Conversations in the Bay Redux

Writing happened again, but so did research, which is just a valuable a component to writing as, well, writing.  Now, I research a lot of different things, but as any of you know who follow this blog–and this ongoing novel–one of the things I love to look up is weather.  Because while this is a magical world in which my kids live, it’s also part of the real world, and sometime I’m a bit of a butt about keeping some events real.

So for the first chapter of Part Five I spent a good chunk of the evening–well, maybe forty minutes–looking up weather conditions for certain parts of Eastern Seaboard while keeping The Beach Boys’ Kokomo on repeat because that’s how I roll.  And what did I discover?

Someone's gonna be cold when they're camping out.

Someone’s gonna be cold when they’re camping out.

That’s the camp site that’ll be used in my Salem Overnight chapter.  And not only will it be cold, but it’s gonna be dark:  sunset at 3:51 PM but the chapter takes place at 8:00 PM.  Yozza.  Actually, most of the flight will take place at night, which is why there are experienced fliers leading the pack.  Hey, no one said you get to set up your tent in bright daylight, and do you know how fast it gets dark in Northern Canada?

But what about the writing, Cassidy?  Well, I did that as well.  I finished the scene and then did my research.  Really simple, yeah?  And here is the simple:  what happened in Bay #1 after my little cliffhanger yesterday.

 

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

Annie watched carefully from her bed, the covers pulled nearly to her neck. Kerry said nothing for almost a minute, and she thought that perhaps he had only spoken in his sleep. As she started to close her eyes he spoke again in the same, sleepy voice. “No, I don’t want to . . . Just go away; stop following me.” He slowly sighed as the air leaked from his lung, then shook his head quickly. “I don’t know you. Why do you keep asking?”

She pulled back the covers and sat up slowly. He’s not talking in his sleep—he’s dreaming. She swung her legs over the edge and eased her feet into her slipper. It’s the same thing that happened on the flight from Berlin . . .

Annie was standing next to his bed in three short steps. Like last year there was just enough light that she could make out his facial features, and she saw his cheeks and the corner of his mouth twitching while his eyes moved beneath his eyelids. What is he seeing? She touched his hand, wondering if he’d feel her hand against his. Who is he seeing?

Kerry’s breath hitched again: once, twice, then on the time he moaned—not softly, but in a normal voice. “No, I don’t want . . . I don’t want to see that. No—” He turned his head to the right, slightly wincing. “I know what that means—I know, I know . . .” His breath turned to a slight wheeze as he returned to mumbling. “Go away, please. Just go away—” Annie flinched as he screamed. “Go away.”

She couldn’t take any more. Annie squeezed his hand as she leaned close enough that she expected he could hear her whisper. “Kerry. Kerry, darling.” She lightly shook his shoulder. “Wake up. Wake up.”

Kerry’s eyes were open instantly. His vision shifted left and right before he settled on Annie. “Sweetie—” His voice was soft and still possessed a dreamy quality. “What time is class?”

She nearly snorted. I’m not certain he is fully awake— “You were dreaming, my love.”

“I was dreaming.”

“Yes, you were. You were speaking to someone.” She touched his cheek. “Are you all right?”

Kerry seemed to see through Annie. “Should I get up? I have practice in the morning.”

Annie couldn’t help but chuckle softly. “You’re grounded for the week, love.” She touched him on the tip of his nose. “Flying is what got you here.”

He stared vacantly for a few seconds then yawned slowly. “We can go flying this weekend.” His eyes fluttered as his speech grew more slurred. “I was dreaming . . .” Kerry’s eyes closed and a matter of seconds later his slow, measured breath indicated he’d fallen back into deep sleep.

Annie watched him sleep for almost a minutes before she was convinced he wasn’t waking up any time soon. She didn’t know what to make of what she’d just seen: the last time Kerry was disturbed by a dream in this bay, he’d awakened in a state of extreme distress and she’d soothed him back to normalcy.

But that was a far different situation. She gazed down upon his soft, relaxed features. Then he’d faced death for the first time, and the pain and medication began breaking down a barrier of his own makings that affected his subconscious memories and emotions

She kissed the fingers of her right hand and touched them to Kerry’s lips. “Spete dobre, moeto momche dzhindzhifil kosa.” She quickly leaned down and kissed them. “Obicham te mila moya.”

