It’s that day again, and believe it or not, I’m feeling a bit of–pride?
Before and after of my time in derby.
The night I was recruited:
And a year later:
It’s video time again. Enjoy!
Well, yes: I know it’s not Monday but rather Tuesday morning. Early Tuesday morning after a night of rain and fog that calmed down just enough for The Burg to set off fireworks about nine PM last night. Today it’s going to be 85 F/30 C and muggy, and I’ve spent some part of the morning trying to figure out what I’m going to wear to work today.
But I don’t . . .
Though I did a lot of editing in the morning, I didn’t exactly do anything last night. I did go to lunch and get a little boozy as there was nothing else going on and I didn’t feel like sitting around the house, but that tends to have a negative effect on my productivity as I need to fall into a nap later on–which I did like clock work.
The later late afternoon had me staying in–it started raining lightly about 3 PM and continued well into the night–so I started prep work. Part of my mind was engaged in going over Episode 1 of Sense8 again, mostly so I could get screen captures for the recap I’ll write tonight, and part of it thought about laying out chapters for C For Continuing, for 16 July is coming up fast–like a week and a half fast. But no pressure, right?
Suddenly I’m feeling it all over again: pressure. The pressure to produce is coming on strong, and I’m feeling deadlines once more where none had existed for a few weeks. It’s always nice to take a break and get away from the grind, but the truth is for creative people you always feel the pull to do something. You always feel like you should have a deadline, even thought you hate the damn things with a passion. It’s a strange symbiosis, but it’s there. And it isn’t going away.
I find I hate deadlines, but at the same time they’re needed, for you need to have those fixed points in time to get you off your ass and into work mode. I have two recaps to write this week, and two more for each of the next five weeks. I chose to do that and I set the deadlines for when it’s supposed to get done. I set goals yesterday for Act One of A For Advanced, and while they are doable goals, right away I started getting that sensation that said, “Maybe I shouldn’t have don’t that.” But if you don’t, you’re really getting nowhere. You’re just writing along sort of spinning your wheels in the creative mud.
You gotta produce, and you gotta get it out there so it’s seen. Otherwise, it’s sort of like masturbation without climaxing: all kinds of fun until you’re pissed off that there wasn’t a payoff.
I’ve done a lot in the writing area: now it’s time to get serious about the publishing area.
Even when I don’t like those deadlines, I know they are there to help.
Interesting morning, let me tell you. If I were more superstitious I’d say the people in Philadelphia who said today is the end of the world may have been on to something, but it’s really more like someone’s been jacking around with the firewall filters, and that’s messed people up. Never the mind: I have my excerpt, and maybe a little something else that I’ll mention at the end.
Still in Vienna and still with Daddy Kirilovi. Now, you know Annie’s dad isn’t going to lose the opportunity to ask a certain Ginger Hair Boy a few questions, and so, yeah–he does . . .
(All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)
Another protracted silence fell between Annie’s father and Bernice’s charge, and she wondered who was going to be the first to speak. Annie watched them both, her eyes flitting from Kerry to her father and back, examining both the way her father was examining the boy standing before him. It was Victor who broke the stalemate. “Are you enjoying school, Kerry?”
He nodded. “Yes, sir, quite a lot.”
“Must have been something of a shock to find out you were Aware.”
“Um, yeah, it was a bit.” He cast a glance towards Annie for just a second.
Victor noticed the glance. “Have you enjoyed your time with Annie?”
Annie’s face darkened as she glanced towards her father. “Papa.”
Yeah, Papa, you wanna watch going there with Daughter Dearest standing next to you, ’cause she’s protective of the moyata polovinka and she’ll get all up in someone’s business if they aren’t kind. Fortunately, Kerry’s not gonna freak:
Kerry held up his hand for a moment. “Naw, it’s all right, Annie.” He started to relax, though there was a hint of nervousness in his voice. “Annie did a lot to help me fit into this new world; she helped me understand The Art so I could become a better witch—and a better sorceress.” A light grin played across his face. “She’ll say that’s not true, but I know different.” He smiled at her before facing her father. “I value every moment I’m with Annie, sir. She’s . . . She’s a special person. The most special.”
Bernice knew of the things that Kerry had already surmounted, but over the last minute she’d watched him present his bravest face ever. Victor Kirilov was an imposing man even though he wasn’t tall or large, but his confidence gave him an unshakable persona. She saw, as did Annie, and Kerry was a bit unnerved, but he didn’t cower—and if the look on Annie’s face is any indication of her current mood, she’s proud as well.
Victor turned to his wife. “We need to get home.” He placed a hand on Annie’s shoulder. “This young lady needs to do her adjustment before we go to dinner.”
“I agree.” Pavlina turned to Bernice. “It was pleasure meeting you again.”
She adjusted her purse so it set better on her shoulder. “Same here, Pavlina.” Bernice held out her hand. “It was a pleasure meeting you, Mr. Kirilov.”
