Incredible as it may seem, I managed to finish the 50,000 novel in 27 days. There was a lot of fun in the first three weeks, a lot of moments when the prose just flowed out of me and I was amazed at the ease of the thing. There were moments of uncertainty, but the writing kept it fun, and I eventually was able to come up with a good story arc.
Then the fourth week came, and I started coming to the end of my novel-- 8,000 words too early, This part was painful. The ending point I chose seemed stiff, contrived. And I found myself writing the words THE END three days ago. Which meant I had to go back and invent scenes I had not thought about.
In the end, those were some of the most fun scenes to write. I realized when I got to the end of the book that I had neglected my protagonist's relationship with his parents, so I put in a good number of conversations between them. That was good for at least 4000 words. I also realized that my character had about a month during Christmas Break from the Naval Academy when he had nothing to do. So I put him on restriction and had him sit around and talk to the rest of the criminals. The book is not about me, but this was pretty similar to when I was on restriction for Thanksgiving my second class year-- again, I want to emphasize that the book is not about me. Honest.
I should emphasize something: no one in their right mind would write a novel in 30 days. I know that. Real Writers would not even attempt a first draft in 30 days. But I also know me well enough to know that I needed to do this in 30 days or I would not get it done.
So here's to my novel. I don't know if anyone but me will ever read it (that is, I may not let anyone else read it). But there's a lot of me in that thing.
One thing I'm sure about: I'm pretty sure I'm going to try again next year.