Significant Significances

Far better mood I have this morning, thank you.  Yesterday was all about getting stressed out at work, then getting away, getting something to eat, coming home and trying not to lost my emotions.  Okay, didn’t quite make that last one, but everything else happened, and with gusto, as the old beer ads used to say.

It’s life.  Move on.

Things are downright cozy back at the coven tower, though it’s not quite as alone here as it was in the last scene . . .

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

For most of the night they sat before the fire, talking, listening to whatever played on Kerry’s computer, and watching students return to the coven. About twenty-one the last of the coven’s students arrived—D Level Darius Roy and A Level Nancy Piugattuk from Canada, and A Levels Huwey Juanico from the island of Guadeloupe and Menan Torres from Paraguay. Darius waved to his fellow racers as he headed for the stairs—the first time Annie could remember him doing anything that looked outwardly friendly—while the three A Levels sat off to one side of the ground floor for about fifteen minutes chatting. Before heading to their floor they came over to introduce themselves, hoping they weren’t “breaking the fishbowl” by speaking to upper levelmates. Everyone welcomed their warmly, and Kerry told them that this time late year Annie and he were living on their floor, and that while he couldn’t speak for all the students in the coven, those on the second floor were “pretty cool”.

Annie couldn’t keep the smile off here face, even after the A Levels went to their rooms. As much contact as they’d had with upper levelmates during the last year, they’d yet to have contact with the A Levels in their own coven, and she liked how Kerry made them feel welcome. A year ago at this time her moyata polovinka was a quiet bundle of nerves and unhappiness: now he was comfortable with both school, friend, and most of all, his soul mate. She also, in that moment, realized they would be the ones welcoming the new B Levels to the second floor . . .

Since this is the first time we’ve really seen the new students at Cernunnos, and like a lot of other towers the students are from all over the place.  Kerry and Annie, as pointed out, had little access to the upper levels of their own towers:  all of the older students they met came from the other four.  Here now, however, The Party of Five–well, Six for the moment–are taking time to say hi and make the new kid feel welcome.  This is something that’ll get touched on much later in the novel, but for now, it looks as if all the young witches have come home to roost.

Some, however, need to visit other parts of the school first–

As the time neared twenty-two Alex and Kahoku left; he was tired and want to get to sleep, and she wanted to bid him a good night. In the aftermath of their departure the remaining couples grew quiet as they listened to music. Penny and Jairo moved to the floor in front of the fireplace and cuddled, while Kerry lay back against the sofa arm while Annie lay back against him. There wasn’t a need for conversation: both couples wanted to reacquaint themselves with each other. Annie paid no attention to what her floor mates were doing: it was a habit she’d immediately picked up once they began attending the Midnight Madness. It was an unspoken rule that as long as you didn’t stare at others, they wouldn’t stare back.

And Annie was well aware Kerry and she did enough to warrant stares from others.

Alex returned a half-hour after leaving. Penny turned around to greet her, with Jairo taking his time moving around. “You give Kaho some good night snuggles?”

“I gave him more than snuggles.” Alex slid over the arm of the love seat where her levelmates had sat most of the evening. “I so missed him.”

“I know that feeling.” Annie pulled Kerry’s arms around her before adjusting the covers over her legs.

“I checked the status board in the Atrium on the way back—” Alex swung one leg over the love seat arm. “Only about half the instructors and staff are here.” She intertwined her fingers and cracked her knuckled. “Only three of the coven leaders, too.”

Kerry rested his chin against Annie’s shoulder. “Which ones?”

“Arrakis, Salden, and Palmescoff.” Alex snorted. “I met Palmescoff on the way over to Blodeuwedd; she was on her way to the Instructor’s Residence.”

“What was she doing?” Jairo snorted before asking the followup. “Checking on her students?”

“Probably. Don’t know. I didn’t go inside.” The blond Ukrainian girl wiggled her eyebrows. “We didn’t go right to his tower, if you know what I mean.”

Penny chuckled. “No need to elaborate.” She stood and helped Jairo to his feet. “And speaking of good nights, we’re heading up to the second for a few of our own.”

“Sounds like a good idea.” Alex was on her feet before she turned to the couple on the sofa. “You guys coming?”

