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I had a really hard time picking this story back up after putting it down. I've been taking a pile of writing classes and juggling three other stories was at my max. But, classes are out right now and its just me and two cats for a few days. So I'm catching back up with the hopes of wrapping it up this weekend.

I'm going to post the last chapter here, then to on to the yeoman's work of editing the preliminary chapters for posting on the various sites.

Shew. Wish me luck. I'm divin' in.

Added: I dove in to rework the last ten chapters and am still on 85, which was much rougher than the rest of the chapters. Must have been pretty distracted writing that one. I'm going out of town tomorrow and because of space limitations in the trunk of the Miata and that I'm picking up someone on Long Island flying in with luggage, I'm tempted to leave my computer at home and just take an old ipad to check email. It makes my palms sweat and my arms go all rubbery just thinking about it. (But, but, how will I breathe?) So I might not be able to work on it this week at all. But, on the other hand, I won't be working anything, except putting people off until next week.


I'm alive, just crazy busy

It's been accounting and tax time. I'm terrible, leaving everything from the whole year to do before filing. I love math. Accounting is evil. Accounting is arbitrary, by my view.

Also commuting back and forth between DC and Syracuse trying to get the house in rentable shape. Just got back to DC. Platooning two cars to get the convertible down here where it is hot hot hot already.

I keep thinking some creative energy is just going to appear. I'm going to have to figure out how to give it some space to breathe. Set aside a morning. Maybe unplug the internet . . .

Resolution Chapter 86 - Scene 12

* * *

The Auror's office was quiet in the hour before training started. Rodgers stood in the tea room with his feet wide apart, loudly sucking down steaming hot tea.

"I might have a lead," Harry said.

Rodgers turned his head while finishing a slurp, then dabbed his mustache with his sleeve. "On which case? Or need I ask." He turned away again to peruse the newspaper folded before him. Before Harry could reply, Rodgers said, "By the way, that's another thing you need to work on: balancing investigations. Just because you have a personal stake in one is no reason to ignore the dozens of other open cases we have."

Harry let his shoulders relax and didn't reply. He accepted that Rodgers would always come up with something to criticize. It was his job, in a way.

Rodgers finally turned. "Which case?"

"It sounded like you knew," Harry said.

Rodger's mustache curled as he smiled. "So what's the lead?"

Harry told him about the note and the hints last year of excessive betting and thrown matches. Rodgers' brow crinkled.

"Doesn't sound too promising, but you are free to follow up. I won't stop you. I assume at Hogwarts you can't get into too much trouble, and if you do, they are practiced at handling it."

"They are," Harry admitted.

Rodgers turned back to his tea, set it down hard, waved a heating charm at it, then proceeded to take a loud slurp from it, drawing steam around his cheeks. "We're done here, far as I'm concerned," he said.

"Yes, sir."

* * *

I realized something just now revising this scene. It's been really hard to make the ending build toward a climax because at the same time the ending is growing nigh, Harry is learning to conform, which makes him much less himself.

Actually, this fits well for me that the story's ending is a kind of ending for Harry.


Voice and POV in The Casual Vacancy

I'm going to put a little excerpt here. I'm trying to get a handle on the POV used. 

Page 27:
. . . As he(Andrew) was about to join the bottleneck cramming itself through the double doors, he noticed a Nissan Micra pulling up, and detached himself to wait for his best friend.

Page 28:
Tubby, Tubs, Tubster, Wally, Wallah, Fatboy, Fats: Stuart Wall was the most nicknamed boy in school. His loping walk, his skinniness, his thin sallow face, overlarge ears and permanently pained expression were distinctive enough, but it was his trenchant humor, his detachment and poise that set him apart. . . . (etc, same voice)

Fats' self-possession remained total this morning when, in full view of the parent-free hordes streaming past, he had to struggle out of the Nissan alongside not only his mother but his father too, who usually traveled to school separately. Andrew thought again of Krystal Weedon and her exposed thong, as Fats loped toward him.

"All right, Arf?" said Fats.


They moved together into the crowd, their schoolbags slung over their shoulders, buffeting the shorter kids in the face, creating a small space in their slipstream.

"Cubby's been crying," said Fats, as they walked up the teeming stairs.

"Say what?"

...(back and forth conversation)...

Fats gave Andrew the sly, quizzical look he used when others overreached themselves, pretended to know more than they did, pretended to be more than they were.

My mum was at the hospital when they brought him in," said Andrew, nettled. "She works there, remember?"

"Oh, yeah," said Fats, and the slyness was gone. "Well, you know how him and Cubby were bum chums. And Cubby's going to announce it. Not good, Arf."

Page 29:
They parted at the top of the stairs for their respective registration rooms. Most of Andrew's class was already in their room, sitting on their legs, leaning up against the cupboards at the sides. Bags lay under chairs. . . . She (the registration teacher) never bothered to call registration formally; it was one of the many small ways in which she attempted to ingratiate herself with them, and the class despised her for it.

