Another way I've spent my time:
They're green beans, and I'm absurdly excited about them.
This second novel (in the NaNo sense; i.e. 50,000-word glob of text) has been an interesting experience to contrast with the first, which I wrote back in November. The way I wrote that one, I just sat down on day one and started typing. When I'd get to a point where I got tired of the scene or had no idea why Mr. Thoreson was frantically telling Miss Hemming to jump off the roof or why Mathieu was kicked out of school to go build a crate in the woods (both still unresolved questions), I'd drop the scene and skip a line. I'd start writing something completely different, not necessarily with any clear relationship to anything else in the book. It was fun; it was free; it was full of crazy leaps of imagination and lazy shirkings of scene-writing; but I came out at the end of the month with, essentially, a pile of scraps. I've spent hours (fewer than I should have) outlining the fragments on note cards, putting them in order, and detailing the gaps that need to be filled, the chronology issues that need to be resolved, the cardboard-cutout characters that need to come to life (all of them), the unanswered questions and tangential plot lines that need to be resolved or scrapped.
This time, by contrast, I've started at the beginning and written in order. There was a period of a couple of days where I was hating it. It was clipping along, but, man, was this boring. Gone was the utter, gleeful freedom of my rock-skipping November days. Here were the plodding mechanics of June. At the same time, it was oddly elevating. I was... writing. I think the hours I put in going through the patchwork November manuscript eroded a reader's-advocate-consciousness-of-narrative into me, a sense of order and the necessity of explanation that has been sheep-dogging me this time around.
The story, however, was just not taking off. I kept trying to make something happen, but my main character would end up having dinner with his family, or waking up in the morning, or waxing philosophical just to fill up words.
Then, finally, out of the blue, they showed up. In the tree-house. Wearing knee-high boots and long golden hair and habit-like garments. His name was Tripiondello; hers the Lady Linden. They came by trolley, and they were on a mission.
Houston, we're back in business