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Chapter 1 - Day Six

by Warner 

Posted: 02 June 2009
Word Count: 2234
Summary: finally, although this is first draft while the rest have been re-written, comments and plot thoughts, do you want to turn the page to chapter 2, did you want anymore from chapter 1??
Related Works: Chapter 1 - Day Five • Chapter 1 - Day Four • Chapter 1 - Day Three • 

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The Final Day

The Final Morning

The Final Splash

I woke up late today, My body had started to form it's comfortable position on this rock they called a bed. I rolled over and grabbed my watch, opened my eyes and saw that it was 9am. I sat up and said "Morning Luc" but there was no mumbled moaning as if to unite our lazy seafareing lives. there was silence.
I stood up and Luc's bed was empty. "huh" i muttered and wobbled over to the basin rubbing my apparently not ready to leave the bed back. I wonder what Luc was upto. while spitting out my toothpaste. I looked at Luc's toothbrush, it had been used, it lay there slightly unwashed. maybe he was in the bathroom upstairs.

Then the steward boy knocked and opened the door slightly.
'Aah' i shrieked and covered my breasts.
'Oh, mrs babin, I have been requested to come and retrieve you, Your husband is upstairs'.
'Ok, please...wait outside'
The boy embarissingly laughed and said 'not a problem madame i was told you would be asleep' and closed the door. I threw my toothbrush in the basin, threw my night gown on the bed and then threw on a blouse and skirt. I was begining to think luc had jumped ship, as i walked up the stairs, I could already hear Luc's raised voice.
'Where is he though uh?? you said 20 minutes it's been 40 now?!'
'What is it my dear? i walked over to Luc, my arm stretched ready to land on his shouler.
'Roger, the uh dodger'
'Roger? who is roger?'
'The man, The....uuh..thief, i've been meeting in the smoking room'
'oh yes'
He stole my car, it must of fallen out of my trousers when i was sat down, i realised when i put my slacks on this morning'.
'oh no?'
'Where is he damn you' Luc shouted at the bearded man behind the Reception desk.
'Mr Babin, Sir, There are a thousand people on this boat and you want us to find a man named Roger' he smirked respectively; his arms spread, palms open, looking at both of us, 'We are doing our best' he said to me.
'Well your best is not good enough!'. Luc snapped.
just as Luc said that, a slightly drunk looking man wrapped in a blanket being pulled along by two stewards blurted out 'Heeey Luc. Bonne Nuit mon frère!. Whats the cuffufle about old chap?, Germans back again?'.
'Your friend Roger i presume?' I joked.
'Yes, that's him' Luc said as the man was dragged before him like Jesus by the Romans.
'Where is it?' Luc said, arm stretched.
'Wheres what?' Roger said while trying to losen the two stewards off him.
'You know damn well, WHAT'
'Oh shit, the car!!' Rogers eyes went from a trying to wake up confused look, to a full blown realisation
'Yes i want it back. I don't abide stealing, you know' said Luc, while re extending his arm.
'Of course you want it back, it's yours!!, it fell out of your pocket, lucky i picked it up you know, most of the cleaners here are too busy to filter through the rubbish and it would be half way down inside the bins downstairs by now. i had a bit of a knees up last night you see, hence my current attire but i'll go and get freshened up and bring it up to you'.
'Thank you, Roger'. Luc said with praying hands.

Luc didn't normally lose things, he was a very stringent man.

Luc turned to the Beard and said 'Sorry about the temper sir, but i uh you know'
'It's important to you sir, i understand fully'
'It should be important to you, it's a delahaye'
'Hmmm nice' a smile peered out of the beard and they had a masculin moment.
'ROGER, I'LL BE IN' Luc raised his heels and voice while pointing to the breakfast hall
'ok old chap' as he walked down the stairs.
'Come on Daveen, let's get some breakfast', We had an English breakfast today, Lucs encounter with Roger had given him an English hunger. We had sausages, eggs, mushrooms and fried bread. A meal that was my fathers favourite. Roger came over to the table dressed in what i thought was suprsingly good clothes compared to how i had seen him earlier, wrapped in a blanket like some boarding school fire drill.
'so sorry old bean but i met some lovely ladies last night you see and was up until the early hours in the bar' as he sat down he acknoledged a waiter lent against the bar who was clearly giggling in reminisance of what Roger had done the night before.
'I planned to give it to you in the smoking room at lunch as we have met there nearly every day now'.
Roger pulled out the shining red beast of a keyring and dropped it into Luc's hand like Moses parting the seas.
'it's ok, it was early, i was worried, it's our last day, and thought i might not see you amongst the chaos at the harbour in New York, as i have to look after my wife, let's go have a cigarette and you can tell me about these lovely ladies shall we?' said Luc while facing me with a jealous smile, followed by 'excuse me darling'.
'Nice to meet you madame' roger said as he tipped his cap. i just smiled and finished my orange juice.

