Actually, to be honest, I thought I'd be in much rougher shape. Aside from the last 20 minutes where I really had to panic, I actually pretty at peace with the whole process. I think I managed this miracle with the help of a few key factors.
1) I put an outline together in my handy-dandy Hilroy!
2) I've been on a bit of a writing dry-spell. I've been doing a lot of editing work this year, but since I skipped NaNoWriMo last year, I really haven't written anything new in a very long time. I almost forgot that I do like to write!
3) My story stayed vivid to me.
In planning for this challenge, I tackled it in the terms of NaNoWriMo. The shortest wordcount definition for a novel being 50,000 words, so that's what I aimed to do for this as well - only 10 times as fast since instead of 30 days to write 50,000, I'd have 3. Which meant that I'd have to aim for just under 17,000 words per day.
I'm gonna tell you right now that I cannot write 17,000 words a day. I'm not a speedy writer. Still, I tried.
Day 1, I surprised myself by pulling off just over 15,000 words. I started at midnight, wrote just over 3,000, and then when I woke again and added 12,000. I followed my outline fairly closely, I just added a few extra chapter breaks since my scenes ended up plumping out more than I originally thought they would. Great for those scenes, not so great for plugging through a whole novel in 3 days. Short on my word count and only a couple of ticks down on my outline.
Day 2 ended up being very similar to day 1. I wrote about 12,000 words and that was all of the steam that I had in me. Once again, I ended up delving into scenes that I absolutely loved. Great for those scenes, not great for only having a day left to use.
And then finally, Day 3. This was the do or die day. I was beyond the halfway point as far as my 50,000 word projection, but I was only really just at my halfway mark in my plot. A little disheartening knowing that I'd pull it off beautifully if it were the 4 day novel challenge. But I went for it. Trying hard to just get to the next scene. Rejecting the "Show Don't Tell" mantra because, damn it, Jim, I've got a story to tell!
I had told myself that by 10:00pm I would just forget about writing proper narrative and just start listing plot as a makeshift ending to just slap the final scene on this thing. Well, next thing I know it's 11:30 and I'm just building up to the much anticipated climax. Can't go into detail with the actual climax, and sure as hell can't play out all of that falling action. Skip, skip, skip. Lots of people died. Skip, skip skip. By the way, she's there now because she wasn't there when all of the other people died. Skip, skip, skip. The end, kinda, except there's this epilogue thingy that we don't have to have, and oh, hey look, it's midnight, I guess we're done. 43, 396!
So I saved it. Sent it. And immediately wanted to fix up that whole last bit of sloppy narrative mess. Clearly I picked a story that was a little too ambitious for 3 days, but I'm still convinced that 4 days would have been just fine for a first draft. Yes, the NaNoWriMo participant in me can't believe the words that just came out of my mouth... er, fingertips? A whole first draft in 4 days!
I can't say that I'll be making a habit of this. I feel great about doing it this time around, and with a little work, I think I'll have a decent piece of work here, but a weekend novel is pretty intense, and I'm not confident that I can have everything lined up the way that it did for me this time. Part luck as much as planning.
I'll be sticking to NaNoWriMo. And a new draft a year is alright for me considering how long it takes to work, re-work, and edit, edit, edit. But I'd be willing to do this again. Maybe in a few years, or if I find myself in another dry-spell.
I'm sure this won't be my last note on the subject. Prepare for a series of rants that my now crashing-brain is just not processing anymore.
I was bursting with energy a while ago, but as I look at the clock, it's already after 2:00am. It has taken me an entire hour just to write this post.