Krystal arrived ad the bell rang for assembly. She shouted, "I'm here, miss!" from the doorway, and swung herself back out again. Everyone else followed her, still talking. Andrew and Fats were reunited at the top of the stairs and were borne by the general flow out of the back doors and across the wide gray tarmacked yard.

The book is mostly third person multiple, meaning we are in one head at a time, from a third person perspective, then we change what head we are following at a section break. And there are a lot of section breaks. So within a section our view is limited to that character and his or her knowledge. But she really pushes the envelope on what any given character would choose to tell us about, everyone tells us about pretty much everything, including backstory.

We only get returned to our narrator now and then, as in the excerpt when we get the "Andrew thought again of Krystal Weedon . . ." Oh yeah, Andrew is our guide at the moment.

I guess what is throwing me a bit is that most of the narration accompanying the story is distant, no matter whose head we are in. But the voice still has a personality of its own and I think I just figured out what the issue really is, that narrative voice doesn't change from character to character. That's what makes it feel omniscient even though down to the nuts and bolts of what the narrator is telling us, one could always say, well, yeah, that character could know all that.

This is clearest when we are in Fat's head starting on page 73. Fats wouldn't use the word "contravened" to describe his own actions. We are in Fat's POV, getting Fat's knowledge, but not in Fat's voice. That's what makes this non-standard 3rd person multiple for me. It's an omnipresent voice doing non-omniscient narration.


Resolution Chapter 86 - Scene 11

* * *

It was a brisk day for the first Quidditch match of the season. Arcadius was getting heavy enough that Harry offered to wear the baby pack for the first part of the day. They topped the stairs and came out into the windy stands and he was grateful for the baby's radiant warmth. Their cloaks pulled them along between the benches and Arcadius gave a squeal of delight. They found an empty stretch of bench between a hag and pair of twin boys with shoulder length black hair. The air smelled of warm lake water and trampled grass.

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Resolution Chapter 86 - Scene 9 & 10

* * *

The Entrance Hall echoed with a hundred high voices as they made their way to dinner. Suze wished she could have left for her Friday date already, maybe go out to dinner. Anywhere would be fine, even a roadside Cauldron Cakes Cart, just somewhere out of the castle. Her teammates pressed close to pass through the door to the Great Hall, reminding her that she could not get away unnoticed without their help. At the same moment, the Ravenclaw team was also entering the hall through the next door over, tall heads and lean shoulders obscured their Seeker.
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Resolution Chapter 86 - Scene 8

* * *

Candide hummed a song that played every hour on the Wizard Wireless as she wrestled Arcadius into clean babygro pyjamas. Arcadius bunched his hands up and put them through the wrong openings, then giggled when the garment was pulled free again. Harry wondered that he wasn't cold with his bare skin.

The Floo flared and Snape stepped into the main hall. Harry watched him approach, feeling nervously pleased to see him.

"Maybe daddy can dress you," Candide said happily. She held the baby and the tangled pyjamas up. "I'd love to see him try."

"Da!" Arcadius shouted. Harry felt the shout in his gut.

"I shall defer to the expert," Snape said, patting a raised Arcadius on the head before continuing across the room to sit beside Harry.

Snape's gaze was piercing, but his voice was conversational. "How did your training go this week?"

"Good. Reading's a lot easier." It was true. After burying himself in obscure grimoires for weeks, his assigned reading was a cinch.

Snape hesitated, and Harry sensed he had answered the wrong question.

Harry added, "I think I'm good for now with the Ministry."

Snape nodded. "How are you?"

Out of the corner of his eye, Harry saw Candide look up sharply.

There had been moments where Harry hadn't known himself, but they had passed quickly enough. And he didn't mind at all suffering for what he'd gained.

"I'm good. I wouldn't change anything." He said this mostly to deflect the question, but his answer felt true to the depths of him. There was nothing that needed changing, nothing he would wish for in another universe.

He drew in a long breath to test if his chest was really as tight as it felt. It wasn't. The nervous excitement burning in him felt alien, but alive.

"No regrets?"

Harry decided that Snape, as usual, knew more than Harry himself, and wasn't so much asking as forcing Harry to think more. Harry did wonder why he felt so nervous. There was no reason for it.

Snape rested a hand on his arm. His expression implied this should be a clue.

"Suze." It just slipped out. Harry understood then that he had copied her emotions, including those for his guardian. No wonder she acted so jumpy around her Head of House. Harry stifled a laugh. "I've become a silly school girl," he said. He put his hands to his cheeks which he could feel were reddening. "It will pass. Right?"

Snape treated this soberly. "I expect."

Candide glanced back and forth between them. "Archie, they've invented a new language. We're doomed."

Snape stood and approached them. "It is the language of preserving Harry's pride. So pay no heed." He took up Arcadius who was still only half wearing his pyjamas. The pale yellow sleeves trailed over Snape's robe. Arcadius grabbed at the robe fabric and tugged, making little engine noises. Snape combed his fine black hair back but the baby didn't seem to notice.

Candide said, "Are you going to dress him, or should I look up a spell?"

Snape continued to push back Arcadius' hair. "I think we should avoid using any spells upon him for the foreseeable future."

"We're going to change his nappies by hand forever? That's medieval."

