewter-colored wire rim glasses. He goes almost everywhere with his backpack, and most of the time you’ll find his tablet computer inside. He’s bright as hell, cleaver, but socially awkward. This means he has trouble making friends, but for some reason he bonds with Annie quickly.

There you have it: my main characters that I’d like to see on the cover. If you need more input, just ask.

The scene I have in mind is when they first arrive at the school. I modeled the school in Blender, so I have a good visual idea of how I see it. There is a huge building in the center of a star-like wall: this is call the Great Hall. The wall around the building is known as The Pentagram, because as mentioned it’s in the shape of a five-pointed star. The main entrance to The Pentagram is known as Founder’s Gate, a large archway built through the thick Pentagram Walls. The pathway from Founder’s Gate to the Great Hall is about two football fields long–yes, it’s a big place. On either side of the pathway is the Pentagram Garden, which is full of flowers, bushes, shrubs, and trees.

I see Annie and Kerry standing inside Founder’s Gate with ten students in the distance positioned around an adult. This is important: Kerry is always on Annie’s right, and she on his left. This is something that should happen in all the covers. Here, they should be looking around, both in three-quarter profile, like they’re looking back and towards each other. Kerry is wearing jeans, a dark-wine colored hoodie, and his backpack. One hand, probably his left, is hooked in the shoulder strap. He could even look a bit amazed because he’d never seen anything like this.

Annie is looking to her right, doing the same as Kerry, but she’s aware of the school’s existence, and so her amazement is not as great. She’s wearing jeans as well, and a nice, long-sleeve pullover. If she’s wearing earrings, they are either small gold loops or similar colored studs. No rings, bracelets, or necklaces. She also has a small leather purse, slung cross body, probably on her left side, but it may have moved around to the front.

It’s night time and there’s a misting rain. The school is surrounded by darkness and any lighting here is low and possesses a blueish tint. Nothing is direct; all light is indirect, and doesn’t seem to come from anywhere, though there are plenty of shadows.

A For Advanced Act One Cover Idea

The title of this novel is The Foundation Chronicle: A For Advanced on the top, Act One: Meetings in the Beginning at the bottom. My name can come below the bottom title. The font for the bottom title doesn’t need to be a huge font: just enough so it’s seen. But I don’t need to tell you this.

If you have any questions, just ask.

 

There you have it:  my ideas for the first two covers.  And if you’re asking, “Do you know what you want for the last two covers?” the answer is, yes, I do.  In fact, I have two ideas for the last cover, so there are five ideas for four covers.  Always have a Plan B, kids.  The upshot here is, my artist may have her own ideas, so we can work together and come up with something that is good for me and her.

Then there is writing . . . as if the above isn’t enough.

I finished yesterday’s scene, and it’s okay, but not my best writing.  I felt distracted most of the night, even with the music pumping, because, well, things.  You know?  But we find out a lot more now that Kerry is in bed for a while–

 

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

Kerry looked up at the ceiling and noticed for the first time the lights were on in the ward. “What time is it?”

Annie gave his fingers a light squeeze. “It’s a little after nineteen.”

“I was out for five hours.” He swallowed slowly, thinking it would help avoid pain. It did. “Wow.”

“You were out longer than that after the Day of the Dead.” Coraline checked the instruments over his head. “You adjusted to the treatment quicker this time—”

“Because I’m probably used to it.” He flexed his fingers under Annie’s. “I missed dinner.”

“I’m having some teleshko vareno brought up in a little while.”

“And I wouldn’t worry about eating, either—” Coraline chuckled as she stepped back from the bed. “Nurses Aid Annie will see to it you won’t go hungry.”

Kerry smiled weakly. “She’s done that before.”

Shush, you.” Annie never took her eyes from Kerry, her love emanating from them. “I told you we’d have that after the race.”

“I just didn’t think it was going to be this late after the race.”

 

Annie even tells Kerry to shush when he’s hurt, and there’s not only a little of the banter going on between her Coraline, but Annie can take some good-natured ribbing from an adult.