“We’re going to stay up a bit longer.” Annie turned slightly so she rested on her side against Kerry. “We still have catching up to do.”

Yes, Annie and Kerry have “catching up to do”.  I guess that’s what kids there are gonna call it, right?  But we do get to see that the Lovey Dovey couple aren’t the only ones who do the snogging thing.  And Alex didn’t take her boyfriend right home?  Whatever could she mean?

So lets sorta bring the lights down a little on this party . . .

Penny was about to say something when Alex tapped her arm. “Come on; let the lyubyty ptakhiv have their privacy.”

“Yeah.” Penny gave them a wave. “See you guys in the morning.”

Jairo nodded. “See you later.”

Kerry gave them a short wave. “Mañana, guys.”

Annie did the same. “Have a good night.”

Alex was the last to leave. “Don’t stay up too late.” She chuckled as she bounded up the stairs after her friends.

It wasn’t until their friends were out of sight that Annie stretched out and relaxed. “Alone at last.”

“And I think completely this time.” He slid down slightly so he could rest his head. “We got the whole commons to ourselves.”

“Which mean we should make good use of the space—” Annie rolled around and gave Kerry a short kiss. “I missed you so much, my love.”

First comes the missing, then come the kissing, and then comes the . . . magic?

First comes the missing, then come the kissing, and then comes the . . . magic?

The scene isn’t quite over, and it’ll lead directly into two scenes that comes pretty much back-to-back to each other.  But I have to end this on off first, and that may happen tonight, as there is a bunch of stuff I should do tonight, but that I may put off until tomorrow–

We’ll see–won’t we, Scarlett?

All Accounted For

A long, somewhat useless weekend, and now it’s back to the grind and the start of June, which means it feels like I didn’t do a lot, and compared to some weekends, I didn’t.  But, strangely, I got a lot done.

I did spend several hours getting my coven numbers and attendance in order, because I’m strange that way.  It wasn’t enough to make sure I had the right numbers in each tower, but I did a bit of cross-checking to make certain I had the right numbers in each level.  Remember how I said I like to keep my books balanced?  Yeah, that’s what I was doing, making sure I didn’t have an extra slip in there somewhere.

Once I knew my numbers were right, it was a matter of finding each of my students a home, and then giving them a name.  Both those are somewhat daunting tasks, because you have to find something legitimate for each country.  You start roaming all over the world and before you know it, your wandering eyes finds strange and interesting things . . .

Like that blue divet in the upper left hand corer of the island.  That's the resulted of the biggest boom the US ever set off, and it helped get Godzilla made.

Like that blue divot in the upper left hand corer of the island. That’s the resulted of the biggest boom the US ever set off, and it helped get Godzilla made.

I’m always finding stuff like that.  But I don’t want to wander again, so let’s get back on track.

I felt I needed to fill out my covens, because if for no other reason I can look at them and pull in characters are needed to fill out the stories where needed.  As I also did with the B Levels, as the novel progress I know who moved up to the next level, and who didn’t, so for the next book, when it comes time to figure out who the new A Levels are, I’ll know.  I’ll know who to move into advanced classes and put into race teams, if needed.  When Annie and Kerry become C Levels and take over the duties of welcoming the new B Levels to the second floor, I’ll know who those students are.

And since their coven is the smallest, I filed them out first.

Yeah, the kids are all here, and they're all right.

Yeah, the kids are all here, and they’re all right.

Here are all my Snakey kids, ready to hit the ground running.  A few interesting things popped up.  One, in five of the six levels , there’s only one boy.  The girls outnumber the boys, but only by the thinnest amount, unlike the populations of the other covens.  Demographically they’re from all over:  three are from North America, four are from South America, six are from Europe, three are from Africa, three are from Asia, and two can be considered part of Oceania.

In time I’ll fill out the other covens; probably sooner than one would expect.  I know which one is next:  it’s the East Point of the Pentagram, because I gotta balance out the West Point, right?

As for the actual writing of the novel . . . just under five hundred words, which is a better Sunday than I’ve done of late.  It’s a continuation of Wednesday wanting to ask the kids a question, and getting to that question.

