It turns out that John Scalzi writes fiction the same way that I do -- no outlines, just a general idea of where I'm starting, where I'm going, and a few neat things I want to see along the way -- and he does it for exactly the same reasons. Call it pseudo-validation, since actual validation would involve an offer from a publisher.
Still, I slog on: yesterday the novel-in-progress passed the 100,000 word barrier, with the story now approaching the conclusion of the second act, in which I basically leave everybody just about on death's door. Cool, because that means soon it will be on to the climactic third act, in which I get to squash characters like bugs on the way to the finale. It probably sounds demented, but I'd be lying if I did not admit that a large part of the appeal of writing is the ability to kill people vicariously.