Finally At the End of Time

As much as I would’ve liked to write last night, I had a TV recap to get out and that took up the majority of my time.  Still, I’m about thirty-five hundred words up and I should get a few hundred more tonight.  As long as you keep writing, things are going to be okay.

I’m finally able to bring Kerry’s lesson to an end.  He’s had a lot of time to talk about time, which means it’s time for him to stop talking about time.  But before he goes, he has to give a bit of an explanation about his last practical experiment.  Because there’s an extremely important lesson to be learned in it…

 

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

 

He walked slowly towards the end of the semi circle where Naomi sat and stopped when he was a couple of meters in front of her. “You wanted to know what I could do with the spell like the one I’ve demonstrated? You could use it to momentarily accelerate yourself so that if you needed to get out of a jam you could actually run away faster than people could pursue you. Or you could use it to speed yourself up to complete the task. Or, if someone was about to hurt you and you had time to get a spell like that around you, you could either subdue them, knock them out, or even kill them.”

Kerry nodded to his left, down towards the far end of the room where Wednesday was finally removing the barrier. “If I’d hit anyone in the chest with that tennis ball, the chances are pretty good that if I hadn’t killed them they’d be in the hospital for a long stay. But it’s more likely I would’ve killed them.”

He walked to the far end of the room where he had thrown the tennis ball and retrieved a few things that had fallen to the floor. When he returned to face the students he dropped the burnt, shattered fragments of the tennis ball at his feet. “This is what’s left of the ball after it discharged all of the kinetic energy from it’s velocity. Now, the shield Wednesday put up was designed to absorb energy and dissipate it into the safety enchantment, so it’s a lot sturdier than anyone’s body. So instead of disintegrating as if I’d thrown it into one of you, it’s likely it would’ve collapsed your chest, torn off most of your outer skin, and probably made your organs explode.

“But here’s something you need to keep in mind: just because I could accelerate myself and throw a tennis ball at someone as fast as a Class 1 PAV, that doesn’t mean I want to do the same thing and then get into hand-to-hand combat. Punching someone while you’re accelerated is going to hurt them, but it’s also going to hurt you. An arm, a wrist, and a hand are just as soft and pliable under accelerated time as they are under Normal time, and throwing an accelerated punch into another person is going to feel like you’re hitting a wall. You may do a lot of damage to the person you hit, but you are for sure going to mess up your own arm as well.”

Pang stretched out his legs as he folded his hands across his stomach. “So jacking up your own personal time wouldn’t help you out a lot when fighting.”

Kerry looked down as he grinned. “Not unless you know what you’re doing.”

Like everyone else in the room, Pang knew that Annie and Kerry were in Advanced Self Defense and Weapons. “But you’ve probably figured out how to do it, right?”

“And that is a lesson for another time.” Not wanting to get into a long, drawn-out discussion of how accelerated time could be used in combat, Wednesday walked up behind Kerry and placed her hand on his shoulders. “Let’s all thank Kerry for giving us this demonstration. It was very informative, as well as being interesting.” She waited for him to return to his seat before she continued. “So now you have an idea of some of the things we’re going to work on tonight. Let me get the room set up so that we have our lab tables, and then we can begin.”

She took a couple of steps back for stopping and smiling. “And don’t feel as if you have to rush things tonight. Remember… We have plenty of time.”

 

If Kerry has already thought out the ramifications of what would happen if he accelerated his own personal time considerably and then punch someone, it also means that he’s figured out the ramifications of how to prevent his own arm from exploding when he performs said punch.  Because it’s not like him to think, “Wow, if I kick my own time up to five times greater than Normal and then slap someone, I could take their face off!”  Except he knows that if he does that, he’d probably rip off his own hand in the process.