 

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

Wednesday waited for the kids to sit, lightly tugging at the heme of her sweater while she watched them get comfortable. She stood about two meter in front of them: she figured it would be the best way to keep their attention. “I don’t know if you’ve heard, but a few instructors are considering using you a minions once in a while.”

“We’ve heard.” Annie tasted the last of her grilled cheese and cider as she cleared her throat. “We spoke with Deanna last Friday, and she told us.”

“I figured that would happen: she was there at the dinner when the subject came up, and I knew you visited her first thing on Get Reacquainted Day.” Wednesday lightly rubbed her upper lip. “I’d like to ask you to come and help me in my class.”

Kerry exchanged glanced with Annie: they’d already discussed the minion situation, and believed Wednesday would be one of the first to ask. “We can help—” He chuckled softly. “But we’ll need to get out of history and math if you want us to help with the A Levels.”

Wednesday rocked back and forth on the balls of her feet. “I don’t imagined I’d have difficultly getting Maddie and Adric to let you skip class for the day, as long as it didn’t become a regular thing.” She referred to Professors Palmescoff and Lewiston, who taught the B Level History and Advanced Math courses occurring at the same time as Wednesday’s A Level Basic Spell Casting. “But I had another class in mind—”

Annie moved closer to Kerry, warming herself against the encroaching chill in the air. “Which one?” She figured the A Level class was the one of choice: after all, they knew all the simple spells, though perhaps Wednesday wanted them to help out the C Levels, too . . .

Wednesday looked down for just a few seconds before speaking. “I was thinking the B Level Spells class.” The silence that followed stretched on for nearly five seconds before she threw open her hands. “Well?”

“You really want us to help out . . .” Kerry swallowed while coming up with the right expression. “Our old class?”

Annie almost snorted. “It’s not really our old class. We’ll never go there.”

“Unless you come and be my minions.” Wednesday stopped rocking left and right now that she was past the point of asking her question. “The question I have is: are you gonna feel strange helping out people who you see in other classes every day?”

 

Here’s the kicker:  when it comes to minions instructors always get them from the upper levels.  Every once in a while they’ll ask one or two students to help out with a lab or exercise, as Helena did in A Level Sorcery when she was teaching the kids to throw up shields and had Annie and Kerry toss some light Air Hammers at them, but it’s a rare thing for an instructor to pull in someone from an advanced class and have them do minion duty for kids in their own level.

I’ll finish this scene tonight, because I’m looking forward to getting into the next scene and closing out the chapter.  After this we get wingmates back together, and you will believe a girl can fly.

To the Head of the Class

When I set out to write these stories of Annie and Kerry, I knew one of the challenges was figuring out what kind of classes they were going to attend.  Developing the school was easy:  getting the classes together–all the classes, mind you–was a pain in the butt.

When one is world building one must stick to their rules, because if you don’t you end up having some strange things pop up in your stories–like, say, handing over a time machine to a student so they can go to two different classes at the same time, mostly because you need to use their time machine as a Class Three Deus ex machina to work out your story at the end.  I don’t have any of that in my stories:  the rule I have is that the Peter Capaldi version of The Doctor shows up in the TARDIS and he’s not in a pleasant mood . . .

"Let's go back and kill that bastard Vold--what?  You want a time machine just so you can go to class?  No, no, that's brilliant, Missy.  Just fuckin' brilliant."

“Let’s go back and kill that bastard Voldi–what? You want a time machine just so you can go to class? No, nothing wrong with that.  I mean, that’s brilliant, Missy. Simply fuckin’ brilliant.”

He never really learned to put his Malcolm Tucker side away, it seems.

Getting the classes together hasn’t been an easy thing.  You have a limited number of instructors to teach all the classes, and if someone should die The Foundation dips into their pool from the other schools and hurries someone over to take up duties as quickly as possible, ’cause the last thing you want are a bunch of bored witches hanging around class looking for something to do.  Busy witches are happy witches, or at least that’s something the headmistress wants to believe.  Actually she knows that’s BS, but since Salem prides itself as the best school in the system, they don’t want their kids sitting around with nothing to do for too long, and getting right back into teaching is a good way to get the kid’s minds off of the reason why they have a new instructor.

