The Old Into Tomorrow

I have a novel that I started back about 1992 or so titled Transporting which I eventually finished over the summer of 2012.  This was my first serious attempt at writing, with a lot of work building and character creation and the such, and it nearly drove me mad in the process.  I ended up starting it three different times before finally getting the last forty-five thousand words in the can so I could type “The End” at the bottom of the last scene.

There’s a very good chance I’ll never publish this story.  Maybe I will, but . . . probably not.

There are many reasons for this.  One, it was an emotional journey for me to get it finished, and I actually thought, at one point, it never would.  Everyone has a “Great Unfinished Novel” in them, and I believed I was no exception.

"I could finish this story in a couple of weeks--but first, I have to figure out how they died.  That wasn't suppose to happen."

“I could finish this story in a couple of weeks–but first, I have to figure out how they died. That wasn’t suppose to happen.”

Two, it was an exhausting adventure, one filled with a lot of “I have no idea what I’m doing” thoughts.  The world building was insane:  I was literally building worlds because the majority of the story happened on planets orbiting other stars, and I was figuring out orbital parameters by going to the library and getting books on celestial mechanics (I actually started work on this book in 1991, so no real Internet) and modeling everything on Excel spreadsheets.  How close was I?  When I worked out the same orbits twenty years later using up-to-date software that calculated those sorts of things, I was almost exact in my original calculations.

But getting to that point was a total pain in the ass.

And Three:  I spent so much time figuring out this story that by the time I’d gotten to “The End” I was completely burned out on it.  The novel really came about in the summer of 1988 while I was working at Playboy, and during those times when I had little to do, I’d sit in my office and daydream about these two women who were pretty kick-ass when it came to working for the government of the Humanist Interstellar Empire, and from those meager points almost two hundred and fifty thousand words arose.

But with the exception of two novels and a short story I wrote about these women, I doubt very much if they’ll ever come out and play with anyone in the real world.  I don’t believe the world I created over those two decades is relevant today, and I feel it’d be a bit embarrassing to even try publishing this work.

Besides, I have a new series I can write if I so choose, with new characters that I also love, and a new world that fits in nicely with the world around us today.  A world I know quite will, thank you.  And with characters who have an interesting life ahead of them.

Assuming, of course, I don’t mess them up too bad in the years to come.  That would be a bummer.

The Future Through the Past Today

Yesterday was my daughter’s birthday, which was the main reasons why I returned home last Friday.  I’d told her I’d be her to help her celebrate, and true to my word, I did.  I also watched a mammoth get its ass set on fire, which had its moments, believe me.

All they needed was for someone to quip, “Have fun storming the Wall!”

With all this happening yesterday, there wasn’t a lot of writing–which means I did manage about six hundred words at some point after 9 PM local time.  It wasn’t much, just Wednesday ratting out the kids with the video footage of what was happening down in Spell Cell #3 earlier that afternoon.  Though “ratting” is probably a little too harsh–Wednesday’s really not that sort of person.  After all, she did tell someone about that time she killed the school’s sorceress . . .

 

(This excerpt and next from The Foundation Chronicles, Book One: A For Advanced, copyright 2013, 2014, by Cassidy Frazee)

A video began playing on Mathilde’s display. “What am I seeing?”

“This took place earlier today—Spell Cell #3. Had a couple of students request a fire cell because they said they were going to try a fire spell.” Wednesday glanced over to the headmistress. “Emphasis on ‘try’.”

“Why do you say that?”

On the video two students entered the spell cell. “Keep an eye on them: you’ll see.”

Mathilde closely watched the students—a girl and a boy—bring in two totes before unloading books and electronic gear. “Who are they?”

“Annie Kirilova and Kerry Malibey.”

The headmistress recognized the name right away. “Our Cernunnos A Levels? The ones the instructors are talking about?”

Wednesday nodded. “One and the same.” She punched the fast forward. “They’re putting wood in the fire pit, save for . . .” She returned the playback to normal, and pointed to one piece of wood set against the wall. “That one.”