“The pleasure was mine.” He shook her hand, then held his out for Kerry. “It was a pleasure to meet you, Kerry.”
“Thank you, sir.” He gave Victor’s hand a quick shake. “I’m glad I got to meet you.”
“Oh . . .” The right corner of his mouth curled upwards once more. “I’m sure it won’t be the last time.” He spread his arms as he took a step back. “Shall we go?
Pavlina waved to Kerry. “It was nice seeing you again, Kerry.” She shot a sideways glance at her husband. “I’m sure we’ll meet again soon.”
“I’m sure.” Kerry held out his left hand towards Annie. “I’m, um, I guess—”
“Hold on—” She spun around as her parents prepared to leave the waiting area. “I’d like to say goodbye to Kerry.”
Pavlina looked towards the young man. “Go ahead.”
Annie’s eyes narrowed slightly. “Privately?”
Victor seemed about to say something when Pavlina hooked her arm in his. “We’ll wait in the corridor.”
Bernice patted Kerry on the back. “I’ll be outside, too.”
Now, one might say Annie’s dad cut short the meeting, but really: in a public place, do you really expect him to ask something like, “Are you doing kissy-face stuff with my daughter?” Victor is a somewhat public person among Foundation people–being an F1 driver who just finished a season in third place will do that for you–and it wouldn’t do to have him getting all intimidating on a twelve year old boy. Even if he did see that boy holding hands with his daughter. Who wants to say goodbye to that boy Privately. Did you get that, parents? She wants privacy.
She headed into the corridor and leaned against the wall waiting for the kids to finish their goodbyes. She saw the Kirilovis standing about five meters from the entrance, speaking quietly to each other, and Bernice could only imagine the conversation they were having . . .
Annie and Kerry stood against one wall of the waiting room, and were just visible to Bernice. She saw their heads bowed and close together as they faced each other, holding hands. Annie touched Kerry’s cheek as she said something that appeared to relax him: it was only then that Bernice noticed his right hand quivering slightly. He listened as Annie spoke, stroking her arm as if to confirm she was there.
There was a moment when they gazed into each other’s eyes before hey kissed long and tenderly. Once the kiss finished then broke into a hug, and she observed Annie whisper something into his ear—something obviously pleasant and meaningful, for he was smiling as the turned and headed hand-in-hand for the waiting room exit . . .
They held each other’s hands tightly one last time in the corridor. Annie beamed. “I’ll see you in a couple of weeks, my . . .” She caught herself before speaking the last words within earshot of her parent. “I’ll write.”
“I’ll write back.” He quickly kissed her hand. “Have a good holiday, Annie.”
“Have a good holiday, Kerry.” She released Kerry and waved to Bernice. “Take care, Ms. Rutherford. Have a good holiday.”
“You, too, Annie.” Bernice waved back. “Enjoy your holiday.”
“I will.” Annie kissed two right fingers and held them towards Kerry. “Goodbye, mlechna.”
He did the same with his left fingers. “Sbogom, malko samri.”
She turned away with a giggle and smile and rejoined her parents. Kerry watched them walk away for a few seconds before her turned and approached Bernice. It was only then, while facing her, that his shoulders slumped. “Wow.” He let out a long, deep sigh. “Wow.”
“Let’s go sit in the lounge for a few minutes—” She pointed down the hall behind her. “Let them get to the public platform so they can jaunt home.”
“Sounds like a good idea.” He followed her to the small lounge where those who arrived early for an arrival or departure could wait in comfort. They found a couple of cozy chairs in a corner away from the few people there and sat. “Better?”
“Yeah.” He tapped his fingers on the arms of the chair as Bernice set her bad on the small, round table in front of them. “Why did he act that way towards me?”
She knew exactly to whom Kerry was referring. “Annie’s dad?”
Oh, you thought that was a grilling, Kerry? Better watch out: you may break under pressure.
Annie was about to lay “My love” on Kerry and caught herself. One day soon she’s just gonna have to throw caution to the wind and kick it out there. What she did call him was “sweet”, as in “sweet banista”, which is what she called him the night before at the Observatory, and Kerry responded with “Goodbye, little cabbage roll”, which is less romantic than “darling”, but darling might have had Daddy asking more questions.
Even so, Kerry got himself a case of the “First Time Father Meeting” nerves, and now gets to ask Ms. Rutherford about this. Being that she’s a girl, she may have some experience in this matter . . .
Now, lastly, some news. Yesterday I had someone ask me if I’d like to submit a series to Channillo, which is a website where people can post, in a continuing way, their novel series. There are hundreds of writers already there, and it’s something that I may consider. However . . . one of their stipulations is that whatever series you post there cannot be offered elsewhere for free, and were I to put, say, my first novel up, I’d have to go back over two years of posts and strip out excerpts that are hanging out on my blog. Which, quite frankly, is a huge pain in the ass.