But what other type of magic is Kerry really good at?  Something about transforming?  Like I said, he’s thought out the ramifications…

Now that were finished with Advanced Spells, it’s time for Annie and Kerry to go to their special advanced class.  One where they won’t only learn about how to do magic in this world, but do magic in another–

The Gestation Plus Cycle

First off, I finished my latest scene last night after returning from the local Pride event held on the banks of our river, and which I worked for a few hours because why not?  Someone’s gotta go represent the T, you know?  I actually wrote the scene in three shifts:  one in the morning after my blog post, in a five hundred word sprint when I returned home, and then the last few hundred words after I returned about seven PM.  Total wordage for the day was eighteen hundred and sixty-nine words, which is a pretty good count anyway you look at things.

See where I've been, and see where I'm going . . .

See where I’ve been, and see where I’m going . . .

One more scene finishes Chapter Eighteen and Part Six, and then it’s on to the last two parts and–well, a butt-load of chapters.  I’ll probably pass the seventy thousand word mark for Act Two today, which is leaving me with the feeling that Act Two may just end up with a word count nearly equal to Act One, which would drive this story to three hundred thousand words–

With Act Three to follow.

Doing my time count today, I find I’ve been working on this novel for nine months.  And yes, this is my baby, and sometimes squeezing out the words needed to take it forward are nearly as difficult as squeezing a watermelon out of your lady parts, though no where nearly as painful.  Writing a novel takes time, and writing a big novel like this, with only a few hours every night or afternoon where I can work, is going to take a lot of time.  Particularly since this work has went from being Order of the Phoenix sized and appears to be heading into Infinite Jest territory.

Last night, however, I found myself a bit incensed by a comment that a friend decided to lay on me.  I’m sure she thought she was being humorous and whatnot, but still, there are some things you should be aware of when speaking to writers, and what she said last night one of those of things she should have checked before she wrecked.

And the comment was . . .

“Are you ever going to finish this thing?”

The first thing that came to mind was the now-famous blog post written by Neil Gaiman in response to a fan’s query about whether it was true that George R. R. Martin, the author of a certain large series of books about people, politics, dragons, and boobies, owes it to his fans to get off his ass and spend more time doing the writing thing so he can finish A Song of Ice and Fire Series before he goes the way of a majority of the characters in his books.  Neil’s response was pretty straightforward when it came to what writers really own their fans, but the whole thing can be summed up by the most famous line from the post:  “George R. R. Martin is not your bitch.”

Which is why after I was asked about when I was going to finish my story, the first thing that came to mind was–

Drop a House

I’m a nice person, but there is an emotional investment that goes into writing.  If you’ve never written a story of your own, it’s sometimes difficult to understand just how crazy the writing process can make one.  It’s always on your mind, and if you’re like me with this story, it’s been on your mind for years.  And I’m nowhere near as into this story as some writers were or are with their own series.  I’ve already imagined that if I were to continue writing about these characters after this book, in ten years I could have fans asking me if I’m planing to end the series before I kick this mortal coil.

It’s the implication that you’re not spending enough time writing, or that your story’s too long, or both, that really kinda twists the knife in hard.  The implication that maybe you might not know what you’re doing, and you’re just telling everyone you’re “writing” when the reality is you’re off doing something else.  Or, worse, you’re only writing a few hundred words a day, and a real writer gets down and does like a few thousand, so why aren’t you doing the same?

This is what makes writers drop houses on people.  And not because you’re the most evil movie villain ever–as pointed out by Cracked.com nearly four years ago–but because when you’ve spent nine months gestating a piece of work, and you figure you’re maybe two-thirds finished–or would that be more like five-eights in my case, I’m really afraid to look–having someone who doesn’t write, who isn’t creative, who doesn’t understand what goes into this process . . . when they ask, “You ever gonna finish this masterpiece of yours?”, that’s when the house dropping commences.  That’s when you get out your crown and your wand and you look ever-so-pretty while you commence to letting people know you ain’t their bitch.

You . . . get the house . . . right on the freakin’ noggin.

