|This is why Da Vinci never wanted to show his drafts to anyone.|
I realized today why my Thanksgiving was so conflict free. My mom wasn't there. She arrived today to make up for the lack of exciting family drama. Yay! (Just kidding, Mom, if you're reading this...) Despite that, I'm going strong on my NaNo novel, and I'm more or less on schedule. (*snort*)
I've built up the novel by accretion from the bones of an outline, creating richer and richer outlines as I go.
I promised a sample of moving from a Scene Outline to a Draft. Here it is:
Scene Outline / Notes:
Chapter Five, Scene One:
- Knight's Lounge - Meet all the Big Players
- They summon Walida to ask her about the Key
- She says they have a bigger problem; someone is has used the October Key
- Tiffany says she knows who has the Key: Kenny Snow
- Maybe Snow killed Walida?
- Clare stands by her other theory, that it was Dorcas
- Must do everything to safeguard the Key
- Arkane looks right at Brandon
Here's how it came out in the wash. Keep in mind that this an extremely rough draft, not the final version. However, I've gone ahead and used full sentences, quote marks and as much of the correct Voice as possible, even in the draft, on the off-chance that some of it is usable. Much, much rougher drafting is possible, but I've found that it's not worth it to forgo quotation marks, for instance, because putting them in during revisions is a pain in the bahunkus.
I chose this scene because it's a Bridging Scene not a Juicy Scene. Juicy scenes are the ones you can't wait to write. You might not even need notes on those, because you've already run them so many times in your head. Bridging Scenes are the sinews of the novel; they do important work, but they're not as sexy in their own right. This makes them harder to do, but fatal to skip.
Sorry for the length, but I wanted to include everything touched on in the notes, to show how the wordcount unfolded. Whether you read it or not, you can scan down and see how just a few notes were enough to keep me going for a full scene.
Draft of Chapter 5, Scene 1:-->
SCENE 1 - Earth; Cleargate High School; Lounge Room
The secret lair of the mystics on campus turned out to be the locker lounge behind the Small Gym. The décor a stand of extra lockers, some cabinets, and four thrift-store reject couches arranged haphazardly around a shag rug. The place smelled like Channel Number 5 mixed with eau’d’sock, which wasn’t surprising because the metal two doors in the back wall led to the Girls and Boys locker rooms respectively.
The room had magic however. Deep, old and strong. Also, one entire wall was lined with mirrors…magic mirrors.
Leth entered ahead of me, and then Myron. I could see Leth’s ears and faint glow clearly in the mirror. Myron’s reflection showed a faceless black silhouette.
I knew what the mirror would show if I entered that room. If I balked now, though, it would look suspicious in itself. My masque would never hold up….
What about the Key?
The Key was to Dust what a wind tunnel was to a handy vac. It kicked magic ass. I didn’t know how strong the spell on the mirror was, but maybe the Key’s magic was stronger. It was my only shot. I clutched the Key in my pocket and murmured silently, Masque! I stepped into the room, glancing at my reflection…
For a moment, my skin shimmered and looked greenish, but then it was gone, and my human masque reflected back at me. Oh, hell, yeah! I just hoped no one noticed the flicker.
Damian and Tiffany were already waiting, seated on opposite couches. In the mirror, Tiffany glowed, while Damian… had a black silhouette. He wasn’t a ghost, though, so what did that mean? Tiffany didn’t seem bothered by it, or at least, she didn’t seem surprised by it. As always, she acted jittery around Damian, as if he were a lap dog she expected to show signs of rabies any second now.
“This is the Knight’s Lounge,” said Clare. “It’s where the Knights of the Year used to hang out. This year… we’re trying to get the Knights going again.”
“The Knights of the Year?” I repeated. “That sounds really…”
Clare crossed her arms and glared at me.
“Fey,” I concluded, grinning.
“Are you going to explain what that means?” asked Leth.
“I’ll let the grown-ups do that,” said Clare.
Two adults entered the lounge. One was the guidance counselor, Mr. Cambiel, and the other was Mr. Arkane.
There was no doubt whatsoever that Arkane recognized me. He looked right at me, then at my human reflection in the mirror, and then at me again, with one eyebrow raised. I noticed that his reflection in the mirror looked human too…except for his jet black eyes. He lowered dark sunglasses and smirked at me. Our little secret, his expression seemed to say. We both bat for the other team.
Mr. Cambiel noticed me, and a frown appeared on his brow. “I don’t remember seeing you here before, young man. Your name is….?”
“Brandon,” supplied Arkane smoothly. “Transfer student.”
The two men exchanged a glance, Cambiel somewhat arch, as if issuing a challenge, and Arkane firm, as if answering it.
“Same with us,” said Myron, including Leth in his lie.
Cambiel looked at Arkane, who shrugged.
“We are here to convene the Knights…”
“It’s really just me,” said Clare.
“…to discuss the murder of Wahida [lastname]. Was her spirit about to tell you anything?”
“We were questioning her when she dashed off after her cat. Then her Door came, and poof, she was gone.”
“I will call her back,” said Mr. Cambiel.
“I thought your kind weren’t supposed to do witchcraft?”
“My kind do not need to do witchcraft.”
“What do you call this?”
A glowing door appeared in the wall, and Wahida stepped out.
“Can you tell us who killed you?”
“That was useful,” Damian remarked.
“I have not been sent to tell you of my own killer,” said Walida. “But to warn you of a much greater danger to all the planes of the Omniverse. The Key has been used.”
I jolted. Oh shit.
But they spoke about it as though they had no clue I had it and I began to wonder if they meant some other key. Maybe there were hundreds of keys wandering around with the power to travel to different dimensional planes, create showers of candy and overpower magic mirrors.
“I know who has the key,” Tiffany said unexpectedly.
You could have smashed me with an anvil.
“Have you seen him?”
“No, be we know he’s been seeking it. He must have succeeded.”
“Perhaps,” said Cambiel, taping the side of the chair.
“Did Snow kill Wahida?”
“Why would he kill a Homecoming Queen aspirant?” Clare asked.
“She was also a witch. With her power… I must be frank. We were considering the possibility that she would be chosen to become a Knight.”
“Oh. Maybe my theory was wrong.”
“What was your theory?”
Clare explained about Dorcas and discussed her plan to draw Dorcas out by posing a Homecoming princess. I squirmed a bit when she came to the candy rain. Cambial shook his head disapprovingly.
“We discussed this when you became a Knight, Clare. You aren’t supposed to use magic openly.”
“I don’t use magic secretly. Blame Brandon.”
The adults didn’t have any Wisdom Of The Old Ones to share with us, just nodded and murmured, “Carry on.”
I thought I had escaped unscathed, but Arkane cornered me at the last minute.
When no one else remained, he grabbed me by the scruff of the neck and shoved me up against the wall.
“I thought better of you, Brandon,” he hissed. “When did you start working for Kenny Snow?”
“How’d you get here, then?”
“I don’t know!”
“Are you using?”
“Using what, Mr. Arkane?” I blinked at him innocently.
He snarled and let me go. “You may fool the humans, but you don’t fool me. You don’t fool Cambiel either. He’s more likely to kill you than I am.”
“Is he a demon too?”
“Oh, he’s something much worse than a demon. He’s an angel.”
No wonder Mr. Cambiel was such a stuffed shirt.
“I’ll be watching you,” Mr. Arkane added. “One misstep, I and will make you wish you never heard of Earth.” He glowered, but I must not have looked sufficiently terrified, because then he got nasty. “And don’t think you’ll get out of that geometry quiz on Friday!”