Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

ROW80: Last-Minute Rally!

Another short post from me today.  Vacation continues, and we’re having an excellent time.  The highlights so far have included catching the midnight showing of Harry Potter, and taking a daytrip to Zion National Park, where we took a short tour via shuttle bus, and took many, many photographs of pretty rocks.  I’ll post those sometime in the coming week, when I get the chance to upload them to my computer.

When it comes to progress, I seem to have done better over the past few days than I did earlier in the week.  I’ve noticed that it’s easier for me to satisfy my goals between Wednesday – Sunday, probably because the weekend makes my responsibilities a bit lighter, so I’ll have to see how I can take this knowledge and use it to my advantage. I’ll potentially end up saving up my writing for the latter half of the week, when I know I’ll be able to have the time to go beyond 500/night.

So, without further ado, this week’s accomplishments:

Thesis: I finally managed to tidy up the latest section of my findings and send it off to my advisor.  As I’ve warned her, it’s a very, very rough first draft, there are holes and things that are missing, and many things that will need to be cut.  All the same, it is 19 pages long (almost 6000 words), which brings the current draft to about 40 pages in length.  I estimate that I’ll need another 15-20 pages to talk about the next set of findings, along with another 10-15 pages to encompass other details (methodology, conclusion, etc.) which means that the complete first draft will approach somewhere upwards of 80+ pages.  Granted, I don’t know what will happen during the editing process, but I feel rather proud of myself.  After three years of stressing and reading and pursuing countless ideas, I’m finally at the point where I feel like I can say, unequivocally, that I will finish this.  When I am done, I have promised myself that I am going to utilize my esoteric knowledge of 1920s etiquette and apply it to a new story, one that involves flappers and bootleggers and vampires, or something paranormal. 😀

tell me no lies: I managed to get some research done last night.  As a grad student I have access to digital newspaper archives, so I availed myself of the San Francisco Chronicle‘s collection of issues from 1887, when “tell me no lies” takes place.  I started combing through all the stories on crime and murder (a cheery topic, let me tell you, though infinitely fascinating), and stumbled upon some real gems, including a trial for the murder of a “Chinese highbinder.”  From what I can tell, highbinders seem to have been the Chinese version of the Italian mafia.  An article from an 1886 issue of Harper’s Weekly compares the Highbinders to the Freemasons, except with lots more blackmail and bribery.  It’s a fascinating read, for anyone who is interested, though it drips with the casual racism that was prevalent during the period.

Strange Bedfellows: I added about 2000 words to this between Wednesday night and late Saturday night.  I’d like to say that it was difficult, but at the moment I feel like I’m just eavesdropping on my characters’ conversations and transcribing them.  Out of all my WIPs, I know these characters the best.  They’ve been salvaged from earlier abandoned projects, and so we’ve managed to “form a rapport,” if you will.  The hardest thing about this story is slowing myself down long enough to scrawl out some decent descriptions, but I managed to hammer out an opening scene (the aftermath of a very bloody battle) that will satisfy me until it’s time for rewrites and edits.

All in all, not too bad.  If I am doing the math properly, it looks like I more or less squeaked past the goal post by the skin of my teeth this week!  I’d say that this is an excellent time to head to Las Vegas, as a bit of partying is in order.  🙂

How’s everyone else holding up?  Has anyone met or exceeded their goals for the week?  Anyone else need to tweak things a bit?


  1. I love the idea of eavesdropping on your characters 🙂 You’ve had a steady week of progress, well done! Keep it up 🙂

  2. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Great job, and keep it up.

  3. The tour through Zion sounds like a blast!

    I’ve done fairly well to this point, meeting all but one of my goals which I tweaked.

    I know what you mean about weekends being the best for writing and catching up. My weekday schedule can be a bear and so I look forward to the two days of peace to concentrate on the things that really matter to me.

    Great job reaching your goals and keep pressing forward 🙂

  4. Seems like a promising week -fab fab fab! It’s good when you can work out when you are the most productive and utilise that time well. Research, word counts -they all amount to your goals -you are doing great! Keep it up 🙂

  5. Nice job! Very productive, even on vacation. I

  6. That’s great progress, good job. I’m having vacation distractions as well. I also find that I don’t get any writing done leading into the weekends, I’m much more productive early in the week, say Mon – Thur

  7. How are you this productive when you are on holiday?! It is amazing! Well done on such a successful week!

    • Thanks so much, Em! I didn’t expect to have so much quiet time, but I was lucky enough some uninterrupted evening time (I was rooming with my sister who doesn’t sleep till 2 am, so that helped too). Hope you have a wonderful week!

  8. Hi Jamilla! Chinese Highbinders…..sounds interesting. I’ll be checking out that article. I love history…although I have not come across this particular topic. As for your idea of a 1920’s story with flappers and gangsters and bootleggers, it sounds fantastic! You should definately run with it!
    Continued good luck with the paper/thesis. Daunting, I know, but beneficial. Also, enjoy the vacation while it lasts!
    ~ Nadja

    • Nice to hear from you, Nadja! Yes, definitely check out that article. I was really surprised when I stumbled upon it (isn’t google wonderful?), as I’ve never heard of Highbinders before. I am hoarding ideas for this 1920s tale, though I am not allowed to work on it till I’ve got the thesis out of the way. 🙂

  9. research in the papers sound good – fill your notebooks and you’ll have ideas for years! – well done on college work that sounds a good total and editing will only tighten

    all the best for this week

    • Hope you’ve been having a good week as well, Alberta! And yes, I have a rapidly filling notebook with historical facts and figures. Research might be my favorite part about the writing process.

  10. It sounds like you’re busy, but having lots of fun.

    Flappers and bootleggers and vampires, oh my! LOL. See, writers can make a story, of whatever genre we want, out of anything!

    • Hi Lauralynn! Yes, fun is my number one priority right now, even as I’m trying to get everything tackled on the to-do list. And I think genre-bending is one of the things I find most exciting about writing. 🙂

  11. Jamila,

    I am so proud of you for rocking that Thesis! I know that part is almost harder than the rest and you’ve got a whole bunch of goals you’re driving after. You go, girl! Rock that ROW!

  12. 80+ pages, holy crow! Great work, you’re kicking thesis butt! I wish I could be more productive on weekends, I don’t know how you do it when you’re on vacation. Great work and have fun in Vegas!

    • Thanks so much, Lisa! I got lucky enough to score a bit of downtime in the evenings, along with some quiet time in the morning, to scribble a bit. The total word count shocked me a bit once I finally added it all up. 🙂

  13. I think I need to go on vacation! That’s an amazing amount to get done while away. I would never be able to work on the thesis because I’d be too busy making up stories with the material instead of doing proper research and academic writing lol! Best of luck this week, and have a great time in Vegas!

  14. I admire your drive. You always have so much done by check-in time! Sorry I am running behind on commenting, but I am here! I hope you have a great week, happy writing!

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