 

“The team came by to see how you were doing—” Once again Annie scooted her chair closer towards the head of his bed. “Even the boys came. You were out, of course . . .” She looked down the length of the bed as if she expected to see Kerry suddenly well and healed. “Penny and Alex said they’d be back later with Jairo—”

“And Kahoku, too?” Kahoku Sayasone, a C Level from Blodeuwedd, was the boy Alex dated since near the end of the last school year, and he’d become a fixture in the gathering of the Party of Five.

 

And now we know who Alex’s boyfriend is:  a boy from Laos.  Trust me, Kahoku is from there–I’ve ever got his home town written down somewhere . . .

 

“Yes, he’s going to stop by as well.”

Kerry closed his eyes for a moment, not because he was tired, but because he wanted the chance to get his thoughts around the next question, and the ones that would likely follow. “How’s Emma?”

“As bad as you.” Coraline stood near the foot of Kerry’s bed. “She broke both arms and a leg as well as her jaw. She also has a hairline fracture in her skull, which means I may hold her overnight tomorrow, too. I’ll see how she’s doing when I release you.”

“When is that gonna be?” Even though Coraline indicated he was responding to treatment faster than he had a year ago after his Day of the Dead crash, he didn’t believe for a moment he’d be released in the morning.

“I’m going to keep you at least twenty-four hours.” Coraline checked something below the level of where he lay. “I’m concerned about that concussion, just like I’m worried about Emma’s skull. Best not to take chances.”

 

If you’re wondering why Kerry is hurt so much worse here–but was knocked out longer the first time–it might have been due to having less protection the first time throwing a huge shock on his body–the safety enchantments in his normal flight gear is minimal compared to his racing gear, and even though the speeds were great in this latest accident, there was really more protection.  You can probably guess that without those enchantments in place, both Emma and Kerry would be dead.

He has other questions as well . . .

 

“She’s right.” Annie barely touched his left arm. “You need to get well, my love.”

“No disagreement from me.” He closed his eyes again. “Why did she do it?”

“Do what?”

“Block me like that at the end?”

“No one knows.”

“Why not?” Kerry found it strange she hadn’t said anything about the crash.

“Because she’s still unconscious.” Coraline looked down once more. “The chances are good she won’t wake up until sometime after midnight—excuse me—” She quickly left the bay, closing the curtain behind her.

 

Yeah, this is your first time to crash like this, Emma, so you get to stay knocked out longer–just as Kerry did the first time.

 

Annie continued gazing in the direction of the departed doctor. “Erywin was by to see how you were doing—” She turned back toward Kerry. “So was Holoč and Vicky. They wanted to make sure you were recovering.”

He smiled. “That was nice. I wish I’d been awake.”

Annie drew a slow breath. “Erywin’s not happy.”

“What do you mean?”

“What she means is Erywin’s pissed.” Coraline returned with a collection bag for Kerry’s catheter. “She told me not to clear Emma for flying this week because she’s sitting her down for one race.” She quickly swapped out the bags and dropped the full one in a biohazard container. “Erywin’s also gonna ream her out when she wakes up—”

“Because of the crash.”

“It’s more than that, my love.” Annie stretched her shoulders, pressing them forward. “Emma had been warned twice during the race about her blocking, and Erywin told us that if the race had gone another lap she was going to sit her down.”

“Wow.” It was rare to pull a racer from the course and sit them down, but Kerry remembered what Nadine had told Annie and him that morning, that Emma had received warnings before this about the same thing. “I can see why Erywin got mad—”

And while Erywin may not have the temper of her partner, you never want to piss her off.  Also–

 

“There’s something else: after everyone finished she was penalized five seconds. She dropped from second to seventh.”

“She didn’t even point?”

“No. And it moved Manco up into sixth.” Annie slowly smiled. “Cernonnus went from being scored first, third, and forth to securing all the podium positions as well as scoring sixth.”

Coraline cleared her throat. “Not only that, but Åsgårdsreia had a good heat and is now a point behind Mórrígan, and . . .” She nodded at Annie. “You should tell him.”

“Ceridwen had a horrible heat—we moved into third in the coven standings.”

Kerry laughed despite the pain. “Really?”

“Yes. Sweeping the podium ended up pushing us three points ahead.”

“Congratulations.” Coraline patted his right leg, the only limb he had that wasn’t broken. “Your second win, and you helped you helped move your coven into third.”