A story takes as long to finish as it takes to tell.  Sometimes that’s fifty thousand words; sometimes that’s five hundred thousand.  Most stories fall somewhere in between, but were I to really push the envolope o these characters, I could run their story to a coll million words easy.  Since that’s the case, maybe I should sell this first novel and make enough money to write full-time.

Yeah, that’d be great.

It’d give me a lot more time to drop houses.

The Loneliness of the Long Distant Series

There are time, I think it’s safe to say, when I wonder if I’m mad as hell.  Not Howard Beale “Mad as hell”, but mad as in Mad Hatter sorta mad.  And why is that, you are probably asking yourself–if, indeed, you are bothering to ask yourself that question after reading the previous sentence.  It’s because I am a little crazy.  It’s because I’ve got a world inside my head, and I’m wondering if I’ll ever get it all out.

And if I should, how much of my life is gonna get spent doing so?

It started like this:  I was speaking with someone yesterday about our respective works in progress.  They mentioned that on their current work–which is really a long series broken into three parts–they’ve written one hundred and twenty thousand words in two and a half years.  That’s a good amount, particularly, as they said, they don’t get the opportunity to write every day.

I then mentioned that with my current novel I’ve written just short of one hundred and forty thousand words in four months, and when looking at the rest of the novel, I believe I have about one hundred and twenty-five thousand words to do for Act Two, and maybe one hundred and ten to one hundred and twenty thousand words for Act Three.  I also mentioned that I was getting into A Song of Ice and Fire series territory in terms of how many characters I’ve had with a point of view and/or a speaking part.  All in all, when you read that, it does come off a just a little batty to say, “Within the next year I expect to finish a novel that’s going to run about three hundred and seventy-five thousand words.  ‘Tis but a meager tale.”

And for the record, here are the characters in Act One who have shown up with major and minor points of view, or have had a substantial speaking part:  Annie, Annie’s Mom, Annie’s Dad, Mr. Mayhew, Kerry’s Dad, Kerry’s Mom, Kerry, Ms. Rutherford, Collin, Alicia, Mathilde, Deanna, Erwyin, Helena, Adric, Isis, The School Adviser, Nurse Coraline, Jessica, Holoc, Maddy, Lisa, Vicky, Wednesday, Harpreet, Emma, Ramona, Mathias, Gretchen the Night Nurse, and Trevor the Librarian.  That’s thirty characters, and right off the top of my head I can think of about six other characters who are going to show up in the next two acts and have something say.

The good news is:  Act One is really the “Let’s Get Everyone Out Here Now” act that does all the introductions, and the majority of these characters will continue on with the story through Acts Two and Three.  The bad news is:  there’s a lot more to the story that just Acts Two and Three.  A lot more beyond what I laid out for Act Three back in October.

I look at this and wonder, "What the hell am I doing?"

I look at this now and wonder, “What the hell was I doing here?”  Not that I don’t know, mind you . . .

I was laying out time lines for my B Level story–as I mentioned in yesterday’s post–and more or less finished up how the story will go, including a scene that was frightening and tear jerking at the same time.  Then I looked at all the other stuff I’ve laid out, really a huge amount of information, and wondered, “Am I really gonna finish this tale?  Each ones of these stories will run well over a hundred thousand words, maybe closer to two.  Will I really have the years left to finish it all?”

It’s an incredible task.  Yes, I can write a quarter of a million words in a year if I try hard enough, and even edit it in three months time.  I’m setting myself upon a long game where I could find myself spending five or six more years to tell a story that few, if any, people will ever read.  This is where the madness comes in, because the question that keeps dancing about in my mind is why?  Why do this?

It’s a strange thing, but once someone told me they had a dream where they were speaking with me while holding the book of this story in their hands.  They told me this wasn’t the only time they’d had this dream, and that they were certain I’d not only write this story, but I’d tell it all.  That if I kept at it, the story of these two kids and their trials and tribulations would become known.

Is that actually the truth?  As Deanna would say, you have to be careful with visions, because by speaking them you almost certainly change the future in some way.  But I’ve already spent two years with this story and these characters bouncing about in my head–

What does it matter if I spend another ten years of my life on it?