While the boys were off chatting. i used the time to go and see the rest of the ship. i left the dining salon admiring the marble pillars. walking past the tourist office and waving at the beard, i went upstairs to the theatre where a man was loading the projector with the first of the days hollywood pictures. I waved and said 'Bonjour' the man raised his elbow in acknoledgment and peered over his glasses. I pointed at my watch. he lifted one finger up. i thrust a fist and walked out the room. across the hall was the lounge which was full of mostly women; chatting and sewing, and lot's of bookcases, seeing the bookcases reminded me of the librarian and how she would re-organise my book order. Part of me wanted to walk over there and see what they had, The rest of me turned round and walked out.
I then walked across the hall to the childrens playroom, it was a small room with paintings of sinbad the sailor and birds. a red and blue room with a chair in the shape of an elephant and a large blackboard, i stood watching the children whilst stroking my belly. pretending that they were my children, each laugh similar to Luc's, each dance unlike mine. there was a girl playing on her own and a boy prancing around on the elephant chair as if to get the girls attention, The girl was pretty cute i thought and admired her clothes. Then the little boy fell over and was crying 'MOMMY! MOMMY!'. The young female steward rushed to me. 'Excuse me, is this your child?'. 'non, this is mine' as i looked down at my belly. 'oh of course, i know who it is, do you mind looking after the boy?, while i go find his mother' she said quickly.
'uh me?'
'Please madame, it will be fun for you' she said looking at my belly.
'ok, ok' i patted her shoulder as she trotted off.
I walked over to the crying boy singing

"Frère Jacques, frère Jacques,
Dormez-vous? Dormez-vous?
Sonnez les matines! Sonnez les matines!
Ding, dang, dong. Ding, dang, dong"

The boy kept on crying MOMMY MOMMY',
'You must be a member of the fan club upstairs' i said laughing at the boy, i started to bounce him on my knee but he was still crying. he was a chubby boy and it hurt to bounce his weight on my knee. i looked down and saw that the boy had grazed his elbow in his fall.
'Oh you'll be fine that's nothing don't be silly' i said to him holding it and smiling. but the boy wasnt going to stop, 'WAAAA, I WANT MY MOMMY!'.

I put him down and went to see the girl who now looked shocked, 'bonjour' i said, he...hewo, what happen to boy she said. I scratched my arm to display what the boy had done, her eyes grew bigger. then she turned right.
'it's ok, it's ok now, mommy is here thanks for looking after him' the steward had returned with the boys mum, it was the american woman from the promenade chairs, she just stared at me and fell to her crying boys requests. The silly boy then stopped crying and i was relieved of my duty. and stormed out of the room. i didn't know where i was in this floating maze.
I paced down the corridors constantly peering my head in doors saying 'Bonjour'. some were officers rooms. some were cabins. one was a gym with a guy on a punch ball and a fellow doing press ups, a steward walked upto me and said 'i'm sorry madame this is 1st class. you shouldnt be here'. All the men stopped what they were doing, I smiled and tried to keep walking, but the steward did not let me past, so i turned round in a sulk and walked back the way i had come.
I went up stairs, and stomped each step, i had, had enough of these stairs, again walking down corridors I heard cutting in one room, poked my head in the doorway, and there was a man beating his swivel chair with a cloth who stopped and said 'Yes Madame?, would you like a cut?' I looking at his partner, who was quickly nipping away at a man's grey head 'i laughed and carried on walking another steward speeded towards me, 'excuse me sir? where is the smoking room?' he laughed and said 'it's there' he pointed to my right and carried on quickly down the hallway.

