Toini Comes Home – Full Outline

This is the full original outline of my story Toini Comes home. The outline itself is unedited since I started the story, but I’ll be adding comments in red to explain/clarify things.

Toini returns to Kul Viller after a long time thought missing and dead. She reunites with her sister and asks to find Roy. Roy is in Tin Jian. A message is sent but no reply comes and there’s nothing to do but wait.

The above paragraph is the entire story summed up in one sentence per act. I’m telling the story using the Kishotenketsu four act structure. You can read up on that in more detail here.

For reference, and to help understand a source of tension: Tin Jian is at the other end of the world – very far away – and that fact that Roy is there and not in Kul Viller is going to cause Toini all kinds of issues. At least that’s the theory.

Ki: Toini, Paivi, Ali’ast (pub helper), Raoul (Toini’s Chronicler). Toini is on the way to Kul Viller to pick someone up for her crew.

Sho: Toini’s past. Becoming a paladin. The Orange Cream (airship). Prince Adrian. The common friend that Toini has a bit of an awkward past with and that neither of them really wants to talk about (Roy). Toini only wants to stay a short while. She doesn’t want to have to dal with church and official paladin business. She also doesn’t want to risk alerting Prince Adrian. She also suspects they have to leave soon as there’s bad stuff going down in

Ten: Toini finally asks about Roy. Paivi says he’s in Tin Jian – at the other end of the world. They send him a message, but get no reply. They’re probably drunk.

Ketsu: The next day Toini and Raoul make new plans. Paivi receives a message saying Roy is on his way back. They figure he’ll probably be a week, maybe two. It’s a long way to Tin Jian, but there are plenty of good trains along the coast. Toini leaves the admin work to Raoul and heads up into the Gotecan Hills to visit the shaman there, and maybe check by the border garrison to see if any of her friends are still there.

My outlines are iterative. I first write a very short summary of the story, and then I write it again in more detail, or with focus on something else. I call these iterations of the outline scratches. Originally it was just a pun on the word “draft” that’s used for various iterations of the actual story. It was only later that I realized that it could also symbolise scratching the surface to reveal what’s hidden underneath and revealing more and more of the story that way.

Scratch 1

Ki

In Kishotentketsu, Ki is the first act – Introduction.

Toini and Raoul arrive in Kul Viller. It’s grey and rainy and miserable. They step off the train and take the subway down to the South Docks Market. From there they walk up to Paivi’s Pub

It’s afternoon, the lunch rush is gone and the pub is nearly empty. Ali’ast is sweeping the floor and two old farts sit by the table

The two of them step in and it’s nearly empty. Raoul takes a seat in a corner to be out of the way. Toini goes over to Ali’ast who’s sweeping the floor and asks if Paivi is in.

Ali’ast shouts for Paivi but gets no reply. She’s probably in the basement, or in the office, or doing something else. Toini asks if he would please go and get her and it’s kind of important.

Ali’ast and Toini are not familiar with each other, so Ali’ast asks and Toini says she’s Toini.

Ali’ast grumbles a bit and asks one of the old farts by the bar to keep an eye on the strangers. Mostly just for the sake of it.

Paivi isn’t in the kitchen she doesn’t answer when knocking on the door to the office, and if she was on the phone he’d hear her – so she must be in the basement. He trudges down there and finds her moving some kegs around, moving empty ones to the door out and putting full ones by the pipes that connect to the taps upstairs.

Ali’ast tells her there’s someone looking for her, weird looking hippie kind of woman. Paivi doesn’t know who that might be and asks who. Ali’ast says she said her name was Toini, and Paivi goes all whitefaced and shaky.

She asks a few questions about looks and such and then sits down on the keg she was moving, takes a few deep breaths to compose herself. Ali’ast has no idea what’s going on and is a little bit worried. Paivi pulls it together and goes up to check who’s really there. Ali’ast considers finishing the job Paivi was doing, but he’s way too curious now.

Sho

Sho is the second act of Kishotenketsu – Development.

Paivi hurries through the kitchen and out into the common room of the bar. Toini stands in the middle of the floor, just waiting.

Paivi stops just through the door and just stares. For a long moment the two just look at each other. Then they greet. Paivi comes around and gives Toini a hug. Toini is a bit stiff, but eventually she puts her arms around Paivi as well.

Finally, Paivi pulls back and asks what happened, and where has she been. Toini has a bit of a hard time getting anything out and says something silly like she’s been around, or here and there, or so. Paivi finally realises her sister is okay, and that she’s been fine but not been in touch and she gets way pissed and slaps Toini over the face.

