Lena Corazon

Flights of Fancy

ROW80: 50k, is that you?

Well, I did it. I’m not quite sure how I did it, but the seemingly impossible has occurred: I’ve written over 50k for PATH TO THE PEACOCK THRONE, validated the novel, and gotten many shiny things and goodies for winning NaNoWriMo.

Yes, that’s right. It bears saying once more: I somehow won NaNoWriMo. And I totes have proof:


I suppose I shouldn’t be completely shocked; after all, I won CampNaNo in August. But I wasn’t working or going to school in August, and the experience was completely different. I ran out of story half-way through the month, lost a few days obsessing over exactly what I was doing, and basically made up a ton of stuff in order to squeak my way past the finish line.

PPT is far from finished. It’s pretty much unreadable at the moment, filled with tons of holes and missing words and placeholders and characters with horrible names. There is no discernable system of magic (and, er, this is supposed to be a fantasy novel), a romance subplot that currently hasn’t taken off, and all sorts of twists and turns that I haven’t figured out. How does my MC manage to save the world and avert certain danger? I have no friggin’ clue… but for once I have the confidence that I’ll figure it out.

In the meantime, I am going to keep working on this novel, though I have others that have decided to surface in the last few days. TELL ME NO LIES, my steampunk murder mystery, beckons. I’ve managed to evade it over the last few weeks, but I had a moment yesterday. I spent the afternoon in San Francisco, and saw a protestor in Union Square wearing a creepy sort of gas mask. He carried a protest sign with a George Carlin quote: “That’s why they call it the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.” The image struck me, and made me think about how my steampunk world, set in late 18th century San Francisco, might not be so different: there are the haves and the have nots, and a whole set of outspoken rabble protesting the existing social order. It’s just one of a whole host of things I want to add to the tale, and I’m itching to get started.

And let’s not talk about the idea I had for a semi-new story based on a short piece I wrote in high school about an all-women’s academy called “The Court of Enchanted Oaks.” The original story was a fantasy tale that was a combination of Harry Potter and my high school experiences (I went to an all-girls Catholic school on a campus nicknamed “The Oaks”). This new twist turns it into a steampunk world, where the students find themselves inadvertently in the forefront of an unexpected war. My muse tells me that this is a story about the clash between female lore/magic (the “old ways”) and the enlightenment science/engineering stuff that has replaced it (masculine rationality, etc.). It is a tantalizing idea to toy with, one that echoes the main theme that keeps cropping up in my work: challenging binaries and bridging social divides. The MC, at least as she exists at the moment, could unite both old ways and new, and somehow help to end the war.

Seriously, I don’t know where this stuff comes from. I just write it down.

Before I can really do much with my writing, however, I have decreed that the first half of December will be known as LeTheWriFort: Lena’s Thesis-Writing Fortnight (rolls right off the tongue, don’t it?). I have a thesis draft to finish, a final paper to write for my feminist studies seminar, and come December 9th, a stack of 30 final papers to grade from my students (although I will just note that this is nowhere near as much work as I usually have to grade at the end of the quarter).

Anyway! This is a rambly sort of update, potentially due to the fact that I am exhausted and need to get some rest, as tomorrow morning I leave my parents’ and make the 5 hour trek back to school. I’m not terribly excited to go — this visit was far too short, and I’m not ready for it to end. However, I’ll be back by mid-December. Better yet, I’ll have an entire month to do nothing but read books, write fun stuff, and visit my friends — pure bliss.

I hope those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving had a wonderful, restful holiday. For my fellow WriMos, I wish you luck with completing your writing goals, whether or not that involves the 50k finish line or another of your own choosing. As always, be sure to swing by and visit the other ROW80 participants, and cheer them on as they tackle their goals. 😀


  1. I Am SOOOOOOOOOO proud of you!
    Jenny Hansen recently posted..Today I Am Thankful For…Our Military!My Profile

  2. Well done on winning NaNoWriMo 😀 I bombed out majorly because of uni, but there’s always next year. And that new story idea sounds pretty cool 🙂 Good luck with your thesis, not much longer to go now 😀
    Rebecca J Fleming recently posted..ROW80 Round 4 – 8th UpdateMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Rebecca! I agree, there’s always next year — I know you had some major deadlines this month, and those always have to come first.

