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Scribblings: Update

March 9, 2011

Yesterday I was talking about how I stopped writing this story after 15,000 words or so and how it hadn’t really pulled me in.  I actually wrote that entry last Saturday.  Then Sunday I got thinking of an idea on how to reboot the reboot.

I think it was probably because USA was running an Indiana Jones marathon (which I didn’t really watch, but I did flip it on a few times) that I got thinking:  wouldn’t it be fun if we set this story in the 1930s?  The more I thought about it, the more the answer seemed like YES.

By setting it in that time period I can bring in Nazis to work with our bad guys.  Strangely enough I don’t think I’ve ever really used Nazis before because so many people have covered WWII before.  Although in this story there’s a subplot where our witch Sylvia meets her daughter Cecelia for the first time while they’re both working in an aircraft factory during the war.

Plus I can work on using a bit more noirish narration which would be more at home if this were set in the ’30s than modern day.  It does present some challenges though, like trying to avoid colloquialisms.  I imagine I’ll have to run to Google and Wikipedia quite often to find out if something was invented yet.

Another benefit is that by using a different time period I can set it farther apart from the previous Scarlet Knight series.  I think part of the problem might have been that I didn’t have enough separation, so it felt like I was covering a lot of the same ground, which is kind of boring.  I’m also going to avoid using characters from that series except for the witches/Heretics for the same reason.  That’s why I’m giving the male lead a new name.

This is as far as I’ve gotten on the idea:

The Magic Wand (Version 2)

Rough Story Notes

By Whatever pseudonym I use!

Theme-like substance:  The magic of love and whatnot.

This time we’re going to have some fun (and created an added nuisance) by setting this in the mid-30s.  Let’s say 1936 for the hell of it.  But first we can probably still have the prologue in 1920 when our guy is 6ish and Sylvia beams in to kill a bogeyman in his closet.  She inadvertently reveals her magic, giving him ideas.

In the “present,” Sylvia goes to Germany or somewhere like that, where some Nazi “scientists” are trying to conjure up a gate for summoning demons.  She stops them and destroys the gate, though first probably has to tangle with a couple of demons just for the hell of it.

Since she’s in the neighborhood she drops by the old house.  She and Aggie packed up their valuables after the last big war, but she visits the Devereaux clan to warn them another war is coming.  Then she stops by her favorite spot, the one where she and Henry kissed and later she and Alejandro first screwed.

Glenda finds her there and they discuss what happened in Germany.  Sylvia would like to go and wipe out all the Nazis, but Glenda tells her it’s not their job to interfere with the dealings of mortals.  Sylvia is annoyed but she’s learned firsthand what happens when she gets involved with mortals, so she goes along with it.

She goes back home, where Aggie is waiting and tells her there’s a disturbance nearby at the college.  Aggie brews up an Inner Child potion for both of them so they can go wandering around the campus without drawing too much attention.

First they go to the admin building, where Aggie drugs a secretary so that Sylvia can take the woman’s place.  She then pokes around the records, searching for information.  Probably she finds something that points her towards the science building.

In the building she has a run-in (literally) with Ethan Fraser, a mechanical engineering student at the school.  She gives him her cover story about being a secretary at the college and he eventually takes her up to the lab so he can show her what he’s working on.  But at the door is a man from the War Department who wants to talk to Ethan about his project.

Sylvia excuses herself, but with magic she eavesdrops to hear what Ethan tells the War Department guy.  He doesn’t mention everything, but there’s enough to convince Sylvia that it’s the source of the magical disturbance Aggie felt.

In the cafeteria later she runs into Ethan again (not literally).  He’s there with his girlfriend Cecelia and invites Sylvia to sit down.  It’s obvious that Cecelia dislikes her and is very possessive of Ethan.  He doesn’t seem to notice this and mentions that he and Cecelia are going to some kind of party off campus and asks if she wants to go too.  So she says sure.

Later, she goes to the party with Aggie.  Sylvia and Cecelia are competing for Ethan—or Cecelia makes it kind of a competition—until Sylvia finally excuses herself.  She leaves Aggie to watch Ethan & Cecelia in case they leave.

Meanwhile Sylvia goes to Ethan’s lab, where she discovers some hired goons are ransacking the place.  These hired goons speak German and after Sylvia kicks their asses, she finds out their working for the Nazis.