“Also . . “ Annie seemed almost embarrassed to speak. “It’s the first time Mórrígan hasn’t scored a podium position in a two-team heat since 1986.”

Coraline nodded. “I think that upsets Erywin the most.” She picked up the biohazard container with Kerry discarded urine bag. “Your soup is here, by the way. Want me to wheel it down?”

Annie nodded politely. “Yes, please.”

Kerry watched Coraline leave the bay. “Is she going to let you sleep here tonight?”

“What do you think?” Annie beamed. “There’s no way she could keep me away, my love. She’s in a good mood tonight: she said we could even have a little Madness party here if we didn’t get loud.”

“Nice.” He wished he could touch Annie, and hated not having the use of his arms. “You’re gonna have to sleep in the other bed tonight, you know.”

Annie finally leaned in and kissed Kerry lightly upon the lips. “Such are the sacrifices one must make for their champions . . .”

 

So a lot accomplished last night.  Tonight I’m going to try and put together the idea for the second Foundation cover, and maybe even the ones I have for the third.  Most of all, I’d say I got a lot done yesterday.  Quite a lot done . . .

Easing Into the Additions

Since last time we met there wasn’t a lot of writing going down–unless you count all the note taking I was making for my recap of the pilot of Fear the Walking Dead, which comes out later tonight my time.  No, after writing seventeen hundred words for the novel, and another fifteen hundred words (for notes, mind you) for my recap, I was all storied out.

What I did was look at the novel and think about structure change, because I’m nuts like that.  I see something and I usually want to leave it alone, but just as I did with A For Advanced, I tinkered with it a bit after I had a much better idea of where the novel was going.  So you do reach a point where you can look at layout and structure and think, “Now, this would look much better as a stand-alone . . . something.”

That’s what I did with Chapter Thirteen.  I gave it a look, realized that the first three scenes fit together, and then looked at the last few scenes and realized they really were a completely different beast altogether.  So I did this:

I tinkered, 'cause that's what I do.

I tinkered, ’cause that’s what I do.

The last three scenes of Chapter Thirteen became Chapter Fourteen, meaning Thirteen ended with Kerry flying through the air with the greatest of ease–but unlike Annie, who doesn’t need a broom to fly, his landing wasn’t so great.  That’s where I make a break and put in the new Chapter Fourteen, because it’ll open up with someone we know waking up in Bed #2, Bay #1–I don’t believe I’m giving away too much of a spoiler.  That was where I put the last three scenes of the old chapter–

But now there are four scenes, so what gives, Cassie?  Check the time line in the image and look at the title, and remember what Mea Culpa means, and you may figure out what’s going on.  Let’s just say that scene is needed, and it’ll help draw to a close something that’s going on.  Sort of.  Because nothing ever ends here at Salem.

But this wasn’t the only changing I made.  I went in here, too:

Here being a chapter I talk about but haven't worked upon.

Here being a chapter I talk about but haven’t worked upon.

The now Chapter Sixteen is the still the first chapter of Part Give, and it’s also the Salem Overnight chapter which, up until last night, possessed one scene and nothing more.  No more, I say.  I added three more scenes and finalized a map that goes with this chapters–map, you say?  Yep.  I love maps.  There’s a lot of mapping going on in this chapter, and that’s one of the reasons I have a scene called Planing on PEI, because I always know where my students are.  What’s PEI?  Look it up, you’ll find it rather easily.

With all this work finished I went back and renumbered all the chapters and the chapter title pages, and called it a night.  Because my writing for the day was through.  I’ve said it before:  not all writing is writing.  Sometimes it’s research, sometimes it’s creating characters, and sometimes it’s plotting out your novel by getting your chapters in line with what you’re thinking.

And right now I have a far clearer view of where I’m going.

