At first, though, I was like, oh, if I'm going to spend time writing tomorrow I need to be working on the second book. I don't have time to do the challenge.
So, I slept on it. Then, I realized that there was a grand opportunity here. Not only was there the great thing that Konrath offers "winners" (he's going to publish links to the winners' stories tomorrow and his blog does get great traffic, as he's quite prolific. This, of course, means that the winners stand to gain a lot of new readers from this challenge), but why not work on some material that I have to have in my head in order to keep developing characters and the story line? Hence, "Van Helsing's Lament"--a prequel story to Blood Sisters. If you enjoyed the first book, or even if you haven't read it but like Dracula related things, give it a go.
The story will be free for five days, starting tomorrow. I hope folks will read it.
What I learned by doing this challenge was that I can actually produce a good length of text when I'm not constantly asking myself how every detail fits into a novel-length piece. I need to start blocking my novel plotting for book 2 as a result. If I can think of the story in smaller discrete pieces I think I'll actually produce faster. Weaving the pieces together should be easy--that's part of the revision process. We'll see.
I also learned or remembered how writing is such a circular process. Issues related to Olivia's Vampiric identity that I had been struggling with were much easier to deal with by creating the prequel.
I also learned that Kindle Publishing is far better set up to ensure success and a smooth upload. The cover generator is awesome, and the converter does an additional spell check.
It was a great experience, and folks do still have time to take the challenge today. Note that you don't want to wait until close to the deadline tonight if you want Konrath to link to you--the upload and time to go live varies on Amazon, but it can take up to 12 hours. You can't give him a link if it's not live.
Of course, I am going to keep doing these challenges on days where I have the block of time, I think. It would be a good way to provide some prequel information on the main characters who have survived and are landing in the second book. I have always functioned better with a deadline. Had I used challenges like this when writing the first novel, it certainly would have been done faster, and probably would have been better.