The Midnight Window: Plans of Future Past

It’s been a good morning, though I could have done with a bit more sleep.  Hey, you can’t always get what you want, right?  Since it’s a long weekend I can nap whenever I feel it’s necessary.  Until then, I just keep plugging words into the right places.

Rocking out to Domino as I go about my day.

Rocking out to Domino as I go about said plugging.

Chapter Thirty-four is finished due to plugging in one thousand and twenty-five words to the chapter.

Right here's the proof--more or less.

Right here’s the proof–more or less.

Now all that remains is Chapter Thirty-five and four scenes, maybe six thousand words total, two of which will be “The End.”  One more scene in the Sea Sprite Inn–which may or may not be needed, I’ve yet to decide–one on the plane, one at the airport in Berlin, and the final one at Kerry’s house.  I’m actually considering moving the first scene of Chapter Thirty-five to the plane simply because there’s something I want to do, and having everyone at the plane makes that thing happen easier, so that may be what happens.  As soon as I start writing, I’ll know.

If that is the case this could be the last scene at the Sea Sprite.  And remember that thing that Annie wanted to discuss?  Well . . .

 

The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Kerry crossed the room and sat on the bed as Annie asked. He watched her as she went over to her bag on the luggage stand, opened the bag, and unzipped one of the compartments. Her body shielded what she was removing, but upon turning it was easy enough to see, for she was holding a large book bound in a plain white cover. She floated the book in his direction and waited until it was nearly in front of him before she moved towards the bed.

He kept his eyes focused on the book as it came to a stop before him. “Is this what I think it is?”

 

Yes, Kerry:  it’s exactly what you think is it.  And is there a reason this book is coming out?  Sure there is, and Annie’s going to tell you–

 

Annie didn’t answer the question: rather, she began speaking as she climbed on to the bed. “The Sunday after your birthday I wrote to my mother and asked if she’d ever shown her wedding book to Papa, and if it was common for wives to do so after they were married. A few days later she wrote back and told me that, yes, she had shown her book to Papa—

“My mother and father were married 20 June, 1997. My mother wanted to be married near the first day of summer because it’s considered an auspicious moment when one marries at anytime on or close to a solstice point. They graduated in 1994, did their Real Live Experience the following year, and were invited in for a year of the school’s Continuing Educational Program before leaving in ‘96. Since that counted as two years of college, they then went off to Uni in the fall and finished another year while Mama planed for their marriage. They finished Uni the next year and graduated right before they celebrated their first anniversary.

“After that they settled to Pamporovo full-time and built the main house; it was finished in October, and they were all moved in before winter hit.” A sheepish look came over Annie’s face. “That’s where I was conceived.”

Kerry touched Annie’s hand. “Right around Christmas, if my math is right.”

She nodded. “Mama told me that it likely, um, happened right at Christmas. She told me she was trying to start a family, and conceiving a child at that time—”

“Is considered auspicious?”

“Obviously: look how I turned out.” After they both giggled Annie continued. “So on their next anniversary Mama was pregnant with me, and that would be their last one with just them together. Papa treated her to a spa treatment at one of the hotels in town, then they jaunted into Sofia, saw a movie, and had a romantic dinner. She wrote that it was one of her best days ever.

“After they returned home they visited what was going to become my nursery before heading off to bed. She wrote that they didn’t go to bed right away: she pulled out her book and showed it to Papa, showing him everything she’d planed from the time she was a little girl until even a few days before the wedding. That was—” Annie blushed slightly. “That was when she picked out names for her children.”

“She knew what she wanted.” Kerry squeezed Annie’s hand once more. “Like mother, like daughter.”

“Um, hum.”

“Was your name in the book?”

“She told me I was at the top of the girl’s list.” She chuckled softly. “She said she told Papa that as they were starting a family, and she didn’t believe they would ever not be a couple, she saw no harm in sharing those memories with him. She also wrote that while it isn’t that common for wives to do this, once you know you’re in a relationship that will last forever, there’s no harm.”