From Under the Covers

Yes, yes, I know:  you were expecting to find something here concerning Annie’s and Kerry’s breakfast, and whether or not Annie was gonna burn down the Great Hall to get back at Emma.  Sorry, I’m so, so sorry, but I didn’t.  First, I went out for drinks with a woman from the office.  Second, we both got a tinsy blasted and were well on our way to being “The Hammered Chicks at the Bar,” which wouldn’t have bothered us in the least as we were joking with the bartender–who made the best Cosmos–and throwing shade at some of the people around us.  (My friend’s best remark, concerning an obvious state intern dressed to the nines and looking like she needed a good meal:  “Of course the bitch ordered a salad.”  Oh, and a couple of dudes to my right kept looking like they wanted to hit on us.)  Third, by the time I got home it was seven-thirty, and I really didn’t feel like I was gonna get anything done, because I had business to do.

Which leads us to Forth via a short roundabout.

The last thing I published was Her Demonic Majesty back in May, 2012.  Since then I’ve written a hell of a lot–by my own estimation, of the six full stories and one finished story written, eight hundred and fifty thousand words–not one of those things has come to light.  I’m just a novelette short of a million words in three years, and nothing is out.  When you think about it, that’s pretty damn sad.

Lately–well, for months, really–I’ve been on the kick of saying that I would publish, but I need a good cover.  And really, you do, otherwise you end up on Lousy Book Covers and people shame your ass because, as some point, a writer looked at the work in front of them and thought, “Yeah, it’s not getting better than this.”  And I seriously don’t want that.

But I’ve been in a real “Shit or Get Off the Pot” moment, where it’s either time to walk away and admit you aren’t doing anything but literary masturbation, or you are totally serious about getting your work out.  Which is why there was a Forth last night:

I’m having book covers made.

I contacted Desi’s Art Deigns and spoke with Desi herself.  I told her what I was looking for, and she quoted a price of $200 per custom cover, with a ten percent discount if it’s part of a series.  When we finished, I told her I would get my ideas to her and that by sometime next week I’d pay her, up front, for her work.

So what am I getting?  A dark, urban horror cover for Kolor Ijo, for one.  This was my NaNoWriMo 2012 entry, and I’ve wanted it published for some time, so why not soon?  Desi told me that she could have real fun with this, as dark urban horror is pretty sweet.  I’m coming up with ideas for it, and will start making notes on those ideas.

Notice, however, I’m using a lot of plurals–“Covers”; “ideas”; “series”.  Just how many covers did you buy, Cassidy?  Four.  One of Kolor Ijo, and three for . . . you know what’s coming next.

I’m going to edit and publish The Foundation Chronicles:  A For Advanced.

I mean, I spent fifteen months of my life working on that book, so what the hell?  Is it seeing the light of day or what?  So I will stick to my original plan of publishing the first book by act, which are all over a hundred thousand words.  I already have an idea for the Act One cover:

Only less sparse.

Only less sparse.

It would come as Annie and Kerry are walking through Founder’s Gate for the first time.  They both stop in the archway and look around:  Kerry to his left, Annie to her right.  This way you get them both in three-quarter profile.  Kerry will have on his hoodie and backpack, and you’ll see his green eyes through his rectangular putter-gray glasses, while Annie will have her nice purse slung across her body over a nice jacket, her long, full chestnut hair exposing enough of her face that you can see her hazel eyes.  There is the garden on either side of the long walkway, and Isis and the rest of the European/African A Levels are about half way down the lane, while in the distance is the Great Hall, shrouded in darkness and mist, all indirectly lit.

I have my ideas for the Act Two and Three covers as well, but I’m not going into that now.  Be it that the covers are coming, which means I will edit and publish, probably throughout much of next year.  Because now I’ll have to publish–

After all, I’ll have covers.

Preparing the Campout

Life is a tricky thing, because it gets in the way of everything.  By that I mean that you have plans to do things, and life has a way of telling you those plans aren’t gonna come through, ’cause lookie here, girl, I got something else for you–

That was last night.  My Mondays for the last few week have been go over my notes for my television recaps, write the recap, then try and get a few hundred words written on the novel.  It’s been that way for seven weeks, and there was no reason it couldn’t be that way last night–

Except I was responsible for setting up a Facebook gift exchange, because I knew most everyone in the exchange, and I wasn’t participating for a few reasons, so I agreed to get everyone–parents and kids–worked out so people knew who was giving to whom.  I knew it was going to require some work, but . . . I was at it for four and a half hours.  When it was all said and done I had some serious neck pain going on, and there was no way I was sitting at the computer any longer than necessary, and I would have given just about anything for someone to come and rub my neck, because pain.

