How To Write a Novel — Announcement

Day 51 of writing my novel in public

Photo by Maayan Nemanov on Unsplash

I’ve started something scary here on Medium. It’s something I’ve done before, but never in public. I have a process that I’m going to follow, and I’d like to share it with you.

If you want to follow the journey from the start, go here.

If you missed yesterday’s, you can find it here.

Day 51 — Announcement

Sometimes you need to pause in the writing to do a quick piece of world-building. This happened to me today.

In today’s scene, everyone is called to an announcement on floor forty-seven. All the floors that Charlie has had to visit have been accessible to him via the Primes lift, which accesses the floors with prime numbers. My initial idea was that there would be other lifts that access different number sequences, all devised by the security guard Penelope Staghorn.

As a member of Pensa, the organisation for pensioners with high IQs, she has come up with an unusual set of lifts to access different number sequences. Until now, I have had this as a vague idea in the back of my mind, but today I decided I needed to sit down and work out the lifts I need to access the floors.

I printed out a number grid from 1 to 100 and first labelled all the prime numbers. Then I labelled all the triangle numbers, then the Fibonacci numbers, the squares and the perfect numbers. I’m aiming for each floor to be accessible by at least one lift.

My final list of lifts is Fibonnaci, Triangle, Prime, Square, Perfect, Dozens, Harshad, Tetrahedral, Pentatope, Sevens, Elevens, Thirteens, Leyland, Nineteens and Semiprimes. This leaves three floors that are not directly accessible by lifts.

A quick search back gives me the floors I have mentioned so far, all primes:

  • 2 Lobby
  • 7 Restaurant
  • 47 Presentations
  • 59 Doggy gym
  • 97 Charlie and Sandy’s floor
  • 101 Penthouse

I realised the Lobby will need to access lifts on both floors 1 and 2, which I can change in revision. I can also seed some information about the other lifts earlier.

These are the threads for today.

  • Miasmus announces he is launching a fresh scent and will give away Charlie’s cupcakes at the event.
  • Boo and Kay have new collars with the countdown on them.
  • Miasmus invites March as a guest of honour to the launch.

Against the clock

In order to write as efficiently as possible, I’m writing against the clock. Three fifteen minute bursts to complete 750 words.

When the announcement came the next day, Charlie was just finishing the last batch of cupcake mix. Enough for ten thousand cupcakes. He felt completely drained. Suddenly there was a voice throughout the building.

“Attention everyone. Please make your way to the presentation on floor forty-seven. Go directly there,” it said.

Charlie cleaned his hands in the sink and made his way to the lifts. When it came he had to wait as it was already full of people. There was an excited buzz of talk, and no-one seemed to know exactly what Miasmus was going to say.

The time the lift arrived it was going up, but even so there was only a single seat left inside. Charlie decided he should take it, just in case it was gone by the time the lift came back down again.

“I’ve heard that he is planning on going into space,” said a woman on his right.

“No, after the success of Stoink, he’s creating scents for all the pets,” said a man behind him.

Their talk was cut off as the lift shot up to the penthouse, and none other than Miasmus himself stepped inside. Everyone shot to their feet to offer him their seat, all except Charlie.

“Diane, could you bring Boo and Kay down in the next lift please?” said Miasmus.

A short woman with red hair beamed at having been selected and stepped out. Miasmus strapped into the now vacant seat and they plummeted down to forty-seven.

Charlie hadn’t been on this floor before. Today it was crowded with people, all standing facing a staged area at the front. As Miasmus led them out of the lift, the crowd parted for him and a ripple of quiet spread through them.

Charlie followed in his wake trying to spot Sandy and Woofy, but he had no luck. There were so many people and both of them would have been hidden as they were not that tall. By the time Miasmus had reached the stage he still hadn’t found them, so he stopped where he was and turned to face the front like everyone else.

The stage had been decorated in golden material that fell in waves around Miasmus. Television cameras surrounded him, trained on him. He smiled and raised his hand and an expectant hush fell across everyone.

“Welcome my smelly family here, and to all my smelly fans watching around the city. Today I ask for your attention for a few short moments as I make a very special announcement about an upcoming launch. In forty eight hours time I will be holding a very special event at the showgrounds where I will unveil my latest scent.”

There was a ping as the lift arrived and Diane emerged carrying Boo and Kay, one under each arm. Their usual purple bow and studded collar had been replaced with new collars that showed large digital timers. The timers were counting down the seconds, minutes and hours until the launch. She pushed her way forward to the stage.

“Boo and Kay are very excited and I hope you are too,” continued Miasmus. “There will be a huge parade, and games and dancing. And I promise everyone who attends will be given a complimentary cupcake to celebrate the launch. Not just ordinary cupcakes, but the best cupcakes in the world.”

Charlie felt a thousand pairs of eyes on him. A warm glow rushed up his body. He was sure that his face was as red as a beetroot.

“Everyone is welcome, but I would like to extend a particular invitation to a friend of mine from long ago that I hadn’t seen until recently.” He looked straight at one of the TV cameras. “March, if you are watching this, I would like to extend a warm hand to you in particular. I am very grateful you allowed your boy Charlie to come bake for me, and I would like to show my gratitude.”

Miasmus’ smile was broad, but the heat suddenly ran from Charlie and a cold fear crept up his spine. Miasmus was up to something, and he didn’t think it was going to be good for his dad.

“But there is much to prepare, and I don’t want to keep everyone any longer. Please put the date in your diary, and I look forward to seeing everyone there.”

Miasmus stepped behind the golden curtains and the buzz of chatter resumed louder than before. It took a long time for everyone to make their way back to the lifts. Charlie noted that some went up a flight of stairs to join another lift labelled Harshad and Dozens, rather than in the one labelled Primes on this level. As he got closer he could also see some people heading down a flight to a lift labelled Semiprimes.

Once he was near the lift, he stepped to one side and watched the people separating to the three lifts, searching for his sister. After twenty minutes or so the crowd had thinned away to just the stragglers but he still hadn’t spotted her. He shuffled into the Primes lift and headed back to his floor.


I’m happy to have worked on the different lifts to the floors, as that allows me to fill in where I will set some of the upcoming scenes. Miasmus has locked Sandy away on the zoo floor, and Charlie will search for the stink lab.

Total words so far 22,888.

Tomorrow I will write the scene where Charlie struggles to complete the icing on the cakes and feels homesick.

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If you want to try the process with me and write your own novel, I’d love to have you join me on this journey. Put in the comments on how you went with this step.

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