 

Now you know so much more about Annie’s family:  their schooling, their marriage, and the, um, “special Christmas” they had in 1998.  Just think of all the times now Annie will be down in the family room, look over at the door leading to her parent’s bedroom, and thing, “Yep.  That’s where I was made.”  Not that she probably didn’t know.  Then again, her mother has probably known for at least three years that Annie had the lake house built for one reason in mind, and she sort of shakes her head whenever she looks up towards the loft.  And now that she’s met Kerry . . . probably a bit of face palming now and then.

It’s a given that I know when Annie’s parents were married, because–

I have a time line for everything.

I have a time line for everything.

And if you notice there’s an end date on their marriage:  15 November, 2126.  That means, according to the calculation determined by Aeon Timeline 2, they remain married 129 years, 4 months, 3 weeks, and 5 days.  When we talk about the longevity of witches, there’s a prime example right there.  And you can guess their marriage ends because one of both of them die, which means both of them are over a hundred and forty when one of them passes beyond The Veil.

Now, as far as their school time together–

I have it right here.

I have it right here.

Things get a bit interesting.  Jessica, Trevor, Mathilde, and Matthias were all older students when Pavlina and Victor started school, and Maddie and her now-deceased husband were only a year old.  Ramona and Coraline were only a year younger, and Adric and Holoč a couple of year behind them.  We can also see that Harpreet entered Cernunnos Coven the year after Holoč, and you have to wonder if C Level Holoč showed the same welcome to B Level Harpreet when she first arrived on the second floor.  And Isis came on to the first floor of Cernunnos Coven at the same time Pavlina and Victor were doing their only years of the school’s Continuing Education Program, so it’s possible the may have encountered the future Chief of Security for the school while they were essentially graduate students.

In case you’re wondering about the above line colors, they correspond to covens.  Red is Cernunnos; yellow is Ceridwen; sea green is Blodeuwedd; orange is Åsgårdsreia; and blue is Mórrígan.  Yes, Erywin and Helena are covenmates with Maddie, which is likely another reason why Helena was ready to kill her when she found out she was a Guardian mole.

Now, why is Annie showing Kerry her book?  There is an excellent reason for this:

 

She gentle lay her left hand upon the cover of the unopened levitating book. “As I see it, my love, we’ve been married for thirteen years, and I believe we’ll be together for the rest of our lives.” She slipped her right hand out of Kerry’s and set it over his chest where the personal medical monitor set. “Like you pointed out, we’re joined in more ways than one, and I have no fear you’ll ever take up with someone else.”

He placed his hand over her chest as well. “I wouldn’t leave, ever.”

Annie nodded once as she and Kerry set their hands back to their laps. “In five years we’ll be eighteen—well, you will: I’ll be eighteen in a little over four, but . . .” She retook his left hand in hers. “By then we’ll have graduated from school and have finished our Real Life Experience, and if we’re asked back for CEP studies, I want us to return as a married couple.

“I want to show you everything I’ve dreamed about and planed for the last seven year. I want you to see my sketches, my dress designs, the first drawings I made of the lake house—”

“And the names of our children?” A broad grin spread across Kerry’s face.

“I don’t have those—yet.” Annie’s face broke out with a smile as well. “Also, I want a June wedding: like my mother, I want to be married as close to the solstice as possible; I want the moment to be auspicious for us as well.

“But there’s another reason I’m doing this: there are some things in which I want you to have a hand as well. I told you about the rings I’ve designed, and I want you to see them so—” She rested her head against his shoulder momentarily “—you can have your input. While the things in her are my plans and dreams, there are a few items for which you should have some say” She turned a coy look in his direction. “It’s only fair.”

Kerry felt his eyes misting over again and he put a stop to it right away: he didn’t want tears to fall into Annie’s most prized book. “I’m honored you trust me with this.”

“If I can’t trust my husband, who can I trust? Come, my love—” Her eyes twinkled in the darkness as she flipped the book open. “We have a wedding to plan.”

 

“We have a wedding to plan.”  And right there, Annie is letting her soul mate know there’s no more screwing around:  in five year’s time there’s gonna be wedding bells, and they’re gonna ring in June.  She’s always got her eyes on the prize, and the prize involves getting hitched to the Ginger Hair Boy.  Though you have to wonder if she starts putting names in the baby section if she’ll tell Kerry, or if she’ll ask for suggestions.  Or if she’ll say something like, “My love, we need to pick to baby names,” and wait for him to ask why.