At the moment I’m wondering if this is a route I want to go, because I don’t figure to do a hack and slash on my blog that way. The other choice would be to take another work of mine–say, one that isn’t selling all that well–and post it there with the promise of doing new content after the initial novel. That’s a ballsy move, and one that would probably take up the majority of my time right now.
Right now I’m considering my options–one of which is I don’t think people are gonna pony up $5/month to read my first novel. Maybe for another work, but not this one.\
So many decisions, so little time to do all the things I want to do.
It is the First of September, the day that people who are supposed to track these sorts of things say is pretty much the day fall begins. Never mind that here in The Burg today and the next two days are gonna see temps get up above ninety Fahrenheit, it’s fall, which means I need to get into my jeans, slip on my Ugg boots, and go sip a pumpkin spiced latte and get a selfie while standing in leaves next to pumpkins.
Today is also post number one thousand, six hundred, and in one hundred and fifty days I will reach post one thousand, seven hundred and fifty; that will occur on Friday, January 29, 2016, or one day short of two years after post one thousand, titled Millennium, was written. Continue reading
I admit that I haven’t done a lot of writing or even the planning of writing during my current trip to Indiana. There’s been taxes and a lot of getting the car fixed so I can get tags, and yesterday was mostly spent walking off to lunch and waiting by the phone for a message on my car–which didn’t come until after five in the afternoon.
Today should be better, however. I’ll take the car out for a drive to get the emission sensors triggered, then get it in for a test, then get the tags and be ready to return back to The Burg tomorrow. And I won’t have to do this again until July. Maybe. We’ll see.
Yesterday I was out and about for repairs and lunch during International Transgender Day of Visibility, and I was certainly about as visible as they come. Also, I was always treated fairly and without a single side eye–save for one woman who came into the car repair shop who was bitching about not being able to get in right away for an oil change, but screw her. And since I had to prove I was visible, I snapped a picture of myself at the Valparaiso Uptown Cafe:
I realized that yesterday was the first real time I’ve been Out in Indiana since I went full time, and not feeling a twinge of fear going anywhere in the last couple of days has only helps bolster my ego as far as being me is concerned.
And now that taxes are out of the way I’ve confirmed that I will be able to start electrolysis this summer, which is going to be even more of a boon, because removing the last of my facial hair is going to be one of those things that gets the old life out of the way for good. So time to look that up when I’m back home.
Now, about writing . . .
April I’ll finish up editing on Kolor Ijo and start getting it out of the way and out for publication. Right now I’m looking at June for having it up, and I’m really going to try and stick hard to that, because I need something published. It’s been two years; it’s time.
And in only a few days, the counter on my page should flip from “1 Month” to “Days to Go” on the start of writing for B For Bewitching. I’ve had that story on my mind for a while, and I’ve thought a bit about the story beyond B. And one of the things that keeps coming back to me is that, eventually, those nasty hormonal changes the kids are going through will need to be addressed. I’m guessing there were enchantments at Hogwarts that kept the kids from losing their minds and indulging in shenanigans, but at my magical school there’s a reason the food is enchanted with contraceptives . . .
Yeah, if there are any really good candidates for “Oops, we did it,” status, it’s Annie and Kerry. Though I’m not going to make that easy for them–
Trust me. I’ve many wrenches to throw into their machinery, and I’m not afraid to use them.
First, let’s get this out of the way: Kolor Ijo is finished as far as the edit of the first draft is concerned. It’s a done deal. See?
So now it’s onto finding a cover and doing another edit pass–which should go quickly–and getting it published. Sometime this summer, for sure, but it’s gonna get done. I promise that.
Now that I have this story out of the way, I can say I enjoyed revisiting these two characters, and the supernatural world of Indonesia, and . . . I do want to do it again. Maybe the next story in this series could be next year’s April NaNo Camp novel. We’ll see, but I want to go here again.
However, there’s something standing in the way, and that’s only about a month away from fruition . . .
Yesterday afternoon I got back into working on my time line for the Big Euro Tour my kids go on that won’t be talked about for a few more novels. Yes, I plan years in advance, but that’s how I am–crazy, right? Right.
The last time I showed the time line I was in Lyon, so where in the world are my kids now?
As you can see they made it to Paris, then moved eastward to Bruges, Amsterdam, Burg–which is south of Munich–and then Prague. If you’ve never heard of Bruges, it’s in Belgium–as the time line points out–and it’s a wonderful old town that at one time was a seaport–even though it’s now eighteen miles from the English Channel–and has a four hundred year old brewery, which makes it one of the oldest in Europe. It’s about an hour from Brussels by train, so if you happen to be in that neck of the woods, give it a visit. Also, the movie, In Bruges, was filmed there, so if you want a quick look at the city between scenes of people being killed, give it a gander.
There’s also a mark there which says they’re Seeing the Seer, and that’s a little side trip out of Lyon to fly south so Annie and Kerry can visit Deanna. Where is she?
The entirety of the journey follows the Rhine River to Montélimar, which is a little over one hundred and forty kilometers south of Lyon. I put in her a secluded chateau, which I hope the people now living there won’t mind, but it’s the sort of place where I can see Deanna living. And just so you know, they’ll visit a couple of other instructors as well during their trip.