Annie returned to her own bed and was soon under the covers, snug and warm. As her consciousness began to ebb, she focused on her soul mate beside her. I wonder if he’s going to remember his dream this time . . .

Doesn’t get much more simple than that.  Kerry dreams, Annie wakes him up, he is out of it, and they both go back to sleep.  Not a very long scene, but it’s about the same length as the prior scene.  So I have a feeling that this chapter won’t end up being too wordy.

However, I did a little more research, and discovered that last night Act Two passed the novel tipping point:  just over forty thousand words were reached.  Need proof?

Not really, but I'm going to show you anyway.

Not really, but I’m going to show you anyway.

I’m just half way through the penultimate scene, and there’s maybe–hum?  Another ten thousand words to write?  Needless to say, Act Two is gonna be big.  And as I did further checking, Act One clocked in at eighty-one thousand, four hundred words, so this part is half as long as the first act.  And there are, let me see . . . yeah, three parts to go.  Big Act.

Don’t worry:  I think I can top it.

Hot and Cold Awakenings

I’m back on schedule, more or less.  Got home tired, almost feel asleep in my chair, and did my last Human recap, then I started on the story.  And it didn’t start out the way I expected . . .

Originally this scene, titled Tied at One, was supposed to take place in the afternoon, after lunch and before racing started.  24 November, 2012, is the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend in the US, otherwise why would the scene before happen on Black Friday?  But, you know, books aren’t written in stone, at least not any more, so you can change things around as they suit you.  And the way I started seeing this scene play out, I felt it was more of a breakfast scene than something after lunch.  More of a “Kerry is awake but crabby” scene, which is something started in the first couple of paragraphs.

With that in mind I started, and right away I knew where I was going . . .

 

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

“So what it is we’re having for breakfast?” Walking towards the Great Hall Kerry tried to keep his mind off the fact that right now, at seven in the morning, it was as warm as it was going to get. It was eight Celsius at the moment, and by race time it was going to be about a degree cooler and a whole lot windier. It didn’t help that he’d been sore throughout most of the Friday Midnight Madness, due to having flown over eight hundred kilometers during the Black Friday Scavenger Flight, and that he hadn’t slept well.

Now he was trying to remember the name of the dish she’d planed for them this morning, and failing miserably . . .

“It’s mekitsa.” Annie looped her arm through Kerry’s and hugged it tight to her body. “It’s deep fried dough made with eggs, flour, and yogurt. We’ll have ours with feta cheese, since we both like that.”

“Uh, huh. And this drink—?”

“Ayran. It’s cold yogurt mixed with salt.” She scrunched her shouldered as she thought of the culinary treats. “The last time I had a breakfast like this was the morning I left for Berlin.”

“Why haven’t you had it since?”

“It’s a bit different than princesses or banitsa, and I was concerned you might not enjoy this.”

Kerry pressed against Annie as they walked, smiling for the first time. “How long have I known you?”

She looked upward as if she were deep in thought. “All my life.”

“Mine, too. Have I ever not wanted to try something you’ve recommended?”

This time Annie did consider the question. “Hum . . . no. Everything I’ve ever recommended you’ve not only tried, but liked.”

He nodded. “Which reminds me, I’d love some teshko—”

“Teleshko vareno.” She began laughing at Kerry’s mispronunciation of the Bulgarian beef soup. “I know: it’s going to be chilly today, and a few bowls of that will be perfect. Maybe a large one at dinner—” She snuggled closer and kissed his check. “—another during the Midnight Madness. I can ask Una if they can start a pot this afternoon.”

“Just the think to take off the creeping winter chill.” He waved open the heavy West Entrance door. “After you, Darling.”

“Thank you, my love.” She giggled as she walked through the open passage. Ever since their garden discussion after the Samhain Dance, Kerry had taken to calling her “Sweetie” less and “Darling” more. She loved both sobriquets, but darling touched her more. He’s saying it to be cute, but— She waited for Kerry to join her inside the West Transept as the heavy door swung shut behind him. I can also hear his affection buried inside the word. It means so much to hear him express his love this way

“What are you thinking?” He swooped up behind her and cradled her in his arms.