Yeah, I think that’s the end of the Sea Sprite until next year, because anything else in that building is anticlimactic after that last statement.

Don’t worry:  they’ll be back next year . . .

All the Time That Be Time

What is going on this morning?  Not a lot, to be honest.  I’m off to get my nails done in a couple of hours, so I’ve sort of piddled around trying to motivate myself to write.  However, I didn’t sleep for crap last night despite being tired as hell, so my mind is a muddled mess.  So much so that I knew anything I tried to put down in the system would come out full of suck, so I haven’t bothered.

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy . . .

For a few weeks now I’ve meant to make some changes to the time line that is the story of my kids at school, though change really isn’t the right word:  additions is more like it.  That’s the way my mind works, with lots going ’round and ’round all the time and things always popping in and out.  What’s been bugging me, however, is that I haven’t done anything about these pop ups for a while, mostly due to just feeling too damn exhausted to get in there and put things into my little Book of History.

And while I’m doing this I should mention that I’ve been rocking out to Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with cannons at the end.  Only in Russia would a composer think, “Now, I need an instrument to make the climax memorably;  what should I use?  I know:  cannons.”  Yes, Comrades, in old Russia, orchestra blast you!

Since I’m down to my last three chapters of this novel I’ve begun getting things in shape for the stories to follow, while I mostly concentrate on three events that happen outside of school, though I fourth started taking hold in my mind this morning.  Two of those event involve both of my kids, and two of them involve Annie alone.  My little Bulgarian Pop Princess all by her lonesome?  Why not?  She’s a big girl, she can handle herself.  And don’t worry:  it’s not as if Kerry doesn’t get enough screen time on his own.  But sometimes a girl needs a little Me Time just to chill and be herself.

Now, I’m about to lay out something I’ve only parts of here and there, but this is the real deal now:  here is the time line I’ve used for B For Bewitching.  At least this is how I take my cues when I’m putting the story together.  First, we have the sections for Annie alone and Kerry alone.

Just a little of what the kids go through on their own--

Just a little of what the kids go through on their own–

What is up there is pretty much all the key points from the start of the novel to the end.  You can see there are a few details off to the right that, I will tell you now, aren’t going to be in this novel, but in the next–that’s one of the reasons a couple of points have been scrubbed, because I don’t want you to know what they are.  I will go ahead and spoil this now:  the event in the upper right hand corner in “Annie’s Story”, the 02 June Meeting, that starts off the next novel, C For Continuing.  The first novel started and ended with Annie, and this current novel started with Kerry and will end with him.  That means the next novel starts and ends with Annie.  Simple, huh?

Below this is another layout, seen here:

And what they go through together.

And what they go through together.

This not only shows events they enjoy together, but the very bottom lays out some of the school’s event–like, the entirety of racing season.  You’ll notice that a few more events are scrubbed here, because that’s necessary, trust me.  Below this I even have a mark showing the time covers by each novel, and at the very top I show when certain holidays occur during the year, so if there’s a question about when something is happening, I can look there.

This is a little of what I keep hidden behind the scenes, and like I said at the beginning, I’m adding to this.  Adding mean thinking through the story, and that also means research prior to plotting.  Really, you wouldn’t believe what I’ve already discovered in the last couple of weeks playing around with these various ideas . . .

And just think:  you only have a few years to wait before you see them come to fruition.

The Remains of Today

Last night I had great hopes for a productive day today, but there’s a big difference between what you plan to do in the yesterday with a head full of wine, and what you actually once you wake up at seven after a pretty good night’s sleep.

After three glasses I'm totally not judging anyone.

After three glasses I’m totally not judging anyone.

But here it is, ten in the morning, and I have a ton of things to do in the next few hours.  I’ve managed to get the wrinkles out of my clothes using the “hot shower” method, which means you hang your clothing in the bathroom, turn on the hot water in your shower, and let it run for about fifteen minutes, and wrinkles vanish.  There’s something you can do when you’re showering in the morning if you don’t want to waste the water.  After this post I have to get ready, go pay a bill, pick up food for the next few days, and then take a nap before getting into the next chapter.