It’s funny, but all the places Annie and Kerry are staying from Barcelona to Bruges are the same places I stayed when I traveled the same route in 2006. Only I went the whole way by train, and didn’t make any side trips on high tech brooms. It only makes sense that I would fall back on something I know, however, and looking at those same locations on Google Maps brought back some interesting memories–including one that involved a dream someone had of the same hotel room I stayed in while in Paris, only they were staying with, um, me. Yeah, it was freaky.
When they get to Amsterdam they stay in a pretty swanky place and spend a few days laying about and decompressing before heading to the south of Germany for a few days. They check into the Hotel de L’Europe and get a suite that most of us can only dream about getting, which means it’s probably good to be a witch living in The Foundation’s graces, because I don’t know many fourteen year olds–as they’ll be by that time–who can just walk in off the streets and say, “Hey, we’re here to check in,” and no one bats an eye. It’s something that will come up in a later conversation when Annie and Kerry at chatting with one of their instructors.
On the way out of Amsterdam and heading for the forests of Bavaria they buzz the John Frost Bridge in Arnhem–
–and continue onto Burg, which isn’t far from the German Alps. The reason they stay there? Not saying. You’ll find out later.
While going over the trip I realized that there was a serious exclusion: there weren’t any stop-offs in Bulgaria. Now, Annie knows Bulgaria, and if there’s one place she has visited more than a few times it’s Sofia, so . . . why isn’t she taking Kerry there for a little look-see? In my mind I can see them talking this over, probably in Amsterdam, and deciding that rather than fly from Budapest to Bucharest, they’d fly to Sofia instead and Annie could spend a few days showing Kerry around. This would involve them flying down a significant part of the Danube River (Kerry will likely dig out the soundtrack from 2001 to play the waltz as they set off) on their way to the capital of Bulgaria. After that last stop they’ll head back to Pamporovo and Annie’s home, bringing their trip to an end on 31 July as they promised her parents.
Which means the new map looks like this:
As it is in the time line they only have fifteen more days of sightseeing, and four of those days are spent flying, though since Sofia is on the other side of the mountains from Annie’s home, they can leave the capital after lunch and be back at her place in time for dinner.
There you have it: all the work I’m doing for something that I may not write about for years to come, if I ever do get around to writing about it. I hope this happens, though, because it would be the start of the D Level novel, and so much stuff happens during their D Levels–
You knew I’d say that.
Here I am, more or less safe and sound, back in the old homestead of Indiana. Let me tell you, it was a wild ride yesterday.
As I may have indicated I started out from Harrisburg about midnight, so by about five in the morning, after only about, oh, no sleep in almost twenty-four hours, I was completely out of it. I ended up stopping at the service plaza after the one where I posted yesterday’s blog entry, used the bathroom, and slept in the car for a little over an hour. Outside. In the cold. Wrapped up in my jacket. I’ve done worse, trust me.
Lack of sleep was probably one of the reasons I seemed to get through western Ohio pretty fast, because I wasn’t paying attention to anything but the road before me. But I made it back to Valparaiso with almost no gas in the car, managed to get unpacked, and napped for almost another hour before taking my shot.
I was exhausted though, and was asleep by nine-thirty at night here, or ten-thirty back home, and only woke up once to use the bathroom before crawling out of bed at a little after seven in the morning, or eight back in The Burg. That’s a good rest for me–
Oh, I should mention, I edited last night.
I did chapters Twenty-Two and Twenty-Three, and started falling asleep as I looked over Chapter Twenty-Four, the penultimate chapter. It’s because of that last–the falling asleep part–that I decided to call it a night and slink off to bed.
(Just a bit of trivia now: while Chapter Twenty-Four, the next to last chapter, is known as the penultimate chapter, Chapter Twenty-Three is known as the antepenultimate chapter, Chapter Twenty-Two is the preantepenultimate chapter, and Chapter Twenty-One is the propreantepenultimate chapter. The Coda is the ultimate chapter, naturally. Now go forth and amuse your friends.)
I’m happy with how the edit has gone, and I’ll likely do another fast pass through the story before getting to the final draft. It’s clean, and being as short as it is–just under seventy thousand words–I can give it a read-through in about two weeks. Bit I will feel far more comfortable with on more pass through the story before I decide it’s ready to upload to Smashwords and ready for publication.
Today I do laundry and a few other things, and I finish Kolor Ijo for sure. It’s almost ready, and I think it’s a good addition to my tiny catalog of publications. I’m thinking more about B For Bewitching, and I know I’ll work on the Annie and Kerry Euro Trip time line some, probably this afternoon, because I’m itching to do that.
Oh, and another picture:
Yeah, just to show people I’m alive, I snapped this about forty minutes ago, after a bushed my teeth and shaved. (Yes, I still do that–bummer.) No makeup, nothing used to bring out my face, and I’m still in my pajamas. This is how I look while I’m typing this line . . .
