Questions Answered

Finally, thirty-five hundred and sixty words later, the new scene I’ve been working on for my novel is finally finished.  With getting in five hundred words here and six hundred there, there was a week of writing, but it’s there.  It’s finally there.

First Draft?  That means it's okay if it sucks, right?

First Draft? That means it’s okay if it sucks, right?

I don’t mind that it took a while to get to this point:  I was working with a different mind set for the scene, and it was greatly different from the scene it replaced–for one, two characters were pulled out, and the dynamic is strictly one-on-one in both instances where characters are speaking.  It also sort of establishes that Ms. Rutherford and Annie are of the same world, and Kerry is just some interloper who happens to be there because–we’ll, you find out in Part Two and Three.

For now, however, one of the questions that kept getting asked is finally answered:

 

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

She realized she’d made Kerry a bit uncomfortable, but there was the possibility that his mind was focused on her, and when she asked him the question again, his mind wouldn’t wander. “Would you like to do something? Would you like to go somewhere with me, Kerry?” She leaned every so slightly towards him. “I’d rather not spend all day in the hotel, but I’d also rather not wander about London by myself.” She moved ever-so-closer. “I’d like it if you’d join me.” She sifted in her chair, sitting back while never allowing her eyes to drift from him. “Please?”

Annie didn’t need to read minds to see Kerry was suffering from a great deal of indecision. She began wondering if perhaps she’d pushed too hard, if the selfishness her mother often railed at had taken over, and she’d scared him away. He has no idea what he wants . . .

She watched his eyes shift from side to side as he considered her proposal. She couldn’t read him because of a mask of semi-confusion etched upon his face. Being able to read him didn’t mater, though: there were only two outcomes for her question—

Kerry rubbed the side of his face with his left hand. “Well . . .”

Failure, or

He met Annie’s piercing gaze. “There is this place I would like to see—” He turned his eyes towards the floor for a moment. “Would that be okay?”

Success.

She nodded slowly as a slight grin appeared. “I’m sure we can fit that in.”

 

See?  Not that big of a deal.  One just didn’t see the fifteen hundred or so words needed to get Kerry to make up his mind and decide if he wanted to stay at the hotel, or get out and pound a little London pavement.  And that will lead into the next scene, which is getting rewritten a lot as well, and will incorporate parts of a scene that was cut out and cast aside–one of those two cards in the picture with “Delete” written over the top of them.

Ask a question, get it answered.  Simple, yeah?

 

Once Again, With Madness

Here we come around to this particular date, 31 March, 2014, and this is a date I have marked down and have mentioned many times on the blog.  It’s the date that Act Two begins, and that begins starts sometime tonight.

I’m ready and . . . I’m not.

There’s a lot ahead of me, and I lot still remaining.  I’ve already set the word count to one hundred thousand words, but I’m almost certain I’ll go over that–not by much, but over is over.  I have a huge sequence to write, and it’s not intimidating, but one of the last things that happens in this sequence I was going over last night, and I realized something that might happen between Annie and Kerry, and . . . oh, it’s a hard thing to imagine.  Maybe even harder to write, because I’ll be crying a lot while writing.

Parts Four through Eight are waiting; Chapters Thirteen through Twenty-Seven are set with the directions.  All I have to do is write the words.

The journey of a hundred thousand words begin with "It's not fair!"

The journey of a hundred thousand words begin with “It’s not fair!”

Yesterday saw me tweak a few things here and there, mostly with Annie, working not to make her come off like a complete hard-ass in a few place–and, if I should say so, I think I did the trick.  And since one of the things that a beta reader told me was there could be a lot of confusion with how I set up measurements and scales, I created a notation page for the start of the novel which explains a few things to the reader:

 

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

Throughout the story various scales are used to denote how time is told, how things are measured, and how buildings are laid out.

Floor Plans

The Foundation uses terms used in much of Europe and South America for building floors. Ground floor is found where the entrances are; first floor is the floor above that, second above that, and so on. The thirteenth floor is used within The Foundation; it is not considered an unlucky number. This will also be explained by characters from time-to-time.