I made a few changes to the layout last night.  For one I had to adjust some times in the very last chapter, and get those updates into my master time line.  And I added an opening scene to the final chapter of the novel–which, by the way, is close to crossing two hundred and ninety-four thousand words, and Act Three just crossed ninety-one thousand words.  I’ve surprised myself with how far I’ve gotten in a year, and hope I finish up the book before the end of May, because really, I could use the summer off.

Here’s what’s left:

You're gonna see this count down a lot in the next few weeks.

You’re gonna see this count down a lot in the next few weeks.

It’s official:  five chapters remain.  And in these remaining chapters will lay another revelation and a huge cliffhanger–I mean, like a big one.  Get ready for the pain.

But I’ve been up to something else as well besides driving myself crazy with TV recaps this last week–which, by the way, the insanity is over, and I can afford a few breathers that allow me to rock out on the last of Bewitching.  I’ve thought about the next novel–which will have the title C For Continuing in case you were wondering–quite a lot, getting the layout down in my head before committing it to Scrivener.  I need to spend time getting the time line in order and filling it out more.  In particular there’s a scene I’m adding to the timeline that’s going to be, well . . . how do I say this?  Big.

Why am I looking at this map?  No reason.  Why do you ask?

Why am I looking at this map? No reason. Why do you ask?

Last of all I’ve digging on some music that I will use as the background for one of my movie trailers–yes, I’m going to do up a treatment for both Bewitching and Continuing just as I did for Advanced.  I’m pretty sure I know what background music I’ll use in parts of the Bewitching “trailer”, and I know for sure what I’d use for Continuing.  The Bewitching stuff you’ll already know, but for Continuing you’ll actually catch views of things that will happen in the novel before I write them–and some of it will be surprising, and some will be shocking.  I’m certain there’s one where you’ll read it and think, “What the hell is going on?”

Because that’s how I like to roll.

Once More Unto the Curtain: The Last Secret Kinda Explained

First off, Happy St. Pat’s Day, or as we called it in Chicago, “Drunk Teenager Day”, back when all the suburban kids would take the train into the city and booze up at any number of beer tent set up around The Loop, and drink until they were laying face down, literally, in a gutter.  I’ve seen this many a time, but few of those memories are fond.  Also, I’m sure the Chicago River is a bright green this morning, as opposed to the dark, murky green that is it’s normal color.

But there be other business we be handlin’ this morning, right?  Yur damn tootin’!  Humm . . . not sure if that’s Irish or more a Fargo-like accent.  No time to worry about that.  Erin Go Braless, as Kerry would say–

It appears that despite hacking up part of a lung last night, I finished the first scene of Chapter Twenty-nine:

Image of hacked-up lung not included.

Image of hacked-up lung not included.

This was all after I spent about an hour and a half working on my time lines, mostly redoing on and making modifications to another.  All a bunch of future planing, including a major change to one of my lines for the purpose of throwing in something that I know Annie would want, and that she alone would likely know.  As Collective Soul might sing, I’ve still got a long way to run.

Now you’ll see a time line, but not until after the excerpt.  And because this is right around six hundred and eighty words, you get it all.  And this picks up right after Erywin’s exclamation, which means . . .

 

All excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Two: B For Bewitching, copyright 2015, 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

“Yes, they do.” Deanna turned towards her fellow instructors and staff. “As Coraline knows I found Annie’s explanation of how she heard Kerry’s screams during the night somewhat suspect, so a while after I left the hospital and strode into the astral realm. It took about a minute of examination before I realized their lifelines weren’t visible, and after a bit of searching—” She nodded in the couple’s direction. “I found the bonding.”

Jessica’s aura shifted through a number of colors as it was evident she was having difficulty believing what she heard and saw. “Why didn’t you say something about this during our meeting?”

Deanna shrugged. “It wasn’t relevant. It is now, however.” She turned back to face Annie. “Like you said, you’re not going anywhere—and this confirms your statement.”

While Annie was apparently adjusting quickly to this new development, Kerry—rocked throughout the last thirty minutes with a number of incredible reveals—was now trying to process this latest. “What does this mean?”

The look in Annie’s eyes seemed to indicate a moment of sudden clarity. “It means we’re connected.”

