How To Write a Novel — Proposal

Day 38 of writing my novel in public

Photo by Luis Villasmil 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 38 — Proposal

Today is a milestone in the writing of my book. This scene, number thirteen as I had slightly more than the twelve I intended, is the last one in the first act out of four. Simply writing Day 38 is motivating because it means I have been working on this book for thirty-eight days straight. At the start this thing didn’t exist in the world, now I have the first quarter of the first draft written.

Today is the scene where Miasmus persuades Charlie’s dad to let Charlie work at The Smell Tower. Charlie’s dad is not keen at first but Miasmus convinces him by agreeing to take both Sandy and Woofy as well.

These are the story threads I need to weave into this scene.

  • Staghorn comes round to check the house is safe before Miasmus arrives.
  • Whenever Sandy is stuck with her homework, she goes to feed the birds in their garden. She comes back and can finish the work.
  • Miasmus visits Charlie and offers him a job in The Smell Tower. The money and flattery persuade Charlie.
  • Miasmus will pay Charlie to make his cupcakes on a grand scale.
  • Dad is cautious about the proposal, but Miasmus wins him over.
  • Miasmus persuades Charlie’s dad to let him take Charlie, Sandy and Woofy to work in The Smell Tower.

Against the clock

In order to make sure the words get written, I am writing against the clock. Today I’m looking for about 750 words which I’ll write in three fifteen minute bursts.

A few days later a surprise visitor turned up on the Quick’s doorstep. Charlie answered the door to find Staghorn stood there.

“Just a quick check,” she said, walking past Charlie and into the house.

“Check for what?” said Charlie following her inside.

Woofy was in the living room, stretched out on the floor. His eyes swivelled up to look at Staghorn but he didn’t move and she had to step over him.

Staghorn checked in the cupboard under the stairs, and behind the sofa.

“Are you looking for something in particular?” asked Charlie.

“Is there anybody else here?” she said.

“Dad’s upstairs and Sandy is outside feeding the birds.”

Sandy often went outside to feed the birds when she was stuck on her homework. By the time she came back inside she usually had the answers and finished it quickly.

“Anyone unusual come into the property recently?”

“Just you,” said Charlie.

She gave him a stare, then sent a message on her phone.

A few moments later Miasmus stepped through the door. He walked up to Charlie and shook his hand warmly.

“Charlie, mate, how are you? Ready to get serious about your baking?”

Before Charlie could say anything his dad came down the stairs. His hair stuck up in all directions and his eyes were red. The smelly thefts had been getting to him, stopping him sleeping.

Miasmus smiled. “March, is that you? I haven’t seen you since school, you crazy cat. And you are looking fantastic. It is absolutely amazing to see you again. We’ve so much to catch up on.”

He pulled Dad into a big hug that he wasn’t quite ready for, and that looked a little too tight for comfort.

“I hope you don’t mind me just dropping in on you like this. Only I didn’t want to cause any kind of fuss. You look a little shocked. Would you like to sit down?”

Dad sat on the sofa.

“Staghorn, I think he could do with some tea. Would you make us some, please?”

Staghorn grunted something that children shouldn’t hear, but she shuffled off into the kitchen none-the-less.

“I expect Charlie told you about his fantastic triumph at the little competition I organised?”

“He mentioned something,” said Dad.

“Such a fabulous baker. You must be so proud of him? But then you always took the limelight at school didn’t you? No wonder your progeny should be a prodigy. Anyway, I could spend all day reminiscing with you March, but I must admit I didn’t come here entirely for social reasons. I have a proposal to put to you.”

Dad frowned.

“This boy of yours is so talented and I’m looking for someone to cater a very special event I have coming up in the next few weeks. When I tasted Charie’s cupcakes, I knew that they are exactly what I need. I begged him to give me the recipe but I understand that he doesn’t work from one.

That had me a little stumped at first, but then I had an idea. If I can’t make the boys’ cupcakes myself, then he must make them for me. So, what would you say to Charlie coming and staying with me for the holidays? I have quite the place in the city — The Smell Tower. You must know it? There are 101 floors, if you can believe it? I hardly can, and I own them all. But then my little business has done alright, if I say so myself.”

“Hang on, hang on,” said Dad, looking like a tornado had picked him up and dumped him down again. “You want Charlie to come and bake for you?”

“Yes, exactly. That’s it precisely. You always had a knack of getting to the nub of it.”

“I don’t think so,” said Dad, “You may remember me but I’m sorry, I’m not sure I remember you. Certainly not enough to let you take my boy away.”

“I know I’ve changed a little since my schooldays. And changed my name of course. My name was Eric Kerr. I changed it to Miasmus when my perfume business started to take off.”

Miasmus was staring at Dad intently. Staghorn came in with a tray of tea and poured some for everyone.

“I’d pay for Charlie’s services of course,” Miasmus continued, “Handsomely. And when my event is over, there will still be time for you all to go away on holiday. Wouldn’t that be grand?”

Charlie’s eyes strayed to the latest postcard from mum which he’d left on the sideboard.

Dad’s eyes lit up when Miasmus mentioned money, but then he shook his head. “I’m on a very important case at the moment, and I need Charlie around to look after his sister Sandy.”

“Of course, of course. Bringing two children up is so admirable. But of course the answer is simple. Sandy must come too. Then you’ll have peace and quiet to work.”

Now Dad seemed to be seriously considering it. Woofy gave a growl.

“And then there’s Woofy, our dog. Sandy looks after him, so….”

Miasmus blinked a couple of times. “Naturally the dog is invited too, we couldn’t have the young girl without her companion could we? I dropped Boo and Kay, my darlings, in for a quick groom and pamper on the way over here. So what do you say? Bring them along tomorrow bright and early to The Smell Tower and we’ll get them all settled in. I’m so glad that we can help each other out.”

With that, Miasmus gave Dad a quick handshake and ushered Staghorn out the door.


Charlie is on his way to The Smell Tower and the next part of the story. I feel a sense of accomplishment today. There is still a long journey ahead, but the progress so far is good, and the momentum has built.

Total words so far 11,329.

Tomorrow I will write the scene where they arrive at The Smell Tower.

Please subscribe to get the full series as I write it.

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.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *