The First Day Finds

Finally, after the rest and TV watching and getting images for tonight’s recap, I got into the novel and finished that first scene for Chapter Five.

Sure, it took three days, but it was worth it.

Sure, it took three days, but it was worth it.

I finished off about two thousand words last night, and I have been reading every words of this story, which is one of the reasons it’s taking so long.  According to my Scrivener numbers I’ve read and edited 61,300 and some words, and that’s a pretty good run for the last month.  Like I said, by the middle to the end of next month, I should have this revision complete.

The last part of this scene dealt with the headmistress getting up in front of the new students and telling them the truth:  there are Normals, there are Aware, most of the Aware are witches–oh, and guess which group you’re in?  It’s not the first time we’ve heard Normal used, but it is the first time Aware is used, and it’s the first time The W Word gets uttered.  All the pieces are in place:  now to torture the kids.

Not really.  Not at least yet.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t change things around last night.  One of the biggest sections was right here:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

Once the returning students were out of the room and the doors were closed, the headmistress nodded at the instructors seated, and they moved about so they all faced the students. Only then did she begin speaking. “By now I’m sure that all of you suspect The Foundation recruiter who spoke with you and your parents wasn’t completely honest about the true mission of this institution.” She stepped away from the podium while remaining upon the riser. Even without a visible microphone her voice carried through the room. “It is now time to allay those suspicions and put them to rest.

“Several things were said in your meetings: that you would attend a private school, that you would receive a free education, that you would find yourself exposed to languages, math, arts, and science. That we were a one-of-a-kind institute, and what you were going to learn here could not be taught anywhere else in the world.

“All of that is true—there is nothing in those statements that is untrue. You will learn all that—” She stopped, pausing for effect. “And far more.

“Some history, first. This school was founded in 1683, and the first classes began on 1 September of that year, which means your coming here occurs upon the three hundred and twenty-eighth anniversary of that event. The Great Hall was begun in 1685; the Pentagram walls and garden were begun in 1688, and the Coven Towers followed soon after in 1692. All was completed by 1717—which means when you graduate, this dining hall will have existed in this form for three hundred years. Ours is a grand and wonderful history, started long before The Foundation actually appeared.

 

That was the past, and here is the preset:

 

Once the returning students were out of the room and the doors were closed, the headmistress nodded at the instructors seated. They moved their chairs so they also faced the students, and only once they were in place did she speak. “By now I’m certain that nearly all of you suspect The Foundation recruiter who spoke with you and your parents wasn’t completely honest about the true mission of this institution.” She stepped away from the podium while remaining upon the riser. Even without a visible microphone her voice carried through the room. “It is now time to allay those suspicions and put them to rest.

“Several things were said in your meetings: that you would attend a private school, that you would receive a free education, that you would find yourself exposed to languages, math, arts, and science. That we were a one-of-a-kind institute, and what you were going to learn here could not be taught anywhere else in the world.

“All of those statement are true: you will learn all that—” She stopped, pausing for effect. “And far more.

“Some history, first. This school was founded in 1683, and the first classes began on 1 September of that year, which means your coming here occurs on the three hundred and twenty-eighth anniversary of that event. Construction on the Great Hall began in 1685; the Pentagram Walls and Garden were started in 1688, and the coven towers followed soon after in 1692. All was completed before 1700, which means when you graduate, this dining hall will have existed in this form for three hundred and seventeen years. Ours is a grand and wonderful history begun long before The Foundation actually appeared.

 

Believe it or not, some of the dates in the last paragraph were wrong.  I thought I had everything correct, but no.  I didn’t.  And that meant I needed to head back into the time line and get things fixed.

Sometimes times doesn't be time.

Sometimes times doesn’t be time.

It’s rare that I get things off like that, but I think that’s due to actually writing the above section before I had all the details in the Aeon Timeline finalized, and I didn’t go back and check this part of the novel when I put in some of the information in the above line.  Now you know how I am always checking things, and how I have checks for my checks, and I now have keywords in place on the novel so I can find these timeline spots again.

And it all ends with the kids feeling–well, that’s hard to say:

 

All the instructors stood as did the students. Annie stood first and waited a few seconds for Kerry to get to his feet. After he was up he spoke for the first time since this private talk began. “Well, that was interesting.”

“Yes, it was.” She didn’t like the way he watched all the adults as they filed out of the room, and dread began to fill her once more. He is having second thoughts about being here? The headmistress’ statement that she’d “see what I can do to help” may have confused some students, but Annie didn’t need an interpreter: if any student had too difficult a time adjusting to the environment, they’d be sent elsewhere—perhaps even back to a Normal school.

And she was certain Kerry understood that as well.

Is he having doubts? Did he find the headmistress’ comments too unbelievable? Once more Annie felt nervous, and she wondered if they’d both make it through the day unscathed.

 

Annie, you worry too much!  Yeah, early on she was a bit of a worry wart when it came to the relationship, but she’s much better now.

