We ask our writers to take the skeleton outline of our storyline and put flesh on the bones. Here, we’ve used extracts from Spikefin the Water King, Book 53 in our Beast Quest series, to show what we mean by this.
This is an extract from the Spikefin storyline:
Tom says he and Petra can go on the raft with Silver, while Elenna gallops Storm along the bank. It’s a hairy ride, and he has to use a makeshift oar to push them away from the rocks. The raft rears and spins in the churning water. Even Petra has to pull her own weight. Just as he’s starting to trust her, and as they reach the end of the ride, Petra distracts Tom, then suddenly whacks him with her oar and leaps up to grab onto an overhanging branch. Tom doesn’t understand at first, but then he sees the river vanish ahead. It’s a waterfall! He paddles desperately against the strong current, but it’s hopeless. Tom sees Petra laughing maniacally, as he and Silver disappear over the edge.
And here is the scene in the finished book:
“We’re too slow with Petra walking,” Tom said, “and Storm can run faster with only one rider.”
“You’ll ride Storm along the side of the river. I’ll take Petra and Silver on the raft. It’s the only way.”
“All right,” said Elenna, although she still looked reluctant.
She helped him lash the logs together. When they were out of rope, Tom tested the raft with his foot: the logs were wobbly and uneven, but the ropes were taut and strong.
It will have to do, he thought.
He found two more long sticks. They weren’t much use as oars, but they’d at least be able to push the raft away from any rocks. He tossed one to Petra. “Here – make yourself useful!”
Together, the three of them dragged the raft to the water. The fast-moving current caught, and Tom jumped aboard. Silver leapt on beside him and the river started to pull the raft away. Tom grabbed Petra’s hands and he yanked her on.
Water splashed over the edges and through the log-gaps, but the raft held. Tom saw Elenna, already galloping Storm along the riverbank. I hope she can keep up, Tom thought.
The raft bucked and spun. Tom crouched between Silver and Petra. They were picking up speed. Low-hanging tree branches passed near the shore.
Ahead, the water dipped into a rapid whirlpool, surrounded by jagged black rocks, like a bubbling mouth of knives. As they hit the edge, the front of the raft started to dip.
“Move back!” Tom shouted over the roaring water. “Or we’ll be pulled down!”
Silver growled, his claws clamped into the wood. Tom and Petra put all of their weight on the rear of the raft, which dipped underwater in a splashing burst, and then spun through the whirlpool. The raft tipped forward but didn’t flip over.
The rocks surged closer – Tom jabbed his stick and pushed off, but there were more behind them. “Watch out!” Tom shouted over the river’s roar. Petra blocked with her stick, launching them out of the whirlpool, back into the current.
They were all drenched. As Silver shook his wet fur, Tom laughed in relief. “We made it! You pulled your weight back there, Petra! I didn’t know if I could trust you earlier…”
“Oh no, Tom,” Petra said. “Look!”
Wiping water from his eyes, Tom squinted: ahead, the river vanished. He heard Elenna shout from the riverbank: “Tom, look out!” He started to turn, and saw a blur of motion before pain flared in the side of his head. He slumped to the raft, the whole world spinning.
Petra had hit him with her stick!
His vision blurred, Tom saw Petra jump up to catch a low tree branch and pull herself up as the Tom and Silver passed underneath her on the raft.
Tom’s head was ringing as he watched Petra get further and further away. She was now sat astride the long branch, pointing and laughing.
Silver tugged his tunic, and Tom sat up shakily. The river was moving too fast, all the way to the edge, where it disappeared.
“A waterfall…” he mumbled.
The sticks were gone. Tom scrambled to the raft edge with Silver, trying to figure out how he might survive. The riverbank was too far away for them to swim in this powerful, deadly water.
The edge of the falls rushed closer. Tom ducked, holding tight to the raft. Beside him, Silver scratched the logs frantically, as if he were searching for an escape tunnel. As they went over the edge, the wolf let out a long, desperate howl.
A thrill of absolute terror clenched Tom’s stomach as he watched the river disappear into a cascade far below. The drop yawned and, as the falling water rushed him over, Tom could not see or hear. Some part of him, deep inside the marrow of his bones, screamed: This is not how my Quest ends.