Hope I didn’t scar you with that image. Haha!
This has started out to be a strange, busy week. I have a number of things to finish up at work, but none of them really require me to spend more than an hour or so here or there working on them. I was in a bit of a panic over something that happened to a friend yesterday, and discovered later that it was really nothing. I’m preparing to head back to Indiana for a week, and dreading the time I’ll spend on the road, and even a little of the time back home, because I know it’ll be full of stress.
And I’m looking at what I have for writing.
I finished up a rather large chapter of Kolor Ijo last night, and I have another to do tonight and another to do in a few days, but the tale of the tape shows there are five chapters–including the one I should do tonight–and about sixteen thousand words ahead of me remaining, and then the pass through this edit is over. I was fortunate that I’d figured out the mystery ahead of time, because it made things easier when it came to writing it out, and I don’t have any discernible plot holes staring me in the face. Given the amount of work left, I will finish Kolor Ijo this weekend. And then come the question–
Uh, no: not that one. It’s the one about what comes next. The one I’m always having.
This is where I need to get disciplined about what to do, because there’s more to writing and, um, writing. Creating is one thing, but getting that creation out there for people to see is another, and I’m solely lacking in the later. Since 2011 I’ve only managed to publish three things, and nothing new has gone out in three years. That wasn’t my real plan when I started on this trip, and getting behind another big project is going to press me further from getting another work out there. It’s great to be writing, but it’s also great to have people reading your writing. And plopping down a few coins for the pleasure of doing so.
Hate to say it, but concentrating on writing three stories–a novelette and two novels–in the last two years has pushed everything to the back burner. And while the urge to get into writing another novel is high, the urge to get something out for people to buy is even higher. And it’s needed, because I can’t keep working in a vacuum with my writing.
It’s my intention to stick to my schedule as I planed it a few weeks back: continue editing Kolor Ijo and get it ready for publication. Now that I have B For Bewitching mostly plotted out, I can start the process of working it out in my head even more, so that when I do begin writing, I’ll know the literary route I must take. Really, the most difficult thing I’m dealing with now if finding covers for my books, but I’m working on that, trust me–
I’m guessing that if any new writing starts, it’ll come around the first of May.
That gives me a whole month to get organized . . .
Here I am, once again, with questions about writing, and I saved some of the best–and longest–for last, all from my friend Tanya, she of the video I released just the other day. If there is anyone who knows me as a writer it’s her, because she’s been with me from the start of when I began writing once again. That means she also knows what questions to ask.
And those questions are:
What does your writing process look like? Do you have any writing habits that might be considered strange or unusual? Just how important are names in your books? What is your LEAST favorite part of the whole writing/publishing process? Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder to write than others? Have you always enjoyed writing and if so, what were some of the earliest things you remember putting pen to paper about? Do you tend to write your stories in order or do you skip around?
A lot of questions, so let me address them one at a time.
What does your writing process look like?
I spend a lot of time thinking about what I’m going to write, then I start gathering data for my story–if it’s necessary–and once that’s all finished, I plot things out and start writing. While I’m writing I’m constantly thinking about what’s just around the corner in the story, and I’m working out future scenes in my head as I going through whatever I’m working on currently. I also do that because with a large enough work–like this last novel–you find that some things didn’t work, some things need more explanation, and sometimes you just gotta add or remove scenes to have the story work. I try to write every night, and I try to get in between five hundred and a thousand words a night. Five hundred words doesn’t sound like much, but if you keep at it every day, it adds up.
Do you have any writing habits that might be considered strange or unusual?
Other that monthly sacrifices to Cthulhu, no. I enjoy listening to music when I’m writing (as I’m doing right now, listing to a Genesis concert from Zurich, Switzerland, recorded during their Wind and Wuthering tour in 1977), but there aren’t any other unusual habits I have when I’m working on a story. Though I suppose one could say that once I start a story I dedicate myself to finishing it and not working on or getting sidetracked by other stories that may pop into my head. If that happens they go into the idea file and I move on. Remember, kids: stay focused on what’s before you, and stop with the “But this other story came up and I just had to work on it!” If that’s the case, then the first story was never meant to be. And if you get distracted by a third story after you start that second, don’t quit your day job.
Just how important are names in your books?
They’re important. As I’ve pointed out in another post, I work on my names until I get them right, and I’ve worked on stories before (Her Demonic Majesty being one) where I had a character and I just had the hardest time writing about that person because I wasn’t diggin’ the name. But once I know who “they” are, then I’m good to go and I get into them greatly. Sometimes I get into a character’s name so much that whenever I hear it outside the story, I sort of flash on my character and wonder what they should do next.
What is your LEAST favorite part of the whole writing/publishing process?