“I see.” Mathilde leaned her right elbow on the armrest of her rather comfortable chair and stroked her cheek with her index finger. “And the reason for that?”

“Watch.”

 

Yes, watch the magic, because that’s what’s happening.  That and what I ended the scene with . . .

 

Mathilde spun her chair to face Wednesday. “What project are they working on?”

“Holoč’s first part of the school year project. They decided they wanted to make charcoal?”

“And did they?”

“Yep.” Wednesday sped up the display, which showed the two children standing close together. “Not much to see here—”

“What are they doing?”

I was hoping I didn’t have to answer this one. “They’re hugging, maybe kissing.”

 

Kids, you’re so busted!  Not only are you on video snuggling, but the Headmistress is seeing this.  Wends, so not cool.  Then again, Miss Mathilde has probably seen them vanish under the comforters during the Midnight Madness, so is she really surprised?  Probably not.

Never fear, though, because there’s a method to Wednesday’s madness, and it’s coming out in another scene that’s coming up.  I’ll get there by the end of the week.  I think.  I feel I’ll finish this scene today, or at least I’ll put a big push on to get it done today.  After all, I don’t have that much to do . . .

But yesterday was also time for reflection, all because of a song.  See, yesterday I was playing a bit of Elton John on the computer, and Rocket Man was one that hit the repeat more than once.  That got me to thinking, because there was a novel I wrote–which is still unpublished, of course, story of my life–where that song came into play.  What novel am I talking about?  The first novel I ever started:  Transporting.  The one that took me twenty years to finish.

278,000 words of fun.  You gotta start somewhere, right?

278,000 words of fun. You gotta start somewhere, right?

The scene in question was one I wrote probably way back in 1990, maybe 1991.  Maybe.  It’s all so fuzzy, really.  I suppose I could pull up the original documents . . . which tell me nothing, because when I moved the original documents to my off-line drive in 2005, the creation dates were changed.  So I’m stilling with 1991 or so, because why not?

Rereading the scene in question I realized how much I’d missed these characters.  The moment I started reading I remembered everything about it, even though I haven’t looked at this particular scene in maybe three years.  But there it was, all coming back as I reabsorbed the words.

The scene is simple.  One of my time traveling people, Audrey, is back in time and on another planet trying to help the civilization there.  She’s in her private air/space ship Liberator, flying along with one of the residents of the planet, Callia, and the ship’s AI/Avatar, Maggie.  Since Liberator can fly through air or space, Audrey decides to take them up into orbit and let Callia see what her home looks like from a few hundred kilometers up.

That’s what this scene is about:  taking someone up and showing them secrets that no one else know, because Callia’s planet has only known air travel for a few decades, and space flight is something a bit off in their future.  Audrey is giving her a special experience, one that she alludes to she doesn’t feel is all that special to her anymore.

Because I’m in a good mood today, I’ll share it with you.  Keep in mind that Audrey, who is not from the 32nd Century, which is where she lives throughout the story, but was actually from the period of 1950’s to the 1980’s–when she was found and, ahem, taken–swears a great deal.  I make no apologies for the frequent f-bombs; if it’s any consolation, Audrey doesn’t, either.

Here you are.  Enjoy.  It’s allowed, you know.

 

(Excerpt from Transporting, copyright 1992, 2012, by Cassidy Frazee)

After a couple of minutes Liberator appeared to level out. The ground was still above the ship, but Callia could see it was far, far away. She understood the concepts of orbital mechanics, and so realized they must now be in orbit, falling around her planet. A slight tinge of excitement ripped through her body as she understood that she, of all people on her planet, had become the first people to ever see their home this way. She pulled herself up into a kneeling position, gazing outside, watching the surface of her planet rush by. She wasn’t aware the engines were off, the music had stopped, and Audrey was standing behind her, silent, letting her enjoy the moment.

When she thought the moment was right, Audrey said in a quiet voice, “Pretty fuckin’ awesome, huh?”

“It is incredible, yes,” Callia half-whispered back.

“You want me to get pictures?”

Callia turned, her face a mask of excitement. “You can do . . .” She realized how ignorant her question seemed. “Damn. That’s foolish of me.”