She leaned back into him, thankful they were standing near one of the walls. “That you’re becoming as Bulgarian as me. You’re learning the language, your love our food—”

“Love certain girls from there.” He hugged her tight and kissed her.

Annie chuckled. “You most certainly do.” She slipped out of his grasp. “Come, my love—” She pulled him towards the Rotunda. “Breakfast awaits.”

 

Yes, the way to a boy’s heart–if you haven’t already gotten it–is to feed him Bulgarian cuisine.  It’s a good thing Annie’s Bulgarian, huh?  And what are these dishes?

First mekitsa.  It’s like Annie said:  it’s deep fried dough made with eggs, flour, and yogurt.  You put a rising agent in the dough, and as it rises you pluck off balls of it, flatten, and throw it in a fryer.  Then you serve it with jam or feta cheese, and you can even use a little powdered sugar on them as well.

Just like this.  Yummy.

Just like this. Yummy.

Ayran is also like Annie said:  a cold yogurt drink made by mixing it with water.  Some say it’s really nothing more than diluted yogurt, but it’s supposed to be cooling and refreshing.   It’s hugely popular in Turkey, but you can find it in Bulgaria as well.

You can see Annie chugging this down while sitting on the deck of her lake house.

You can see Annie chugging this down while sitting on the deck of her lake house.

This last dish mentioned, teleshko vareno.  It’s a beef soup that’s done up either in a pressure cooker or cooked slow for a long time, because the meat used is usually a shank, and you have to cook the hell out of it to get it nice and tender.  By cooking it for hours in a large pot you get all the right spices into the meat and the good smells throughout the house, and it’ll be nice and flavorful, just like with ox tail soup, which I’ve had and love.

Just the sort of thing you'd want on a chilly, windy day.

Just the sort of thing you’d want on a chilly, windy day.

One could say that the reason Annie’s getting Kerry accustomed to all this Bulgarian cuisine is because it’s what she knows, and what she’ll probably cook.  And if she’s going to cook this for him, it means Annie’s thinking long range–

Like, oh, a hundred years down the road.

But there’s gotta be more to this scene than Bulgarian delicacies, yeah?  Well, of course there is–

And it’s about to change tonight.

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.

Tilting My Horizons

With all the writing I’ve been doing of last–believe it or not, about three thousand words yesterday–I haven’t had a chance to talk about something I’ve started playing with.  But if you have Goggle Earth on your computer–which is something that comes with Maps and requires a newer computer–then you’re in for a treat.  Because now, you can feel like you’re flying over cities, hills, and plains.

I discovered this one day while fooling around with images, and I saw one of the icons in the lower right that, when I hovered over it, said “Tilt the View.”  Being curious I clicked it and saw that, yes, the view did tilt, making the scene look as if I were approaching the area from the air.  I figured I’d return things to the “flat” view and clicked it again . . . and everything flattened out more.  Whereas the first view made it look as if I was pretty much overhead, this new view shows me everything as if I were sitting several hundred feet in the air and seeing everything all the way to the fuzzy horizon.

You know where I started going with this, don’t you?

When I started putting together Emma’s and Kerry’s Scavenger Flight, I started looking at the sights as they may see them.  Now, this kind of viewing isn’t perfect:  the computer is trying to render a stereo-graphic image of a satellite picture, and sometimes the scenes look as if they came right out of The Lawnmower Man.  Other times it looks pretty great, and there are some images that are pretty damn spot on.  But if you’re a writers, and you want to get an idea of what a particular area of the world looks like, and you want to see the area in a way that you can reimage your own way on the printed page, then this is a fun tool to use.

For example, this is what I see when I’m over Cape Ann looking west:

You can't see the school--only I can see it because magical.

You can’t see the school–only I can see it because magical.

