The mission: Adapt one of my screenplays into a novel.
The method: Convince my brain that it’s not a screenplay, but an outline. I always outline my stories.
The result: Success! A rough draft ready for rewrites.
INT. CHILD’S BEDROOM – NIGHT
A THREE-YEAR-OLD TORI sleeps peacefully with an angelic smile. A mist forms, whisks over her forehead, and blows hair across her face. She wiggles her nose.
The mist blows her hair toward her ear. She scratches her ear and sticks her thumb in her mouth while flashes of red light dance on her face. In the distance is the CRACKLE of FLAMES.
The mist whips a strand of hair straight up toward the ceiling. She slaps at her head and turns over. CRACKLE of FLAMES gets louder and red flickers of light more steady. A thin haze of smoke surrounds three-year-old Tori, masking the mist.
Three-year-old Tori’s hair whips wildly. She opens her eyes, sits up, looks around with fear in her eyes.
Smoke pours in through the open door. It SLAMS SHUT.
In an upstairs bedroom of the oldest house on the block an angel slept. Not the type of angel that hangs out in the clouds and flies around with wings, this angel had too much dirt on her feet to fly and thought clouds were pillows for airplanes. But the smile on her face was certainly angelic, and her grandmother almost always called her a little angel.
The angel’s name was Tori, and she was three years old.
As she slept peacefully in her bed, dreaming the dreams of the innocent, a mist formed over her and whisked across her forehead. Several strands of hair blew across her face, tickling her and causing her to wriggle her nose. But she slept on.
The mist, which seemed to have a mind, next blew Tori’s hair in such a way that the ends danced across her ear. The hair ballet tickled enough to make her scratch her ear, but then she simply stuck her thumb in her mouth and sighed.
Flashes of red light danced on her face as in the distance the crackle of flames could be heard.
The mist now whipped a strand of hair straight toward the ceiling. Tori, still asleep, slapped at her own head and turned her face to the pillow.
The crackle of flames filled the room, as did a thin haze of smoke. The mist was no longer visible and the entire room glowed red.
Tori’s hair suddenly began to whip about wildly. Finally awakened, the child sat up and rubbed her eyes. As she looked around her eyes widened in fear. Her room looked alien, not at all like the room she had gone to sleep in. What had happened?
“Mommy?” the terrified child whimpered.
Smoke began to pour through her open door. It slammed shut.
“Mommy!” Tori screamed in fear.