I completed a novel last May (2007) with L, a very good friend of mine. We decided to try the NaNoWriMo path, even though it wasn't the official month to participate. I had a break between taking grad classes and teaching a couple of undergrad classes. I ended up with 50,044 words. I ended up killing three people in this novel, and attempting to kill a fourth. Co-workers would ask me if I had killed anyone else when I would arrive at work. I might have tried for a higher body count, if I didn't think one of them would call the local police and report me.
I wrote that novel by the seat of my pants. I sat down and wrote whatever the characters told me to that day. And one of them tripped me big time. Marcus is the name of my hero. He first told me that his parents were dead so he had inherited their mansion, like those in Newport, RI. Then later on, when the heroine, Bella, is injured in a car accident, his dad is the doctor at the local hospital. What's a writer to do when her leading man tells her two different things?
L asked me if I wanted to be in her book. I said sure. She let me pick my own character name (Sophie) as well as my husband's (Basil) and I returned the favor in one of mine about jury members mysteriously being murdered. Her husband in the story was injured (but not killed - remember that L!) and she gets to take care of him. He'll be ill for awhile, at least until I get back to that idea. I kept threatening to kill him, but she said she would off me and my hubby so I had to quit being mean to him.
But back to my new story. Pepper is a former NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) investigator who has decided to return to her hometown. She will about my age (40) and ready for a change. She hears about an accident where the details don't add up. She gets two of her friends in on the investigation. I've been throwing this idea around for several years. Might never get it off the ground, but at least I'll we working on something, getting ready for November 2008 NaNoWriMo starts.