The WIP didn't cooperate.
I decided that as I had joined a new crit group, I may as well put Chapter 1 up for critique. The response was much more enthusiastic than I expected, so I think this novel might have some mileage. Heaven only knows whether it will be saleable, but it's definitely worth finishing -- and not just to get these characters out of my head! Shaping the existing mass of events and incidents into a coherent novel shape will be a really good learning exercise.
So instead of pressing on and writing more words, I have polished Chapter 1 and 2 and have just spent an hour or so wrestling with the overall structure. (Using the Lars Eighner plot diagram and Browne Circular Diagram as tools.)
Teasing out the personal stories from the overall political plot has now given the novel some shape and, hopefully, a bit of oomph.
But there is no way I can make a happy ending out of it. It's not tragic though. I'm not killing my characters at the end. For one reason, killing a character is, to my mind, often an easy way out. It can give a tragic -- and therefore satisfying in a story sense -- closure instead of opening out a new and difficult phase of their life.
No, what I need to aim for is Determined Optimism in the Face of Defeat; a distant glimmer of light at the end of a looooong tunnel. And just hope that any readers don't lynch me!
And then, of course, I'll have to write the sequel. *g*
Word count now stands at 10,663 decent words written.
10,663 / 90,000