      Have a great week!

  3. Congratulations Lena!! Great news.
    Nicole Basaraba recently posted..Book Review: Meet me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny ColganMy Profile

  4. Congratulations! I wish I had the time/ability to knock out 50,000 words! Have fun with the editing! 😉 x
    Sharon Howard recently posted..Possibly the Best Birthday Present ever…My Profile

    • Ah, yes, the editing. That is going to be the site of joy and pain. I actually love editing things, because I can finally get rid of all the terrible dialogue and language and whatnot, but ugh… it takes such a long time. Still, I am looking forward to it.

      Thanks for stopping by, Sharon!

  5. Way to go, ROWsista! I am proud of, impressed at, and so happy for you!

    I hear you about leaving your family. Hang on to being busy enough that the next two weeks will go quickly. Drive safely, my dear!

    • Thank you so much, my friend! I am going to throw myself into work as soon as I get back. Hopefully you are right, and the time will fly by.

      Have a wonderful week!

  6. Yay Lena! Congrats — Go dance!

  7. Fabulous! Congratulations, Lena. 🙂
    Angela Orlowski-Peart recently posted..ROW80 Check-In Sunday, November 27, 2011My Profile

  8. Congrats on winning NaNo!! Your new shiny ideas sound awesome 🙂 Best of luck with the upcoming week Lena.
    Raelyn Barclay recently posted..Sunday Summary, #ROW80, & #NaNoWriMoMy Profile

    • Thank you, Raelyn! And oh my, I cannot begin to express how excited I am about these shiny ideas. I just need a few hours so I can dump them out, that way they don’t plague me too badly.

  9. Big congrats, Lena and welcome to the winners circle!

    I’m in the same boat as you with a story that has wandered all over the place and has much left to be fixed. But at least we have something to fix. You mentioned rambling, I think that is a side effect of NaNo, at least I know it is for me. Look…squirrel! Yep.

    All the best for LeTheWriMo, I know you’ll do a fantastic job. I like the Carlinesque twist to your steampunk idea. Very cool, very real,can’t wait to see what you do with it. Peace 🙂
    Gene Lempp recently posted..ROWdate 11-27My Profile

    • Thanks, Gene! I’m so excited to join the club! 😀

      Lauren Garafalo and I have been talking about how we’re going to be completely out of words, spoken or written, during the month of December. The rambling, I think, might be the other extreme.

      So glad to hear that you like the Carlinesque idea! I wish I could have gotten a picture of the guy, but thankfully the memory is still vivid.

      Have a great week, Gene!

  10. Well done chica! Great news! I love the idea of your story and can’t wait to read it one day. I think it is great you are focusing on your Thesis for the next few weeks and I wish you lots of luck with that!

    Great job my lovely 🙂
    Em recently posted..She shoots she scores!!! ROW80 Check-in 27th NovemberMy Profile

  11. Yay!!!! Way to push through!!!!!
    Ginger Calem recently posted..Thanksgiving or Grocery Derby??My Profile

  12. Congratulations!!!! Wow you go girl. Your muse sounds as pushy as mine, but let me tell you I am intrigue by your story lines. Keep up the great work.
    Juanita Olson recently posted..A Jar of PicklesMy Profile

    • Thanks so much, Juanita, and I’m so happy to know that the storylines are intriguing you! Definitely makes me more excited to poke at these ideas a little more to see what I can get out of them. 🙂

      Have a great week!

  13. Woot! Congrats on winning NaNo!
    Juliana Haygert recently posted..#ROW80 Checkin 11/27My Profile

  14. Yayyyyyy! I’m so proud of you! You had so much going on and won AND early!! I finished this morning and just validated a few minutes ago! It’s been an interesting experience, one I think in one way or another I’ll always participate in. It’s been made so much more amazing having done it with all of you 😀 I don’t think I’ll be quite coherent yet by Wednesday, but maybe by Sunday I’ll be able to think about the whole thing hehe. The new ideas sound sooo intriguing – can’t wait to see what you do with them! Try to have fun with the end of the quarter – your huge break is allllllmost here!!
    Lauren Garafalo recently posted..On the Way to NanotopiaMy Profile

    • Whee, you did it! I agree — I think I am going to be forever a WriMo, whether or not I choose to go for the full 50k or participate in some other way. It’s such a blast, especially with awesome friends to sprint with. 🙂

  15. Congrats, Lena. Thesis writing won’t be agony for a person who can knock out 50,000 words of a novel in LESS than a month. You’re on a roll.