I turned round and sure enough, there was Roger and Luc sat down at a table smoking, Luc acknowledged me with an inviting wave. i stomped into the room and sat down
'We saw you walk past twice daveen, where were you going?'
'I was trying to find you'
'You did look lost' smirked roger
'She always does' laughed luc
'Ahhh, what a day' i said wiping the sweat from my forehead and stroking my hair.
'Would you like a drink daveen?'
'Orange juice, please Roger'
'So uh what have you been doing my sweet'
'I thought i would use the time to see the boat'
'Yes uh good idea, you want to go now?'
'No no no no, i'm spent'
'What happened?'
'A baby boy happened'
'What!, what boy?'
'I was watching the children and thinking of our baby'
'What children daveen?'
'Thank you Roger' Roger sat down and leant forward.
I took a sip and said
'The children downstairs'
'oh yes, there is a playroom for children, while the mothers, you know, sit in the lounge or outside and discuss dresses' roger said to Luc.
'Yes, so i was watching these uh children there was one tubby american boy and one cute oriental looking girl and i was trying to decide which i wanted our child to be, and then as i was deciding one of them falls'
'oh no' they said
and the steward asked me 'if i was his mother' i said 'no' so she said 'could i look after him'
'no idea, i mean really what cheek' so anwyay, i was lumbered with looking after someone else's crying baby.
'everything i did didn't stop his silly crying, he had only grazed his arm'
'you should of kissed it better'
'his arm'

'OH......OH..........LUC' i held my belly.
'the baby ....it just kicked'
'what, let me feel' Luc jumped out of his chair and placed his hand on my belly.
'nothing?' he said
'I felt it Luc' i said joyously
'awww' said Roger
'that's 3 times now' Luc frowned and sat back down.
'poor boy, he was probably in pain' Roger said
'poor boy? poor me!' i said rubbing my belly
'i hope we have a girl Luc'
'there you go Luc old chap, your son is now a girl because of some tubby american boy' Roger laughed
'that'll be the day' Luc smirked

we laughed and chatted for a bit more about our mutual excitement for new york.

Luc seemed sad it was our last day on the ship, he demanded we go upto the sun deck to watch the sunset. i said yes but my legs were shouting no. We hadn't been up deck this late as we normally went to our cabin after dinner. Luc insisted we had to watch the sunset because he knew next time we saw it we wouldn't be in the middle of the ocean.
We stood there staring at the sunset arms round each other. i was stroking my baby, Luc looked down, smiled at me, kissed me and we carried on staring until we had no more shadows. we came down to our cabin, packed our bags, said 'this is it, America, Tomorrow'. and tried to sleep

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Comments by other Members

nezelette at 21:41 on 04 June 2009  Report this post
Hi there

I thought that was fine, plot-wise. It is cohesive and consistent. I thought you did well with the pregnant female POV! I didn't realise she was pregnant too! You really have found a tough POV character (Female AND from the 1940s AND French AND pregnant!!

) But the wobbling and so on were convincing, as well as the complaining about back ache and legs, very real! The only thing is, is she's big enough to wobble and be quite uncomfortable, her baby should have been kicking for quite a while, but I guess that's only detail...

I threw my toothbrush in the basin, threw my night gown on the bed and then threw on a blouse and skirt.

I thought there were too many 'threw' there.

'Hmmm nice' a smile peered out of the beard and they had a masculin moment.

That was sweet and, again, quite realistic. I could picture it well!


NMott at 23:09 on 04 June 2009  Report this post
With regard to the section of dialogue towards the end, with Daveen, Luc and Roger, you might try imagining this as a film or even acting it out so as to split it up with a bit of movement, expressions, small actions by the characters, other people 'in the shot', etc. In sections which are mostly dialogue, you run the risk of them turning into a set of 'talking heads', where it's impossible for the reader to imagine what they are doing below neck-level, what their mood is, etc.

Just to take an example, in the part:

'What children daveen?'
'Thank you Roger' Roger sat down and leant forward.
I took a sip and said
'The children downstairs'

You've neglected to mention that Roger has handed Daveen the drink, before she thanks him and takes a sip. And why is Roger leaning forward? A little explanation on that score would help to split up the dialogue.

As for plot, it's important to clue the reader in in the opening pages as to what sort of book this is - whether it's crime, thriller, romance, etc. At the moment you have two main characters on a ship, sailing to America to make a fresh start after surviving the horrors of the war, so in my mind it's historical romantic fiction. If there is more to the main plot than this, then you must introduce it earlier.
To take an analogy where the plot is a party, If you delay the start of the plot to concentrate on introducing the characters, then it's like keeping the guests of honor waiting on the doorstep. At some point you need to give them a shove between the shoulderblades to move them inside and get the festivities started.
There has to be a reason for Daveen and Luc to be on the boat other than to get them from A to B and introduce them to the reader, and I'm guessing it is so they can meet this thief, Roger. If not, then you might as well start the story on the docks when they arrive in the US.