Toini stumbles back, loses her balance and sits down on her ass on the floor. Paivi gets really worried, but Toini just laughs and says something about how she finally recognizes her older sister.

Paivi grins and holds out her hand to help Toini up. Toini grins and there’s a moments doubt about whether she’ll pull her sister down and beat the crap out of her, but in the end she doesn’t.

Paivi checks the time, asks Ali’ast to go finish in the basement, then she tells Toini to sit down and goes to pull two beers. Toini tells Raoul things are under control and that he’s okay to leave, but to be back in two hours. Raoul heads out the door. Toini sits down.

Paivi comes over, and asks who that was.

Toini says it was Raoul, her chronicler, and how he has family in town too that he wants to see.

Paivi asks why she has a chronicler, and what has she been up to.

Toini explains she’s a paladin.

There’s is a fair bit of discussion back and forth about how this happened and why hasn’t she sent a message…

Toini explains there are safety concerns. As a paladin, she has enemies. She can keep herself safe, but if her enemies know of her connections by blood or emotion they may go after them instead, and that would be bad.

Paivi nods and understands but she wonders why she’s come here now then. Wouldn’t that be putting her at risk? Toini says that normally it would, but now Ek has tasked her to go here and find a new member for her team. If he’s told her to see Paivi out, then he’ll also make sure Paivi is safe.

What about Raoul then? Paivi asks.

Toini says Raoul isn’t covered, but she’s cutting him off. He’s a good man and a good friend, but he’s nearing the end of his usefulness. She’ll likely petition Church for a new chronicler and then let Raoul off when she picks up the new one.

So what’s she actually doing here now Paivi wants to know.

Toini explains she got a call to be here in order for a new member to join her crew. She explains it’ not a regular phone call, but more like a calling in her mind. Her god spoke to her and told her to go to KV and get a new team mate.

Team mate? Where’s the rest of the team.

Toini explains they left the team in Gosmarin and they’ll be coming with the airship in a day or two. Trains are faster.

What’s the rush?

There’s always a rush. When the call comes, it needs to be heeded, and the sooner the better.

So you’ll be leaving soon.

Yes. As soon as possible. Maybe until the ship comes by, but then she’s off again. Just need to pick up the new guy.

Who’s the new guy? Does she know?

This is where Toini gets awkward and silent and things get a little uncomfortable for her.

Ten

Ten is the third act of Kishoten. This is where we learn things that have implications for the characters we got to know in the first two acts. I like to use the word Complication for it, but I believe Twist is a more correct translation.

Eventually, Toini makes it know that she’s not sure, but that she thinks it’s Roy. Her team has been lacking a good fighter for quite some time. She’s convinced it must be Roy. Her calling is to come here and meet with him.

It all makes sense. He’s a great fighter. He’s a therianthrope so he’s nearly unkillable. He’d make a great addition to the team.

Paivi objects that yeah, sure, he’s great physically, but doesn’t Toini forget that they had a past together. Roy was head over heels in love with Toini, and Toini just turned him down with a frying pan to the face.

Toini says she’s over it and it’s been like 12 years and he should have gotten over it too. Yeah, it’ll be awkward at first, but it’ll be fine soon enough.

Why else would Ek tell her to go here and seek out her old friend when she really does need a good close combat specialist on the team. Maybe it’s not even him. Perhaps he knows someone who would be a good fit for the team.

Paivi says she can’t imagine it’s Roy. Her god has someone else in mind – for sure.

Toini says well at least she has to meet with him. That’s what her god has told her to do. Anyway, she doesn’t know where he lives now and she doesn’t have her number, and would Paivi mind helping her out and getting in touch with Roy at least.

This is when Paivi points out that Roy’s in Tin Jian and she hasn’t seen him for a decade.

Ketsu

Ketsu is the last act of Kishotenketsu, and the word translates to Conclusion, but I prefer the term Reconciliation.

Toini is in shambles. Her message was so clear. Go to Kul Viller, meet up with your old friend and get another member for the crew. It had to be Roy. Ek can’t have let her down like that.

Paivi asks if it couldn’t be anyone else. Adrian is still around and he would surely be happy to join Toini on adventures. Toini says that’s absolutely out of the question. It’s Roy, and that’s that. The bloody prince can go hide under something old.

Paivi says she can send him a message, but she won’t know if he’ll reply or not.

Toini asks her to please do, and right away if she can. Tin Jian is east of where they are, so it will already be evening there.