And now they’re off to see their first instructor:

Emphases on “see”—

Wandering the Side Streets of the Mind

If you’ve come hoping to find more racing today, hope for more tomorrow.  Something happened to me last night known as “getting way, way sidetracked,” and I only managed a few hundred more words beyond the last two hundred and forty you saw after the confused witch picture.  It’s something that happens, right?

"Yeah, easy for you to say, Professor, you never had to worry about getting you iPad taken away because you came out!"

“I could just walk away from this ridiculous conversation–wait?  Who am I kidding?  This is the Internet!”

You know it does.

But this gets me thinking, as I have been the last few days while there’s a lot of down time due to Elsa not letting it go on the east coast.  And I’m thinking, I need to get to time lining again.  Why, you ask?  Because I have major things that exist only in my head, but not down on “the line”, so to speak.

If I should say so myself, my time lines are a bit famous, but more importantly they’ve helped me stay on track with my stories.  Since I’m aware of when the big changes in my kid’s lives are coming, I can set up the story to meet those points and write into and past them.  For the most part I do know everything–

And I do mean everything.

And I do mean everything.

And sometimes I have to set up stuff in the past just so I can write about it at some point in the gigantic novels . . .

Like, "When was stuff built?  When did people die?"  You know:  important stuff.

Like, “When was stuff built? When did people die?” You know: important stuff.

Of late I’ve been thinking about four events that happen in my kid’s future, and other than a “notion” of what needs to be written due to things like maps and notes scribbled here and there, I have no real layout for those events.  Three need to be laid out with a certain amount of precision due to them happening over a short period of time, and the other one . . . well, it’s done more just for fun only because it marks a fun event in Annie’s and Kerry’s life, and I want to get it, you know, right.

There is another however that’s a whole lot different in that is sort of falls out of the purvey of these time lines of which I speak, only because it sort of exists, but doesn’t.   Call it Schrödinger’s Timeline:  it exists and doesn’t, both at the same time, and they are only real only in how you look at them.

Putting these today help me stretch my imagination, which at this point could use a little stretching.  I ran into this when working on the last novel:  you spend so much time immersed in this one story that you don’t have time for others, and given that you know what’s coming, it sort of shuts down the brain a little to keep it from working the way it should.  In short, unless you have something else working on your brain while you’re working the brain, the brain starts to get stunted by all the single-mindedness going on.  Which is probably why you find your job so boring:  it’s the same thing over and over, and the brain just gives up after a while.

I’m likely going to start working on this stuff over the next few weeks as I do my best to bring this current chapter to an end.  The results of my mind exercises won’t be seen for a while–

At least not by you guys.

Seeing Down Into the Past

Today there isn’t any writing to show, because you got it all yesterday morning.  The rest of the day involved being out almost the whole day, and once I was safely back in the confines of Casa Burg, I didn’t feel like starting on a scene that will be difficult to write.  Not to mention I have to start getting ready for work in about twenty minutes, because while it’s a holiday for state employees, as a contractor I only get paid when I work, so I need to roll in about eight and put in at least four hours.  Those bills don’t give a shit if I get a day off or not.

Walking around the city yesterday gave me plenty of time to think about where my kids are going.  Not that I don’t already know, but still, sometimes you want to get things down in your head a little clearer, while at the same time you go back over events that have occurred and you put a different eye on those matters.  Like last night I was reading an excerpt where Kerry said something, and for a few moments I had to think, “Okay, what was he saying there?” and then it came to me because I’ve been living in their heads for way too long.

Also, I have their Timelines.

The timelines for these stories have become almost mythical, at least to my thinking.  They’ve been in place for about a year and a half, and I’m still adding to them whenever I get an idea.  It’s my way of keeping track of things, like when they did meet, when did they have their first dream together, when does Annie have her first little witch–oh, wait.  I shouldn’t talk about that.  Spoilers!

Well, guess what?  I’m far enough along on this trip that I can now show some of things of which I’ve discussed.  Because why not?  You’ve already ridden with my kids for a year and a half, so why not see how they arrived at where they are today?

It’s funny how I’ve had to keep these hidden and secret, because there are things on here that do give away a lot of the what’s coming.  At the same time I’ve really wanted to bring them out in the open, because putting them together was great fun, and I’ve always wanted to share.  With the A Levels behind me, and a good chunk of the B Levels, too, it’s time to show you how it got to where I am.

First with Aeon Timeline, it’s possible to segment things into different groupings.  So you can have a “Global” area showing events that affect your world and everything in it, and then you can create little areas that show events for that particular section.  What I did, besides having a global event, is set up sections for Annie and Kerry individually, so if there is something particular to them, it stands alone.

Like this:

As you can see, each kid is special to me.

As you can see, each kid is special to me.

There you see Annie’s Story and Kerry’s Story, going back to when they not only started school, but they were first introduced.  “Annie and the Tree” and “Kerry Gets Picked” were the first two scenes in the first chapter of the first part of the first act, and it only went from there.  If you’re watching the points you see they start in 2011, but end in 2013, which is where we’re at now in the second novel.

