Friday, November 30, 2007

NaNo 07: the aftermath

Final NaNoWriMo word count: 51,713
Current word count for book: 100,753

So, I achieved my objective of writing 50k words in November, and my other objective of getting my WIP past the 100k mark. And now I can sit back and ponder on whether the sweat was worth it.

And on the whole, I don't think I've done too badly - I'm quite proud of how my characters have grown their own independent lives, and some (much) of the writing should glint nicely once it's had a good polish.

However, one massive problem has emerged as I bring this behemoth of a first draft of a first novel to a close: I don't actually have much of a plot. I've been concentrating so hard on getting my characters to do things in various places, and I've unleashed such terrible grief on them, that all they seem interested in doing is surviving - which is a bit of a bugger because I now find myself struggling to bring the book to a close.

Without some sort of quest to achieve, I can't think of a way to finish the book with an adrenaline rush of triumph. Most of the books I've read seem to have a quest element: kill the ring; find the murderer; thwart the baddies. I've managed to get to a stage where the pay-off is going to be the leading female having to choose between two men, one of whom will go off to the Old City to revenge his brother's death and (possibly) become the next Emperor, while the other will head off into the jungle to escape the evil clutches of the empire and start a new society.

It's got human interest. She's pregnant by one of the men, but doesn't know which - and it will be noticeable when the baby is born as one of the men has horns. But that happens after this story ends.

Like it or not, I'm missing a quest.

Is my poor book doomed to commercial failure before it is even finished?

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