The Ice Cream Truck from Hell ~ Afterword

As the infernal ice cream truck’s taillights vanish into the night, I thought I would answer some of the questions readers might have about the story without even realizing it.

What gave me the idea for the story? Late one afternoon years ago, possibly in September, I heard the unmistakable sound of an ice cream truck’s unmodulated tune close to my house. That was weird, because I’d never heard one around here before — or since, come to that. There is a popular public beach not far from here, and maybe ice cream trucks visit it in summer. Maybe one of them turned on its music en route. But it was the wrong time of day and year — odd enough to make me wonder about it. The phrase “ice cream truck from Hell” popped into my mind uninvited. And I’m pretty sure the tune it was playing was the one known as “Brahms’ Lullaby.” Apparently it is in the repertoire of real ice cream trucks, like this one.

A couple of years later, I started writing the story, but abandoned it after a few pages. It stayed in my mind, though, and when I recently read a couple of serial stories on Beetleypete’s blog, I decided to try writing one myself. I remembered the ice cream truck story and publicly declared I was going to finish it and get it blog-ready by the end of April. And now I’ve done it.

For some reason, I had the devil of a time (ha ha) writing the story. For one thing, it kept trying to be in first person, with Will as the narrator. I didn’t want to do it that way. I’ve written a bunch of novels in first person. I love first person. But I wanted to do this in third person, from Will’s p.o.v. but not narrated by him.

Once I wrestled it into third person, I had to deal with the Graveyard Scene. “What graveyard scene?” readers will ask. The one I deleted. The boys were to hide in a graveyard after running away from the devilish driver of the ice cream truck. I thought this would be a nice little twist, since graveyards are usually considered anything but refuges, especially at night. I even had Doof camping out in a graveyard, behind a mausoleum. But it just didn’t work, geographically or logistically. When I cut the graveyard scene, the whole thing began to come together.

Something I’ve found while editing recently, is the effectiveness of moving paragraphs and sentences around. Not deleting and rewriting, just changing the order. Of course, some deleting and rewriting is needed after doing these shifts, to clean up the seams and edges, but it’s amazing how shuffling blocks of text around can improve the flow of a piece of writing.

Finally, those header images. I put them together on Canva long before I finished writing the story. The time and effort I invested on them was an incentive to get the damned thing (ha ha) finished. One of them is kind of comical, the other creepy. I couldn’t decide which one to use, so I kept both of them, using the comical one for the first three parts and the creepy one for the last four.

Thank you to everyone who read the story and offered encouraging comments. I can feel Will and Doof wanting me to keep writing their story, but so far I’m resisting. (But will Doof ever want to get away from Mr. Phlogisto? How did Blaze, Pyro, and Ember come to work for him? And what about Will? Does he continue to defy his dad’s bullying? Does he ever meet up with Doof again? Hmm.)

Finally, here’s a discussion from 2006 about annoying ice cream trucks. The sixth item, by someone called Olena, sounds eerily familiar!

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30 comments

  1. I think it’s perfect the way it is! I don’t think you should expand it. Sometimes shorter is better – makes people think. (Says the person who never can shorten anything.) I agree about moving sentences and paragraphs around. I would be more likely to do that on one of my later revisions, when I’m trying to cut.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This is a perfect post-script to the Ice Cream Truck series Audrey. Thank you.
    Moving ‘chunks’ of the narrative around can be great fun. There is much delight to be found in relocating even a whole chapter and it’s intriguing how flexible a narrative can be to accommodate that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It really is surprising. You methodically put sentences and paragraphs together, like building a house. But you can shuffle things around and make it better (unlike house building). I’ve done a lot of highlight-CtrlX-CtrlV-delete-add stuff in my recent writing projects.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes, it’s just like Lego. Maybe more fun, though. 😀 CtrlX removes whatever you’ve highlighted, but keeps it in memory so you can paste it somewhere else. CtrlC may be safer, since the text stays in the original place (in case you change your mind about moving it), but you have to remember to go back and delete it. Might be confusing to have the same sentence or whatever in two different places.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. I might give that a try, thank Audrey.
            I’m used to duplicate demons.
            Two weeks ago I was checking Volume 2 and found Chapter 33 was duplicated on Chapter 34…..now I have to get around to re-numbering all of the chapters.
            Pretty sure that was not there when I proof- read and edited in the previous months….demons I tell you.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. An interesting story, because every class of children in schools everywhere will contain a new child, a child that doesn’t fit in and now of course we know that home life might explain a lot about ‘odd’ children. Then there are parents. My younger son used to come out of school and say things such as ‘Can Gavin come round to play, he’s the naughtiest boy in the class!’ Some parents pull up the drawbridge and don’t let anyone in or their child visit anyone else. While most parents welcome little friends, how involved could they get if something seemed wrong? …and then Audrey you have thrown in the supernatural stuff! Children make up fantasies, but this is real. Should you leave it be or must Will rescue Doof from the ice cream van AND from his father?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. And of course there’s the question of how Will deals with his father after these experiences. I can see the elements for making this into a novel, but I’m not sure I want to go there right now. Thanks for reading the story, Janet, and for your comments.

      Liked by 1 person

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