Snape sat beside her with the bare-chested baby on his knee. He slipped a hand around one pudgy wrist and stealthily raised a sleeve hole toward it. Arcadius clapped his hands and rocked backward, kicking his feet. Snape started again with Arcadius in a reclined position.

Harry closed his books and put them aside to sit back, arms around himself, not because he was cold but because he wanted to hold all of this inside him. There could be no other place, no other reality, better than this one.

* * *


Reading a Casual Vacancy

I'm probably slow on this, but I was waiting for a reserve at the library.

Interesting thing about new books that have only been in circulation for a few months.

I'd estimate the most common place to stop reading is around page 30, and the second most common is around page 87. This is out of 500 pages. I will not be like these people. That is my pledge to the completely unbroken binding of this book.

I got through Tess of the D'Ubervilles. I can get through anything. And *like* it. ;-)


Resolution Chapter 86 - Scene 7

* * *

Harry's next week of training went by easier now that his evenings were not burdened with research. Snape didn't visit on the weekend, so the three of them went to the zoo. Harry thought this a bit daring, but apparently Muggles expect odd things to happen at zoos. Plus Arcadius was easy to distract given how many new things there were to see.

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I've made an executive decision regarding the structuring of scenes. I've decided that the transitional paragraphs at the front don't count. One of the reasons I've been bad and just jumping into the scene is I want the structure maintained from word one, and that actually doesn't make any sense. I think it's clear where the scene itself starts by the change in distance and the voice.

This section in particular, I like how it works. First a transition, then a summary of events out of scene, then paragraph two: summary sentence, sentence zooming into specific moment, sentence actually in the moment. Following paragraphs in scene.


Resolution Chapter 86 - Scene 6

* * *

Harry sat before the Wizengamot, first on the agenda. Lupin and Josephine were sitting upright in the visitors' chairs near the door. There was far fewer press today for some reason. Maybe because the time of the hearing unexpectedly changed at the last minute.

McGonagall adjusted her glasses and peered down at Harry over them. She gave him a smile. "Mr. Ogden, you asked to lead this section of the hearing. I yield to you."

"Young man, why didn't you tell us last hearing that you were curing werewolves?"

"You didn't ask?" Harry said.

"Quite embarrassing all the press we were subjected to this week. We expect more cooperation from Ministry employees, Mr. Potter."

"I wanted to hold onto my privacy," Harry said.

"Fat chance of that." Ogden slapped a newspaper down onto a pile beside him. "Says here you cure two a moon and are training Healers to do the same."

"Does it?"

Ogden slapped his hand down on the paper. "Knock that off, young man."

"I don't read the articles about me, sir. Anyone who knows me can confirm that."

A figure approached. It was Mr. Weasley. He put a hand down on Harry's shoulder. Ever since the spell his emotions had been hard to rein in and he guessed that his boss wanted him to try harder on that.

Mr. Weasley said, "At the council's kind discretion, I submit that we re-open Mr. Potter's case at the end of his current year of training. The Department of Magical Law Enforcement willingly takes full responsibility for him in the meantime."

"What other secrets are you helping him hide?" A gruff voice asked from an upper tier.

"It is true that Harry's magic is stranger than most. That is why we request that you let us help him best refine it before making a final decision on his apprenticeship. He has a full year after this one. There's lots of time."

Harry sat back, lulled by Mr. Weasley's voice

"Fine," Ogden said, shoving his file aside and picking up a new one. "We have some petitioners here?"

"I'll take over, Tertius," McGonagall said, sitting forward.

"You aren't exactly impartial to this petitioner," Ogden shot back.

"I am only introducing the issue. Then I will open it for discussion." She spoke pleasantly, as if to a favorite niece who was throwing a tantrum.

The weight of Mr. Weasley's hand lifted off Harry's shoulder. Harry pushed forward out of the unyielding chair and gave his boss a smile and got a pained one in return that worried Harry. He needed to do better with his responsibility to people, all around.

He nodded at Lupin as they crossed paths, then waited with Mr. Weasley by the door while Lupin read from his petition.

" . . . based on unprecedented events which are not accounted for in current Ministry rules and procedures, I request that an amendment be made to the status of several persons currently classified as Controlled Magical Creatures. Myself, Remus J. Lupin, Josephine Banks . . ."

Lupin's lean hand was steady as he held the parchment. He still appeared drawn thin by illness, aged more than average. The last of the Marauders worn down by time but still surviving.

Mr. Weasley touched Harry's arm, then gestured to the guard to open the door. He motioned that Harry could stay, but Harry shook his head and followed him out. The longer he stayed, the more ribbing he would get from Rodgers.

* * *


Currently Reading

The Casual Vacancy -- JK Rowling
The Most Dangerous Thing -- Laura Lippman
American Gods 10th Anniversary Edition -- Neil Gaiman
Katherine Anne Porter: Collected Stories and Other Writings
The Last Tycoon -- F Scott Fitzgerald
Theory of the Novel, A Historical Approach
The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales -- Bruno Bettelheim
How to Read a Book -- Mortimer J. Adler

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