Even if there were buildings there, most of what you’d see are trees.  We’re directly over Selena’s Meadow here, and you would see the Areodrome, the west wall, Sunset Tower, maybe a few other things, but that would be here.  That brown section of trees in the middle of the picture?  That’s where Emma and Kerry had to hide out during the Day of the Dead, and where Annie asked Kerry to be her Dark Witch.  Now you know.

Thirty clicks to the east you find the Danvers Apartments, site of the original insane asylum:

Looking just a touch Lovecraftian here--must be the non-Euclidean geometry.

Looking just a touch Lovecraftian here–must be the non-Euclidean geometry.

And way off to the west and southwest, the Connecticut capitol building in Hartford.

Pretty much see at the angle Emma and Kerry would see.

Pretty much see at the angle Emma and Kerry would see, though they would be closer.

You can actually hold down the left mouse button and move the image around a little, but if you hold down the shift and the left mouse button, you and start tilting and rotating the scene to get the best view.  Doing that helps you get things to look as you would like them to look.

South of Hartford we have the Port of New Haven, which Team Myfanwy had to visit–

As it would have looked while they approached from the north on their way to Long Island, just across the sound.

As it would have looked while they approached from the north on their way to Long Island, just across the sound.

And then, finally, their trip into Queens.

Ballpark, World's Fair site, Unisphere . . . and keep an eye out for aircraft landing or taking off.

Ballpark, World’s Fair site, Unisphere . . . and keep an eye out for aircraft landing or taking off.

On their way out of New York they’d head east again, down Long Island, and all the way to Montauk Point and the lighthouse:

Where, if they come in over the south shore, they'll see the cliffs there.

Where, if they come in over the south shore, they’ll see the cliffs there.

Now, that radar dish on the left of the above image:  that’s Camp Hero, a holdover from Cold War better known as the Montauk Air Force Station.  At one time there was a hidden coastal battery here that was kept ready in case the Russians decided to invade New York City, and once they came this way their ships would get blasted.  Or if there were aircraft, that radar would discover them and rat their commie asses out.  The radar is the only one of its kind in the world, and you can actually walk around it, though it’s behind a big fence designed to keep people out.  There are rumors–otherwise known as crazy ass conspiracy theories–that say all sorts of strange stuff happened out here, including mind control, time travel, teleportation, and contact with aliens.  Maybe The Foundation knows something about this . . .

While I was at it I looked up a couple of locations that made it into the last book.  Like a certain pedestrian bridge in Kansas City:

The Deconstructors must be making things look so strange.

The Deconstructors must be making things look so strange.

The Foundation hospital where Annie and Kerry were sent after the Battle of Link Bridge, otherwise known as the Center for Disease Control:

And not a zombie in sight.

And not a zombie in sight.

And, lastly, the take-off point for the Mile High Flight, Mount Katahdin.

That lower "Mt." label is just about in the spot from where they departed.

That lower “Mt.” label is just about in the spot from where they departed.

And, just for laughs, I included this:

Because airports in the middle of the desert are so interesting.

Because airports in the middle of the desert are so interesting.

You may ask, “Cassie, what’s this?” and the answer is, it’s Groom Lake Test Facility, but you know it better as Area 51.  Why would I include this, because it’s not been mentioned.  Could it be because it may get mentioned?

You be the judge of that.

Return to the Valley of Ashes

Yeah, so, the Planet of the Apes series is a good one to rip-off for titles, and that’s what I’m doing here.  Which means, if you’re paying attention, there will be other posts like this to follow.  Because series, oh yeah.  Hey, maybe I should do that with this novel . . . oh, wait–

Last night the computer was better, but I was being bothered by some wanker trying to catfish me into believing he was some guy from Kansas City.  Ha ha!  One, you’ve seen my maps:  I know my way around the world.  And, two:  Kansas City?  I wrote about a fight there.  Bye, Felicia!  You just wasted a bunch of my time.

Still, I wrote seven hundred thirty words on top of being able to look up stuff along the way.  So a much better time of things on the writing side, which makes for a happy lady writer.

And speaking of writing, let’s see what my kids are up to now.

 

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

They walked slowly down the Avenue of Commerce, one of the former walkway of the 1964 World’s Fair, now just another wide path leading to Universe Court and the Pool of Industry. Kerry took in everything, trying to imagine what this area looked like almost fifty years before. “I don’t think my mom was even alive when the fair was here.”