But don’t I have things they do together?  And what about the school?  Glad you asked:

Because here they are.

Because here they are.

Here are all the things they do together, and below that are all the normal school events, like the duration of racing season, the beginning of classes, when the first and last Madnesses occur, and the dates for Samhain and Ostara celebrations.  You also see the duration of each Level:  A you see from start to finish, and B is still on-going.  You can see the start of their loving one another, Kerry’s trip to the hospital in what turned out to be their first night together, and while you don’t see the timeline for the attack on the school, you see a little mark next to the point, “Kansas City”, and clicking on that opens up another time line showing what they did there.

When you look at the top and bottom pictures–which, in Aeon, are directly above and below each other as illustrated–you may see some points above matching up with those below.  That’s because I’ve pointed out individual things that happen within something that happened to both kids:  Kerry’s Fifth Time in the Hospital and Annie Goes After Lisa is one example of that.  There’s also some detail in some points that doesn’t show up here, but I can access it if I open up the segment in the program’s Inspector.

Here’s one of my guides, and you finally get to see a small segment of this.  Believe me when I say it goes back in time several hundred years, and also forward in time about the same distance.  I’ve used this for a long time, and you have no idea what I have set up ahead–or some of the things I need to add.  It’s all so very strange.

And speaking of strange, this afternoon I’m going to try something that I haven’t done in a long time–and it may just be the strangest thing I’ve attempted yet.

The Future Without Shades

First off, Happy Flight 19 Day!  If you’re not sure what that is, pick up Close Encounters of the Third Kind and watch the opening where the sun came out at night to sing.  You can also read about them here.  Just remember:  anyone can get lost on a dark and stormy night, especially us writers and post World War II fliers.

Second, if you were expecting to see another excerpt today, sorry to disappoint you.  I got home last night pretty much burned out and not feeling good, and since I had something else to work on, I got into that for more than a few hours.  By the time I got around to my writing time I couldn’t really get the scene started, and the hundred or so words I did write seemed pretty weak.  So I’ll recharge as best I can today and start on it tonight, because things are gonna get said in this scene, and a few more secrets will pop out.

"And then Kerry loses it and kills his whole family!"  "Really?"  "Do I look like I'd lie?"

“And then Kerry loses it and admits the real reason he’s going to the hospital all the time!” “Really?” “Do I look like I’d lie?”

And that last part brings up the third part here, the telling of secrets.  If you’ve been following the comment sections for the last couple of months, you’ll see I’ve been engaged in a conversation with one of my readers over this novel–in particular, there’s been a whole lot of questions about Annie’s and Kerry’s relationship.  Some of the questions have made me thing, some have made me smile, some have made me sad, and some I’ve laughed out loud after reading them.  But there seems to be one answer that I inevitably come back to almost every day:

“I can’t answer that because it hasn’t happened yet, and if I did, I’d give things away.”

That’s really one of the hardest things I have going for me in this series, because I have pretty much meta-plotted out a lot of the story for like–well, actually, decades.  It’s one of the reasons I have a time line that goes out beyond a hundred years of their lives, because I needed to know how they lived, how their friends around them lived, and eventually how they all died.  I’m like that because I’m a bit strange, right?  I mean, who knows their characters to death–and beyond?

Along the way over the last three years I’ve let slip a few things here and there.  We know Kerry will come out as a witch at the end of his B Levels.  We know that Annie and Kerry end up in the middle of Russia in the middle of the night and see an aurora–I actually had two blog posts on that.  Back in December of 2011 I first mentioned The Polar Express, a trip Kerry goes on for a weekend, and I left clues here and there that Emma is his wingmate on that flight.  All the way back in March of this year I wrote about an event where Annie and Kerry will be tested during their C Levels, and they’ll leave the school and head to the land of Walker Chow and hope they don’t end up the same way.  I’ve even mentioned, in sort of an off-hand way, that Annie and Kerry tour Europe one summer while they’re between levels.

That’s just a little of what’s a huge story–

Oh, and I mentioned I know what happens to them after they die.  Yeah, I even went there.

I’ve sometimes had to become a bit of an unreliable narrator so that I don’t give anything major away, and some of the things I have mentioned are painted in real broad strokes–I mean, okay, the kids go on a summer tour of Europe.  But what else do you know?  Not much, really.  I know it all, however, and sometimes I really want to spill it–but I can’t.

I have tons of notes and all my time lines, and a couple of months because I actually left written instructions on where all that stuff goes if something should . . . well, we know what I’m going to say.  Some lucky person gets the legacy of all this unfinished work, and what they do with it–if anything–is up to them.  They’ll get a huge first novel and then a lot of information on what could have been, and if they want they could give it all a go and write all that stuff out.

Or probably not.  I mean, I could easily have a good fifteen years ahead of me, writing full-time, getting all the story out.  Assuming it ever got published and read.

The future is there, and even though it’s bright I don’t need shades to see it.  All I gotta do is start up my computer, look over a few things, an instantly be transported to a world of my own creation.