Promotion is, for me, the worse. That’s because I’m really not good at selling myself, and I always feel like I’m pushing my crap onto other people if I’m trying to get them interested in my stories. Even though it’s the only way to get any exposure in these days of self publishing, I hate it. And once you’ve seen another writer spamming every thread they can access with invitations to read their story, you feel like you don’t want to bother people with your requests. Truly, I suck at this.
Is there a certain type of scene that’s harder to write than others?
A lot of people would imagine romance scenes are hard to write, but I’m actually go with those–I enjoy writing them, because if handled right, romantic scenes are great for character building. Just look at Annie and Kerry and see how they grew in their romance. (And, no, That Girl does not exist here. Nope. Not at all. Move along.)
The scenes I have the most difficulty writing are action scenes, and here’s the reason why. These days, action has become associated with visual presentations seen on movies and television. We now have an expectation of how action is suppose to play out, and directors and special effects people know exactly how those are to look.
The only thing is, action on the screen is difficult to play out on the written page. There are only so many adjectives one can apply to action before you start repeating yourself, or end up looking ridiculous. And if you watch closely, some action scenes in movies play out forever: it’s like they slipped into a Whovian Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey ball of stuff, and what should be over in two minutes gone on for twenty.
My action scenes tend to be short and quick, because if you were paying attention, the three main action scenes that were in The Foundation Chronicles: A For Advanced–Kerry fighting the Abomination; Annie and Kerry against the homunculi in Self Defense class; and the Battle of Link Bridge–went fairly fast. Well, two of the three, but we’ll get to that . . . The reason they went fast is either due to some heavy-ass magic flying about–the Link Bridge battle–or one opponent was outclassed by the other–Kerry and the Abomination. In the second example Kerry quickly came to the conclusion that if he hung around trying to fight this thing he was gonna die, and did what he could to get the creature off Emma and to come after him thinking he could somehow outrun the beast. In the first example you saw that magic fights were a little like modern day aircraft or submarine battles: if you get through the defenses and hit, you’ll score a kill. As I showed, the Link Bridge Battle was over in forty seconds, and most everyone was in bad shape after that little soiree–even the winners needed a quick evac.
The exception to this rule was Annie and Kerry fighting the homunculi scene–or as I lovingly titled it, The Walking Tests. That went on for about nine thousand words, due to the set up, the preamble of one coven getting their butts kicked, and after the fight hearing about how the test may have been set up, and our two combatants wandering off to clean up. The actually battle seemed to take some time, only because there was some butt saving, and some talking, and most talking, and finally–well, once the kids figured out how to dust those loser homunculi walkers, it was over quickly. If I had to put a timer on the action, I’d say Annie and Kerry were on the mat no more than a couple of minutes at most–and that took four thousand words.
Though I have to admit that scene was one of my favorites to write, even if it did take me almost a week . . .
Have you always enjoyed writing and if so, what were some of the earliest things you remember putting pen to paper about?
While I like telling stories, I can’t say I’ve always enjoyed writing. Mostly because, at least in the beginning, one, I have horrible handwriting; two, I can’t spell worth a damn; and three, I couldn’t type. Once I learned to type I only had Point Two holding me back, and spell checkers help out there greatly.
The first story I remember completing was a horror tale that was really about as amateur as they get, complete with creepy, unknown things going bump in the night, and the overused trope of the author (the story was told in first person point of view) continuing to write as the Horror Outta The Basement came to eat his ass–otherwise known as the Apocalyptic Log with the writing making sure everyone read The Last Entry.
At the time I thought I was doing something great, but now it’s not hard to see it was complete crap. I really had no idea what I was doing, and I was totally coping the style of a write whose work I enjoyed. All writers do this (well, almost all), and I learned from that work, because my next two were much better. The second story I wrote was done with original characters, and involved a trio of time travelers realizing the part they had to play in the assassination attempt on President Reagan in 1981. It was the first time I worked with original characters who weren’t just there as part of the scenery, and there was the first inkling of a story starting to play out. (True story: this was written as an assignment for an adult writing night course I was taking. The instructor had wanted something along the lines of four to five pages; I turned in twenty-eight. She made certain to tell the whole class that I’d actually turned in a story, which I found a little embarrassing.)
And my third story was really sort of a fan fiction, as it took place inside a role playing universe that I was running at the time–however, I used all original character (save for two who were really in a position to help drive the plot along), and there was an actual history developed in the course of telling this story, where I was giving background on some of the characters, and even giving them, in the course of the story, motivation for their actions. It was also my first really cinematic story, as I could see scenes playing out as if I was watching this play out on HBO–and given all the swearing and mayhem that occurred in the story, it would have been perfect for HBO before the coming of the show known as A Song of Breasts and Dragons.
The most important thing about the story, however, was the length: it was about forty-five thousand words, which means long before I wrote my first novel, this was my first novel, at least according to the guild lines set down by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America. And only a few friend ever heard the whole story: I never posted it on the Internet, I never tried to get it published because I know, as a derivative entity of an existing work with a legitimate copywrite, I couldn’t do anything with the story. I read it at writer’s meetings, and that was that.