“My mom wasn’t, I know that: she’s just turned thirty-nine.” Emma stated down the lane towards three people in the distance. “Aren’t we gonna look a little out of place here?”

“In New York City?” He snorted. “Naw, they’ll just think we’re school kids staying away from the shopping centers.”

She chuckled. “Guess that’s why we’re out on Black Friday.”

“Probably.” During the pilot’s briefing Vicky had explained that sending her class out on the day after Thanksgiving—the infamous “Black Friday” shopping day throughout America—would likely make it easier for everyone to touch down at one or two locations and not worry about drawing too much notice. Kerry saw that was true here: while the park wasn’t completely empty, he would have expected there to be a lot more people here on a normal Friday close to noon. Everyone’s off buying stuff; they haven’t got time to notice a couple of kids dressed like they’re getting ready to take off from LaGuardia in a DC-3.

 

LaGuardia, by the way, is just down the road from where my kids are.  Back when I used to watch baseball, whenever Chicago would play the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, you could hear planes taking off every so often as they were right under the flight path.

But now you know the date:  it’s Black Friday, 2012, which means it’s 23 November, just a week and a half after Annie’s fight–I’m really gonna need to start putting these dates in the novel chapters.  And now you know something else about Emma:  the age of her mother.  We also know Kerry’s mother wasn’t alive in 1964–or so he believes.  Is he right?

You should have known I'd have a list somewhere.

You should have known I’d have a list somewhere.

Yes, this was created before the first novel, so I’d have a reference for ages.  Now that it’s 2012 I should update this, right?  And if you want something a little freaky, Kerry’s “I had the sex talk” argument with his family happened the day after his mother turned forty-one, so she likely wasn’t in the best of moods when they got into things.  Then again, when it comes to her strange son–who she thinks may or may not have a girlfriend–her mood is usually set at one level.

Now that we have that crap out of the way . . .

 

Emma stopped and turned to her left, gazing across the huge, still Pool of Industry. “Too bad that thing isn’t here—” She turned completely around and pointed at the the reason they were here. “We should have landed closer.”

“That was your call—pilot.” Kerry smiled and tapped her on the shoulder. “It ain’t that far to walk.”

“Naw, it isn’t.” She stuffed her hands into the jacket’s pockets. “What’s this thing called again?”

“The Unisphere.” They began walking at a leisurely pace down the Herbert Hover Promenade. “It sits where the Perisphere was located during the 1939 World’s Fair.” He gave Emma a slight grin. “You’ve seen it before—”

“I have?”

“Yeah.” Kerry mimed holding something large in both hands. “Step away from your busted ass vehicle and put your hands on your head.”

 

See?  I told you he’d say it.  Did Harry Potter ever quote Will Smith?  Ah, hell no!  None of those kids ever did stuff like that because it seems like witches and wizards–even the one’s from non-witching families–ever watched the telly or went to movies.  Or listened to music.  I’m sure Ron’s dad is all like, “What’s a tablet?  Those are from Egypt, right?”  Le sigh . . .

Anyway, Kerry’s a fan of, at least, the first Men in Black movie, and has probably even read the original comic by Lowell Cunningham on the down low, because those suckers are hard to find.  These days he can probably buy mint condition issues right outta The Foundation Pond and read them in his room whenever he likes, or whenever he’s not putting on another public display of affection with his Bulgarian Buttercup.

Did he impress Emma with his knowledge?  Er . . .

 

She rolled her eyes. “Oh, jeez—yeah. That was here?”

“Yeah. With a little help from special effects.”

“Of course.” Emma shook her head. “How do you know all this stuff?”

 

So, not impressed.  At least Annie would have smiled, Emma.  You got a way to go if you wanna be a Soul Mate stealing girl . . .

What’s Kerry’s comeback?

 

“I’m the navigator on this scavenger flight.” He tugged on his open jacket lapels. “It’s my job to know this stuff.” He stared into the tree line to his left, wondering if it was due to his knowing a lot of strange fact that he was now nearly three hundred and fifty kilometers from the school . . .