Aggie appears then to say that Ethan and Cecelia left and appeared to be having some kind of argument.  Somehow it gets revealed that Cecelia is the one who ordered the goons to ransack the place while she was at the party, spooked by the War Department guy showing up.

Sylvia hurries to Ethan’s apartment, but it’s too late—he’s already gone!  Aggie brews a special potion that allows her to see where Ethan went.  They follow the trail to the train station and find out they got on a train for Boston.

Sylvia leaves Aggie at home and then gets out her old flying broom.  With this she takes off after the train so that she can track it down.  When she does, she lands on the train and then sneaks on board to find Ethan and Cecelia.  She finds them in a sleeping car, where Cecelia has Ethan in a trance and drawing the plans for the magic wand.  Sylvia and Cecelia fight, where it becomes apparent that Cecelia has had a lot of training—in magic as well as martial arts.  But Sylvia wins, Cecelia falling off the train and disappearing.

Sylvia then gets Ethan off at the next stop.  He’s still under the trance, so she takes him back home so that Aggie can brew a potion to help him.  But it takes a few hours to work, during which Sylvia stays by his bedside, telling herself that she’s doing it in case someone tries to kidnap him again.

The next morning he wakes up and asks about Cecelia.  He’s reluctant to believe that his girlfriend is not very nice and working with Nazis.  Eventually, though, she convinces him that she’s trying to protect him and that they need to get out of here.  (She doesn’t tell him yet that she and Aggie are witches.)

Before they can get much farther, there’s a knock at the door.  The FBI is here!  They’ve been watching the house and want to look around.  Aggie keeps them at bay with magic so that Sylvia and Ethan can sneak away.

They eventually get on a boat for the UK, so that Sylvia can take Ethan to her place in Edinburgh.  She could vanish there, but she doesn’t want to show him her magic until absolutely necessary.  On the boat they have a little “Titanic” thing going as they get to know each other a little better.  (But no “flying” from the front of the ship.  I mean she could actually fly if she wanted to, so it’s no big deal to her.)

But then the ship comes under attack by a German U-Boat!  Some goons and probably a Heretic board the sinking ship to find Sylvia and Ethan.  Sylvia of course stops them and gets Ethan into a lifeboat.  Now they’re floating in the middle of the Atlantic!

On the lifeboat they talk a little bit, but Sylvia is still careful not to reveal too much to Ethan about who she is.  They probably share a brief kiss.  Then while he sleeps, she levitates herself around until she locates a friendly (or at least neutral) ship.  She goes back and uses her magic to create a divine wind to send their boat close enough to get picked up.

They talk a little more as the boat takes them to Spain.  Once there, Sylvia decides they should change direction, into Africa.  We can work in some Casablanca references for the hell of it then!  But some Nazis catch up to them, driving them into the desert.

After some wandering around in the desert, Ethan is getting dehydrated and weak.  Sylvia finally uses some magic to create an oasis for them to drink from.  There they gather some strength and Sylvia explains that she’s a 440-year-old witch and that her sister is a 431-year-old witch!  Together they deduce that she was the witch in Ethan’s bedroom 16 years ago and thus the one who gave him the idea that created all this turmoil.  Needless to say he is not thrilled with her.

With her magic they vanish to Cairo, where Sylvia flashes back to when she was last in the city—when she was pregnant with her child 120 years ago!  Then, as now, she was hiding in the city, only back then it was from the child’s father—Aggie’s husband!

Eventually all this reminiscing is broken up by a Heretic assassin or two.  Sylvia defeats them and vanishes them to Venice.  There she tells Ethan about when she came here with Alejandro and the resulting lovemaking that created their child, the one she gave up.  She and Ethan wind up making love in the city (though she’s more careful this time!).

Before they can get on the move again, Cecelia shows up.  She has Aggie with her, Sylvia’s sister dying from some kind of rare poison.  Cecelia demands that Sylvia give up Ethan in exchange for the antidote.  After some discussion, Sylvia reluctantly does this.

The antidote is of course bogus, Aggie getting even sicker.  Sylvia takes her to some ruins in Ireland, which serve as the archives and ritual meeting place for their coven.  There the ghost of her old friend Clare Devereaux helps her find a cure for Aggie—a cure Aggie probably came up with many years ago.