None of these works exist any longer. They all resided on the hard drive an old computer that eventually went belly up, and were lost to history. I managed to find a hard copy of almost half of the third story about fifteen years ago (all these things were written in the late 1980s, early 1990s), but even that has vanished. I could, however, rewrite the third story if I had to, because even to this day I remember it well, because, really, you never forget your first.
Do you tend to write your stories in order or do you skip around?
And we finally come to the last question, and the crowd goes wild! Just kidding . . .
I write everything in order, and even I find that a bit strange, because as I have my stories laid out so well, it doesn’t make sense that I start at the beginning, work my way through the middle, and work towards the end, because if I know what’s going into a scene months before I get to it, why not write said scene? Writing software makes this possible, and with all my scenes for my last novel developed before setting down word one, then why not skip around? Why not write about what happened to Annie and Kerry in Kansas City long before they go to the Samhain Dance, or why not write the ending–which I knew before I started writing–and then get the kids together?
Because even though I know what’s going to happen before I get to those scenes, I don’t know what’s going to happen until I get there.
Allow me to explain.
When I laid out A For Advanced I knew the kids would go to Kansas City on a field op for the good guys. And, in a metadata view of the story, I knew certain things would happen there. What I didn’t know were the details, and I didn’t start working on those until I was about ready to write them. This was after I had months to think about that adventure, and even when I started writing, I only knew maybe six events in any kind of detail.
Annie and Kerry talking about France outside the school? Came to me that day before I wrote the scene. Same with the Dreamspace scene; had that idea the night before because I knew it made sense given what they knew. The CDC? Also figured out the day before I wrote the scene, based upon what I knew of the world I’d developed over the last year. And the Magic Show the kids gave in the park only came about due to knowing what they had already done magically, and want I wanted to bring up in a later scene.
In short, I couldn’t have written any of the Kansas City scenes without knowing what my kids had been through before getting there. I mean, I could have, but those scenes would have been completely different, and it’s very likely I may have needed to rewrite them completely to fit with what I’d written if I’d decided to work the whole field op out of order.
There are scenes I could write now for later novels because I know them well–and believe it when I say I would love to sometimes, just to write them out. But I would probably end up rewriting them later, and I hate to do that. It’s best to get to them in the right order so I know that my kids have advanced the way they’re supposed to advance.
Though if I did write out The Polar Express now it would answer one burning question . . .
Ummm, on second thought, I’ll just keep that information to myself for a few more years.
There you have it: twenty-five hundred words telling you a bit more about me as a writer. I hope you found it entertaining.
Because I remembered things that I thought I’d lost. And that’s a good thing.
After a slow start to the day I’ve come back to a point where I am actually thinking straight, almost like a real person. It’s wonderful that I’m not crashing out right about now.
Today I’m going to answer another reader’s question and this one is from Christy Birmingham, who I’ve followed for sometime as well. Her question is simple:
What are your top three reasons for using Scrivener?
That’s an interesting question, because I’m not certain I can answer it sufficiently. You see, there are so many different reasons why I use it, but let me see if I can break this down to something that makes sense.
One: I can organize everything from the shortest story to the longest novel however I like.
Let me show you a few things. First up is, believe it or not, the only real short story I’ve ever written, The Relocater, which clocks in at fifty-eight hundred words. I wrote it in September, 2013, over the course of five nights, just to prove to myself that I could write a short story.
There isn’t much to organize here, and Scrivener even has a short story template that allows you to just rip off some quick stories when you’re in the mood. In this case I wanted quick and dirty, and that’s what I got.
Now, here is the novel I’m currently editing, Kolor Ijo:
When I laid out this novel I’d used Scrivener for about fifteen months, so I had a better grasp of how I wanted to set up my novel. You can see that here I’m setting things up in parts, and that each text file is really a chapter. And since most are short and separated in action from each other, I can get away with having it neatly laid out this way.
Now, maybe you recognize this work . . .
This is, right here, the most advanced layout I’ve ever done, which is for, naturally, The Foundation Chronicles: A For Advanced. And I should mention that the layout I have today is not the one with which I started. When I began writing this in October, 2013, there were parts, there were chapters, there were scenes–but there were no acts. It was only after I was close to finishing what is now Act One that I realized this story was gonna be huge, and trying to release it as one large tome might not be a good idea. Therefore, I added the acts, began moving Parts into those Acts, and everything followed. And that’s one of the things I love about the program. However I want to set up my story, however I want to lay out my research, however I want to link to information from internal and external sources, I can. It’s all up to you. It’s even possible-though I haven’t tried it yet–to build your own template so these setups are available when you go to create a new project. Like I’ll need with I write that B Level novel.
Two: Write in one simple format, compile it into anything.
As a word processor Scrivener is simple: it’s just text files where you can set margins, font styles, and font sizes. You can so most everything that you can do in, say, MS Word, though for some functions you need to be hooked up to the Internet to get them to work, but who isn’t these days? (And those functions are really needed to get the story written–I know; I’ve done that.)