“She’s right.” Deanna slowly approached them, her aura showing her feeling of intense curiosity. “I imagine this is why you share a dreamspace, and why you’ve been able to visit each other in your dreams without having to actually used magic to make the walk.” She gentle ran her right index finger over her lower lip. “I believe this is how Annie was able to hear you screaming: it didn’t come from your room, it came from your dreamspace, and filtered up through your shared space into hers.

“The reality is, as Annie says, you’re connected. You’re lifelines are fused—it likely occurred immediately after your birth, Kerry. The point is, you’re linked through the same element that allows you to draw magical energy, and this is why when you are close together your auras merge.” She shook her head. “I should have seen this earlier. Do me a favor, please?” Both children perked up.  “Turn so you’re facing away from me.”

Annie and Kerry turned so their backs were to Deanna and the rest of the room. The seer looked to her right at the astonished women. “See?”

“Damn.” Coraline stepped up next to her fellow counselor. “So that’s why.”

Kerry half turned to his right so he could see everyone. “Why what?”

“My love—” Annie nodded towards the space between them. “Look.”

Kerry promptly noticed what Annie, and the others, could see. His lifeline progressed down through his left arm and out his hand before arcing over to Annie’s right hand and making its way up through her right arm. He slowly spun to his right and reached out with his left hand as Annie turned towards him, holding out her right hand. They held hands and he saw how their lifelines moved from one hand to the other. “Wow.”

“That’s what Coraline meant—” Annie gave her a knowing grin. “Why we always walked right hand in left. Yes?”

The doctor nodded. “It follows the natural line of your dominate hands.  That’s not a coincidence.”

Deanna shook her head.  “It’s not.”

Annie turned to Kerry and smile. “This means we truly are soul mates.”

“It kinda looks that way.” He turned to Deanna. “How long are we going to be like this?”

Deanna seemed nearly confounded by the question. “What do you mean?”

“I mean, no one else is like us—” He used his right hand to motion around the room. “How long is this gonna . . .”

Annie’s stare stopped his question in mid-sentence, but it was left for Deanna to make certain he understood completely. “It’s always going to be this way. You’re lifeline is a part of you from the moment you’re born until the day you are no longer part of the physical realm—

“This bonding you share: it’s the same way. For this lifeline between you will only break upon the end of one, or both, of you.

“You’ll remain bonded together until the day you die.”

 

When they say “lifelines” they aren’t kidding.  Deanna knows what she’s talking about, and when she says, “Until the day you die,” she means it.

Now, a little bit of history here.  As with Kerry’s sudden “change of life”, I’ve known of this event for a while as well.  I first started putting it together during the summer of 2012, but it was during the July, 2013 Camp Nano, where I wrote The Foundation prequel novel The Scouring, that this finally took hold.  That novel showed Jessica, Erywin, and a few others, reacting to the April, 2000, Deconstructor attack on the school, and it was in that same novel that I first wrote about Isis, Wednesday, and Deanna, who were only students at the time, but who still did their part to defend their alma mater.

There was a scene, however, the penultimate scene, actually, and that scene has been read only by myself and one other person.  I sent that scene off with the message:  “This is why Annie and Kerry will always be together,” and when that person finally got around to reading what I’d sent, I was told they’d actually read the scene several times over a couple of days, because reading it made them happy.

That scene is hidden away, and perhaps I’ll let it out one day.  But . . . it’s there, almost three years ago now, that I showed something incredible happening.  I’ve even got it down on a time line–just as I have all of the dreams and events during the B Level that has brought us here–

You don't know how long I've waited to put this out.  A long "time", you might say.

You don’t know how long I’ve waited to put this out. A long “time”, you might say.

There I have it:  all of Kerry’s dreams laid out, and then down in the lower right, the events that are occurring now.  And just like these moments, I have others laid out for the C Levels that are approaching.

But all of this leads back to a moment where my two kids found themselves bound at the heart–pretty literally as well, I must say.

Now comes the time when the full realization of that moment hits them both right over the head . . .

Writing, Thoughts, New Plotting, and Time

Last night was about writing, but it didn’t involve much writing.  There wasn’t any writing at all, if you must know.