You’ll see in a few future scenes that when instructors are needed elsewhere at the school, they’ll usually schedule lab time for their kids, and send a minion or two over to keep an eye on things.  And since no one really gets sick here–the last thing Coraline worries about is someone coming down with a cold, ’cause that doesn’t happen unless her little witches are coming back from an extended stay in the Normal world–there’s no need to have a pool of substitutes ready to step in an teach.  If they really have to get a substitute, they get someone in-house to teach.  Just keep it all in the family, so to speak.

Now, about advanced classes . . .

Full disclosure here:  I didn’t come up with the original concept.  The real person upon whom Annie is based was the one who thought up the idea that in a school full of people who could do amazing things, you’d find people in said school who could be even more amazing.  It made sense, so I took her idea and expanded upon the basic premise.  Which is why you have a group of advanced classes, and that the only way you’ll get into those classes is if the instructors of said classes see that you’ve moving well beyond what the rest of the kids in your level are doing, and you need a challenge.

Let’s look at the classes as I have them laid out for the first two years.

Remember this sucker?

Remember this?

Busy witches, happy witches, and for your first two years you stay plenty busy.  There are no advanced classes for the A Levels–well, there aren’t supposed to be:  it was already stated that moving Annie and Kerry into Advanced Spells as A Levels was something that she’d said she’d never do, and Jessica came right out and told her Advanced Transformation class that while a few of them came in as C Levels, there were reasons why she was bringing these two B Levels in . . .

The advanced classes I have set up so far as as such:

Not a lot of advanced students, to be honest.

Not a lot of advanced students, as you see.

The reality about Advanced Flight One is that it’s a carry-over from the A Level’s Basic Flight class:  if Vicky thinks you are good enough to move on, she’ll invite you in.  And if she thinks you’re good enough to move on to Advanced Flight Two during your C Levels, you get moved up.  There are no more flight classes after that:  anything you learn from that point, you learn on your own.  And as seen, if you’re invited in, you don’t have to attend, but that doesn’t mean you’re cut out–Annie’s listed as “Auditing on Demand,” which means she can come in if and when she feels like it, and you’ll see Annie has the same deal going with Vicky’s class.  The only reason she’s not in AF1 is because she’s a casual flyer, something she stated in one of the scenes in this novel.  She’ll leave the navigating and all that to Kerry.  Besides, one of the things you learn in AF1 is PAV Maintenance, and Annie probably already knows how to take care of a broom . . .

The only advanced class for the B Levels not on this list is Advanced Self Defense, and I need to work out the roster for that class.  Needless to say only a few A Levels moved up to that class, and you already know who two of those people are.  Ramona Chai does the same thing Vicky does:  she advances people from the A Level Basic Self Defense class, and they stay with her as long as they like.  It’s no great secret that a lot of people who stick with her through their E and F Levels usually end up working for the Protectors, and a few even go on to work with the Guardians.  The great thing about Professor Chai’s advanced classes is that you’re involved in “practical applications” with homunculi, but even more so than was seen in The Walking Tests scene where my kids laid waste to a bunch of mindless zombies.  At some point in this novel you’ll get to see a “meat puppet”, and find out just how they fit into self defense training.

What’s left after this?  A few things that you only get into after you start taking classes that are offered from the C Levels and up.  There’s Advanced Spirit Studies after Basic Spirit Studies, there’s Advanced Astral Training after Basic Understanding of the Astral Realm, and there are two advanced classes that are offered at Salem and one other school and nowhere else:  Demonology and Necromancy.  What is listed on the class title is what you get;  Demonology is all about the summoning and binding of demons–yes, kiddies, they do exist–and how to kick their asses should it become necessary.  And Necromancy is all about going out and finding the astral essence of people who’ve been dead for a while, whose essence has likely passed beyond The Veil, and bringing said essence back and dumping it into a body.  Necromancers are a dime a gross of a baker’s dozen and are, as you might guess, usually a bit scary to be around.  But if you absolutely, positively, need to bring back a crossed-over spirit, they’re the ones to do the job . . . usually at a Resurrection Center.  Like the CDC.  Where Annie and Kerry were sent . . .

There you have it:  a little more of my madness.  Hey, I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t enjoy making this stuff.

