I am the marathoner with two flat feet huffing to the finish line halfway behind the winners and halfway ahead of the quitters. I've been typing madly and will reach my midpoint goal today. And while I didn't have the joy of "winning" a NaNoWriMo you-did-all-fifty-thousand-words badge, I was able to upload Dad's novel and send him his PDF certificate. With 50,061 words he has completed a draft of Faust, The Prequel which he describes as "a romp through the Renaissance with Faust the physician-scientist and his first fifty years that gave rise to the lies known as the Faust legend."
And he wrote this off the top of his head. Knew exactly where to go for further details. He has so much research stuffed between his ears he can leap into almost any time period with no fear. He is rather ecstatic. Says in all the many years of writing non-fiction biography and science books people would tell him he should try fiction and he'd scoff and say he didn't have the talent for that sort of thing. And the NaNoWriMo one month first (and second actually as he had to expand from 39,000 words) draft was enough for him to realize that fiction can free him to play with ideas like never before. He says, at his age, he can still write many more novels, and already has the next one plotted out. He figures he'll develop a 3 draft process, show it to trusted readers, and then send them out to prospective publishers.
I am happy I've come this far. I'm seeing that it takes gobs of pages to find my way into a character and story. Much of it will need to be expanded or discarded. It's like clay, pull some off, stick more on, and at some point in the revision process it gets fired into its final shape. I crown myself a semi-finalist.