“What? Forgot where you’re at and what I can do?” Audrey laughed. “Hey, it’s okay. You’re entitled to it.”

Callia bit her lower lip and turned back to the view outside. “You’re far too kind to me, Audrey,” she said with a great deal of reverence.

Audrey shrugged. “Naw, not really. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be here.”

“Anyway . . .” Callia nodded, then turned back to her alien friend. “Thank you, regardless. This is something I’ll remember forever.”

Audrey really didn’t know what to say. To her, this sort of thing had become commonplace. Sure the first couple of times . . . it was a total gas. Now it was like driving to work: Been there, done that, seen it. Callia’s innocence and glee caused something to well up inside Audrey. She didn’t think she was going to get maudlin, but . . . it had been a long time since she’d done anything that had made someone this happy.

At least, she felt, not since the holidays.

“Yeah, a real Kodak moment.” She realized there was something else she could offer Callia. “Would you like to try free fall?”

Callia turned away from the window for just a moment. “How’s that again?”

“You know: weightlessness?” Audrey started making hand gestures of something floating in the air before her. “Like floating on air?”

“I understand some of the theories behind space flight,” said Callia. “I just thought—”

“You didn’t want to ask me about it?”

“I figured you’d likely have to turn off your systems and make the whole cabin . . . weightless.”

Audrey shook her head. “Ah, no way. On some other loser’s ship, maybe. But not mine.” She raised one eyebrow. “Wanna give it a shot?”

Callia’s face lit up with anticipation. “Yes, of course.” Her smile was blinding. “I’d love to try it.”

Audrey moved back from the front window, positioning herself to the side of her main seating area. “I think from here to the window would be a good zone,” she said. “Maggie, you wanna give us some help?”

Maggie appeared, rising out of the floor like Venus from the sea, only Maggie was wearing a simple long dress and sandals rather than being naked. “I know what you want,” she told Audrey. “How else can I be of assistance?”

“You think you can step in and help Callia keep her orientation?” asked Audrey.

Callia looked puzzled. “Won’t Maggie be affected by lack of gravity as well?”

Maggie stepped closer to Callia. “I’m the ship,” she said, smiling broadly. “Remember? I can’t float about. It’s impossible.”

“How awful,” said Callia.

“Yes, but there are many other advantages,” said Maggie. She put her hands on Callia’s shoulders as if to steady her. “Such as what I’m offering you now.”

“What?” Before Callia could react Maggie started lifting her slowly off the ground. A few seconds passed before Callia understood that Maggie had altered the conditions in this section of the ship so weightlessness was possible.

Maggie positioned Callia so she was perpendicular to the floor, then slowly moved her closer to the window. Hand rails appeared in the wall, allowing Callia something with which to situate herself on her own. “Comfortable?” asked Maggie.

Callia nodded. “Why wouldn’t I be?”

“Some people don’t adjust well at first: Space Adaptation Syndrome, it’s called.” Maggie decided that detailing the symptoms—swelling of the mucus membranes, dizziness, nausea—was not in order. As Callia seemed to be adapting quite will, Maggie thought it best not to put any ideas in the girl’s head. “But you’re coming along very nicely.” Maggie released Callia and gave her a tiny push towards the forward window.

The lights dimmed in the main cabin. Callia didn’t know if it was Audrey or Maggie who’d dimmed them, but it didn’t matter. The view just outside the window became even more brilliant as the planet below them passed into darkness—or was it them who were passing?—and the lights of the cities began to glow through the thin cloud cover. Callia held on to the railings for a moment, then let go and allowed herself to float free, her eyes locked upon the tableau below.

Music was playing throughout the ship once more, but as before Callia didn’t understand what was being said. Audrey was singing again, and Callia could pick out some of the chorus: something about it being a long, long time, and the touchdown bringing her around to find that she’s not the man she was back home—that was all very strange.

Callia was glad Audrey wasn’t a male, because only another woman would understand what Callia was feeling this very moment, understand that she wanted to see what one future was like, to be able to experience it, and then, when everything was prefect, to be left alone with her thoughts and emotions.