Paivi sends the message.

Toini and Paivi wait, no reply comes.

What will you now then Toini?

Don’t know. Will have to first wait and see if Roy replies, and then I have to wait for the crew to arrive. I guess then we’ll go to Tin Jian and pick up Roy.

Tin Jian, but that’ll take forever?

Probably about a month depending on the winds. The Orange Cream is pretty fast once she gets going, and we’ve got Church clearance so we don’t have to mess around with borders and crap unless we get lost and end up in Mahradia.

Okay, so you’re staying a few days then.

Yeah, OC should be her in two to three days.

Good. I could need some help here.

Oh?

Yeah, evenings have been real hectic here lately, even despite the weather. You know the shamans used to like this place. They’re all coming her now, every single one of them.

Ah, I see. Well, I guess I can help out in the kitchen.

Kitchen? No way sister, you’ll be rocking the bar with me tonight.

Scratch 2

This time around, the second scratch is just a list of what each of the four acts need to achieve. For my last story (outline here), this was not the case, and the second scratch was just a more detailed version of the first one.

These lists can, but don’t have to, be in chronological order. Basing them on the previous scratches it’s easy to see how they end up in chronological order anyway.

Act 1 – Ki

What needs to happen in Act 1?

  • Introduce Toini as a paladin
  • Introduce Raoul as the paladin’s chronicler
  • Introduce Kul Viller as Toini’s hometown
  • Introduce Ali’ast
  • Introduce Paivi

Act 2 – Sho

What needs to happen in Act 2?

  • Establish that Toini has been thought dead for the past decade.
  • Establish that Toini is a paladin and that she’s had a reason for staying out of touch.
  • Establish that Paivi owns the pub now and runs it as her own
  • Establish that for the time being there’s no security risk to Paivi or anyone else
  • Establish that Ek guartantees safety
  • Establish that Raoul needs to be cut loose and no longer be a member of the crew
  • Establish that Toini is here to connect with a new member of her crew
  • Establish that there’s a crew and they’re all coming up from Gosmarin in her airship the Orange Cream
  • Explain how divine quests work
  • Establish that Toini is here to get Roy

The more I think about it, I also want to include something about how there’s a time constraint of some kind, or that Toini really only can stay for a very limited period of time before she has to leave again. I never noted that down when I did the outline, but it’s something that’ll probably make it into the story anyway.

Act 3 – Ten

What needs to happen in Act 3?

  • Reveal that Roy is not around and hasn’t been for a long time
  • Reveal that Roy is in Tin Jian
  • Reveal that this puts Toini in a really weird and awkward spot
  • Reveal that there are other men who may be interested in joining Toini’s party – or at least in Toini (prince Adrian) and that Toini does not want to meet up with them
  • Reveal that Paivi has a way of getting a message to Roy

Act 4 – Ketsu

What needs to happen in Act 4?

  • Conclude that Toini will have to stay a little longer than planned
  • Conclude that Toini will have to go to Tin Jian
  • Conclude that Toini will have to work the bar because there’s work to do

Scratch 3

In this scratch I’m splitting the story up into scenes, with a short paragraph describing what happens in each scene.

Scene 1

Toini and Raoul step off the train. It’s the paladin and her chronicler, and they’ve arrived in the town in which they were both born.

Scene 2

Toini and Raoul are on the subway. Raoul asks if Toini’s nervous. Toini says she’s not. Raoul calls her out on it.

Scene 3

Toini and Raoul step into the pub. Toini asks Ali’ast if Paivi is around.

Scene 4

Ali’ast goes down int the basement. Ali’ast tells Paivi there’s someone named Toini asking for her. Paivi freaks out.

Scene 5

Paivi bursts into the common room of the bar. Two sisters meet. High emotion. High tension. High drama.

Scene 6

Paivi goes to get some beers and to get Ali’ast to finish her job. Toini sends Raoul away. Two sisters sit down to talk.

Scene 7

Two sisters talk – What happened to Toini and where has she been?

Scene 8

Two sisters talk – Why is Toini here now?

Scene 9

Two sisters talk – Roy is gone

Scene 10

Two sisters talk – What happens now?

Scratch 4

This scratch is a more detailed version of the previous one. It elaborates a little on what happens in each scene. The first sentence (in italics) of each scene is copied directly from the previous scratch. I did that to avoid having to scroll up and down for each new scene.

Scene 1

Toini and Raoul step off the train. It’s the paladin and her chronicler, and they’ve arrived in the town in which they were both born.

