How To Write a Novel — Explosion

Day 64 of writing my novel in public

Photo by Josh Hild 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 64 — Explosion

I know that the best time for me to write is first thing. But what exactly does that mean? As soon as I wake up? After having a shower? After eating breakfast?

I think the most important point is that I come to the writing before allowing other influences to interfere with my desire to write. If I see the television news, or read my emails, then the urgency to get the words on the page dissipates. In the worst cases, this leads to procrastination and I don’t get to my writing until later in the day.

Today is not a bad day — I’m starting at about 7am — but I am thinking about maybe starting earlier, and writing as soon as I get out of bed. That sounds great in theory. If I get the words done before anything else, then I know that the rest of the day will also be more productive.

It depends on how much sleep I’ve had and how awake I feel at 6am which is when the alarm goes off. Maybe tomorrow I’ll try this alternative approach.

Here are today’s story threads.

  • Charlie tries to reach the stink bomb but fails.
  • Miasmus sees Charlie heading towards the floats and starts a giant conga line to stop him from reaching it.
  • Miasmus reveals his latest scent Womance.
  • Bomb showers people with petals.
  • Staghorn says she knew the bomb would go off with petals all along.

Against the clock

In order to get the words on the page, I’m going to write against the clock. I’m setting a timer for fifteen minutes and writing until the alarm goes off. Three fifteen minutes sessions should give me 750 words.

Charlie raced alongside the rope barrier, trying to keep up with the float. To avoid all the people, he’d become part of the parade itself. He tried to smile at the people cheering and waving as he ran. Behind him he could hear the feet of the security man pounding and knew that he didn’t have long before he’d be caught.

Behind the wrapped present float, a troupe of stilt walkers marched into the parade. Charlie dodged sideways and tried to merge into the middle of them. Their giant legs stomped around him as he weaved his way forwards. For every one of their strides, Charlie had to run four of his own to keep up. He started to pant and gasp with the running.

Just as he thought he couldn’t run any more and would fall to the ground and be stomped in the chest by a stilt, hands grabbed his arms and lifted him into the air. A man in clown makeup smiled at him.

“What are you doing in the middle there?” he said.

Charlie smiled back and shrugged. “Trying to get a better look?” he said.

The man hauled Charlie higher and swung him round and up onto his shoulders. High above the crowds now, Charlie felt the ground whooshing by underneath as the stilted man swept him onwards. As long as he didn’t look down, he might be okay.

He turned to glance back at the security man who was falling behind the parade. At least that was one problem he wouldn’t have to deal with.

Ahead the float with Miasmus swung round and started down the back straight of the showgrounds. Charlie turned to the television screens that showed that the countdown had reached the final minute.

Only sixty seconds left to stop the bomb.

“I need to get down again,” said Charlie.

“What’s that?” said the man, straining to hear him over the cheer of the crowd.

“Let me down,” shouted Charlie.

The man nodded and lifted him up off his shoulders and swung him down to the ground again. Charlie started running as soon as his feet touched the earth.

Miasmus must have been watching him because he jumped down off the float as Charlie started to gain on it. Charlie braced himself for a collision with him, but he ran into the crowd lining the route and then emerged again leading a conga line of people. The line grew as it weaved its way across the parade, new people grabbing onto the end and being swept along with the dance.

Charlie came to a halt to avoid colliding with the arm-swinging, leg-kicking barrier of bodies. No matter how he dodged there was no way around them to the float beyond. He watched in horror as the timer on the clock ticked down the final seconds. Three, two, one…

There was a great noise like a firework exploding. Charlie turned and covered his head with his arms. The crowd around him took in a great intake of breath, sucking in all the air. Charlie held his breath, not wanting to take in the terrible stench that must surely be coming.

Then everyone laughed.

Applause and delighted cheers rose from them. Charlie felt something soft land on his cheek and carefully opened his eyes again. Petals rained down from the sky, a shower of them. Charlie, unable to hold his breath any longer, breathed in the smell of pale pink kisses. They danced in his vision like lips meeting and parting.

Miasmus had led the conga line all the way to a stage and stepped up now, a TV camera trained on him and beaming his smiling face onto the giant screen.

“Welcome one and all to the launch of my latest and greatest scent. Please, enjoy a taste of the exquisite aroma that I call Womance.”

The word appeared in four foot high letters on the screen alongside a bottle in the shape of a pair of lips. A ripple of applause started slowly, and spread across the crowd into crescendo of clapping. Cheers rose again as people grabbed at the air for the remaining petals falling down around them, each one doused with a tiny drop of the Womance scent.

Charlie had a void inside him. His heart beat a drumbeat in his chest that echoed in his ears. He was still standing like a statue, frozen in disbelief when Sandy and Woofy ran up to him, closely followed by Staghorn.


I find trying to write an action scene like this more difficult than one involving dialogue. Trying to imagine how the scene is playing out and make sure that it makes sense takes a lot of mental power. I imagine that when I come to revise, I will need to do a lot of work on this scene.

Total words so far 34,254.

Tomorrow I write the scene where Charlie doubts himself.

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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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