Measurements

The metric system is used throughout the book by The Foundation. There are times when the Imperial system is referenced, but metric is the standard way of keeping track of distance, speed, and weight.

Time

The Foundation and nearly all countries other than the United States use twenty-four hour universal time; this results in times in the story being listed at “09:00” or “17:30” for denoting when events occur. Some speakers will speak in universal time, while other will interchange between twenty-four and twelve hour times when speaking.

As a character in the novel says, “This tends to confuse the U.S. kids when they first arrive,” and it will likely seem confusing to the reader at first. Remember, it’s also the first day in a new world for you as well.

 

It’s not much, but it’s an aid.  And it should help you along.  And, no:  I’m not doing conversions for you.  That’s what the Internet was for.  And please don’t say, “I don’t wanna do conversions when I’m reading,” ’cause I did them forty years ago when I was reading stories, and there was no Internet, so you found a book and memorized your conversations, and that was that.  You kids these days . . .

I’m ready, about as much as one can be to throw themselves back into a daunting task.

Wish me luck.

Anois Ón Roimh

You don’t have to tell me what day it is today:  I live a few blocks from several bars and I’m sure I’ll hear yelling and screaming a-plenty tonight.  For a while in Chicago, some of us called 17 March “Drunk Teenager Day” ’cause the suburban kids would take the trains into the city and get totally blind due to the taverns and beer gardens not giving a single shit who got served, and while walking through The Loop it was not unusual to find teenagers passed out, face down, on a sidewalk.

Ah, yes:  St. Patrick’s Day.  A good day for boozin’ and losin’, for letting out whatever demons you had hidden inside after downing a dozen pints.

"This is our eighth pint, so after this whaddya say we go get mani-pedis and then engauge in a bit of the 'ol ultra violence?"

“This is our eighth pint, so after this whaddya say we go get mani-pedis and then engage in a bit of the ‘ol ultra violence, lasses?”

As for me, I’m French-German, so I spend all my time hating myself, and I never needed a special day to get stiff.  But now my character Kerry Malibey, he’s Welsh-Irish with an abusive, alcoholic paternal grandfather he’s only met once, and as he will say at one point in my current novel, if he only had some Scottish blood in his family everyone in England could hate him . . . well, he doesn’t get into the day, either.  Though it is the day is likes to run around yelling, “Erin Go Braless!”, so that’ll probably pop up in the story at some point.

That hasn’t happened yet, because where I last left things in my novel it was 11 September and Annie was leading his sleepy butt home.  No, March was some time off in the distance, but in a little while Kerry’s gonna start thinking about Ostara and playing a song, not to mention dealing with a whole lotta other things that have happened, and will.

Yesterday I got back into the story.  I pulled up Part One and looked over the first three scenes I had already revised, gave them a second pass, then looked at Chapter One and Two and said, “Hey, it’s not like I got anything else to do today.”

That’s why this happened:

You leave a writer alone with their thoughts and a story, and stuff happens.

You leave a writer alone with their thoughts and a story, and stuff happens–

That’s quite a lot of scenes with “Revised” next to them.  I didn’t do a formal word check, but it’s probably close to seventeen thousand words, and all of the–the first and second passes–was done yesterday.

I’ll tell you:  I liked what I read.

It takes its time, it lays things out–and yet, the scenes go a lot faster than I remember writing them.  That’s probably due to having to think about what went into them, so some of those seven hundred word scenes took over an hour to write.  But the read-throughs were fantastic, and I didn’t need to change a lot.  Found the misspelled words and the lines that didn’t make sense, and even caught a continuity error or two–like when the kids are aboard the 747 that’s going to take them to Boston, and Annie remembers Kerry saying there was an upstairs to the plane, only in the scene before, when he was telling her about this 747-400, he never tells her that, so split the screen, bring up the scene, and in goes a quick line.  Done.