She performed a slow roll, stopping with little difficulty. She sighed softly and wiped away the globs of tears that had formed around her eyes. She mumbled a thanks to Audrey, knowing she’d never hear her words. Whatever the girl could do for her people, whatever the future might bring . . . it all paled compared to what Callia was living this very moment.

For these were the memories one was fortunate enough to take with them to their grave.

In the Glow of the Night

Flight and building homes–that’s my activities the last twenty-four hours.  But it’s fun, let me tell you!  I mean, look to my right:  can’t you see I’m having fun?

I’m off into the building mode for the next story, and damn but if I don’t get weird at times.  In thinking through one of the scenes in my soon-to-be story, I have two of my characters jetting along to the U.S., talking about planes and flights.  One of my characters asks the other if they’ve ever flown before.  They say something like, “Oh, yeah.  When I was eight we flew from San Francisco to London . . .”.

And there were are.  Just because I did that one line, I now gotta look up flights from San Fran to London.  I should have done this last night, but hey, while I got you here, I’ll bring up the Travelocity site and plug in SFO to LHR . . . and here we have it!

BA SFO

Just what I wanted:  a non-stop flight, because the character in question was telling his friend about how he flew on a 747, so he knew the layout of the plane pretty well.  I also have the flight number, and with this I can roll over to Seat Guru, pull up the flight, and find the layout of the interior.  Which, I may say, is pretty nice on the inside.

That level of information tells me what I need to know about the character, and what they know about that particular type of aircraft.  And that just comes from one simple question about what one character knows about 747s.

Such is life when you’re finding things to put into your stories.  It’s not just writing, it’s how you build your world.  And if you want to build it right, you have to do this crazy leg work.  Even if it is for just one line in one paragraph.

But that’s not even the best.  Oh, I’m just gettin’ warmed up . . .Cytheria Audrey Home

One of the things I’ve been doing of late is building layouts of places I have in my stories.  I will build maps so I can get a visual reference of a place, and of late I’ve been using some open source software to lay out homes and buildings so I can get a feel for a place that I’m trying to describe.

The one to the right is a perfect example of finally seeing something that I’ve written about.  This is a home I built for my novel Transporting.  This is the domicile of one Duchess Scoth, and while it might not look like a lot here–and it’s just here and an AI servant, so it’s not–it’s location is seventeen hundred meters up the side of a twenty-three hundred meter cliff.  That means when you’re walking from the upper to lower levels . . . that that big window on the right, where the stairs take a sharp turn to the right?  Yep:  nothing but a sheer rock wall and open air for a mile straight down.

I’ve always wondered if my idea for the home was right, if my vision was correct.  After a day of playing around I can say, yes:  my mind’s eye is as good as my regular eyes.

Now, what other insanity can I come up with in the glow of the night?

 

Timing out of Mind

Last night wasn’t bad.  It was a bit tiring, but not bad.  I saw the story expand, but I was just a touch short of the nightly goal, only hitting about nine hundred words before saying the hell with it and heading off tot bed.  The mind wanted to work, but I was getting hung up on something, and I couldn’t seem to get the words out that I needed.  Not so much writer’s block as it was my brain saying, “You know you’re going to screw this up if you try to write it now, right?”  Right.  So I was happy with what I’d put down, and slinked off to bed.

Today will be one of those busy days where I’m doing a bit of running around, but I’m not actually getting anything done–at least none of the stuff I want to do.  I have writing to do, but I’m going to have to fit my thousand in wherever I can find it, ’cause I don’t think I’ll have many opportunities to write today.  Which is a shame, because my mind has been nagging at me since before I work up.

I was having a lot of strange dreams, one of which seemed to do with trying to pick someone to take over an open superhuman opening, hanging with Brad Pitt, and telling someone who I worked with that their manager was a ninja doucherocket, and had been ever since I’d worked with them at my last job.  Then I woke up, and The Muse was there, bugging me.  (Should note, my Muse is not the same as the muse I’m writing about.  The muse in my story is a real goddess; I’m the only one who thinks my Muse is a goddess.)  What was she bugging me about?

