It seems like everyone I know is writing novels this month as part of the National Novel Writing Month event. The idea is that you write a 50,000 word first draft during November. You have to start from scratch on or after the first and you have to upload the finished work by Nov 30. Last year they had over 100,000 participants and more than 15,000 finished their novel on time. According to their FAQ, quite a few of these novels make it through further drafts, get published, and at least one made the number one spot on the NY Times best seller list.
National Novel Writing Month