How To Write a Novel — Aftermath

Day 68 of writing my novel in public

Photo by No Revisions 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 68 — Aftermath

Resistance is greatest just before the finish line.

— Steven Pressfield

Yesterday I struggled to write. I wanted to but I let the fear that I didn’t know what to write, and that I wouldn’t be able to do it well, stop me from producing words.

This morning my mentor, who is helping me set up my book coaching business, reminded of the quote above. I didn’t understand about resistance until I tried to write. It is a peculiar thing that I want desperately to do something, but I resist doing it. Why would I be my own worst enemy?

I recommend you read The War of Art by Steven Pressfield to understand why this might be. Maybe you won’t experience resistance. I sincerely hope so as it is a terrible feeling to want to do something but struggle against yourself to do it. It is like being at war.

When you are close to the goal, in my case finishing the first draft of the book, you would think that it might get a little easier. The end is in sight and I only have to cross that finish line.

But in every story, there is a last-minute rally by the enemy. Just as they are about to be defeated, they find the strength for a final counterattack, and it is more powerful and destructive than anything that has come before.

So yesterday I didn’t write, but today I made sure that I did all the right things to get words on the page:

  • I woke up and got straight out of bed when the alarm went off.
  • I turned the shower to cold for the last minute before I got out to wake myself up.
  • I did my meditation.
  • I didn’t allow myself to be distracted by watching the news.
  • I listened to the computer read the last scene I wrote.
  • I sat down, started the timer, and began writing.

These are the threads for today’s scene.

  • Staghorn takes Miasmus to the police.
  • Boo and Kay want to be adopted and have told Sandy.
  • Sandy explains to Dad how she made the birds come down.
  • Dad says he is proud of Charlie and Sandy, and they should never hide who they are.

Against the clock

In order to make sure I write the words, I’m using a fifteen-minute timer. After three bursts of fifteen minutes, I hope to complete 750 words.

The next day Charlie, Sandy, Woofy and March sat at home enjoying a round of toast for breakfast. In the background the television news had the big story.

“Yesterday, at the launch event for his latest scent, the sultan of smell himself, Miasmus, became a human stink bomb. He had employed a young man, Charlie Quick, to bake ten thousand cupcakes for the event, and planned on them being eaten by the crowd, but in a last minute turnaround, they were snatched from the waiting crowds hands by a flock of hungry birds.

Not to be completely squashed, Miasmus had one single cupcake left which he ate himself. No one is exactly sure what happened but it appears as though the cupcakes had become contaminated with a foreign substance that made them highly reactive in the human digestive system. Within moments of ingesting the cursed cake, Miasmus was overcome with a bout of wind. Sorry, more like a tornado. The resulting stink has so far left close to a hundred people in hospital where they are being treated for burns to the nose and throat, though we have word that they are recovering well and there will be no permanent damage.

When questioned later about the incident, Miasmus denied knowing anything about the toxic mixture that had made up the cupcake and tried to pin the blame on the young man Charlie Quick. He said that Charlie was part of an ongoing conspiracy that was started way back in the school playground by his father March Quick to bring down Miasmus and his perfume empire.

After questioning March Quick, however, the police were directed by March, who works as a private detective, to a series of previously unexplained thefts of smelly things from around the city. He presented them with evidence he had documented about the crimes and links with Miasmus in all cases.

In an early morning raid of The Smell Tower, the police recovered all of the smelly items from a secret stink lab and are currently rehoming a number of animals that had been kept there illegally.

Penelope Staghorn, the former head of security for Miasmus, helped the police to understand that Miasmus had been behind a plot to create a Weapon of Mass Olfaction, and that only through the brave work of the young Charlie Quick, and his sister Sandy had the plot to smother ten thousand people in the stinkiest smell been uncovered.”

Dad shut the television off and wiped crumbs off his jacket, then turned to Charlie and Sandy.

“There was something that Miasmus said yesterday that was right,” he said. “I should be very proud of you both. Somehow I missed the fact that Miasmus was not just an old friend from school but actually intended to get his revenge. But you two both saw through that.”

He pulled them both into a hug.

“I’m sorry that I doubted you. And I’m glad that you are both the special people that you are. I understand now Charlie why you are such a great baker, and I’m sorry that I tried to stop you from pursuing it. With your mum gone away, I let my own problems get in the way of seeing what you were both becoming. Each of you are so precious to me. I wish Charlie you had told me about how you can see smells. But I know why you didn’t.

“And Sandy, I always knew you had a connection to animals, but I didn’t listen closely enough to what you were saying. You called the birds down to take the cakes didn’t you?”

“I just asked them to help. I told them about the zoo that Miasmus had set up and they didn’t like it,” said Sandy.

Dad smiled and kissed her on the forehead. He looked as though he was going to say more, but there was a knock on the door.

Charlie opened it and found Staghorn on the doorstep along with Boo and Kay.

“Any chance of that toasted teacake?” she said.

“Come in Penelope,” said Dad, “I’ll pop some in now.”

Boo and Kay trotted in with her, and Charlie snatched his last piece of toast up before Kay could grab it.

“Are you looking after these two now?” he said.

“Just dropping them off,” said Staghorn.


“Sandy told me that you’d agreed to look after them.”

Sandy said, “Boo and Kay want us to adopt them. I told them there’d be plenty of toast. We can, can’t we dad? Please?”

Dad said, “Where are we going to put them?”

“I’ve got a plan for that,” said Charlie.


I’m not totally sure that using the television as a summary of what happened is the best device, but that’s how it is at the moment. I also need to work on how March talks to his children here, but I think that will come with looking at the bigger journey when I revise.

Total words so far, 37,957.

Tomorrow I will write the scene where Charlie goes back to Mr Needem’s bakery.

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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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