I do wonder, sometimes, if someone else I want to show around will ever go there with me . . .

In Dreams There Shall be Time

I know what you’re thinking:  there should be sex ed talk here.  Right?  Wrong.  Finished my drive Back to The Burg last night, and a good middle chunk of the Pennsylvania Turnpike was a parking lot.  We had three lanes of traffic on a winding two lane highway, and it didn’t make for great driving conditions.  In fact, in a couple of spots I just came to a stop and stayed there.

What all that means is I’ll have to write the remainder of the scene tonight, which I can do after I go shopping.  In fact, I may just stop at Panera and have something to eat, because I miss them.  Or not.  Stick to the schedule, right?

Anyway, I did think of something last night.  Actually, I thought about it Saturday night when I was chatting with a friend, and we were discussing Annie and Kerry, specifically their shared dreams.  And during the chat I said, “You know, now that I’ve mentioned the dreams, I should work up a time line for them.”  The comment I received back was, “You haven’t already?”  Yeah, I have friends who know me well, and whom are smartasses.

But there is a certain truth to that.  See, I’ve got time lines for just about everything.  I mean, this is one of the first I made:

Sure, it's lonely up there on the top left, but look way down at the bottom at all the pretty colored dots.

Sure, it’s lonely up there on the top left, but look way down at the bottom at all the pretty colored dots.

This is the main time line for the novel–I should say “novels”, because I have information here pertaining to Annie and Kerry throughout their entire time at school.  If you look at the point just to the right of “2011”, you’ll see a lot of different colored dots, and those are the events of which I speak.  All my information in meta form is there, and I’m certain more than a few of you would love to peak at that display.

I also have this one:

Now you can send everyone a birthday card!

Now you can send everyone a birthday card!

A while back I make up lines for most everyone, which include when they were born and when they die.  Yes, even for Annie and Kerry:  I know the dates of their deaths and how they actually happen.  Don’t worry, it isn’t anytime soon.

But you can see I don’t have anything for their dreams.  There’s all sorts of stuff that is there, but what about their dreams?  We know there are some key points:  when they met as toddlers; when Kerry read to Annie for the first time, and what he read; the bike ride after Kerry moved to Cardiff, which is when they first learned each other’s real names; the time Annie told Kerry she was real; when she told him he was a witch; and when he told her he loved her.  I have approximate points and even dates in a few instances, but the rest of it is all over the place.

And I don’t like things all over the place.

Some, sometime this week, I’ll have to fit in getting this together.  Maybe this weekend when I have nothing to do between working on my novel and working on another writing project.  Because I do what to point to one of these views and say, “Yeah, right there is when they did this.”

Oh, and I know when the June bad dream happened.  It’s perfect.

Renumbering ‘Tween the Bonfires

Before I get to the writing, I think I should make this official:  I now have a new video camera.  After breakfast I was like, “I gotta break up the routine a little,” and decided a new camera was just the thing to help me out with my multimedia experiences.  I’ve already charged it up, recorded, downloaded to the computer, uploaded to YouTube (sorry, none of the test videos are there), and presented one on Facebook.  I have this so down, trust me, though I might even play with getting things set with an SD card reader, just so I can make things fast.  Maybe.

Oh, and I visited two stores in order to find one pair of shoes I wanted, so also did the totally woman thing with my shoe shopping.  Yes, I rule.

There wasn’t a lot of writing accomplished last night, because it seemed like there were few times when I could write without interruption.  It was one of those moments in time when everyone had something they wanted to say, and they were saying it to me.  Not only that, but my mind wasn’t really focused on the task at hand, either:  I was trying to pulled out the purple prose to describe an event happening to my kids, and it wasn’t happening.  Maybe it was due to the interruptions, or maybe my head was someplace it wasn’t supposed to be.  Either way, I made four hundred and fifty words and called it a night.

Oh, and I also discovered that in the last three weeks I’ve written just over twenty thousand words.  How do I know that?  Shhh–spoilers . . .

But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t hard at work on the story.  You know that, “I’m always thinking about my story,” thing I’ve mentioned from time-to-time?  I was deep in that yesterday, and I began thinking:  I have a big event coming up right after Samhain, but not right away.  However, with this event in Kerry’s life–the one I’m calling his “Four Nights”–it would make sense if the second and third nights were, you know, closer together–

Allow me to explain.

These four nights have a profound effect upon Kerry’s life.  He’s already had the first one, that night in the hospital an week and a half before, story wise.  The Second Night is happening right now in the story:  the events of Samhain.  Now, the third night takes place the night of the attack, and it affects both him and Annie.  (The Second Night does this as well, but not in the same fashion.  First Night was actually initiated by Annie, but she doesn’t know that.)  In keeping with my little nudge at Shakespeare, Fourth Night happens some months off in the future, after the kids come back from Yule holiday and a few other things have taken place.  That one will rock both their worlds–

But we’re not there yet.

I decided that since Second and Third Nights are going to affect both kids, and affect them hard, it would make more sense to place them closer together.  So I pulled out my time lines and moved The Big Time up a week, to 1 November.  Because I can.

