I've been writing my book for five months now, and have now passed 20,000 words. Discounting several weeks off for holiday, I'm averaging 250 words per day. At this rate it's going to take another year before I finish the first draft. My original deadline was this Christmas, so I'm already about five months behind - but this sort of thing is supposed to happen when you're writing a novel, isn't it?
Either way, I'm wary of letting the process slow down too much. Some days it already feels like a drag, and I suspect having to force the words out isn't conducive to great prose. Over the summer, I should have more time to devote to it, and will try spending a few days in the library to increase the pace.
Now that I am a quarter of the way through, my characters are becoming clearer. As I mentioned in part five, they were only part-formed when I started to write - I had a rough sense of what sorts of people they are by amalgamating various people from my own life, but hadn't fleshed them out. Hopefully they will stay coherent throughout the book, rather than suddenly developing a limp or a twisted sense of humour or the like.
I've also developed a small sub-plot for one of the secondary characters. It's very basic: someone has sex with someone and no, I won't be describing the encounter itself. The implication for the main narrative will be to add a complication that should increase the tension a little.
Next week I'm travelling to Portugal, where a few small but important chapters of the book are set. Proper research!