Writing for 2008 NaNoWrimo was a great way to get started on my next novel. I can't say that what I produced was anything like an actual first draft. It was however, an extended exercise in turning over the concepts that will make for that first draft. In November's writing, I played with potential chapters, scenes, and characters. I created tons of backstory knowing that I won't use that material in the novel. Still, the no-holds-barred rush of writing that is NaNo, gave me the space and place to explore, explore, explore. I'd call this big blob of words a great pre-writing exercise.