The Long Farewell

Here we are, now, the beginning of the end, and it’s reaching us oh, so slowly.  I was kind of rubbish last night in terms of getting the scene done, but I did everything else:  I paid bills, I hunted down shoes, I wrote out an interview, and I took a nap because I was feeling knackered.

It’s pretty much the story of my days these days.

I did get a lot done, however.  The end of the novel is formatted nicely and is, pretty much, in its final form:

Every last part, chapter, and scene in its place.

Every last part, chapter, and scene in its place.

Now all the part and chapter cards are there, the final scene is cut in two as I planed, and I’m considering going through each scene and doing as I did in the Day of the Dead section, and putting notations for date and time of day in place, so people aren’t confused by something they think is out of order.  Then if they say, 3 May, Late Afternoon, coming after 3 May, Morning, they won’t wonder, “Hey, does this scene take play after the last one?”  Yes, Virginia, it does.

(The whole novel is in order from front to back, with events taking place in chronological order.  The only reason I set up the time notation for the Day of the Dead Attack is because things were happening close together.  From the time Kerry crashes during the penetration of the screens, to the Level Three lock down, to the argument between Wednesday and Isis and Wednesday going out to charge the nodes and running into Erywin, to conversation between the headmistress and Isis, and to Kerry waking up after charging the brooms, is about forty minutes.  And as you can see from what I just wrote out, a lot happened.)

So no more messing with this or with checking the weather–okay, maybe once there–and no more looking at maps . . . okay, maybe one.  But that’s it.  I have dinner at Panera tonight, and there I finish Mathilde’s farewell for the year speech, which has something special in it that I dreamed up at work yesterday between bouts of hating on a program I’m testing.  And speaking of hr farewell speech, I also did this last night:

When you're speaking to students, one must know how many are there.

When you’re speaking to students, one must know how many are there.

Before this story started I figured out the counts for each level–I also have the counts for each Coven, the people from each country, and even the breakdown between the girls and the boys.  But this one . . . it’s almost a week after graduation, and I wanted to know how many students were sitting in the Dining Hall this one time.  The first number are the students in each level on 2 September, Orientation Day.  This is followed by the number of students who didn’t make the cut to the next level, and the total of each level that is sitting there listening to the headmistress.  Of course there aren’t any F Levels there:  they graduated.  And you can see, two didn’t graduate–they didn’t make the Final Cut.

One hundred and thirteen students, thirty-five less than they started with at the start of the year, when Mathilde came in to this same room to welcome everyone back and greet the new students.  If you’re sitting in this room, Mathilde will remind you that you’re moving on to the next level.

You made it.  You’re still a member of Salem.

And just like with Chicago Cubs baseball, there’s going to be a next year.

Into Thin Air: the Moment Approaches

I will admit, I didn’t get as much done last night as I should have.  “As much done” for me means I only wrote about eight hundred words, because I wasn’t feeling the creativity coming on.  You get those moments now and then, and I hit that last right about seven PM last night.  I knew I had to go on with the scene–I just didn’t know where to go with it.

It finally came to me what I needed to do, because even though I know what’s going to happen in a scene, I don’t always know how that scene is going to turn out.  Which leads to a strange kind of writer’s block from time to time because you’re simply not sure how to set things up.

What did I write, then?  An introduction:

 

All excerpts, this page, from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, 2015 by Cassidy Frazee)

“I’m sure you can, Annie.” Professor Salomon strolled towards the flight line with the other four students following—three girls and one boy. Kerry watched the boy, Daudi Gueye from Zambia and a member of Coven Åsgårdsreia, approach the line with his broom over his shoulder, appearing more serious than nervous. Daudi was the last person Kerry thought would attempt the Mile High Flight, but he was one of those kids who while kept to himself and remained quite most of the time, proved to be a great pilot—though Kerry saw him as more technical than natural. Daudi once confided in Kerry that he wished he’d learned the light bending spell that Annie and he had mastered, because he wanted to see if he could take a broom home for the summer and fly it over the plains to the west and north of his home. Kerry didn’t want to tell him that was exactly what he planed on doing if he found the time, though he’d probably fly over the rolling hills to the north of Cardiff.