As Florence once sang–and, I should point out, the same song will be sung during a show at the school at some point in the future–“What the hell, I’m gonna let it happen to me.”

‘Cause if I didn’t, what else would I do?

Relativistic Time

I’ve spoken to a friend of mine, one who understands the tribulations I’ve been through with my writing.  I was telling them about all the work I’ve done getting my next novel together:  the designs, the characters, the layouts, the plotting.  Even the scope goes well beyond anything I’ve done to this point.  Because even though my Transporting stories go all over time and space, they never, to me, feel huge.  They tend to be about two or three or four characters within that world, and that’s it.  You don’t see much of the universe beyond their doors.

With The Foundation Chronicles, I’m all over the world.  My school design started in the the late 17th Century and expanded like a fortress.  I’ve centers and schools around the world.  I have students from every location and walk of life.  In the first couple of chapters I go from Cardiff and Bulgaria to London to Amsterdam to Boston, and then to SIGEL, the school hiding among a grid of magic and technology.

There’s a lot of imagining going on.  There’s a whole lot of atmosphere I’m trying to create and build, so it’s a bit of a daunting task.

What it is mostly is a hell of a lot of work.  More so than I’d first imagined.

While I was plotting things out last night I realized at one point that I’d missed a few things when setting up my text blocks.  I doubled checked my time line, and was like, “Damn, either I’m tired or there’s just way too much here.”  Probably a bit of both, since the last couple of work days have been real mind benders, and I was pretty much forcing myself to put things together.  But that is the risk you run when you are working and, well, working:  you get off one job tired and you bring that to the next.

When your next involves building a big-ass world, it’s a bit crazy to think you’re going to get it all right the first time.

One of my friend put out the message, “Is everyone preparing for NaNo?”  I joked back, “What are these preparations you speak of?” because that’s all you hear these days.  But it did get me thinking about this story, and I’ve been preparing for this novel since before Camp NaNo.  If I go back through my blog posts–which I won’t do now because I’m short on time–I’ll probably find I started the ground work for this story back in June.  June to November is six months, and that’s a lot of work to throw into what should be a pretty straight forward story.

It’s almost all there, however.  As time grows short it also seems to slow down, and just when I don’t think there’s enough time to get it all done, I shock myself.  I checked the clock last night and discovered it was only nine PM, and I’d though it was later than that, because I’d been deep in the tale getting dates and time right.  So many time slowed down for me?  I can’t say–that’s for the ones smarter than me to figure out.

There we go:  a little over five hundred and thirty words in twenty minutes.  I can still do it when I need to crank.

The Moments of Lost Time

Yesterday was a strange one for me.  There was so many things going on, and yet, I feel as if I accomplished nothing.  I was up early and I did–what?  I can’t tell you, other than I did watch Breaking Bad, and wonder just what’s going to happen in the last few episodes as we see the demise of Walt’s meth empire.

I’d planed on writing and editing and some other things, but damned if the time didn’t simply slip away from me.  Oh, actually, now that I think about it, I do know what I did.  Oh, boy–yeah, do I know.  Anyway, that’s boring; you don’t need to hear about my makeover.  You want to hear about other things.  I think.

I was chatting with a friend who wants to write.  She told me that she’s a horrible procrastinator, that it takes her forever to get an idea out, that she finds it difficult to brainstorm.  I offered some advice to help her along, but then remembered that while I was giving this advice, I was also working on something of my own.  That’s where so much of the time goes:  distractions.  There are so many things pulling at everyone at all times that being able to find the time to take this thing so many consider a hobby and making it your work seems impossible.

Yet, the fault lay not in the stars, but in our own inabilities to filter and focus.

