... and just like that, I realized I am writing the final scene of my first novel. Not NaNoWriMo -- I've been working on this one for three years. I didn't expect this scene to be final, but it seems fitting to end the novel here, and leave the rest to the reader's imagination. Well, at least in Draft Zero -- it's subject to change in subsequent drafts. Yes, I said Draft Zero, because it does not deserve the title of first draft yet. That's even taking into account that, as they say, the first draft should look like it was hastily translated from Icelandic by a non-native speaker. No, my Draft Zero is nowhere near as polished as that.
-- a few more characters. At the very least it needs me to decide what happened to some secondary characters that made brief appearances and left plot threads dangling. Those characters need to be rounded up and brought back into the plot;
-- figuring out which parts of the story need to happen before other parts; in other words, a consistent timeline;
-- a firmer grasp of physics (it's a science fiction novel);
-- a decision on whether it should have just one point of view, or if the two protagonists each need their own POV. I am leaning towards the latter, because if everything is shown from the POV of Protagonist 1, readers won't have a way to find out what happened to Protagonist 2 (except by P2 giving an infodump to P1, and we know desirable infodumps are);
-- last but not least, it needs character development. More vivid descriptions of places would be nifty too.
Oh, it also needs names for characters and places -- time to stop designating the characters as X and Y. And a title.
If I'm lucky, it will take me another year to get to Draft One, at which point I might start taking it to critique groups. But now I'm actually tempted to put this aside and write a new novel, which has been marinating inside me for months now. It started out as a short story, and grew into a novella, and then I realized that to do proper justice to those ideas, I need to make it a novel. But on an average day, I only have time to work on one or the other. There's no way I would have time for both. So I think I'll have to do revisions of this novel, and let the next one wait a year.