Time.

No, not the sort of time we all waste like crazy, but time like one would encounter if you were time traveling.  There’s a simple explanation for this.  During the week I was sick.  Monday I was out of it, but Tuesday I was so down that I had to stay home and crash and burn.  But since last Sunday, when I started coming down with this (now, I hope) dissipated cold, my mind has worked.  What else is it going to do?  I’d love to be able to shut it off, but I can’t.

So, in that time, I came up with two stories revolving around my Transporting series, which I’ve yet to public, but will.  It seems like a strange thing to come up with more stories for that series, because I’ve already written four novels and one novella for it, and I have–wait, let me bring up the document . . . eighteen more stories to write.  Two more would bring it to a very neat, round twenty stories, and it’s not like I have a lot to write already, but, really, do I need more?

To show you how caught up I am in this stuff, I pulled up the timeline I have for the stories–because they cover a lot of time–and realized I didn’t have the reign of one character down in my time line.  So there I go, having to fix things.  Now I have the character accounted for, I have my timeline fixed–

Save for these two stories the Muse is bugging the hell out of me over.

Since I have time to kill before I get out to do other things, I know I can add those stories to my time line, and get my descriptions down, indicate when they’re going to happen . . . yeah, I keep track of all the stuff.  Because I think I can actually get all this stuff written in the next twenty years.

I probably can–

If I get to work.

Chasing the Fear

What I want to know is–why am I up at 4 AM?  Again?

The entire life seems to be in flux at the moment.  Project with work that seems to go on, but is still so close to the end.  Work in progress that seems to go on, but is still so close to the end.  Novels out for review, for a possible purchase . . .

So close to the end, but it seems like it’s so far away.

Ah, it’s just like everything else in my life:  it’s moving from one sort of set up to another.  It’s just that it’s taking so much time, and I want it now!

Time to learn patience, Grasshopper.  Otherwise it’s going to pull you apart, and it’s going to be messy when it’s all over.

Part Ten of Diners at the Memory’s End started last night.  I hopped in pretty well, getting almost 700 words done before the need for sleep caught up with me and forced me off to bed–which, if you’re following this post right now, didn’t do me much good, since I was lying away for about an hour before I starting writing.  I would have gotten into writing a little faster, but I needed to look up something about a local in the story, and that meant I needed to pull up something from Transporting

I spent about an hour going through the chapter in question, reading what I’d actually written twenty years before, and edited a few times since.  There is something about the writing:  it’s sort of wild and raw, but you can feel the main character’s feelings coming though so well.  You can see the relationship with Cytheria beginning, building little by little during what was, pretty much, a very drunken dinner with a fellow doctor.

And the chapter was long:  about 5,600 words.  But so much was said, that I’d loath to cut any of it, because it is all so very good.

Can’t wait to sell this.  Of course, that means editing it, and that means getting all my other projects out of the way before I can do that.

So what needs to be done:  finish the current story, then maybe do another–I have an idea for something that’s either going to be straight-up erotica, or maybe erotic fantasy–then get ready for NaNoWriMo.  Then when that’s over, launch into editing Book One of Transporting, and maybe start shopping it–and the rest of the books in that trilogy–out come the start of 2013.

Yeah, really seems like I have it all down pat, doesn’t it?

The fear here is that none of this will amount to anything.  That I’ve written all these things, or that there are things out there to be written, and in the end, no one, outside of a small circle of people, will ever see them.  That they will linger forever on the Internet, or maybe even on a bookshelf of a store, and nothing will ever come of them.  They will be an experience in my life that went nowhere, and thousands of hours will have been spent chasing an endeavor that was all for naught.

The money can be something that would keep me writing, but I really want people to see my work.  Be entertained.  Be amazed.

Maybe even fall in love with the characters who dance in my imagination, and make life worthwhile.

So I chase the fear, and hope for the best.  Hope that, at the end of the road, there is something waiting for me.

I’ll ask Cassidy and see what she says–

Even though I know she’ll tell me to keep running.