Welcome to the Harry Potter Blogfest
hosted by Michael at the In Time... blog.
My entry is a re-worked scene from my novel-length fanfiction Professor Burbage and the Potions Master. For me, this blogfest ended up being more an experiment in editing rather than writing---the original scene is 900+ words, but Michael's a very strict professor, and his requirement was 500 words, so I've chopped this baby down to nearly half its original size (525 words).
It wasn't nearly as impossible a task as I at first thought it would be---merely a matter of removing unneccessary dialogue tags, paring back on overly detailed physical descriptions, cutting redundant phrasing, and searching out ways to say things more efficiently. That's all. What's amazing is that the scene lost absolutely nothing, but is now a smoother, sleeker version of its original self. Editing rocks. Thanks for making me challenge myself, Michael.
Professor Elson and the Potions Master
"What is it you need, Professor Elson?" Snape asked as the substitute Muggle Studies teacher clunked a heavy box onto his desk.
"I’m having trouble with a few simple potions," she explained, pulling small corked bottles from the box. Each contained a muddy brown liquid.
"Perhaps you should enroll in my class next term," he said flatly.
"Ha ha. These potions are fine—they do exactly what they're supposed to do, but I was hoping you'd show me how to make them more attractive."
"Yes. I was thinking of various shades of green and gold."
"Why on Earth would you want to do that?"
"I'm giving them as Christmas gifts, and as you know, presentation is everything."
Snape responded with a look that seemed to indicate he very much wanted to hurl her out one of his windows. Lucky for Nicki, he had none down in the dungeon.
Taking a more practical tone, she added, "I've tried changing the appearance myself, but every time I add a new element, the effect of the potion changes."
"Potions 101, Professor Elson. Are you sure you don't want to sign up for my class?"
"Well, aren't you the cheeky one? Honestly, Severus. You act as if I don't know the difference between wolfsbane and monkshood."
"There is no diff—" Snape started, but he stopped short when he saw Elson's playful smile.
"Oh please, Severus! You're the expert. Will you please, please just show me how?" Whether it was her batting eyelashes that did it or the fact that he wanted her far away from him as soon as possible, she didn't know, but Snape finally agreed to help her.
As he selected various jars and tubes from the shelves of his store cupboard, Nicki asked, "Would these potions have the same effect on Muggles as they do on wizards and witches?"
Snape poked his hooked nose out of the cupboard. "Professor Elson, you're not planning on giving these potions to Muggles, are you?"
She laughed lightly and said, "Oh, heavens no. These are for my students."
"Students?" Snape shot her an appalled glare before he returned to rifling through his shelves.
"I wonder though,” Nicki pressed on, “what would be so terrible if the potions did find themselves in Muggle hands? This one’s just a harmless mix to add sparkle to the girls' hair."
Snape returned to his desk with an armful of ingredients. "The harm would be that the magical world would be exposed if Muggles were suddenly sparkling all around town."
"Oh, I know. I'm thinking more philosophically. Think about it—if potions have the same effect on Muggles as they do on us, then this can be the great unifying factor! The one branch of magic that Muggles and wizards can share in equally."
Snape's forehead creased between his sheets of black hair. He didn't seem to like the idea, but he didn't argue her point either. Instead, he set immediately to work and huffed, "It's getting late, and I'm sure you'd like to get your beauty sleep before class tomorrow." After a brief pause, he added dryly, "Presentation is everything, you know."
Hope you enjoyed!
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