And I relived some nice moments I hadn’t seen since the beginning of November.  Like this from when the kids are heading to Amsterdam by train and they’re nearing The Chunnel:

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

 

Kerry sat in the aisle chair with Collin to his left. Annie sat across from Kerry, with Alica to her right. Collin didn’t seem to care about what was happening outside the window; he was lost in the football magazine he’d picked up at the station before they boarded. Alica watched the scenery flash by, alternating between looking bored and angry.

And Annie—

She sat quietly, hand folded in her lap, ankles crossed. Every so often she’d glance out the window, but for the most part she sat looking straight ahead.

Kerry knew she was looking at him.

Turning away from the window, he finally looked back. “What?”

Annie smiled. “Nothing.” Her tone came out like a soft coo around her accent. “I’m only sitting.”

“Yeah, but you’re looking at me.”

“Am I?”

He shook his head. “You use a lot of questions to get around not giving answers.”

“Do I?” Annie chuckled at her own cleverness.

Alica rolled her eyes. “Oi, you two.”

Kerry snorted at Alica. “Oi, yourself.”

“She’s playing with you, Malibey.”

Kerry stifled a yawn. “And you know this how?”

“You’re a bit of a thick git, aren’t you?” She drew one leg up and set her foot upon the chair. “You may have noticed I’m a girl, so I know a bit about this stuff, ‘kay?”

Annie turned towards Alica, her eyes no longer sparkling with mischief. “You may know about being a girl, but you don’t know me.”

Alica giggled dryly. “I’m not into girls, hon, so I don’t really want to know you.” She smiled as she shot a look in Kerry’s direction. “I got interests elsewhere.”

Annie’s jaw tightened: Kerry couldn’t see her eyes, but he saw her brow slip down towards her eyes. He thought about what Alica said, then realized what she getting at. “Oh. Oh.”

“Oh what, Welsh boy?” Alica chuckled again. “You know, you’re cute when you’re actin’ simple.”

This finally elicited a comment from Annie. “He’s not simple.”

“Oh, what do you care, Kirilova?” She ignored Annie and remained focused on Kerry. “You know, I may just let you be my friend.”

There was no chuckling or snorting this time: Kerry laughed aloud. “I feel honored.”

 

Yes, this is the way you become indoctrinated in the way of girls, young man.  But if you think this is bad, kid, just wait until you land and it’s late Thursday night . . .

With me heading back to The Real Home at the end of the week, I’ll have time to give the novel a pass through, maybe get half of it edited before I start on Act Two.  That will certainly speed up editing. when it comes time to getting this sucker ready for publishing.

But I enjoyed what I’ve written.  Maybe the story will get bogged down by what comes next, because shit does get heavy the moment they walk through the doors.  That’s what editing is for:  to unbog things and make them pretty.  If so, bring it on, because I’m certainly in love with my novel once again.

All Hail the Writin’ Lass.

Relationship Bytes

While stepping out of my car into the snowy Panera parking lot about twenty minutes ago a crow flew directly over me and cawed several times, as if to welcome me back after missing last Sunday, and in general to give me a good blessing.  I gave the bird a wave, then cawed back–yeah, I do that–then headed inside.

We’ve a little snow falling this morning, but after a week of being stuck in the apartment I needed out.  What these people here call, “Oh my gawd, it’s snowing again!” I call “Saturday”, and I’m damned if I’m gonna stay holded up for another morning.  I need my time out, even if all I do is sit in a corner and write my blog.

With last night came the start of one more scene, one more closer to the end.  After the happiness of flying around the school with Kerry, I was back in Deanna the Seer’s office, with her spilling to Annie what she knew of The Foundation report compiled on her said main squeeze.  Now, one might question why she’s doing this, why she’d taking confidential information and telling it to an eleven year old girl.  It’s because these people are different.  It’s because you’re dealing with children who are all of above-average intelligence with varying degrees of emotional maturity, but who are ultimately carrying a power that, if turned lose without the proper training, could probably smack around with little or no difficulty–or even level a shopping mall if sufficiently provoked.  You know, like being told to turn down their iPod.

