How To Write a Novel — Deflated

Day 65 of writing my novel in public

Photo by Annie Spratt 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 65 — Deflated

Yesterday I said was difficult to write because it was an action scene. But then I come to today’s scene and wish I had the action to build the scene around. Instead, it will be a more introspective scene.

Charlie has been humiliated. He told everyone that there was a stink bomb that was going to go off, and although he was right about the bomb, it wasn’t the terrible event he predicted. I need to have Charlie reflect.

There is also an opportunity for the relationship between Charlie and Sandy to develop. Since Sandy rescued him from the skunk, Charlie has realised how his sister was looking out for him. In this scene, she is doing it again.

I also have a story thread around Charlie’s dad and his use of his MyPI app to determine the truth of things. Charlie has always relied on his intuition instead. In this case, it appears to have let him down.

These are the story threads for today.

  • Charlie can’t believe he was wrong.
  • Sandy says she believes Charlie.
  • Staghorn says she knew the bomb would go off with petals all along.
  • Dad says Charlie shouldn’t blame himself. When you’re a PI everything looks like a crime. Everyone is a suspect.

Against the clock

In order to not overthink the writing part, I’m going to set a timer for fifteen minutes and write against the clock. Three fifteen minute bursts should be enough to write 750 words.

“Looks like there was a bomb after all,” said Staghorn.

“Yeah,” said Charlie.

“And I suppose you could almost call it a stink bomb if you didn’t like this new scent Womance. I’m not sure I’d wear it.”

Charlie didn’t answer. He felt like the world had tilted and he was struggling to stay upright.

“Of course I knew all along that it would be petals. Makes sense. Miasmus is not going to ruin his big launch day by creating a stink. You just got the wrong end of the stick. Nothing to be ashamed of, it happens to the best of us.” She gave Charlie an affectionate pat on the head.

He dodged away and sat down on the grass verge. The parade had passed by and taken the conga dancing crowd with it. Empty food packets smelling the brown slimy ooze of fried food littered the floor around him. The bright green wash of a fizzy drink seeped up into his trousers.

Charlie’s dad walked up to Staghorn with a cardboard box of cupcakes and they chatted as Sandy sat down next to Charlie.

“He’s definitely up to something,” she said.

“Who?” said Charlie.

“Miasmus. I believed you when you said he was planning to set off a stink bomb.”

“But I was wrong.”

“In the how maybe, but not about the why. He hates Dad.”

“Maybe he did. Not any more. Dad said sorry,” said Charlie.

“Really? I don’t think it’s going to be fixed so easily. Boo and Kay told me that he’s been talking about nothing else for weeks.”

Charlie didn’t say anything. It was what he wanted to hear, that he hadn’t been as wrong as he felt now. But Sandy was probably just trying to make him feel better. She was always looking out for him.

“Thanks,” he said.

“For what?”

“For being on my side.” He gave her a smile, the biggest he could manage, though he worried it might be too small to see.

“The pigs have heard him mumbling in his sleep. He keeps saying Dad’s name and then talking about how he’ll show him what a stinker really is. He’ll show them all.”

“But he didn’t did he?” said Charlie, pushing himself off the ground. His jeans felt damp in the bottom.

“Come on you two, I’ve brought cupcakes for us all. But we’re not allowed to eat them just yet. Miasmus is going to announce a thank you to you for making them, then everyone is allowed to taste.”

Charlie tried his smile again on his dad, which still felt like just a twitch, as Sandy sprang to her feet.

“Don’t worry Charlie, it happens to the best detectives. We all get things wrong. When you’re a PI everything looks like a crime. Everyone is a suspect. That’s why I rely on the technology.” He tapped his phone. “It is objective. Doesn’t let its feelings run away with it. Conspiracy theories are everywhere if you look for them.”

Charlie knew his dad was trying to cheer up him too but it just made him feel worse. Dad relied on the MyPI app and it told him the truth of things, but Charlie always relied on his own intuition. If he couldn’t trust that then where did that leave him?

They made their way towards the stage area so that Charlie would be near enough to go up on stage with Miasmus when he thanked him for the cupcakes. It was the last thing Charlie wanted to do. He hated the thought of having to appear in front of everybody just at the moment.

And Miasmus. What must he think of him? If Charlie had been wrong and all that Miasmus wanted was to launch his new scent, then Charlie had not been very grateful for the opportunity he’d been given. In a few minutes ten thousand people would taste his cupcake creations. He’d be famous.

Yet a voice at the back of Charlie’s mind still nagged at him that something wasn’t right. If Miasmus had no ulterior motive then why had he been stealing all those smelly ingredients? It didn’t make sense.

Sandy touched him on the arm. “What are you thinking?”

“Nothing,” said Charlie. He didn’t have any real theory any more, and he’d had enough of looking like a fool for one day.

“I can’t wait to try one of your cupcakes, they look great,” she said.

“Thanks,” said Charlie.


As with the previous quieter, more reflective scenes, I like the overall idea of the scene, and how it shows the relationships between the characters. In revision, I can look at improving the dialogue and the transitions within the scene.

Total words so far 34,998.

Tomorrow I’ll write the scene where Charlie realises what Miasmus’ real revenge plan is.

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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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