Here’s where we first meet Toini and Raoul, and where we first see Kul Viller. We’ll learn that Toini is a paladin and that Roul is her chronicler. We learn that this is their hometown and that neither of them has been here for a long time.

Toini’s been gone 12 years. Raoul’s been gone six years.

The train station really hasn’t changed very much at all since last time.

Scene 2

Toini and Raoul are on the subway. Raoul asks if Toini’s nervous. Toini says she’s not. Raoul calls her out on it.

The city has a subway system, it’s old and jittery. It’s afternoon and mid-week, so things are fairly quiet. There aren’t that much people on the sub. Raoul and Toini hasn’t said much that “matters” so far, but eventually Raoul breaks the silence by asking if Toini’s nervous.

Toini says of course she isn’t and Raoul calls her a liar.

What if her sister isn’t there? She’ll be!

What if the pub has closed down or changed owner? It hasn’t!

Toini loses her patience and snaps at Raoul that she knows Paivi will be there and the pub will be open. She’s had a revelation and it’s her quest to go to the pub and meet her sister and her sister will know where their new crew member is. Toini even told him about it so he could record it.

Then what is she so nervous about, Raoul asks.

Toini says she’s not nervous and tells him to shut up.

Scene 3

Toini and Raoul step into the pub. Toini asks Ali’ast if Paivi is around.

Short clip outside the pub, showing Toini being hesitant about entering.

Toini and Raoul enter the pub.

Raoul says nothing, just sits down at the first empty table he sees.

The pub is nearly empty. There’s two old men sitting at the left end of the bar – round the bend, by the wall, and a lone man at one of the tables (Ilja Lilletoft – not relevant to the story).

Ali’ast Slaneth stands in the middle of the room sweeping the floor.

Toini goes and asks if Paivi is in. Ali’ast shouts for Paivi but gets no response. He says she’s probably in the office and should be around later. Toini asks if he could go get her, it’s important. Ali’ast asks who she is and Toini says her name’s Toini.

Ali’ast shows no sign of recognition, and then leaves.

Scene 4

Ali’ast goes down int the basement. Ali’ast tells Paivi there’s someone named Toini asking for her. Paivi freaks out.

Ali’ast walks around looking for Toini and eventually finds her in the basement lugging beer kegs around.

He tells her someone’s come looking for her and that they didn’t want to wait until she came around on her own. Paivi grumbles a bit, sits down on her keg and sighs. She asks if they said who they were.

Ali’ast says they said their name was Toini.

Paivi goes pale. She asks what they looked like.

Bit of a hippie – short, blonde, dreads – a bit on the chubby side.

Scene 5

Paivi bursts into the common room of the bar. Two sisters meet. High emotion. High tension. High drama.

Paivi bursts out into the bar. She stops and stares at Toini.

P: You!

T: Hi. [awkwardface]

Paivi rushes out to stand in front of Toini and stops. They look at each other for a moment and then hug.

First few questions about what’s happened and where Toini’s been all this time.

Paivi gets pissed that Toini hasn’t sent any messages and slaps her over the face so hard and unexpected Toini falls on her ass.

There is some tension in the room.

Scene 6

When writing the first draft, this scene disappeared. Parts of it are tagged on at the end of the fifth scene and some parts went missing entirely. These things happen.

Paivi goes to get some beers and to get Ali’ast to finish her job. Toini sends Raoul away. Two sisters sit down to talk.

Paivi turns and walks off.

She only walks to behind the bar where she begins to pull two pints. She tells Toini to get up and grab a seat.

Toini gets to her feet, signals to Raoul she’s okay. She asks him to be back by five (it’s about two-ish). Raoul nods and leaves.

Scene 7

From here on, each scene is just about Toini and Paivi sitting at a table talking, and that’s it. As a consequence of this, the outline turned into very basic conversations rather than a description of what’s happening. I found it quicker and easier to just have the characters say things, than to write about what they’re saying.

I’m going to upload the full outline of this scene to its own page at a later date – once the scene is done. That will include the conversation flow and the actual lines of the conversation as I wrote them before starting on the draft.

Two sisters talk – What happened to Toini and where has she been?

Serious talk now. Paivi sits down and demands to know what happened.

First off, what happened? You went missing in action and then your squad was found dead and you weren’t there so you were assumed dead too.

Toini explains they were shot down. Bad shit happened. She got separated from the squad, fell down in a hole, and nearly drowned. Eventually she got picked up by an elven shaman who took her back to a temple in the jungle.