While Aggie sleeps and recovers, Glenda appears and takes Sylvia aside.  She explains Cecelia and others Sylvia has been fighting with are known as Heretics.  They’re the offspring of witches and mortals.  Someone known only as the Headmistress has gathered them together and been training them how to fight the coven.  Lately the Heretics have been working with the Nazis.  Finally, everything falls into place for Sylvia and Glenda confirms that Cecelia is the daughter Sylvia gave up 120 years ago, still alive through magic potions and such.

It’s pretty obvious to Sylvia where Cecelia is going:  Germany, so she can turn over the wand to the Nazis to reproduce en masse.  She goes to Berlin or wherever, where the Nazis and Heretics are waiting for her.  She has to kick their asses before finally finding where Cecelia has Ethan in another trance to build a wand.

The wand isn’t finished, but it’s working enough that Cecelia can use it.  She and Sylvia face off in a magic duel.  Cecelia actually has the upper hand because now that Sylvia sees Cecelia as her true self, she realizes the girl really is her daughter—they look almost exactly alike—and can’t bring herself to put up much of a fight.  When Cecelia finally gets Sylvia down and is about to kill her, Sylvia says that’s what she deserves for giving her up all those years ago and “Cecelia, I am your father, er, mother.”  “That’s not true!  That’s impossible!”  “Search your feelings, you know it to be true.”

Cecelia holds back.  Instead of killing Sylvia, she retreats with the magic wand, leaving Ethan there as well.  But she promises when next they meet, they’re enemies!

In the epilogue, Ethan has snapped out of the trance and is back home.  He’s going with the War Department guy to help them build weapons to eventually fight the Nazis.  Ethan says goodbye to Sylvia, promising that he won’t forget her.  Then he leaves.

Aggie recovers and eventually wakes up.  She explains to Sylvia that the one who came to the house and knocked her out was not a Heretic but a full-blooded witch.  This means someone in the coven is a traitor.

Meanwhile, Cecelia meets the Headmistress, turning over the wand to her so that the Third Reich can begin creating their own wands and using magic to conquer the world.  The Headmistress then tents her fingers and says, “Excellent.  Now we can have our revenge.” [ominous music…]

Or something like that…


I’ll have to keep working on it and see where it goes.  Probably nowhere, which is where most of my writing ends up.

Until tomorrow’s entry, which I wrote last Sunday…


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  1. This sounds really good — and, equally importantly, it sounds like you energized yourself about the story by resetting the time period. Keeps it fresh, which makes it more fun for you to write and more fun for people to read. You can always tell when writers are getting bored. It’s the Cornwell effect.

    • What I probably should have thought of for Tuesday’s entry is that it helps doing something a bit different to get you to go all in on a story. It can be the genre or the narration style or the setting as in this case. Sometimes just doing something you haven’t really done before helps get the motor running. Of course that’s harder for famous published authors because readers generally don’t want seismic changes.

  2. Holy crapola…my head is spinning. I like the 1930’s setting though. If you’d add some homosexual characters that aren’t villains but represent them in a positive light I’d totally buy the book. I’m tired of homosexual characters always being villains in books. Maybe it’s cause we scare straight people so much.

  3. What a cool idea! Stories set in that time period fascinate me. I think you’re really on to something here.

  4. wow! from watching a bit of a marathon great ideas are born – it’s not my genre but sounds good

  5. YAY! Sounds good! Nothin like evil nazis to set a story back on track. 🙂

    ❤ Gina Blechman

  6. Sold. I’m getting it for my kindle. If it’s terrible…I totally know where to find you.

    • If it’s terrible you’re only out a dollar. I spend more than that on fruit pies from the vending machine.

  7. Okay Im reading your book and I just wanted to let you know I really like it. It reminds me of the Cider House Rules and I loved that immensely. I feel really bad that Jack was treated like such shit by that woman. Jack needed love and he got none and then making him sleep in the barn was a horrible way to treat a handsome charismatic man. I totally woulda let him sleep in my bed and kept him warm. 😛 The school teacher is awesome, talking through the box in a mechanical fashion. I read pretty critically as I imagine most writers do and I’m on Chapter eight and have not found a mistake yet. The editing is really good and your prose captures this era perfectly. Im going to add this to my goodreads. BTW I followed you on Twitter.

    • Wow, you’re on Chapter 8 already? John Irving’s books were my inspiration for the story’s style, so that’s a great compliment. Thank you!

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