See how easy that was?

See how easy that was?

It’ll make for a more interesting time for my kids, particularly for Annie, who’s going to enter some tough times in the next couple of days.  But really, girl, I’m not doing it to be mean.

You want mean?  Here’s my second video.

Loving Affermations

It’s the Solstice today, so not only is it a good day for positive energy, but every day gets shorter from here on out.  Good things all around, and if you can get out and take in the day, do so.  Don’t be like me and stay shut in all the time writing.  Then again, I’ll be on the road for a few hours today, so I don’t think I’ll fit the definition of “shut in” this summer day.  Oh, and if you wanna dance skyclade tonight, knock yourself out.

Given how crazy last night was, it’s nice to have a little calm this morning.  I was tired, I was chatting, I was writing with the goal in mind of cranking out one thousand words, because it’s been a while since I did that.  Energy levels have been in the toilet since returning to The Burg, and with the weekend starting I wanted to change that.

I also changed a few other things . . .

While at work I started having ideas about a scene in my kid’s lives that takes place some time in the future–like five years after the current story time.  Yeah, I’m mentioned before that I think things out that far in advance–so far advanced, in fact, that I know what happens to my characters after they die.  This was a change to their time line, and adding-on to events that are going to happen–

What was I looking at?  Their hospital time.

Don't worry:  The Foundation gives them full coverage and all the nano-tech they can handle.

Don’t worry: The Foundation gives them full coverage and all the nano-tech they can handle.

I had to work this out because . . . well, because.  I’m strange that way.  And yes:  they are in a coma, which should give you some idea that whatever happens in that strange sounding name right before the coma line must be bad.  Eh . . . not that bad.  I mean, they live, right?

Then, while I’m chatting my butt off, I get into the writing.  It’s Annie’s turn on the magical firing line, and she might be Kerry’s Dark Witch, but even dark witches have off nights . . .

 

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

 

Annie knew the process, knew how to craft her Art. She picked the most innocuous plush for her target, a grey and pink cube on the right side of the table. She visualized it rising and floating under her control into her hands. The energy was there, as was her will power.

Annie gathered the energy and let it flow through her—

Nothing happened.

She stared at the cube, wondering what went wrong. There were a few things she could point to and say that they might have prevented the spell from happening, but she didn’t want to analyze that here and now. I’ll just do it again, just as Pang and Kerry did.

She did just that. She readied herself; she found her energy; she began Crafting; she willed it all together—

Nothing happened.

Annie breathed a deep sigh, then turned to the students, though she was mostly facing Wednesday. “I guess I’m not feeling the spell as much as I did a few weeks ago.” She locked her feelings down least anyone see what she felt inside.

Wednesday shrugged. “It happens to us all at this point.” She waved her hand in the direction of the table. “It’s okay; there’s no hurry. Take your time and just relax.”

 

Oh, yeah, Wends:  that’s easy for you to say, sitting there watching everything unfold.

There is such a thing as performance anxiety in the magical world, and it would appear Annie is feeling it a little.  She’s not feeling it, she’s not getting something out, and she knows it.  That’s when her lovey-dovey boyfriend comes out of his chair, but rather than acting like a baseball manager who’s going to pull his starter because he’s lost his curve ball, Kerry just wants to talk–and talk in a close, comforting way.

 

“I know.” He deftly stepped around her until he was between her and the table full of frustrating plushes. “Please look at me.”

“Kerry—”

He lightly touched her upper arm. “Please?”

Though Annie felt this was the worst time to talk about anything, she turned toward Kerry because he asked, and tried not to look at the table behind him. “Yes?”

She was surprised when he stepped so close as to almost press against her. He took her hands and gently laid his forehead against hers. “What’s the matter?”

“It’s—” She sighed again, then, with her head bowed against his, looked up into his eyes. “Kerry, I don’t know a lot of regular spells. Most of what I’ve taught myself was sorcery—but when it comes to regular spells . . .” She slowly shook her head against his. “I’m not that good. I don’t feel I should be here.”

 

That’s about as close to any admission she’d ever come about her abilities, and, of course, there’s only one person she tells.

Kerry start talking her down.  He’s admitting he screwed up, too, that it took him four tries to get it right.  Also,  she did that ice encasement, what’s the big deal about a little levitation?  She tells him that she likes practicing alone, and that she didn’t mind having him there in the spell cell because–well, he’s her soul mate, right?  He tells her, again, that he know she can do it, because . . .

 

Kerry didn’t allow any time for those thoughts to bounce around inside Annie’s mind. “You can. I know you can.”

“Why do you say that?” She almost pulled back to look him in the face, but there was something intimate and comforting standing with him close to her. “You always say that.”

“Because it’s true.”

“Because I’m the ‘dark witch’?”

