I have written over 60,000 words and already have a more-or-less complete first draft. And it's only half-way through the month! I guess I accomplished the goal of writing a complete novel of 50,000 words in a month. It is time to put it away for a while, let it settle down and then start the editing process after a few weeks.
Frankly, I knew I wouldn't have any trouble getting to 50,000 words in a month. I wrote more than 20,000 words the first weekend. I probably crank out up to 50,000 words-a-month on various projects on a fairly regular basis.
In this exercise, I focused on letting my imagination go nuts and not worrying about sticking with only "what I know" -- as in what I have more or less experienced first hand or can at least extrapolate from first hand-experience. That is very limiting and keeps the stories small and, perhaps, very narrow in their appeal.
For the purposes of this story, I concentrated instead on "what I can imagine." That was a huge breakthrough for me. I have a wild imagination that can spin off all kinds of wild tales. I've never really let it loose in a novel before, preferring simple stories about "real" people. Wildish characters are a lot more fun to read about. It turns out they are also a lot more fun to write about.
The other "breakthrough" was that this was the first time I have started out with a plot. Usually I start with characters and let the plot come out of their interaction. This time I started with the idea for a plot and let the characters emerge to fill the roles necessary to further the plot. It was totally amazing how easy the story was to write. Quite honestly, it wrote itself. All I had to do was to transcribe it. Some days the characters raced ahead in their adventures so fast, it was all I could do to keep up.
I can't wait to try using that technique for my next story, just to see if I can do it again.