Now, it's officially the third week, but tonight, I got that “oh my ghods, I have wasted my time. This thing needs to be completely ripped up and rewritten” feeling.
Not good when you are at 33,000 words.
I trudged through the word count for tonight, put two characters in a room and had them talk. As I wrapped up, I was feeling nothing but frustration about it, and was considering just jumping ahead to act 3 and being done with it, and then doing a massive rewrite in January.
As I closed the file, I thought about my old rule. I don't know if it is anyone else's rule for writing, or if I heard it somewhere or I just picked it up in bits and pieces and put all of the pieces together.
Know what your character is most afraid of. Then, do it.
In my third zombie novel, I focused on a female character who had always depended on other people her whole life. She was most afraid of being alone. So, everyone around her died and she had to deal with that. In my second, the lead's fear was getting so hurt he couldn't go on. So I did it.
And now, in this one, my lead character's fear is that someone will know everything he has done. So, tomorrow, I start doing that to him.
The other trick, and why I felt I was going down the wrong path, is that to get good drama, you put two people in a room and have them talk to each other. My lead has not had anyone to talk to about what he has done. That changes tomorrow as well.
Wish me luck. If these things don't work, the novel will collapse, and I'll be posting “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” all day.