There are times when one has to make certain that their story is in good shape and the area ahead not only makes sense, but isn’t full of potholes and landmines.  And of all the parts of my story, the Kansas City trip was the foggiest because it was put together a long time ago–probably started thinking about it in detail in mid-September, 2013, and initially plotted it out in started time lining and getting it into Scrivener a month later–and I was only meta sketching it at the time.  I figured in the next few months I’d get some more detail behind it as I gave it more thought . . .

Little did I know it would be almost fourteen months before I’d get to this point.

So, with Helena and Erywin safely under the covers, and Annie and Kerry in bed and in their dream, it was time to figure out what was really going to happen over the next couple of days.  But at the same time, there was unfinished business concerning the earlier dreams that Annie and Kerry had.  After all, they were a thing in the story now and I wanted to know they were in the right places.  For them, that is.

So I started getting down to business.  And the first thing I did after eating last night was download the newest version of Aeon Timeline–which was easier said that done, because the connection at Panera kept dropping on me.  It took me three tries to get it onto my computer, but get it there I did.

And with that in place, I started figuring things out–

As you can see, it went in like a dream.  I know . . .

As you can see, it went in like a dream. I know . . .

Everything from the middle of the screen and on to the right was done a long time ago:  over a year back if I remember correctly.  All the stuff to the left, however, is brand new.  There is one dream missing–their first one–but they were pretty young at the time and it probably involved a lot of “Hi.  How you doing?” toddler stuff.  But as far as the main stuff talked about in the novel so far, that’s it.  I know when the things happened, and I have an idea what they talked about or did.  As you can see, there’s a good sized gap in there–a little over a year and a half–where not a lot happens, but you can assume it involved . . . kissing.

With the story almost complete I can actually show the full A Level time line that I developed and used for the story.  Ready?  Here you go:

In all its stunning glory.

In all its stunning glory.

One thing to point out here is that those areas marked “The Big Time” and “Kansas City” take you to other time lines, which makes this less crowded.  Also, I’m not showing individual things that happened to either kid, so “Annie’s Story” and “Kerry’s Story” bring up additional information.  Needless to say, once I laid out the story in Scrivener, I went back here to verify that everything worked out, and if I didn’t, I modified the line here until it did, and then changed the Scrivener layout.  Seems like a lot of work, but when you’re 365,000 words into a story, you’ll be glad you had this proofing behind you.

And speaking of Scrivener . . .

I also laid out the next two chapters–which, story-wise, is the next two days.  Funny how that works out:  three chapters in three days.  If only I could write that fast.  It now looks like this:

So much better I have to pat myself on the back.

So much better I have to pat myself on the back.

Nine scenes.  A couple of them are pretty short, most, I think, are gonna be between one thousand and fifteen hundred words, and I dare say a couple there will pop up over two thousand.  If I use twelve hundred words as an average, then there’s almost eleven thousand words to add for these two chapters alone.  And with Act Three currently sitting near fifty-seven thousand five hundred words, this is going to take the story up closer to seventy thousand words.  Which means by the time I finish this part the story will end up somewhere between seventy and seventy-five thousand words.

Looking at this, and looking at what I have ahead, this leads me to believe that Act Three is going to come out at right around one hundred thousand words, which will make it a third shorter than the first two acts.  Oh, my dear:  how can I handle that?  Can’t complain, because I figured Act Three would be the shortest part of the story, but still:  one hundred thousands words as a stand alone novel is a pretty good deal.

With all this said, tonight I get back into the writing.  If I manage to somehow do a scene a day, then this finishes up before the end of the year, and I can write and complete Chapter Thirty-Eight before the end of the year.  There are still several chapters to go, but having looked at them and knowing what goes in there–it looks as if this novel will finally see “The End” written around the end of January, 2015.

Now I have to figure out how I’m gonna celebrate that moment . . .

The Highs and the Highers

Let’s just get this out of the way first thing in the morning:  mind mapping can be a huge amount of fun, but ultimately it can also be an enormous pain in the ass.  You’re trying to organize your thoughts on a page–and I use that term “page” liberally, because inside your computer your page can go on for a very long time.  Don’t believe me?  Look:

No, that's not the remains of a fly I swatted . . .

No, that’s not the remains of a fly I swatted . . .

That’s sixty-six notes I’ve made on a character time line while trying to deconstruct and rebuild this character, with Scapple zoomed out as far as I can take it.  As you can see, I have plenty of room in which to work.