Much of what went down last night was all mind games:  figuring things out in my head and applying them to what’s either in the novel already, or, as in one case, what needs to be added.

And that brings me to Salem Overnight.

It's right there--can't you see it?

It’s right there–can’t you see it?

A while back–probably about sixty days ago, since I’ve been working on this novel for one hundred and thirty days, including today–I came up with the idea of an overnight trip for the Advanced Flight One kids, because this was a chance for them to learn about setting up tents in the dark–which they probably would–in the wilderness–where they would be–and then show off their navigation and flight skills the next day as they sauntered about the countryside before heading back to Salem.

The reason for this trip is beginner’s practice for the big event that happens in January for the Advanced Flight Two students:  The Polar Express, three days and nights of fun and excitement in sub-zero temps with little food and no GPS to help you find your way back to the school.  It’s a concept I came up with in December, 2011, and has stuck with me every since, so now it’s getting mentioned more and more, because there are students in AF2 who are getting ready for this, and the kids in AF1 are well aware their chance to do this occurs in another year.

I thought about the scenes that I need to add, and there’s really only three, for sure, maybe four more that need adding to Chapter Fifteen.  One of those scenes is a peek onto the Flight School’s Operations Center, aka the Flight Deck, and it involves Annie, Penny, and Alex sitting around and talking waiting for the overnight flight’s return.  Gives the girls a chance to bond a little more without any yucky boys around.

But first I gotta get through two more chapters.  I do wanna get this out of the way, however, and it’s scheduled to get figured out this week.

Assuming it doesn’t give me a pain in the neck.

Changes Amid the Darkness

It’s a late morning for me, with a lot of slow writing last night and this morning.  I’ve been taking my time with the current scene, probably because the words aren’t flowing from me as they once did.  Seven hundred fifty words written yesterday; four hundred twenty this morning.  After burning up the pages for a while, I’m still getting out the plot, just not the way I have since–how long have I been working on this?

Wow.  I started on B For Bewitching on 11 April, 2015.  Today is 2 August, 2015.  According to the date calculator on the Time and Date website, tomorrow will mark one hundred and fifteen days since I started working on this novel, which means I’ve been writing, with just a couple of days off, for three months and three weeks:

Numbers never lie--well, almost.

Numbers never lie–well, almost.

If I calculate my word count right, by tomorrow I’ll have averaged eight hundred and eighty-seven words a day, which isn’t a bad average when I consider I’m mostly doing this in the evening after work, and finding the time on the weekend, when I’m not running around getting things done.

Just keep writing, as they say.  Just keep writing.

Last night I sat down and did something I’ve mentioned a couple of times during the last few blog posts:  I separated Chapter Ten into two chapters, and then began renumbering the old chapters.  It took some time, and I still have to do the chapters in Act Three, but now that it’s done the segregation makes sense.  Racing is in one chapter, dancing is in another.  All is right in my Bewitching World . . .

It also looks prettier.  Sort of.

It also looks prettier. Sort of.

I did this a few time with A For Advanced, and I sometimes find myself wondering why I put myself through this craziness.  The answer is simple:  because I’m always trying to do what I think is right.  I think about how this will look if and when published, and part of my mind is saying, “You know your readers will like it when things are formatted correctly.”  So you pull things apart and set them up correctly.

It’s easy to do when you have project management software.  Of course you then have to go through and change numbers and that sort of thing, but it’s something you do.  Laying things out four months ago is when I created the road map, but it’s only once I began the journey that I started seeing the route.  And I figure the route is gonna change some more as time goes on, so it if does, I just keep making changes where they are needed.

I’ll finish up Samhain today and start on the next chapter, which is pretty much Annie-centric.  You know how I say you don’t want to make Annie mad?  Well, you’ll see what happens when that happens.  In the meantime it’s nighttime in the Pentagram Garden, and a couple of kids are about the finish a discussion that Annie started some hours before–

They've been here before, and believe it when I say they'll be her during a few more Samhains.

They’ve been here before, and believe it when I say they’ll be her during a few more Samhains.

We’ll see where their route goes, that much I know.

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.