How To Write a Novel — Goodbye

Day 39 of writing my novel in public

Photo by Sincerely Media 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 39 — Goodbye

Yesterday my husband and I swapped our rooms around. The larger room that used to be our bedroom has now become my office, and the smaller room that I was writing in is now our bedroom. I believe in the advice that you need to learn to write anywhere, but it helps to have beautiful surroundings. I am now looking out at the liquid amber trees in our front garden.

I am also at a transition in the story. Charlie is going inside The Smell Tower with Sandy and Woofy. Dad is having second thoughts and Miasmus’ not being there makes him more nervous. Sandy is feeling very vulnerable, which she expresses through worry about Woofy. Charlie feels the responsibility of looking after his younger sister.

Here are the story threads I need to include in this scene.

  • Dad escorts the three of them to The Smell Tower and reluctantly hands them over to Staghorn.
  • Miasmus is not there to greet them. He is working on a top secret project.
  • Dad says he is working on a very important case and time alone will help.
  • Sandy is worried there won’t be any animals inside. Staghorn tells her she’ll have Woofy, Boo and Kay, and Miasmus owns a zoo.
  • Dad tells Charlie to look after his sister.
  • Staghorn will look after them. She designed the security for the building.
  • Arriving at the Tower, there are different lifts for different floors based on mathematical sequences.

Against the clock

The method of writing against the clock has served me well so far, so I will continue that way. I’m setting a timer for fifteen minutes and then writing until it goes off. Three bursts of fifteen minutes should be enough to write the 750 words I am aiming for.

Charlie was sure that Dad would change his mind once he had time to reflect on it, but the opposite happened. His dad seemed to think it was a much better idea, and even that he had come up with it himself.

“You’ll all enjoy a change of scenery,” he said, “I don’t have time to spend with you, not with this case taking up all my time, and it sounds like you’ll be kept out of trouble.”

He drove them into the city. Standing at 101 floors, The Smell Tower could be seen from anywhere.

“It’s like a giant swirl of ice cream,” said Sandy, pressing her nose to the window to try and see the top.

Charlie thought it looked more like the poo emoji, but he kept that to himself.

They took the turning off for the car park and entered the vast lobby from the basement. On giant pedestals around the room stood larger than life bottles of the Scents of Adventure products. Charlie noticed the familiar shape of Juzz for Men as they passed it. A hiss startled him as the curved bottle of Chic to Chic squirted a dose of amber twists into the air.

Staghorn met them at reception.

“Come on then, you lot. I’ll take you up,” she said.

“Where’s Miasmus?” asked Dad.

“He’s involved in a top secret project at the moment, so you’ll have to make do with me. The lifts are this way.”

“I’ll say goodbye here,” said Dad.

Sandy looked round at the oversize bottles and stark lobby. “I don’t think Woofy will like it,” she said. Woofy nuzzled her hand.

Dad knelt down so he was at Sandy’s height. “You’ll be fine. It isn’t for long. I just need some time to work on this case, and then I’ll come get you.”

“But he’ll be sad on his own, without any other animals to play with.”

Staghorn reached a bank of six lifts, chose the second from the left and pressed a button, then turned to Sandy. “Boo and Kay are here. And I probably shouldn’t tell you this, as it isn’t widely known, but Miamus has one floor entirely devoted to his zoo.”

“He has a zoo?” Sandy’s eyes widened.

Staghorn put a finger to her lips. “It’s a secret,” she whispered.

Sandy put her arms around Dad’s neck and squeezed him then ran over to the lifts. “Come on Woofy.”

“Look after your sister,” said Dad, putting a hand on Charlie’s shoulder.

“I’ll be busy baking,” said Charlie.

“And don’t get too used to that,” said Dad, “This is a one off.”

“The lift’s here,” said Staghorn, “And it’s the prime sequence, there won’t be another one for a while. Come on.” She stepped inside, with Sandy and Woofy.

“Make sure you eat properly,” said Charlie as his Dad stepped away. “Put something on your toast.”

Charlie entered the lift and the doors swooshed to.

The inside of the lift had seats like a rollercoaster that faced a window looking out over the city.

“Sit, then strap in,” said Staghorn.

Charlie and Sandy sat in the front row of three with Woofy between them. Charlie helped Sandy and Woofy pull down the restraints that came down over their heads, then did his own so that it clicked and pushed against his chest. Staghorn tested they were secure then sat behind and pulled hers down.

On the wall next to Charlie, the control panel had buttons with labels that started 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13… and ending with 101. Staghorn reached over and pressed 97. A computerised voice said, “Prepare for ascent, three, two, one, take off.”

Charlie’s stomach obviously didn’t get the message as it stayed behind on the ground as the lift shot into the air like a rocket. Sandy screamed and Woofy let off a dark brown mushroom cloud parple that made Charlie’s eyes water.

The view out the window streaked past until a moment later the lift stopped dead, crushing them against the restraints.

“Did you like that?” said Staghorn with a glint in her eye as the bars lifted. “Fastest lift in the world. I designed it myself.”

Charlie’s legs wobbled like jelly as he climbed out of his seat. “How do you get to the other floors?” he said, pointing to the control panel.

“You don’t,” said Staghorn, “Not without security clearance. At the moment you have guest level which means you can access only prime numbered floors.”


An unexpected element there was the rollercoaster, fastest lift in the world which popped up as I was writing it, but seems like fun. This scene feels a little like filler at the moment, and I think it will require some work in the next draft, but it does establish a sense of responsiblity for Charlie. He must make sure his sister is safe, and she in turn will look after Woofy.

Total words so far 12,078.

Tomorrow I’ll write the scene where Miasmus welcomes them.

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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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