And work I was.

Not as much as this time line would show, but it’s getting there.  I have my head where I want it now, and I’ve narrowed down some of the questions I need to ask.  I’ve also set aside room for Kerry, because in retrospection, he’s wrong, too.  At least in the opening chapters.  Oh, not the prologue:  he’s pretty much spot on there.  The whole London section–it’s wrong.  It’s really wrong.  Kerry has a computer:  who needs to go out?  That’s what Google Streetview is for!

Yeah, need to deconstruct him a little, because if there’s one thing I know about his, it’s that he’s emotional shut away from most everything.  So London . . . rewrite city, baby.  I hope to start getting to that on Sunday.  No really; stop laughing.

I’m actually feeling good about redoing this part.  I figured out a day trip inventory that’s really more to the liking of the kids, and it’s fun to roam all over London on The Maps (that’s what I’ll call it from now on) and see things that I shouldn’t have missed the first time.  But, hey:  first drafts are for your screw ups.  As James Michener once said, “I’m not a very good writer, but I’m an excellent rewriter.”  (Paddy Chayefsky apparently said the same thing, so I’ll let them fight it out over who gets the real credit.)

Something else happened last night as well.  I was chatting up a friend, and we got to talking about some of my work.  It so happened–as writers often do–I spoke about some of my old erotica I’d written some ten years back, and how I was thinking of editing it and putting it out in ebook format to get comfortable among the dino porn and gay cuttlefish transformation stories.  (And if you read this blog regularly, you know those both exist.)

Being in something of a good mood I asked my friend if she wanted to see some of it.  She said yes.  I showed her the stories I had in pdf format with the artwork that had been drawn especially each of the tales.

I'd show you the real artwork, but it'd probably piss someone off, so here's something everyone can agree is completely safe.

I’d show you the real artwork, but it’d probably piss someone off if I did, so here’s something everyone can agree is completely safe.

And what I was told was, “This is really good writing, Cassie.”  Which it really was, even if it was totally fetish smut.  But after a long week of being down, feeling tired, and beating your head again the computer, you know what you, as a writer, needs?

To be told you’re good.

Those really are the magic words.  Try them on a writer friend and see what happens.

Fulfilling the Loops of Continuity

First up, a little bit of personal news.  No, nothing bad:  I’m not off to the sanitarium to “get better”, though I’ve done something like that at one point in my life . . . no, it’s something better.  I’ll will have an interview posted on another blog sometime soon.  Yay me!  I haven’t had an interview in a while, and now is as good a time as any.  There were a lot of questions, and by the time I answered them all I’d written nearly four thousand words, so you know I’ll have a lot to say.  It’s also possible I’ll come off as the most boring git in the world, but that’s a risk you run with an interview.  As soon as it is posted, I’ll reblog it here, and generally link whore myself like crazy.  Please stand by.

Writing up that interview took most of my morning and afternoon, so I didn’t do much in the way of editing yesterday.  That happens:  you can’t be in editing or writing mode all the time, but you do what you can, right?  However, I did have the TV on in the background while I did my interview, and a couple of the movies that I half-paid attention to were Wanted–which I’d not only seen before, but I have the original comics run of the story–and Taken–which I had not seen before, but knew about because this movie started the reign of Liam Neeson bad-assery.

Of the two Wanted is really an odd duck because it so wildly deviates from the original material.  Sure, one could believe James McAvoy is a complete loser who ends up becoming a master assassin, and Angelina Jolie is his mentor, but once you start getting into the original story you start to see a lot of weird things, like how The Fraternity is really a bunch of super-villains who got tired of being on the bottom rung of the ladder all the time and decided to take over.  Then there’s the main characters, Wesley and The Fox.  Throughout the comic they are modeled after two rather well know individuals:  Wesley was modeled after Eminem, and The Fox was modeled after Halle Berry.  The Fox also wears a costume that comes with cat ears, because super-villains, yo.

Sure, you can see the resemblence between the characters and the actors if you squint hard enough . . .

Sure, you can see the resemblance between the characters and the actors if you squint hard enough . . .

