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. 😀