The other fliers were also great. Loorea Barling was a north Australian girl and one of the best flier out of Ceridwen; Kerry had her pegged to try out for racing next year. Dariga Dulatuli out of Åsgårdsreia was the girl from Kazakhstan who was knocked out of the zombie homunculi test after taking a shot in the face from Lisa’s jō. And the last girl, Kalindi Kartodirdjo from Indonesia, was a perpetually smiling girl from Mórrígan who was as quiet as Daudi and so good a pilot that Emma once admitted to Kerry that she hoped her covenmate didn’t go out for racing because it seems as if she wasn’t afraid to take chances if it meant getting ahead—which Kerry took to mean Emma didn’t want to race against someone who did the same thing she was accused of doing while on the course.

 

As pointed out, at least one of these kids have been seen before, and Loorea has been mentioned in the story once.  It’s interesting that Emma is worried about racing with someone from her own coven who she thinks does the same things she does on the track–probably because they’ll both take a chance at something, and both crash and burn.  An interesting setup has occurred here as well:  two from Coven Cernunnos, two from Åsgårdsreia, two from Mórrígan, and one lone flier from Ceridwen.  None from the Founder’s Coven, I’m afraid, cause the girl with the concussion is from Ceridwen as well, so it looks as if the Night Owls had their wings clipped.

Naturally Vicky has a few words of wisdom to lay on the students . . .

 

“Okay, gather around.” Vicky waved everyone into a circle around her. “Well, I guess this is it.” She looked up into the sky. “We’ve flown in better weather—” She turned back to the students, ginning. “But if you remember, we’ve flown in worse.

“This is what we’re going to do. This will be a case of follow the leader, all the way to the top. We don’t have to keep in line; in fact, this is a group effort, and we lend support where necessary. In the last three runs we only had half this number fly, and one of the reasons they didn’t make it to the top is because they we too caught up in their own flying, and succumbed to their own fear. We’re not gonna let that happen here . . .” She nodded along with half the students. “I know that today some, or all, of us are gonna make it to the top—an I’ll tell you this: if we all make it, that’s gonna be some history, ‘cause seven people haven’t flown to the top since 1963. We’re talkin’ almost fifty years here, pilots . . .”

Vicky looked around the meadow and stopped long enough to face the bonfires. “The past and the future are right there, and we’ve dealt with both those in this field. You all came in as novice or beginning fliers, and now you’re about to fly out and make history.” She looked about, her gaze setting upon each students. “However, like a lot of things around Salem, just when you think you know what’s going to happen, it changes on you . . .” She motioned for everyone to move in closer around her; once she was certain everyone was in position she put her finger to her left ear. “Okay, Isis: we’re a go here.”

 

That last is never a good thing to hear, and when Isis gets involved, it means things are about to go somewhere you didn’t want them to go:

Kerry felt the transition as they jaunted from the meadow to somewhere else enshrouded in heavy mist and a constant breeze. He had no idea where they were, but it was far more quiet and cooler than back at the school. The misting they’d left behind was now a light rain leaving tiny droplets upon his face. And there was also the fog that surrounded them—it seemed wrong. It was moving and swirling around them, so unlike the mist that had ringed Selena’s Meadow only a few seconds before.

Both the mountain girls—Annie and Emma—instantly knew what was around them, though it was Annie who spoke first. “These are clouds.”

Vicky nodded. “Yes they are, Annie.” She stepped back away from the students and held out her hands as if she were greeting them. “Welcome to Mount Katahdin, kids.”

 

Wait, what?  Mount Katahdin?  Where’s that?

It's right here.  Look over there to the left:  I think I see everyone.  Well, I would if it wasn't for the clouds . . .

It’s right here. Look over there to the left: I think I see everyone. Well, I would if it wasn’t for the clouds . . .

And you’ve heard of this place before–let me refresh your memory . . .

Maybe you remember this place?

Maybe you remember this place?

If not, don’t worry–

I’ll refresh your memories tomorrow.

All’s Quite Along the Revision Front

If you begin looking for something to do, eventually you shall find something to do.  It’s only natural.  If you don’t find anything, then you either weren’t looking hard enough, or your mind was playing tricks on you with something I like to call a “distraction”.