But where the program really shines is in the area of how your final product look. The Compile function is the formatting system of the program, and it makes it possible to just write lines of information in each text box, and by setting definitions in the Compile pop-up box, you can make the output look any way that makes you happy.
Most of the time I’ll compile into PDF format to look for errors and to send to beta readers, because you can’t change the stuff in that format–well, you can, but I have to trust my beta readers. When I’m ready to send something up for self-publishing, I’ll compile the document to a Word .doc and run it through various checks as it’s converted into an epublishing format–
Which Scrivener will actually do for you. .Epub and .Mobi are the two epiblishing formats supported by Scrivener, and if I remember correctly, Amazon will allow you to upload .mobi to Kindle Direct. And those options on the left of the popup window? Those are you selection and formatting options. It’s actually possible to take plain, unaltered text an set your margins, fonts, and sizes in there, and have a ball getting your final product ready for whatever you like. I haven’t explored all that because, well, it would take away from my writing.
And speaking of writing, the most important reason I use Scrivener:
Three: It keeps everything I need for the story right in front of me.
Scrivener is not a word processing program: it’s a project management program. That’s why, when you go to create something new, you’re not creating a story or a short or a novel, you’re creating a project. And into that project goes–
Here’s something I’ve not shown much: the research section for A For Advanced.
All that stuff on the left are things I slipped into the binder almost a year and a half ago, and some of the information I’ve kept updated, or even changed, as I went along with the story. After all, the Spell List was being updated and added to constantly, because I’d come up with new things as I wrote. But all the world building I did in October, 2013–it’s there. Everything. And up above I have information on students and who’s in every coven, and the levels and . . . you get the idea.
Now, in the picture above, there are four entries that look like little globes. Those are interactive webpages that you can set up inside the project–you know, some of those functions that you need an Internet connection for? Here’s what that looks like:
And the website is completely functional, so while I’m working on a scene, if I really needed to know the time for the train from Rockport–which, if you remember, is the end of the train line on Cape Ann and not that far from the school’s main gate–to Salem, it’s right here. That was why I set this page up: so I would have access to these schedules if they were needed. And they will be–maybe.
The great thing is when it comes time to set up a project for B For Bewitching, I have an option to import another Scrivener project, so I’ll just zip all of this into that new project, delete what I don’t need, and keep the rest. There you have it: all my research is available for the new novel, with a little fuss as possible.
That’s pretty much it: three main reasons why I use Scrivener. There are a lot more, but those three are the biggest reasons.
And with reasons like those, I don’t really need any others.
The last week I’ve really slowed down a bit on the writing–and yet, in a way, I haven’t. I didn’t do a lot of writing last night, for which I blame my energy levels being down, and Inherent the Wind and Forbidden Planet being on back-to-back, I was sort of pulled away from the novel. The funny thing, however, is that when I worked up what I wrote Sunday morning and added it to what I wrote Sunday Night, it’s came out to about twelve hundred words for the day. I’ve written more, but I’ll take twelve hundred a day.
I realized last night I’m fighting the of the novel. It’s one of those, “I don’t want to go moments,” and I’m working through it. The strange thing is when you’re tired you feel like everything you’re writing is drab, and I was getting that feeling last night. What I had to do to break out of that feeling was go back and read what I’d laid down in the morning, when I’d set down close to nine hundred words in about an hour and a half. It’s the same ebb and flow, and I knew it was the same thing, the same words, the same characters. And I felt more alive writing them twelve hours earlier than I had at night.
It’s funny how our minds work against us this way. I should go back and reread some of my older posts about getting to this point in a story, because I know I’ve been here before. I had a lot of problems writing the end of Suggestive Amusements because of what I had to do at the end of that story, and I just didn’t want to go there. It was hard, so hard to get that ending in place. Also Echoes. I cried pretty much through the last two pages of writing, because of what the characters meant to me, and the feeling behind the character.
Like a certain Doctor I don’t like to say goodbye. But I know I won’t be saying goodbye, really, to my kids, because there are more stories to tell. I just have to finish this novel, then edit a four hundred thousand word story in three parts, get three covers–four when I sell the “Big Book”–and get that done before I move on to B for Beginnings, the second–and I promise, shorter–novel. It’s a lot of work, and it’s on top of all the other things I have happening right now–
Like getting ready to come out at work next week.
This is the last Monday for the “Old Me” at work, and with the clothing in place–with a few bobbles here and there–I’m ready to go. It’s just getting to that point where I can blow this final week off and move one. The term “waiting for the other shoe to drop” has a different meaning for me right now, and I know I’m gonna be geared up come next Monday. And thinking about finishing this novel isn’t helping.
I will promise myself right now that I will finish the Invitation scene tonight. Once that’s finished, that’s really the penultimate “school event” and then it’s a goodbye to all the students and . . . then Annie and Kerry start the trip home. With a few stops along the way, but–
This is it. It’s the beginning of the summertime blues.