How To Write a Novel — Parade

Day 62 of writing my novel in public

Photo by Thomas Vogel 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 62 — Parade

I allowed myself to take the last two days off. On Saturday I had a busy schedule and allowing myself the freedom to not write that day meant that I could enjoy the things that we did, rather than spending my time worrying about getting the writing done.

Yesterday I had an audition back home. We are house sitting an hour and a half away so it was a long drive, then the adrenaline of a half hour audition, and then the drive back again. Fortunately it was worth it as I got the part.

So today’s writing is from a cold start. I know that some of the momentum has gone and the words are going to be more difficult. I will probably not like the words that come. It is like the brown water that comes out of the tap when it has not been used for a while. But the only way back to the clear waters is to let it run.

These are the story threads for today.

  • Dad and security guard agree there is very little chance there is a bomb. He persuades her to let them in to join the parade.
  • Staghorn has everything under control.
  • Sandy and Charlie agree to split up and look for the bomb.
  • Mention of birds that are circling overhead.
  • Boo and Kay have their own float. The launch time is counting down.
  • Mr Needham’s bakery has sponsored a float.
  • Cheerful crowds of people hamper Charlie and Sandy as they search for the bomb.

Against the clock

Setting a timer for fifteen minutes forces me to get on with it. This is especially important when I need to get over the inertia of not writing for a couple of days. Three fifteen minute timed sessions should give me 750 words.

The launch of the new scent took part at the showgrounds. Sunshine beamed out of the sky and lit them with intense heat as they joined a long line of people queueing to get in. Charlie worried that they didn’t have tickets but Staghorn was there when they reached the barrier.

“Thought you might not be coming,” she said, “Not after Charlie’s little conspiracy theory.”

“I think we can both agree that it is pure fantasy on his part,” said Dad. “Sometimes he gets an idea in his head and just can’t let it go.”

“He’s passionate, that’s all. Without him we wouldn’t have the cupcakes for today.”

“Where are they?” said Sandy.

“Miasmus is saving them for the big launch itself. Don’t worry there’s enough for everyone.”

“Have you noticed anything suspicious?” said Charlie.

“No son, I haven’t. Everything is going perfectly to plan as you can see.” She pointed to a large spreadsheet on knitted tapestry behind her. Every line was colour-coded so that the overall effect was a psychedelic collage.

“You certainly seem to have everything under control,” said Dad.

“Nothing for you to worry about. Just get yourselves in there and enjoy.”

“Do you know where Miasmus is?” said Charlie.

“I think he’s preparing for the launch itself, but I expect he’ll also be part of the parade. I think it’s just about to start.” She ran a finger along one of the rows, and another along one of the columns until they intersected and peered at the square. “Yes, there we go.”

A drum-roll sounded like a distant roll of thunder growing louder until a group of horns joined in with a jaunty tune that Charlie knew he’d be trying to get out of his head for the rest of the day.

“Okay, well maybe we’ll see you later?” said Dad.

“I’ll try and rendezvous with you after the launch if you like. I have a fifteen minute window that I was going to knit in, but you’re welcome to join me in a toasted teacake?”

“I might just do that,” said Dad.

They walked away, through the turnstiles and into the grounds. The sound of laughter floated on the air and children ran ahead of parents to get to the front of a roped off avenue.

Charlie nudged Sandy. “Let’s split up and see if we can find the bomb. If you see anything, send Woofy to get me,” he said.

Sandy nodded and led Woofy away as the first of the floats came into view. Mr Needem rode high on top of a giant baguette, waving at the crowd and throwing pieces of roti bread out to the spectators. A few daring individuals bit into them, but then grabbed for the nearest drink. Charlie guessed Needem had made sure there was plenty of rot in his roti.

Next came a float with Boo and Kay aboard. They lounged on a giant haystack flashing their timer countdowns to the crowd. Another giant countdown formed the number plate on the van that carried them. The time showed that there was only forty-seven minutes left until they reached zero. A nervous twinge gripped Charlie in the gut. He still couldn’t shake the feeling that Miamus had planned this whole thing to bring a huge crowd of people into one place so that he could set off his giant stink bomb. And if that was the case, Charlie had to find it first and stop it.

Unfortunately the huge crowd made his task all the more difficult. People surged along with the general flow of people, heading along the parade route. After Boo and Kay, a troop of acrobats flung one another into the air, twisting and somersaulting before landing in a net of hands or on someone’s shoulders. Two at the back carried a banner with the words Pong Parade spelled out in giant letters.

More floats displaying Miasmus’ key scents came into view. The first had a giant Juzz for Men bottle squirting the scent into a deep red spiky fountain over the onlookers. Charlie dodged away from that so that he wasn’t blinded by the overwhelm of smell and found himself moving against the tide of people. Arms and legs nudged against him as he pushed his way through. He felt the seconds ticking away on the countdown clock. At this rate he’d still be deep in the crowd when the zero hour came. He needed to find somewhere he could get a good overview of the scene.

Looking up he saw a group of black birds circling overhead, waiting for the chance to swoop on any dropped ice creams.

Reflections

Writing is playing so many mental mind games with yourself. I am not happy with what I wrote today, but there are some things in there that I can use, and it can be improved in revision.

Total words so far 32,423.

Tomorrow I write the scene where Charlie’s dad tries to apologise to Miasmus.

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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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