That happens with me every so often, but last night wasn’t the case.  After I finished up the edits on my friend’s novel, I discovered I had time on my hands.  And as Styx once sang, when I’ve got too much time on my hands, it’s ticking away with my sanity.  Since I’m already sort of nuts, the last thing I want to lose is that, so . . . I started looking for stuff do to.  You know, things.

It’s like this:  the other day one of my fans left a comment that said something like, “Wow!  With all these characters how am I gonna keep track?”  I told her that with this novel I’d leave a Cast of Characters page in the story so people would have a reference.  Naturally I had to go into my novel to see if, in fact, I might have already made one–but you already know the answer.  Of course I did.

I was looking at it, thinking about how I could put this out here for people to see, then decided, “Hey, you can just copy and paste the sucker, because it’s, you know, a big list.”  Which it is.  So, if you are interested, here is my cast of character for the story–which, believe it or not, isn’t complete, because there are things on here I’m not showing.  You know, stuff.

 

(Excerpt from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

The Children and Parents

The Kirilova Family

Annie Krilova
Victor Kirilova — Father
Pavlina Kirilova — Mother

The Malibey Family

Kerry Malibey
Davyn Malibey — Father
Louise Malibey — Mother
Aaron Reston — Grandfather
Deirdra Reston — Grandmother

The Foundation Representatives

Mr. Mayhew — Guidance Supervisor
Ms. Rutherford — Kerry’s Guidance Supervisor

Salem Institute for Greater Education and Learning

Institute Staff

Mathilde Laventure — School Headmistress
Coraline Gallagher — School Doctor
Isis Mossman — Director of Security
Trevor Parkman — Head Librarian

Coven Leaders

Deanna Arrakis — Coven Åsgårdsreia and Director of Divination
Jessica Kishna — Coven Ceridwen and Mistress of Transformation
Madeline Palmescoff — Coven Blodeuwedd and History/Social Studies
Holoč Semplen — Coven Cernunnos and Biology/Life Sciences
Erywin Sladen — Coven Mórrígan and Formalistic Magic

Instructors

Harpreet Bashagwani — Astronomy and Math
Ramona Chai — Self Defense and Weapons
Wednesday Douglas — General Spells
Matthias Ellison — Music and Arts Director
Adric Lewiston — Spirit and Apparition Studies, Science, and Math
Helena Lovecraft — Head Sorceress and Dark Mistress of All
Victoria Salomon — Flying and Teleportation
Polly Grünbach — Science and Technology
Fitzsimon Spratt — Practical Super Science
Shuthelah Kady — Engineering and Magic
Tristyn Julin — Applying Powers

Assistant Staff

Kitchen and General Operations

Una Grandin — Head of Kitchen
Agnes Piña — Head Chef
Zora Gronowski — Housekeeping Assistant
Netra Bonds — Housekeeping Assistant

Hospital Staff

Gretchen Rogge — Night Nurse
Bianca Gaillard — All Shifts Nurse
Thebe Göbricher — All Shifts Nurse

Grounds and Maintenance Staff

Sukumari Valade — Head Groundskeeper
Severiana Stasko — Groundskeeper
Wilhelmina Ananas — Groundskeeper
Zenobia Boerger — Groundskeeper
Jehane Pandres — Groundskeeper

Security Staff

Tamera Berube — Security Second in Command
Holly McPhie — Security Assistant
Suhaila Ogata — Security Assistant

Other A Levels

Alica Ferguson — Student from Scotland, Coven Cernunnos
Collin McCarty — Student from Eire, Coven Blodeuwedd
Emmalynne Neilson — Student from Bolder, CO, Coven Mórrígan
Lisa Glissandi — Student from Conway, AK, Coven Åsgårdsreia
Anna Laskar — Student from Germany, Coven Åsgårdsreia

Upper Level Students

Rivânia Suassuna — D Level, Coven Åsgårdsreia
Harmony Macrinus — D Level, Coven Blodeuwedd
Nadine Woodley — C Level, Coven Mórrígan
Harold Napper — C Level, Coven Mórrígan
Chunghee Pang  —  C Level, Coven Ceridwen
Daria Frontera  —  C Level, Coven Cernunnos
Winfreda Fishel —  B Level, Coven Ceridwen

School Spirits

The Phoenix  —  Benefactor and Protector of Salem

 

And there you have it:  just about everyone in the story, or at least just about everyone I made note for that might show up in the story.  I will admit to editing the Cast of Characters a bit to keep some surprises from you, the possible readers.