But one can live with that, because if you aren’t getting Eminem and Halle Berry to pretty much play themselves in a story that used them for the character templates, then you do what you can.  There was a scene, however, that made me roll my eyes:  it was when Wesley is looking at a piece of the “Loom of Fate” given to him to translate, and as he looks through a magnifying glass he starts drawing ones and zeros so he can lay out the binary code and translate it to English.  And as Wesley draws his numbers, his zeros always get a slash in them . . .

Which if you’re a boy from Chicago–which Wesley’s suppose to be–you wouldn’t put a slash in your zeros.  However, if you’re a boy from Scotland–which James McAvoy is–you would probably draw your oughts with a slash in them.  Which was why I was rolling my eyes, because I was surprised no one caught that.  Then again, how many people watching the movie are going to catch that?  Maybe a dozen?  Only the super geeks among us?  Those of us who read the comic and are wondering if before the credits roll McAvoy is going to show us his rage face while telling the audience this is how he’s going to look while butt raping us?  (Which is how the comic ends, by the way.)

Then there’s Taken.  Never mind trying to figure out the logic of how a guy can run through Paris killing dozens of people, and even go so far as to shoot the wife of a French Security Officer in their house, and yet still apparently fly home commercial after having been shot a few times.  It’s an action movie, and you’re suppose to check your brain at the door before entering the theater.  No, the part that had me rolling my eyes took place on the private flight from Los Angeles to Paris . . .

Now, when Liam’s character’s daughter gets nabbed, you hear her description of her kidnapper:  “Beard; six foot; tattoo on hand–“.  Sure, clear enough.  But on the flight to Paris you hear her say, “Mustache; six foot; tattoo on hand–”  But later the description is back to beard–so who am I looking for?  A guy with a beard, or a guy with a mustache?  Or does it matter, because Liam’s gonna kill them all anyway?  It’s one of those things that sort of drive me mad, though, because since you already have the recording of the kidnapping, why bother with the change?  Or was it because they recorded the sound bite before they had an actor cast, and they didn’t know what they’d look like?

A few times I’ve had people tell me that I spend too much time trying to get everything “right” in my stories, that I spend too much time trying to figure out a sequence of events within my novels rather than just sitting down and writing.  Like I mentioned a few days ago there are times when it would be easy to write, but then you find that a scene you’re preparing won’t work because of something like the sun setting too late at the location where the scene is set, and that means your characters are going to look up in amazement at the beautiful aurora greeting them to a land of death and cold misery.  “Who’s going to know that?” you say?  Me, for one.  And some geek out there who bothers to check time of sunset for that day in that part of the world, after which they mumble, “Man, this chick is a loser!  Don’t they know it’s not dark enough for an aurora?”  And don’t say they aren’t out there:  they are.

Because I’m here, so I know they exist.

This is why I have all sorts of notes.  This is why I spend so much time trying to figure out little things like when do people go off and do whatever it is they’re suppose to do in the story.  It’s like what I was working on late last night:  a couple of things I added to Annie and Kerry’s E Level time:  I’ve got them doing things for The Guardians relating to spirits, because they’re getting older, they’re getting good finding and contracting and even doing things to spirits, and so why not have them perform a little extra-curricular activity with a branch of The Foundation that doesn’t mind using a couple of hapless teenager witches when the need arises.

Help the Guardians, See the World, Make it Back in Time for Necromancy 102.

Help the Guardians, See the World, Make it Back in Time for Necromancy 102.

Therefore I have them off helping with a spirit search in Chicago–yeah, but it’s not like they’re talking around the middle of The Loop with unregulated nuclear particle accelerators on their backs–and then off to Pripyat, Ukraine–which, if you know your geography and history, is a real fun time–which eventually leads to that section at 21 March–a point in time where I’ve created another time line so I know what’s happening there.

You can bet that means it’s not gonna be a good time.

It’s important to get things right.  If you do it up front, then you don’t have to worry about them when you write:  you just write.  It’s one of the things I pointed out in my interview yesterday–if you know the order of things before you write, if you have all your notes in place before the story begins, the actual telling of the tale becomes far easier.  You’re not going to be perfect; you’re not always going to catch everything.  In fact, as you go along you may see something that works better.  But at least you have the foundation laid–no pun here, trust me–before the story is built.

Then again, maybe you want the Earth rotating in the wrong direction . .