I am getting close to the half-way point for my rough draft of 13 Treasures of Britain. I should reach 40,000 words this weekend.

I’m freaking out a little bit that my deadline is December 30 and I’m still not half-way done, but I am also strangely confident.

On the other hand… I have a sinking feeling that I’m suffering from a “main character problem.” To be specific, I’m afraid that I have a flat main character whom the audience won’t care about. My challenge is to find a way to get the audience to care about my Merlin character. Is the “save the cat” thing played out, or do writers still do that?

In a lot of ways, I’ve imagined my version of Merlin to be like a mixture of the Peter Capaldi and Christopher Eccleston versions of Doctor Who. But the first half of the book is mostly Merlin-collecting-things and doing crazy stuff (think: the first half of a Doctor Who episode, where the Doctor travels to another planet and encounters some treacherous situation). In a typical episode of Doctor Who, the emotional stuff usually builds in the second half, particularly when we find out there’s more to the adventure than the Doctor originally thought.

My problem is that I’m not writing an episode of television; I’m writing a novel. So for 40,000 words (100+ pages), the emotional stuff hasn’t come into play yet. It will happen in the second half of the book, but will the audience lose interest before that?

I can already foresee a ton of editing and revision once I’m finished with the rough draft. Which is actually exciting. I’m a weird person in that I LIKE revising. I’ve just got to keep the “inner editor” at bay for a few weeks more while I finish the rough draft.