A happening starter will give off a sharp, sort of alcohol note. I think the description I’ve come across which makes the most sense is “sharply acidic”. If there’s a sort of rotting vegetation smell, your starter is still too young, you need to keep feeding it.
Your starter will raise bread if it will raise itself … if you had about an equal amount of flour and some water to your starter it should double in size inside of eight hours or less, depending on the temperature.
Bear in mind that natural levains work more slowly than commercial yeast, and do better with long, slow, cool proofing. Don’t dump it, leave it overnight and see what happens.
My bet though, would be that your starter is a bit young still. Keep feeding it and you’ll see it get more and more active. If you’ve already got activity within seven days, that’s a nice, lively young starter you’ve got, all you need to do is give it a bit more time to establish itself.
I think there’s a lot of mythology around about sourdough starters, in my experience there’s nothing all that complicated about getting a good starter happening: flour, water and a bit of patience are all that’s needed. I have found that a good quality organic flour speeds the process up considerably.