Yesterday a friend posted that there are two months remaining until NaNoWriMo.  I commented that many attend, few complete, and a lot are on Facebook going, “Hey, I need help, I’m looking for the name of a town . . . and a dragon . . . and my Main Character.  Anyone got any ideas?”  My first NaNo I was confused by these comments, because my novel was laid out and ready to go, with characters, locations, and definitions, before one word was written, and I didn’t understand why some people were still trying to figure those things out a week into the month of November.  (This also led to someone on a group telling me that I was a hack and my novel was going to suck because I didn’t know how to be spontaneous, but I published that sucker and he vanished, so onward–)  On my second NaNo I wasn’t surprised by this, and when I do NaNo ’13, I probably won’t venture into the group too often as my time to crank out a couple of thousand words a day will be highly limited.  I also know I’ll hit fifty thousand this time around, but won’t finished the novel until December, but that’s another story.

Writing is a time consuming effort.  For this short story I’m doing, I must have spent two or three hours, here and there, thinking about what I wanted to say.  This for something that’s likely to end up about five thousand words.  For some novels I’ve put in weeks of research and thought before writing anything, and when you lay that off against everything you’re written, the time adds up.  It becomes a living, breathing thing that can’t be ignored.

And when you’re unfocused and you have a million distractions going on about you, that lost time begins to stretch out before you.

That said, I need to get started on my story . . .

You’re So Static

It’s only been about a week or so since I decided to do The Scouring for Camp NaNo.  Sure, I could go back and look up when I decided to make the change, but I’m too lazy, and it’s late, so I don’t feel like digging through posts.  But the time frame hasn’t been that much:  I decided to change my story, and I did.

I’ve gotten the idea solidified in my mind, I’ve pulled over the characters I want to use.  I’ve built times lines for who was a teacher and who was a student.  I’ve created my time line for a battle.  I’ve put all the information into my Scrivener project, which was originally set up for another novel, one that I’ll tackle in November.

And the end result of this stuff?  Behold.The Scouring Layout

I figured I’d still have things to do a few days from now, but the weekends get long and the nights get boring, and the moment I feel as if I have some time to burn, I get into the story.  That time ended up being many hours of work before I decided to call it a night, so my little novella began developing far quicker than I’d imagined.

Which is why now you see it all laid out, all meta plotted, all time lined so I know what it suppose to happen when.  About all I need to do is figure out the ages for the characters, the grade levels for some of the characters, and throw in a few background characters who will walk on and do . . . something.

Not a lot there; I can probably have that all finished by Wednesday night at the latest.

Which means I’m going to have time on my hands to do something else, though I’m not sure what.  Maybe I’ll work on developing my characters for the Big NaNo, or maybe I’ll pull out the next story I’m going to start editing so I can get it published.  Either way, I have to get into my writing because–

I’m bored.

I never thought I’d say that, but this is the first time in a long time that I felt like I had to write.  Yes, I write every day, but for the most part it’s been a lot of the “Lemme sit down and get my thousand in today” kind of writing.  Tonight, when I was finished with this layout, I was like, “Okay, what’s next?”

And I wanted to start writing.

I’ve been seeing the following conversation among some of the writers I know, and it goes like this:  “How do I get myself motivated to write?  I can’t seem to get started on my story.”  Here’s what you do:  start writing.  I know it seems like old hat, but the truth is there are time when you don’t want to write, when you hate what you’re doing, when you’re tired.  Last year I’d get up at five-thirty to blog, then write that night from eight-thirty PM until ten PM.  For my last job I’d spend an hour driving to the job, work nine hours, spend an hour driving home, about ninety minutes eating and catching up, and then, depending on my level of tired, I’d start writing, sometimes at eight PM, sometimes at nine.  And I’d write until about ten-thirty or eleven PM, then go to bed so I could get up at five AM.

I didn’t always want to do this, but I did.  You gotta write, Bunkie.  You gotta do it because you want to.  I just went through a month of heavy depression, and I wrote and edited and planed, many times feeling like I wanted to walk away and never look back.

But I know why I didn’t.

Because I have to do this.  It’s what I do.

It’s what I was meant to do.