- NaomiM

Warner at 23:45 on 04 June 2009  Report this post

Where to begin


Pregnant: did you not know she was pregnant because you hadnt read day four when she goes to see the doctor?
wobbled: - pregnant on a boat, easy to picture - maybe i'll say swayed??
kicks: well in doing research most kicks start in the 4th month and luc says dammit thats 3 times now he's missed them
threw: hmm i liked the threw thing only because i pictured the speed of it happening threw da da threw da da e.t.c
my POV: is a little ambitious but only for the readers benefit - if this was an english couple moving it would feel differant sooo

thanks for the compliments too

points taken on board your right to point that almost script part it was largely cos i was dieing to finish the chapter that had taken so long to write, and wasnt sure how much info readers need but if you insist i will, im scared of being too obvious and insulting the readers iq and felt the roger scene obvious he leant forward to join in the conversation hed obviously missed out on while buying the drink , but if you insist i'll put a few more descriptions in

hmmm this plot question scares me and am glad it has come now that i have finished chapter one and not during it

the purpose of the chapter is to A: start the story showing when it is and what there doing B: introduce the 2 main charachters and a bit of there history

until i invented roger i had no intention of bringing him back in, but i may bring him back randomely we shall see

i genuinely believe (it least from a movie point of view as i dont read books) that starting on the boat journey (could of started in paris 2 days prior) is better than starting at the dock in new york, scenary adventure wise, rather than to go; plonk i was finally here in new york after 6 days of travelling blah blah blah

Mystery is more powerfull than knowledge in answer to your tell people what the book is about, although i like to think that chapter one points out its clearly a 1950's romantic drama - but of course it has twists and turns thus being the reason it stands out from any other book.

and for those that have said i have nice imagery you will be in for a field day when i get cooking with this novel

keep ya comments coming people they really motivate me

now i feel like actually writing chapter 2

where the past few days i've just been doing research for it e.t.c

NMott at 00:12 on 05 June 2009  Report this post
A lot of manuscripts start by introducing the main characters, and setting the scene, which is ok, but it is also indulgent because the writer is using it to discover the characters for themselves. To keep the reader's attention and make it a page turner you also need to introduce the plot as early as possible - first line or first paragraph is the best point to do this, which is why, eg, in crime novels, the opening chapter or prologue has a murder/corpse.
Once you know where your novel is going, it is best to return to the opening chapters and seed it with the plot.
If your main plot starts earlier or later, eg, in Paris, or on the quayside, or half way to California, then make that the opening chapter. Wherever you decide to start a novel, there is a whole book ahead of you in which to introduce the main characters and the setting will be constantly changing, so you don't need to devote whole chapters soley to that end.


I'm only emphasising this point because the vast majority of manuscripts in agents slush piles fail because the writers have delayed the start of the plot.

freynolds at 08:17 on 05 June 2009  Report this post
Hi Ed,

There are some lovely images in here and I can see that you've spent time on the use of specific words, which is great. The MC is believable as a pregnant female but boy, that's an ambitious character you've taken on board (French pregnant 1950's) as Nancy pointed out, but I guess you wanted to have characters that would in a way challenge you to bring them to life and you are enjoying the trip, so to speak. It is great that you are researching facts as well, I would have no idea at what stage a baby in the womb starts to kick.

The incident with the car threw me off a little and as a reader I would have liked a little guidance here. Is it a model car? Sometimes when we write we tend to forget that our readers may not have the same knowledge/understanding and I am only pointing this out so that you consider wether it would be beneficial to be a little more specific.

I am going back to the sentence:
I threw my toothbrush in the basin, threw my night gown on the bed and then threw on a blouse and skirt.

I hear what you are saying, loud and clear and it is good thinking and indeed the idea of the action is good. I would personally consider altering slightly to something like;
I threw my toothbrush in the basin, my night gown on the bed and hurriedly slung on a blouse and skirt.
But that's just my own personal taste, so feel free to ignore if you disagree.

With regards to the plot question, I recall one rule on writing that I came across many years ago. I am not saying it is universal truth (writing is very individual) but it got me thinking and I abide by it now; 'If you describe a gun in a chapter, then you have to use it at some stage in the story.'

Sorry it has taken a few days for commenting but there is a lot of new work and I am slowly catching up.

I hope you find my comments helpful. Being French, I love debates and bouncing ideas for discussion, I find it very inspirational.


Warner at 09:30 on 05 June 2009  Report this post
daveen is only the main charachter for a few more chapters ;

the car is a keyring.

that will get explained soon, but im glad ya felt a bit lost on that as that means ive succesfully made you into unaware daveen ; (aka the POV im worried about, making the reader daveen without losing there attention)

so there is no point mentioning something if you dont bring it back??? surely they are allowed a single serving friend on a boat journey?

the book is about daveens child, i've introduced that in the 1st chapter

StephB at 09:31 on 05 June 2009  Report this post

I don't have much to add to everyone else's comments, again, lots of nice imagery.

