Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Behind the Scenes: Saying Yes To The Millionaire - Chp 5

Now I've sent the current book in (again!), I'll get get back to the buisness of locations and inspirations for Saying Yes To The Millionaire. Here's a quick re-cap of the locations with a little bit about what I was trying to do with the story at the same time:

Chapters 1 & 2 found Fern and Josh on the banks of the Thames - either high on a crane about to bungee jump, or walking along the Thames Embankment.

Chapter 3 was where the race started in Trafalgar Square.

At this point I wanted Fern to be terrified out of her wits. She doesn't like spur of the moment, high adrenaline things, so she's struggling, and happy to follow Josh around and do what he says.

Her lesson for the first day of the race (Thursday) was to be open to the world of glorious possibilities. Even though she might not enjoy all her experiences during this day of the race, at least she is experiencing something! I wanted her to see that even having a negative reaction to something was better than no reaction at all - it let her know she was alive rather than just hibernating!

Chapter 4 took them to Berwick Street Market, Speakers' Corner and the National Gallery.

In the market, Fern totally relies on Josh, even when he doesn't have the best ideas. But at Speakers' Corner she has to think for herself and finds that she can do something she's really scared of. By the time they get to the gallery clues, she's starting to feel more comfortable, starting to find her feet. She's actually starting to enjoy herself. By the time they head off into chapter 5 she's feeling pretty confident. Maybe over-confident? Time will tell.

The first part of this chapter covers the finding of the painting clue that has all the other teams flumoxed (see chapter 4 post).

Fern and Josh travel to Chislehurst Caves in South East London. Under a leafy, affluent suburb lies a network of caves that stretches for 22 miles. They are not actually caves, but mines. Although some people theorised they were made in the time of the druids (and there are plenty of spooky stories the tour guides tell) historical records first date mining for flint, chalk and lime in the 1200s.

This place used to seriously freak me out as a child. It was cold and damp and local legend mentioned a ghost of a woman who haunted a pool in the middle of the caves, and of people who had tried to stay the night there alone, but had died trying to find their way out of the maze of tunnels, screaming in fear after seeing the ghost.

Actually, getting lost in there would not be fun, as the tunnels all look the same and it's very difficult to work out where you are sometimes. However, this didn't stop the place being used as an air raid shelter during the Second World War, where it became like an underground city with 15000 inhabitants. In fact, the caves' history attracted artists like Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix, who all performed down there in the 1960s.

Fern, at this point, has become too comfortable. She's dug herself another little rut and she's going to stick in it, no matter what. And Fern's refusal to follow her instincts causes her team to miss and opportunity to maintain their lead. Her first lesson of this day of the race is to grab chances as they happen.

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