“No.” Kerry drew a deep breath through his nose. “You’re better than me—”

“I am not.” She pinned Kerry with her stare. “You’re as good as me—”

“Only because of you.” He turned quiet for a moment, but when he spoke his voice was softer and filed with awe. “You showed me a few weeks back how to be a better witch, a natural witch, a great witch if I worked at it. You gave me hints and offered suggestions. You offered ideas and told me what I should study and what I should ignore.” He chuckled. “You even have me reading those book on divination.”

Annie grinned and kept her eyes hooked on Kerry’s. “Yes, you are.”

“The thing is . . .” Annie thought he was pressing harder against her forehead, even though she didn’t feel an increase in pressure. “I listened to what you said, and if I’m good, it’s because of what you’ve done for me. It’s all because of you.” He tilted his head a little so it seemed as if they were facing each other. “That’s why I have faith in you.”

 

Kerry knows she’s helped him get to where he is now, and now it’s his time to help her get this thing done.  The fact that he, and eleven year old boy, is willing to admit to the person who calls herself, and whom he thinks of as, his girlfriend, that without her he wouldn’t be anywhere as good as he is now . . . that’s powerful thing to admit.  Just as she’s willing to admit that, yeah, I’m not always the bad ass Dark Witch you think I am.

I’ll finish this scene either today or tomorrow.  Today is a lot of driving and whatnot, and then there’s the finale of Orphan Black tonight, which is probably going to leave me feeling depressed–but there will be writing sometime this weekend.

You can rest assured of that.

Oh, and did I mention I wrote 1004 words?  Yeah, there was that.

Oh, and did I mention I wrote 1004 words? Yeah, I did.

Done Ready

Since yesterday was a day to stay off my feet after spending a huge part of Saturday walking, it was time to work on the novel.  Yes, NaNo is only a week and a half away, and a certain amount of panic can be felt oozing through my laptop screen, but as the song goes, that’s the way of the world.  To paraphrase Dieter, “This is the part of the show where we panic,” and everyone starts flailing about like extras on The Walking Dead.  It has happened before, and it will happen again.

Since I look pretty strange flailing about, I thought I’d better do something about it, so once I got back from breakfast and shopping, I loaded up the novel.  I’d done a few chapters Saturday–more than a few, actually–but I was at a point where I needed to get in and work out some detail.  So up comes Aeon and I start time lining a situation.  That took some time because I had to look for schools, malls, and hotels in another city, and there was a bit of eyeballing Google Maps to get the local set in my head.  I should get a screen shot of the area for the project–I’ll do that tonight.

With that in mind I fixed out the time line, figuring out an important plot point in my mind for the part in question.  These will snap into place, and I should write them down in the Document Notes in Scrivener.  Just in case they start to slip my mind, like the one that popped up last night which I figured out almost two months ago when I started plotting this sucker out.  Got a place for notes?  Better us them.

Then it was back to Scrivener, and the finishing of the story.  I checked on the sky for a certain moment in the story, then looked up a flight time for another moment . . . and discovered I’d calculated wrong.  So time to look up schedules, time to check time zone differences, and to put that into the mix.  The last thing I checked were trains out of Paddington Station, London, because I’m a glutton for punishment, and with that . . .

With that I Final To Dofinished up the plotting.

Fifteen parts and forty-four chapters–don’t let that “Chapter Forty-Three” fool you, there’s a Prologue–and did I count them?  No . . . one hundred sixty-four scenes.  Figuring a word count of five hundred to seven-hundred and fifty words a scene, I could be looking at eighty-two to one hundred and twenty-three thousand words written before “The End” goes down.  Or it could be longer or shorter.  I’ll see once I start writing.

But for now I’m giving myself a break.  I’ll tweak a couple of things here and there, and set up more notes, and maybe get a screen capture or two into the project, but beyond that The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced is at the end of the plotting and development stage.  I’ve done about as much to this sucker as I can, and if it isn’t ready to go now, it never will.

The new goal for me?  31 December, 2013.  That’s when I finish this.

That’s when this novel finally becomes a reality.

Time Tunneling

I love tunnels.  I can’t explain it, but when I am driving–or, in some cases, walk–though a hole bored through a mountain, I think of the engineering experience behind what is around me, and I’m in awe, Oprah be dammed.  So if I can go through a tunnel, I’m very happy.

This should also give you an idea of how easily amuses I am, but I digress . . .

So more playing last night.  I get a new piece of software and I’m like a cat with a new toy:  I find it incredibly interesting up until the point where my indifference kicks in and I look at it like it’s just something that I used to know.  Until then I ride that horse straight into hell.

Tunnels . . . Aeon Timeline allows you to attach files to an existing even, so if you of Tunnel01are a mind, you can take said information and leave it there so if you’re looking for that extra bit of info, all you gotta do is click and ye shall be rewarded.

Where am I going with this, you ask?  Well, simple:  I want to bury a timeline inside a timeline.  See that “The Big Time”?  Besides being the title of a Hugo Award winning novel, it’s an event that has a lot of different things going on.  How many?  Well, let me click on it and . . .