Today was the famous Black Friday Scavenger Flight, when the wing teams of Advance Flight One were given a list of landmarks to locate, required to plot a course to each of them, and then set out on the day after American Thanksgiving to return with photographic evidence that they’d reached each location. It didn’t matter that the flight data from each Class 1 PAV would end up downloaded and examined: Vicky enjoyed having the teams show their photos in the very next class.

The flight teams gathered for a breakfast at seven, set up in the Dining Hall away from the rest of the students. They were given sealed packages that contained a lists of the sites each team would visit, and the teams were then to return to the Flight School and spend an hour developing their flight plans. The plans were then submitted and the flight were expected to be airborne by nine.

Kerry had no idea what lists of landmarks the other teams received, but he was greatly surprised by the Emma and he received. With the exception of the first landmark—the former site of the Danvers Asylum, where now stood apartments and was only twenty-eight kilometers from the school—all of theirs were located far on the other side of Boston, and just more than half were located in states other than Massachusetts. There were nine landmarks on their visit: their current location—the Unisphere, located on the former site of the 1964 World’s Fair in the Queens, New York City—was the sixth, and Kerry expected this would be the one place for the gathering of excellent photographic evidence.

 

So now you know what all this flying around is for:  it’s the Black Friday Scavenger Flight.  That explains that huge map that popped up yesterday showing the route Emma and Kerry were on, and now, it would seem, they are about two-thirds of the way through their list.  And the first item on their list is exactly where Kerry said it is–

Because maps, yo.

Because maps, yo.

Danvers Asylum was actually known as the Danvers State Hospital, thought most people at the time knew of it as The Danvers State Insane Asylum.  It opened in 1878, and it wasn’t the place you wanted to get sent if you had “problems”, because when you think about horrible mental hospitals where patients are neglected and more or less tortured by sadistic orderlies and doctors, Danvers was the poster child for that shit.  The place was designed to house four hundred and fifty patients:  usually there were about two thousand there, and in 1939 the population was two thousand, three hundred and sixty.  That was also the year two hundred and seventy-eight patients died, because, well, yeah, evil place.  Oh, yeah:  it was also where, supposedly, the lobotomy was invented.

Totally evil.

Just look at the place.  Totally evil, I tell you.

The joint is believed to have served as the inspiration for H. P. Lovecraft’s Arkham Sanatorium, which appeared in the story The Thing on the Doorstep was mentioned in the stories Pickman’s Model and The Shadow over Innsmouth.  And if we want to trip down the rabbit hole just a little deeper, Arkham Sanatorium served as the inspiration for Arkham Asylum, the place outside Gotham City where Batman dumps all the insane criminals who seem to come and go as they please while those arrested for lesser crimes are executed–no, really.  Tough place, Gotham.

What happened to it?  Cuts to the state budget eventually led to the closure of the hospital, and for a long time it remained abandoned, which meant it was the perfect place for people to go looking for ghosts–

Just the place to take a witch for a late-night renduvous.

Just the place to take a witch for a late-night rendezvous.

But it was demolished and turned into, as Kerry said, apartments–

"Look, honey:  we can get a two-bedroom right over the location where they used to stave people to death."

“Look, honey: we can get a two-bedroom right over the location where they used to stave people to death.”

And if you believe that living here wouldn’t be the best of ideas, look up some reviews for Halstead Danvers Apartments and read the reviews; it’s just about what you’d expect from living on a site that’s just one step removed from camping out in a cemetery.

And one last bit of trivia.  Before the town became known as Danvers, it went by another name:  Salem Village.  You’re welcome.

Come for the overpriced living, stay for the insanity.

Come for the overpriced living, stay for the insanity.

Actually, the town of Gloucester, which is just to the south of the school, was the original location of the town that eventually became Salem.  The settlement began in 1623, but was abandoned three years later because of the harsh environment.  Say, you don’t think any witches has something to do with that, do you?

I’m going to be on the road today, but I should be back this evening to answer your probing questions, and maybe get a little more writing in.  ‘Cause, with Emma alone in New York City with Kerry, something’s bound to happen–

Right?

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.