Winter Break Goals & A Historical Fiction Project

Remember that time I said I was going to do NaNoWriMo?


burning room.gif
actual representation of me trying to do NaNo this year

So, the bad news is that between the aftermath of the election and getting swamped with mountains of class readings, out of town guests, and papers, I totally fell off the NaNo train.

The good news is that the quarter of death ends next week!

(how is that good news what i still have two papers left) 


Aaaaand once the quarter is over, I can dive into my winter break projects!

Y’all know I love bullet points, so let’s pull up a list of my Winter Break Goals, shall we?

  • Fang: I’ll be crushing extensive re-writes from next Friday night on. I re-outlined the second half of the book and did most of the grunt work with developmental edits in October, and now I’m ready to rock the next draft.
  • Iron Queen: This project will remain pretty quiet as I re-write Fang, its sister project. I’ll mostly be typing up the 80+ pages of handwritten notes I have from Oct/Nov.

And my last goal? It has to do with a new project, one that I’m calling Leo Ascendant 

  • Leo Ascendant: fully outline and sketch character arcs.

What is this new project, you ask? Well, now that I think about it, it’s kind of the lovechild of a bunch of things I have been reading/watching/researching lately:

  1. I’m currently reading Dragonfly in Amber, the second book in the Outlander series. Have definitely had a good deal of time travel/historical fiction on the mind.
  2. I’ve been watching the second season of Muhteşem Yüzyıl: Kösem, the reboot of the wildly popular Turkish tv show Magnificent Century, which follows the life and times of Suleyman the Magnificent and the women who run his life.
  3. I’m writing a paper about talismans in a complex astrological illustrated manuscript called Maṭāliʿü’s-saʿādet, which was owned by princess Fatimeh Sultan, the daughter of the Ottoman sultan Murad III (r. 1574-1595).

Throw those three ingredients in a blender and what do you get? Ottoman Empire+ Outlander + astrology, magic, and more harem intrigue than you can shake a bejeweled fist at.

Here’s my working synopsis of the project:

An earthquake sends Ceyda, a Turkish-American nineteen-year-old, tumbling from the Istanbul of the present into the heart of sixteenth century Constantinople: Topkapı Palace.

Swept into a world of Ottoman sultans, dynastic politics, harem intrigue, and the occult sciences, she must rely on her wits and the political cunning and astrological smarts of her newfound ally, princess Fatimeh Sultan, to save their beloved prince Osman from assassination and somehow get back to the twenty-first century.

And of course I whipped up a Pinterest board, because hello, who am I?


I’m really excited about this project, and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it!

As a historian, the idea of writing historical fiction has always made me quite skittish–I could never imagine feeling as if I had done enough research to be able comfortably slip into the world as easily as I do with my fantasy worlds. But at this particular point in my academic career? I feel pretty at home in the late sixteenth century Ottoman Empire.

This project could very well turn out to be a horrific flop, but the characters’ voices have been bouncing around my head all week and I can barely write down my notes fast enough!

For me, those are telltale signs that I have a strong project a-brewin’…

What have I got to lose?

Let’s go for it!


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