Deanna treats Annie not as if she’s a child, but rather a maturing girl on the verge of womanhood who is facing a particularly difficult moment in her two-week old relationship with someone she claims to have known all her life.  A girl who’s report says she’d been practicing sorcery spell since she was eight, and who was labeled in that same report as “emotionally immature”.

Now lets tell her that her boyfriend is suffering from depression, has spent years isolating himself from the world, and can be considered detached from any emotions that might bring about a modicum of happiness.  What could go wrong?

"The Foundation said he was most likely to fireball his gaming group after growing tied of their crap. LIES, ALL LIES!"

“The Foundation said he was most likely to fireball his gaming group after growing tired of their crap. LIES, ALL LIES!  They just don’t understand him!”

I’d actually dreaded writing the scene, but once I was into it, I found the going a lot easier that I’d imagined.  But then, I remembered something:  the Kerry that people had seen in the last week wasn’t the same as the Kerry in the report–and their must be a reason for that, yeah?  There are changes in his behavior, and it’s not that he’s really that detached from his emotions, it’s that he doesn’t know what to do with them.  He needed a new environment, one where he’d find himself pushed and given the opportunity to challenge himself–

To be made to grow as a person.

Though now comes an even bigger reveal, one that won’t see a conclusion until about mid-way through Act Three.

How can I keep all these secrets to myself?

Relationship Bytes

From the Beginning

When I start a new story, it seems as if I go through this intense period of “What the Hell Am I Going to Do?” thinking that can, at times, be a little madding.  I can have a title for my story, and still not have any idea where the story is going to head.  Or I’ll have a concept, but no characters and no title.  Worse yet, I’ll know the characters and concept, and even a good direction for a story, but I have no title.

Camp NaNo put me in the position of thinking about a project.  I had an idea; I had characters; I even had the story.  What I lacked was a title.  I know this sounds strange, but I almost never start writing until I have a title.  This is a habit I got into a long time ago, picked up from a couple of writers that I read quite often in my early years.

That’s where I was last night, up until about seven PM.  That was when inspiration hit me, and the “Putting the Project Camp NaNo Novel 2013Together Rag” began playing.  And when I was through, maybe around nine-thirty, I’d created what you see to your right.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to the Fishbowl.

I know what you’re thinking:  Fishbowl?  And what is this thing at the top:  The Foundation Chronicles?  There’s a reason for this, so sit back and listen up.

The Foundation (yeah, I know, it’s original, move along) is something I started playing with months ago:  an organization that sorts of started out as a club for super scientist, and eventually evolved into something else more . . . paranormally.  Is that a real word?  It is now.

So I have my organization that looks for strange young minds to bring into their fold, and once I knew who they were, then it became a matter of figuring out what to do with them.  And then I remembered something from real life . . .

When my daughter started 6th Grade–or middle school, take your pick–the administration, and the kids, refereed to the experience as “being in the fishbowl”.  While they were in the same school as 7th and 8th graders, they were kept as segregated from them as possible.  The idea was to get them as used to middle school, and the transition of going from class to class, as easily as possible, without having to deal with a lot of interaction from the other grades.

When I applied that idea to my new student, it made sense.  In my story you have thirty-two kids out of thirty-three coming into a school not knowing anything about the world they’re entering, and the transition will be hard enough without upper class kids getting in their way.  Ergo . . . they get fishbowled.

This is my project, this is my story.  My goal is thirty-five thousand words for July, and then I’ll shut the story down, work on something else–at this moment I think I’m going to edit Couples Dance and get it ready for publishing–then when the Big NaNo Dance starts up in November, I’ll pull The Foundation Chronicles out again and add my fifty thousand plus words to finish the story.

Oh, and did you notice the folder “Book Two”?

Yeah, I love Scrivener.