There you are.  All the detail of Tunnel02that one day–with a little overlap into the next–is there for me to see.  There’s likely a bit too much detail there for most people, but then I’m like that.  I’ve already figured out what’s happening and to whom, and most of the information I’ve put here has come from my Scrivener layout, because, as I’ve pointed out, you can timeline there as well.

But putting out that information in this format allowed me to see where some things were expandable, and there’s something else . . . though I’d thought about it before, I didn’t give it much thought, but I’m doing this event in November, and people are out about the grounds looking for things–and I do mean things–and the thought hit me, “Hey, is it getting dark, or what?”

So I run over to Sky View.

Sky View Cafe is a great place.  It’s on the Internet, so nothing to download.  It is Java based, so you can run it from just about any computer.  And it’s like a time machine, because you can select places and dates all around the world and see how the sky looked at that exact moment.

So I want to so what the sky was like near Rockport, MA SkyView01(which is very close to the school; I could have used Gloucester as well) on 8 November, 2011, at 16:01, which is 4:01 PM for a lot of you.  I plug in my numbers, and I get . . .

I can see the sky, and I know that the sun is dipping below the horizon.  I even know from checking the Sky View calendar that sunset for that day and location was at 16:27, so in about a third of an hour it’s gonna be twilight.  And with this new information I can go into the Inspector, link to the picture, and–hey, there it is:  a little icon of the picture is now set up inside the event, telling me that I Tunnel03have something more that I can click and see if I like.  I can also, if I’m of a mind, take this same information over the Scrivener so I can see it as well . . .

I don’t do this sort of set up just for NaNo:  I do this for just about every story I write.  Only few of them are this big in terms of what I’m trying to cover.  It’s not so much what’s happening, as it is everything in the world that I’m looking at, and that’s a lot.  Sure, looking up when the sun set a few years back sounds like overkill, but then, for the next few scenes, it means that what occurs does so in deepening gloom, leading up to a scene that takes place in almost complete darkness–

In a tunnel.

Told you I like them.

The Moments of Remembrance

It’s been busy time the last couple of days, and starting this afternoon things will get even busier.  I’m starting the move to the new place, and there are only two more nights left in the hotel.  By this time next week I’ll be in the new place probably sleeping as crappy as I am now.  At least there I can go and sit out on the balcony and relax, maybe even fall asleep in my mesh chair.

Everything should be in place tomorrow, and I may even go over after work and test everything.  If it’s working, I’ll be happy.  If not–these things happen.  We deal, yeah?

Meanwhile, back on the timeline . . .

Last night was a time for listening to old music (Guess Who . . . no, really) and filling in some blanks.  A Level Time LineAnd I think I did a pretty good job, as you can see on the right.  Sure, there’s more things to come, but this is coming together nicely.  I believe I have things laid out to where I now see the flow of the story, the plot is in view, and I’m close to putting things into Scrivener and setting up the parts of the novel.  A week ago I wasn’t sure how this would work.  After last night, I see where it’s going.

Which brings to mind the question:  how did you figure this stuff out?  How do you figure out where your story is going?  How do you build your characters?  Where did you find your voice?  They’re all good questions, and it’s easy to explain–

I figured it out by doing.

When I first started writing I had no freakin’ idea what I was doing.  All I knew about writing I got from reading.  I saw how my favorite writers wrote, and I emulated, I copied style and voice.  It’s normal:  professional writers tell you they did the same thing when they started.  It’s only after they’ve wrote a few stories that they find their own style, their own voice.

I believe I have mine:  I’ve been told that my stories and articles are “easy reading” and seem very “personal” in tone.  If so, yay.  That’s what I wanted.  If not . . . give me a few more novels, I’ll get there.

Characters were easy.  I’ve been into role playing since 1986, and created lots of characters, playable and otherwise.  You want a memorable character for a game, you work on their back story.  I used to write these twenty page stories showing how a character got to the point where the game starts; I think the best outline/story I ever did were for two characters I ran in a Cyberpunk game.  By the time I was finished with the game, their bio ran sixty-eight pages, or about the length of my first published story.

The time lines, the mind mapping, the plotting . . . I figured that out by playing with stuff, pulling up programs and just doing things.  Start small and work up, and before you know it you’re laying out a novel.  It’s not something that just jumps out of your forehead like Athena:  you gotta work at this shit.  You gotta read what other writers are doing; find some writing blogs and look for tips.  Buy On Writing and The Midnight Disease and develop ideas.  Buy The Elements of Style and On Writing Well and develop your foundation.

Then write.  Remember all that’s come before, all that you’ve done, everything that felt write and wrong, and just do it.  You just want to wing ever story?  Fine, then write.  You want the level of detail I have?  Fine, go get everything laid out, then write.  You want something in between?  You know what I’m going to say.

Just like any other new job, you only learn by doing.  You can listen to all the advice you like, but in the end you gotta put those words down on a medium for that advice to mean anything.  If you’re writing, if you’re actually creating something, you’re a playa.  If you’re talking about writing and how you’re gonna write and how you’re almost ready to start, but not just yet ’cause you’re still trying to get ideas from people about how to do XYZ . . . you’re a poseur.  I should know:  I did the poseur thing for a long time.