She stayed there and recovered, did a lot of gardening work, and a lot of thinking. Eventually Ek came to her and declared she would be his paladin.

Paladin? You?

Yeah, I was surprised too, but it makes sense now. I always had a good hand with plants and animals. It’s like I have a special connection with nature in some way.

Haha, yeah, like that time when we went camping and you passed out under a tree and woke up snuggling a fox.

Yeah, like that. Happens all the time now. Foxes, bunnies, bears, lions.

Lions! You gotta tell me about that.

Yes, well, later. Ehm… How’s mom?

Dead.

Dead?

Overdose. Six years ago.

Oh.

Awkward silence. Toini didn’t know.

You should have called. Why didn’t you call? I thought you were dead. [angry] Everyone’s gone. You’re dead. Mom dies. Dad’s in jail. Why didn’t you call? [crying]

I couldn’t.

Couldn’t?

Explain about the risks. It’s not all just sleeping with bunnies. Paladins have enemies, and I can’t always be there to protect you.

Scene 8

Two sisters talk – Why is Toini here now?

But what about now? Why are you here now? Are you going to stop being a paladin? Are you going to take me with you? I can’t just leave?

Toini says she had to come for a quest. That means its safe for now. Ek wouldn’t make her do anything that would put her sister at risk. Paivi is safe.

Ok, so what’s this quest then? You’re not just here to say hi and drink beer are you?

No. I’m here to pick up a new member for my crew.

Crew? It’s not just you and that guy?

No. I’ve got a crew I’m working with. They’re coming up with the ship. Me and Raoul took the train to get her as fast as possible so we can leave right away when they catch up.

Okay, so you come here and burst in and then you’ll be gone again forever in a few days?

Yes.

Well, fuck me. My sister is dead. She comes back after ten years, has a pint of beer and then just ditches me again. And I take it you won’t call again ever – to keep me safe.

I’m sorry, but, that’s correct.

Well, fuck me.

[grumpybitchface]

You’re not doing so bad here though?

That’s not the point.

No. No I guess it’s not.

[strained silence]

P: So who is it you’re looking for?

Scene 9

Two sisters talk – Roy is gone

T: Roy. It’s Roy.

Fuck me sister, not Roy.

I know. I don’t like it either, but that’s how it must be.

Are you certain? It couldn’t be anyone else. Adrian perhaps. He’d love to join your crew I’m sure, and the papers too.

No. It’s not Adrian. The quest was very clear. Get to KV and meet up with your childhood friend about a new member for the crew. Ask your sister for help.

Yeah, that doesn’t leave much room for anyone else.

We need a close combat specialist on the team. You know Roy was always into martial arts, and he was good at it. Who else could it be?

So why didn’t you go to him then?

I am. I just don’t know where he lives these days, so I figured I’d come here. You know where he is, don’t you?

You got it all wrong, it can’t be him.

Don’t mess with me sister. I know what my god told me. Ek isn’t wrong. Stop messing around and tell me where Roy is.

Tin Jian.

What?

Tin Jian. You heard me. Roy’s in Tin Jian. He’s some kind of wrestling champion.

What the fuck?

Look here little miss paladin. The world’s moved on without you. Roy never came back after your fight. I haven’t seen him either for over a decade. You both left, but at least I knew he was still alive, which is more than I could say about you.

Butbutbut.

Toini freaks out. She’s not used to things not going as planned.

Sister. Chill. I’ll send him a message and tell him you’re here.

Scene 10

Two sisters talk – What happens now?

T: You have his number?

P: Well, yeah. He calls me once a year for my birthday. [unlike someone]

Okay. Send him a message. Tell him I’m coming.

What?

Well, if he’s in Tin Jian, I’ll have to go there and pick him up.

You can’t just go to Tin Jian. It’ll take you weeks.

A month, give or take, maybe a month and a half.

But that’s a massive journey, you can’t just go to the other end of the world like that.

Well, if he’s there, that’s what I’ll have to do.

Heh… okay…

So you’re gonna leave again just like that. Will you stay the night at least?

Yeah. I need to wait for the Orange Cream. I won’t go that far without my crew and ship.

Okay, right. I’ll send Roy a message and tell him you’re here.

Thanks.

I’ve got Adrian’s number too. He still drops by once in a while. Do you want me to call him too?

No! Absolutely not. Out of the question.

Excellent.

Uh oh… I know that grin.

Sister… Paladin or not. You’re my bitch now. Do they tell you how to pull a pint in paladin school?

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