  16. Whee! I’m clapping for you over here! Way to go on winning NaNoWriMo while holding down all your school work and teaching duties. 🙂

    I love the new ideas that have sprung up for you and know you’ll rock them as well as get back to your NaNo piece to flesh out the missing pieces. Go, Lena, go!
    Barbara McDowell recently posted..Thankfulness from the Mouth of Bad Little KidsMy Profile

    • Thanks for the vote of confidence, Barbara! Winning NaNo, and having some new ideas to play with, has definitely given me an unexpected burst of energy. I’m so excited for winter break, so I can really dig in to my writing. 😀

  17. I’m so exciting for you — it makes me happy that people (not me — but other people) are winning this! It’s also good to know that you have plot holes and imperfections and characters with horrible names, makes me be able to breath deeply and not freak out! And your Steampunk book(s) — what great ideas!
    Amy Kennedy recently posted..WHERE WAS I?My Profile

    • Oh gosh, I know what you mean. Writing is just darn hard work, and it always makes me feel better to know that everyone else is struggling just as much as I am. Sharing all the madness makes it a little easier to sally forth, I think. 🙂

  18. It’s funny — your post has the same title as my post.
    Amy Kennedy recently posted..WHERE WAS I?My Profile

  19. *Shaking pompoms wildly* CONGRATULATIONS!! That is awesome Lena…I am so happy for you. What an amazing accomplishment and here’s to the school work and other writing goals to come. LOVE the other story ideas – sooo cool!!!
    Natalie recently posted..ROW80 – Round 4 – Check-in #16My Profile

    • Thanks so much, Natalie! And oh my, I can’t wait to get through all the boring school stuff and play with the shiny new ideas. This is probably my favorite part of the writing process — exploring all the new stuff. 😀

  20. Congrats on finishing NaNoWriMo! That’s truly amazing. 🙂

  21. I just had to jump over here and applaud, throw confetti, do a happy dance, and high-five you! What an accomplishment! Best wishes on the upcoming thesis. After 50K words, what’s a thesis, right? 😉
    Julie Glover recently posted..Raising Stakes: A Bible StoryMy Profile

  22. congratulations on nano – isn’t it a great if exhausted feeling – my nano to has huge holes, dross etc but I rekon there’s half a good novel there somewhere as with yours

    all the new ideas sound exciting – I really must read some steam punk – never have – it sounds quite exciting

    all the best with the coming week you seem to have a full load of work ahead

    • Congrats to you as well, Alberta! I agree — we should be able to salvage something of value from our drafts. I am looking forward to the editing process. 🙂

      Have a great week as well!

  23. Congratulations! What an accomplishment, especially considering everything else you have going on in your life. Well done you!!!

  24. yay. Congrats. 🙂 i’m looking forward to my big finish, but I will not get there early. I think. I hope. unless I lay off the Anders fan fic. LMAO.
    asraidevin recently posted..The Work or Believing your ThoughtsMy Profile

  25. You’re finished, and early too, congrats! (And to more thesis writing and such…)

  26. Congrats Lena!

    Good luck with the LeTheWriFort 😉 Haha
    Juliana recently posted..NaNo?My Profile

  27. Congrats on winning NaNo!

    I love that your creative mind is as jumbled and on overload as mine. Sometimes I have so many ideas I can’t write at all. I’m so afraid I’ll wake up one morning and they’ll all be gone.

    Hope you celebrated your win! Congrats! I was cheering for you all the way!
    Tia Bach recently posted..Once Upon a TimeMy Profile

  28. That’s so awesome, congratulations! One of these years I’ll get myself a NaNoWriMo award too.
    Alana recently posted..What It Feels Like To Be PowerlessMy Profile

  29. Well done! You are amazingly prolific – an inspiration!
    Margaret (charitygirlblog) recently posted..#divinehell: FraudMy Profile

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