Go forth and produce.  Sure, it’s all crap when you start–

But it’s your crap.

The Plotting Game

After zoning like a zombie doing the Carl thing yesterday (Where’s Carl?  Not in the house), I sort of hung out at the hotel last night listening to music–yes, I could stream–and thinking.  I’m always thinking, but last night I was thinking about . . .

NaNo.

Yeah, that’s starting.  I know I shouldn’t to that this early, as it’s only 10 September, but it’s on, okay?  Quietly, stealthily, like Kitty Pryde in full-on ninja mode with her dragon friend at her side, I started laying out things last night.  And by “things” what do you mean, oh Cassidy?  I mean I stared laying out the school year the way I know how to lay out the school year:  by plotting a time line.

I’d actually taken some notes a while back on this particular subject, and I knew where the year started, and when it ended.  I knew when the major school holidays and festivals occurred.  I knew when major school events happened.  So it was easy to take a time line I’d already put together for Camp NaNo and throw more things onto that.

I also needed to do a little digging to find out when a certain event happened in Cardiff, Wales, in 2011.  Why would I need that?  Because if you’re coming for a boy who is suppose to go to school there, do you want the mother to say, “But we’ll have to pull him out”, or do you want her to say, “He’s already registered”, and have her say this early Friday afternoon?  The later, of course–at least that’s when I wanted it to happen.  Fortunately there is this magic on the Internet called “Google”, and I discovered when Autumn Terms started in Cardiff in 2011.  Friday afternoon it was.

The rest of the time was going over notes, looking at the dates I selected, and putting them on the line.  It may not sound like a lot of time spent, but it certainly seemed that way.  I worked on the line until about ten PM, then slowly u-gathered my wits and headed off to sleep.  I slept well, but had confusing dreams about people at college who were all being annoying and spinning out over the littlest things.  Not my sort of thing.

I usually don’t start getting my novel ready until October, but last night I was too tired to edit, but not tired enough to roll over and collapse.  The time line has been bugging me for a while–like all summer while–and it’s something that I’ve been giving much thought, but doing little action.  I was coherent enough to think about dates, so why not work on the line?  It also gave me just enough to keep me from sitting around playing game and being on the nod all night, which I wanted to avoid, because that’s never fun.

Now I’m pulling things together, but I’m not under any pressure to hurry along.  I know the steps in the story, and I can see that a lot of things are getting front-loaded.  That’s probably Part One of the novel right there:  meeting the players and getting them to the U.S..  Part Two is likely going up to the end of the calendar year, 2011, and then . . .

Hey, I’m giving too much away–

Time and Too Much

Last week in the hotel, and it’s starting off bad.  Too much on my mind last night meant tossing and turning most of the evening, and this morning I feel the pressure to get so much done today.   Emails and phone calls will shoot out today, and the way I’m looking at things I may take half a day Friday just to get everything done that needs doing.

For I have items to pick up and get into place.  I’m shooting to get my furniture delivered on Thursday, and today I’ll know if I’ll have an internet blackout in the apartment come Friday.  Yes, it’s likely I’ll be working out of internet hot spots for a few days while the monopolistic provider decides to get someone over to do their thing.

Did I mention you’ll actually be able to see my place from Google Streeview?  You can, but you gotta look up.

Moving twice in a month, and this move across town is more stressful than getting out here.  The first time it was drive and rest.  This time I’ll probably be busy right up to the moment when I’m in the place Friday.  At least I found a nearby Target and J. C. Penny’s.  Ohhhh, more nail polish!

That doesn’t mean I haven’t been thinking about writing.  Yesterday I took a short ride–well, not that short, probably drove sixty miles when I was all over.  Headed south along the river and past Three Mile Island–yeah, still there, still cranking out the power–then shot over the river to York and then back up to The Burg.  I thought about things, about stories and characters, but I’ve thought about these things so much I can’t seem to get anywhere with it at the moment.  I have some editing to finish, and after that comes the move, and once I’m in place is when I can think about the story that’s coming in November.

I know what that story is, but there’s something lacking:  something in the plot.  Once you get past the magic of what’s happening, once you understand the rules, what then?  What’s going to keep people reading?  I believe I have the answer, but it involves moving things in the story time line around a bit.  This I can do because I can.  My story, and the characters will just have to like it.  What are they going to do otherwise?  Find another story in which to hang out?  Ha!

If The Con doesn’t get me wired up this week, I’ll start plotting out the time line.  I’ll order some tunes from Amazon, throw the CDs in the computer, and kick it old school–if 1995 is old to you–and work on my NaNo.  When I’m finished with that, I’ll edit another story.  When I’m bored with that, I’ll load up and head over to Strawberry Square and cop free wifi to do my updates.  And when I get home and I need relaxing, I’ll go out on the balcony and watch the sun go down.  And think of a girl I know who could sing me away.

Maybe this is the start of a great week . . .