How Dark Was My Witch House

Mondays, and the living is easy.  Sort of.  Anyway you look at it we’re beginning a new week and we gotta get on the ground running.

The writing for yesterday went up over a thousand after the spurt I did last night.  I won’t say I’m back on track to do a thousand a night, but I’m learning to deal with distractions better and now that I have Dragon trained to do as I like it’s getting easier to write.  At least if I’m not fuzzy in the head, ’cause I still gotta talk out the whole story and when there’s nothing but cobwebs in the brain it’s not always easy.

I’m getting better, though.  And this week I only go out once after work.  So I got that going for me.

Now let us go to a Tuesday night in the middle of September.  It’s a few weeks into school and our C Levels are off doing things without each other.  The scene I’m working on now has Kerry in Advanced Transformation Magic, while this scene has Annie doing what she does when she’s not auditing Advanced Transformation Magic:  she’s hangin’ with Helena out at the scariest house on the grounds…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Despite the amount of time Annie spent in the Witch House, there was so much of it she’d never visited. Over the last two years they spent the majority of class time into rooms on the ground floor—the same as they were doing this year—and, of course, there was the work she did in the Black Vault and the two training rooms next to it.

There were also Helena’s two offices, the public one on the ground floor and secure one in the lower-level, but she didn’t view those in the same way she viewed the places where she attended class or studied. Any time spent in Helena’s offices usually revolve around Guardian business these days, and even during her A Levels the few times Kerry and she needed to speak with her in her office, it seemed to always be related to the Guardians.

Until now, however, Annie had never been up the stairs to the first floor. The first floor of the Witch House was a complete mystery: there was actually a blackout shield half way up the steps that prevented anyone from going further and effectively sealed off the floor completely. If anyone asked Helena about the first floor–something that happened a few times during their first year–she would simply stared the student for a few seconds before telling them in a dark, serious voice, that there were things students were not meant to know…

Tonight, however, things were different. Annie was about to discover things that other students were not meant to know—

Helena left a message telling her to report to the first floor of the Witch House.

 

Now, we’ve been out to the Witch House quite a few times, but we’ve never really been there.  Sort of like Memory’s End before Annie was taken up into the relaxation rooms on the first floor, right?  It’s a simple fact that nearly every building in the school is a lot bigger than they need to be, mostly due to expectations that by the 21st Century there’s be a lot more witches to school that reality has allowed.

Now, pay close attention, kids, ’cause within the next block of paragraphs the author needed to scramble her butt off–

 

As was normal after dinner, the Witch House was silent and mostly dark. It wasn’t simply due to the sun having set just before nineteen hour: the building was always dark. Annie suspected that there were a number of enchantments in place designed to make the building appears spooky as possible both inside and out, though given her level of magical sensitivity these days she assumed she would begin feeling the placement of those enchantments, but she didn’t. Then again, she never felt the effects of enchantments anywhere within The Pentagram, and she knew the coven towers and the Great Hall were filled with active enchantments, so she suspected this meant that with a greater ability to craft, one could produce enchantments that were nearly undetectable.

She figured that was the reason why no one could see the first floor of the Witch House, at least from the outside. For all of her A Levels Annie never question the fact that whenever she’d head into the lower levels that staircase was directly below one heading upwards, and yet there was never any appearance of a first floor when one stood outside the building. Yet, from the start of their B Levels and until today, Kerry and she could always sense the hidden first floor as they approach the Witch House and she suspected it had something to do with them spending the night in the Sea Sprite Inn, which also had a floor hidden from the Normal world.

They still couldn’t see this floor, but Annie surmised that being exposed to a hidden floor somehow triggered an awareness that allowed him to sense when one was present. It would also explain why none of the other sorcery students seem to mention anything about the “hidden floor” except in reference to the staircase: their awareness of the floor was nonexistent.

The last thing that disturbed Annie was not knowing how she would gain access to the first floor. She realized that Helena was inviting her up and her access was guaranteed, but Annie also understood that Helena wouldn’t leave the way to the first floor completely open as that would then allow any student who happened to wander into the Witch House at this time unfettered access. And if there was one thing Helena didn’t want, it was students wandering around the Witch House looking to get into things. As Annie understood it, it wasn’t that Helena was worried they would cause trouble, but more that she was worried they would stumble across something that could kill them.

 

Okay, facts on the table:  two of those paragraphs did not exist before six AM this morning.  Which ones?  The ones in the middle.  And here’s why:

As you know–or should know since I’ve spoken of it a few times–I modeled out the school and the buildings on the grounds so when I wrote about this place, I’d know how big buildings were, where they were located, and how far one was from the other.  This means I have a model of the Witch House that I can look at and get the layout and determine where classes are and how far down the lower levels are and the tunnels that enter there, as well as knowing how many floors there are above ground–

And where I run into a problem.

And where I run into a problem.

Looking at my model of the Witch House I realize the ground floor is nine feet and a few inches high–in other words, there’s but one floor and another which is really an attic.  So if Annie is being summoned to the first floor–

Image may contain: 1 person, standing and suit

Exactly, Doctor.

As a writer you have to come up with ways of fixing these things–usually called “mistakes” but in this case it’s a bit of a plot hole–and it came to me as I started reading this over and looking at the picture: I’ve already dealt with this issue when I had the kids stay on the “Foundation floor” at the Sea Sprite Inn.  And doing that seems to have made them aware–no pun intended–of a similar floor at the Witch House.

Now that we’ve established there is a first floor and Annie knows it’s there–

What happens next?

