How To Write a Novel — Suspicions

Day 50 of writing my novel in public

Photo by Julia Rekamie 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 50 — Suspicions

Yesterday I talked about stakes. Charlie suspects Miasmus is the thief that his dad has been looking for. He also knows that Miasmus has a grudge against his dad.

Today’s scene is where Miasmus suspects they broke into his penthouse. When I originally thought about this scene, Charlie wanted to keep completely quiet about their involvement, but now I think that maybe there is suspicion on both sides, and the scene is more of a dance between Charlie and Miasmus where neither wants to admit to anything but they both know the other is guilty.

The conclusion of the scene is that Miasmus tempts Sandy into moving out to his zoo floor, with a veiled threat from Miasmus that if Charlie doesn’t toe the line, then she will come to harm.

These are the story threads for today.

  • Miasmus suspects one of them of having been in the penthouse. He suggests Sandy and Woofy visit the zoo, so Charlie can concentrate. The tone makes Charlie uneasy.
  • Charlie wants Sandy to stay, but the possibility of seeing the zoo overexcites her.

Against the clock

In order to make the words flow and not take longer than I need to, I’m going to write against the clock. Three fifteen minute bursts should be enough to complete the 750 word goal for today.

After he completed the cupcake quota for the day Charlie planned on exploring. Sandy had more of an idea of the layout of The Smell Tower as she had been playing hide and seek for days now. In fact she was growing restless as she complained that they’d explored all the best hiding places already. But Charlie didn’t really want to involve his sister any further, just in case they were caught and Miasmus turned nasty.

Before he could set off on his discovering, however, Miasmus paid them a visit. Charlie, Sandy and Woofy didn’t always go down to the restaurant at lunchtime, instead ordering something simple and eating it on their floor. Today they sat eating sandwiches and chips in the living area when Miasmus swept in.

“Ah, there you are, my cupcake creator and his inquisitive sister,” he said, “I was hoping to catch you together.”

“Want a sandwich?” said Sandy offering him a peanut butter one.

“I’ve already eaten, but thank you. There has been a security breach.”

Charlie froze, struggled down his mouthful of food, then asked, “What happened?”

“Staghorn informed me that early this morning someone accessed the penthouse. I have that keypad on alert.”

“Is there something secret in there?” said Charlie.

“No, it’s just that my private quarters are strictly that. Private. And I think it is very important that people’s privacy is respected. Wouldn’t you agree?”

Charlie nodded.

“So I wondered if maybe Sandy had seen anything?”

“Why Sandy?” said Charlie.

“I believe that she has been exercising Boo and Kay, along with that dog of yours all over the prime floors. Maybe she saw something suspicious?”

“She didn’t see anything,” said Charlie.

“Maybe she should be allowed to speak for herself,” said Miasmus.

He moved close to Sandy and lowered himself down onto a chair.

“Do you know anything about the break in?” he said.

Sandy smiled. “You have a lovely penthouse,” she said.

Charlie winced. His sister had never been good at lying.

“Are you saying that you are the one who broke in?”

“Yes. Charlie and I came to see if you had a dead body in there.”

Charlie shut his eyes. This couldn’t be happening.

Miasmus laughed. It was a deep belly laugh that rolled out of him. “A dead body?”

“Yes. Because we heard it smelt so bad. And it does stink.”

Miasmus stopped laughing and narrowed his eyes. “I am meticulous in my cleaning routine. The cleaners are there every day.”

“It’s that flower,” said Sandy, “It smells like something rotting.”

“Ah, I see. It is a particular scent, but it is only whilst it blooms. It will be gone in a couple of days.”

“Why do you have it if it smells so bad?” said Charlie.

“In order to appreciate beauty you must also experience ugliness. It reminds me how amazing the Scents of Adventure are. And it is very good for testing the power of my creations. If they can cover that stench, then they can mask anything.

But I digress. It is obvious to me that you Sandy need something to occupy your time. I have been neglectful in making sure you are properly entertained whilst your brother here is working for me. Staghorn tells me that you are interested in all animals?”

“Yes,” said Sandy.

“And that you showed a particular desire to see my zoo.”

“Can I?” Sandy leapt to her feet. ”Please,” she added.

“Of course. In fact I think it would be a good idea if you moved into that part of the tower for the rest of your stay. That way you won’t be a distraction for your brother here.”

Sandy threw her arms around Miasmus and squeezed him, “Thank you.” Then she ran off to her room to pack.

Miasmus turned to Charlie. “I’m sorry you won’t be able to visit the zoo yourself. There are some particularly interesting creatures living there. We are blessed with some of the most deadly creatures to walk the earth. I’m sure Sandy will love spending time with them.”

“Nothing better happen to her,” said Charlie.

“Oh I’m sure that she’ll be perfectly safe. She seems to get on so well with Boo and even Kay hasn’t tried to bite her. But just in case, it is probably a good idea if you focus on finishing those cupcakes as soon as you can, that way you can both leave. And besides, I’m about to make my big announcement tomorrow. I don’t need any trouble. You get me?”

Miasmus’ face was so close to Charlie’s that all Charlie could see was the green coils of Miasmus’ aftershave blurring his vision.


Of course Sandy has to give the game away by telling Miasmus they broke in to the penthouse. I think in revision I might look at splitting this scene into more pieces so that Miasmus talks to Charlie first and then he brings in Sandy and questions her.

Total words so far 22,027.

Tomorrow I write the scene where Miasmus announces his launch.

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