But then, while I had the project up, sitting right there in front of me on the computer, I thought, “Hey, you know, it wouldn’t hurt to just, you know, look at a couple of scenes.”  Oh sure:  Nothing was going to happen.  Nothing at all.

I lied.  This is what happened.

No, this is not what it seems.  It's not writing, it's . . . editing.  Yeah, that's what it is.

No, this is not what it seems. It’s not writing, it’s . . . editing. Yeah, that’s what it is.

I got into the first two scenes of the prologue–where we meet Annie and Kerry–and I gave them both an edit.  Not only that, but I broke Kerry’s scene into two scenes, as there was a break in the action and it was time to move that other information to its own scene.  So now all sit in the project with the label, “Revised Draft First Pass” on them, because I’ll likely roll over them again before getting to another scene.

Did I find anything wrong?  Yeah, a few things.  A couple of misspelled words; I caught Annie’s father with a dreaded “said” before he spoke, and I rewrote a few lines that seemed clumsy and not at all clear.  My first drafts are pretty clean and say what I want them to say, so what I’m looking for in the editing process are those things that look wrong, and then correct them.  If I find things that don’t make sense–and I found a few of those last night–I remove them and see if I can say something differently.

I promise I’m not about to get into heavy edits of this novel before I start writing anew.  Okay, so maybe I will.

It’s my party and I’ll edit if I want to.

In the Forest, In the Mist

Oh, yes, I’m writing again, very much so.  Here it is, third morning of Camp NaNo, and I’m already past the five thousand mark.  That’s one fifth down and four fifths to go, but I know that I’m probably going beyond that.  But I sort of suspected that when I start.  Limits:  I know not what they are.

With the third day of Camp comes those who, it seems, are in need Sprinting is Magicof a bit of magic.  As you can see, Twilight Sparkle knows what you need–yes, she does.  That’s why they made her a princess, because she’s smart, and ponies like her, darn it!  She also has a lot of answers for those people who start out with good intention, and suddenly seem like they’ve fallen behind the curve.  There are times when it’s just a little curve, and other times when it’s Dead Man’s Curve, but they are behind it as we speak.  Are they going to sprint to the front once more?  Well . . .

I’ve gone beyond my first instructor-administration meeting, and moved to my students.  I told someone last night that the scene I was working on had three girls heading out to a remote part of the school–which is on a huge plot of land, so remote is possible–so one of the trio could show off her attempt at quick-fermenting wine using chemistry and magic.  Hoggy, Hoggy Warts we’re talking, not.

If anything, I so want the story to not be looked at with that yardstick.  This is my world, not something created by someone else, and I’m just a freakin’ tourist who happened to walk in, look around, and mumble, “I can do better.”

Then again, I’m a writer.  We all think that.

This first part feels slow, but that’s because I’m introducing characters, and showing people that things here are a bit different.  Particularly the scene with the students I just finished writing:  there are little moments that pop up that tell the reader that things here are different–which is something one of the students thought.  People like strange, and I will have it for all to enjoy.

In time, people, in time.

The feeling of getting things written for Camp NaNo is good.  I knocked off a thousand words this morning, from seven to nine, and I look at what I’ve done and I want to get back into the next scene.  I’m going to keep it short, I think, because I don’t want everything to be a couple of thousand words per scene.  The fourth scene could be long, too:  I’m getting a feel for it, I know what will be said, and it’s likely to turn into something wordy.

Oh, that will also be a scene where I had to look up something in real life.  Because my students get to and from school and town by public transportation.  Which is just another way of keeping my story a little Twilight Zoneish, because there are these unusual things happening behind this big walled-off area that shouldn’t be here, and the people there still taking the train into Salem to shop for clothing, or just to get the hell away for a morning.  It’s be so much easier if they just had some magical town right next door don’t you think?

Then again, this is happening in Lovecraft Country . . .