I, a Writer

It was a slow day at work yesterday, and I was able to roll back to the hotel where I dealt with the slow internet connection.  Really, it was driving me crazy, and at some point, right around nine PM, I finished editing Chapter Ten of Couples Dance–about sixty-three hundred words in one shot, because lack of distractions allow that to happen–then watched a little of Godfather II before calling it a night.

Exciting times, huh?

There was a link floating about on Facebook yesterday, a Buzzfeed list with the title, “20 Signs That You’re a Writer”.  It had some humorous points–after all, Buzzfeed is The Onion for the Tumblr crowd–and there was even one point that made me nod my head and say, “Yeah, done that.”

There was, however, one important sign they left out that should be addressed.  Since I was thinking about this a bit last night–yes, I do this, even when watching TV, because that’s what writers do–I figured I’d say a few thing and likely suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune–which would be nice, ’cause then I could pay my bills.

Most of the stuff on the list is pretty nonsensical.  It’s meant to be, because it’s hitting all the points of every stereotype writers have.  They drive people crazy talking about their stories, they love their characters way too much, they drink gallons of coffee, they are some kind of strange to keep looking up baby names and figuring out how to kill people.  Some do–the majority of professional writers likely know this not to be true.  While I have looked up names on baby name sites–I’ve even linked to a few of them in the past–the idea that someone is looking at my computer history and figures I’m pregnant because of that?  Don’t think so.  And finding interesting ways to kill someone?  I don’t write mystery, so a bullet through the eye does fine with me.  Besides, I’m more about doing something really terrible to someone and letting them live–just ask the character in Chapter Nine who had something horrible happen to them.  If they were real, they’d have wanted to die.

Writers really aren’t that strange.  Yes, there are your drunks and substance abusers within the community, but that seems to go hand-in-hand with people who manage any kind of creativity.  I’ve had a few issues in the past, though they were brought out more by having a history of alcoholics on both sides of my family, and having my own problems being bi-polar, and less from I was writing–because I wasn’t writing, I was trying to survive.  But so many writers are like the nice uncle next door who smiles and waves at you while they’re watering their lawn.  Robert Bloch wrote Psycho, and was by all accounts a soft spoken, gentle man.  Ray Bradbury wrote incredible fantasy, hated to fly, but was a kind person.  Agatha Christie was suppose to be nice, except for when she was being chased by giant wasps . . .

The idea of a writer as “strange” is, in of itself, bad.  To many they may seem that way, because non-creative types really don’t understand the creative mind.  I don’t label myself as such, and would hope that other writers don’t as well.  There’s nothing good that comes from being seen as “strange” to others.  Trust me on that.

There is only one point to consider when you’re looking for signs that you’re a writer:

You write.

That’s it, that’s all there is when it comes to the secret.  Do you write?  Or do you spend all your time procrastinating and talking about your writer’s block and joneing for coffee?  Do you work hard at your craft learning to grow, or are you a vampire?

And for the record, I didn’t think I’d become famous until after the first hundred thousand words of my Great Never Ending Novel was written.  After that I was like, “Yeah, I’ll sell this and it’s Top of the World!”

That was twenty years ago.  No fame and glory, nope.  I wasn’t a writer then–

I finished that story last year, though.

Because I am a writer today.

Bridging Night Witches

Crazy night, let me tell you.  Went out, visited with a friend, watched TV, drove home under a clear, moonless night, then headed off to bed–

That’s where the craziness became epic.

Sleep alternated between laying in bed, tossing and turning, loving the cool air, and having some incredibly vivid dreams.  Of late my dreams have become brighter, more detailed, and filled with some low level insanity.  Here is a prime example:  I seemed to be in Asia, probably China, because most of the buildings I walked through with others looked like something right out of Kowloon Gate.  Having spent some time in China, I have some familiarity with the architecture of a few of the older buildings.

But I was surrounded by Japanese women.  I know how Japanese sounds, and whenever a woman came up to me, she was speaking Japanese.  Most of them were cursing me, for some reason:  one accused me of stealing her purse, which I didn’t, because the item she picked out was filled with pictures of me posing with other women.  I finally told her–well, the Japanese is, “Kusokurae!”  Look it up.

I was also there to check out all the long bridges.  I mean, huge suckers:  we’re talking miles-long suspension spans, much along the lines of the Gibraltar Bridge as described in The Fountains of Paradise.  It was like there was a huge display of them, where I could stand upon a beach and see them all at once.  Nice trick, since they were suppose to be all over the world.

Oh, and lastly–actually, it happened before my trip to the Land of Cussing Japanese Women and Bridge Viewing–I had lesbian sex with Hermione Granger.  She even brought me a wand and a pointy hat, and combed my long, ginger hair–which she loved, by the way–before we headed off to bed.  That was nice of her, don’t you think?

It’s been like this for a few weeks now, the return of the vivid dreaming, but it seems that I’m getting more and more interesting vision during the weekend.  I’m not complaining:  in fact, I find them extremely interesting.  There is something going on, I know this.  Perhaps my mind is finally breaking free from the stress I suffered throughout the summer, and it’s channeling a lot of suppressed ideas out of the basement of my mind.

Or it could be my Muse taking over, once more asserting her authority over my imagination.  The Hermione thing–yeah, that kind of sounds like her.  Sort of.  When I think about it, however, I think she’d be a little jealous, ’cause she doesn’t like to share . . .

Or it could be the chili dogs and coffee I’d had a few hours before.  That’s as good an explanation as any, right?

Having taken some time off from original writing–save the new chapter I wrote for my story Replacements this morning–it could be my imagination is feeling like it’s being ignored, and it’s coming on to me in my dreams, showing me what I should be doing, and not what I am doing.

Though I don’t think a Hermione Granger fan fic is in my future.

The hat was nice, though.  She probably wanted me to have it for my Halloween story . . .