Just a couple of things; first a question, you use 'uh' a lot and it may be just me, but I don't know what sound that is meant to be?

I didn't fully understand the car stealing scene either - is it the car keys that he thought had been stolen?

Also, you describe Roger as "Roger the Dodger" - this seems a very modern, English phrase - would a French man in the 50's have said that? It comes back to the question of is the voice appropriate to the time?

Lastly, I notice that you've said that you tend to rush through your writing just to get it all down, and if I'm honest, it reads like its been rushed in some instances. This then makes me read it in a rushed way and it can be slightly exhausting to read ! It could be worth you going back through it once you've written it all down to try and slow it down a little - I think Naomi mentioned about the dialogue at the end and I totally agree that the reader could do with more than just the dialogue.

Hope this helps.


nezelette at 10:06 on 05 June 2009  Report this post

Pregnant: did you not know she was pregnant because you hadnt read day four when she goes to see the doctor?
wobbled: - pregnant on a boat, easy to picture - maybe i'll say swayed??
kicks: well in doing research most kicks start in the 4th month and luc says dammit thats 3 times now he's missed them

I said the wobbling WAS convincing, so you don't need to change it! The only thing is, a 4 months pregnant women does not wobble yet. She plays tennis and goes for a run and lives normally. That's all I meant. Either she's 4 months pregnant, and she won't wobble, or she's 6 months pregnant and she will wobble but then will also have felt her baby kick many times by then.
I appreciate you've done your research but I've had two kids not long ago and I was very, very big, but still did not wobble when 4 months pregnant, that's all!
Finally, although the lady would feel the baby kick from around 16 weeks, the man would have to wait much longer (kicks are felt from the inside first, then from the outside two a good couple of months later), so there's no way he would have felt anything for another couple of months (so he didn't really 'miss it', if you know what I mean).
As I said, it's just details, so feel free to ignore me completely!
But I suppose details are also what make books credible...


Warner at 14:21 on 05 June 2009  Report this post
the websites said nothing about inside and outside kicks dag nammit

ok all points taken on board i will rewrite soon

thanks ladies

*technically luc wouldnt be saying of this as they are french so its english translation* haha

NMott at 14:46 on 05 June 2009  Report this post
the book is about daveens child

In that case, I'm wondering why you've decided to start the novel when Daveen is only 4 months pregnant? Are you planning to have the baby kidnapped at some point, and its parents killed? Or are you going to have a gap between the birth and the point where it's grown up? You might consider having Daveen 8 months pregnant, then if for any reason the baby is born early, it can survive without medical attention.

Warner at 22:47 on 05 June 2009  Report this post
not sure where the number 4 came from???

she is 5 months pregnant *doctor asks luc on day four* i can change the number though if need be

im glad your curious though naomi,

hope others are

p.s i am now wondering if people who read books care about the buildup of the story or if they like to know what there reading before they read it so they can see how nice and well it is written? i guess in movie terms this would be like james bond vs sixth sence

i bet your answer is both haha

NMott at 14:30 on 06 June 2009  Report this post
p.s i am now wondering if people who read books care about the buildup of the story or if they like to know what there reading before they read it so they can see how nice and well it is written? i guess in movie terms this would be like james bond vs sixth sence

Do you mean, would we like to know the plot now or later? You asked for "comments and plot thoughts" on this extract and that was the only reason why I was asking about the plot.
I don't have time to read all of it and plot is something that can usually be summed up in a few lines at the end of an extract, so if you'd like help with it, just sumarise it at the end of the chapter and I'll take a look.
On a general note, it's useful to keep plot summaries as one writes as it'll help when you come to write the synopsis.

- NaomiM


Sorry about this turning into a discourse on plot, but I can't help mulling it over: Plot is what turns a story into a page turner. It's the un-answered questions that keep a reader interested. If those questions are too easily answered in a reader's mind then they will give up on it, so, eg, we already know Luc and the pregnant Daveen are on the boat because they are emigrating to America, and there is nothing, so far, to suggest they won't have a happy and succesful life over there.
If this was a character-led plot then the interest would come from a developing, dysfunctional and fraught relationship. However, Luc and Deveen seem happy so it doesn't seem to be that sort of plot.
The plot interest, so far, is provided by the enigmatic Roger, so it is worth reading on to find out what his story is - maybe he's a con-artist who will fleece the unsuspecting couple and kidnap the baby, in which case, your plot starts at the point where the couple meet Roger. If Roger is only a minor character, then the plot has not started yet.

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