My thesis advisor sent me an email last week, asking me to set up a time to talk with her, but in True Lauren Fashion™, I put it off. I ran into her this morning while in-between students for ENG 100 (I have 12 students that I’m tutoring individually in writing this semester), and asked if she was free to meet sometime this week. She offered up today.
At 3:30 p.m., I found myself sitting in her office, having the talk that would determine the future of my graduate career.
For my graduate thesis, I chose to go the creative route. This means I can turn in a screenplay, a selection of poems, several short stories, or the beginnings of a novel. I chose to do a novel. I’ve been working on one for several years now, but I feel like I’m stumped. This is going to give me the motivation to actually finish it (I hope).
The meeting we had today discussed getting a reading list put together for my thesis as well as a timeline for when everything should be done. The reading list has to be composed of novels that are literary, but use the same conventions that the genre I’m writing does. Since I’m writing a fantasy novel, I need books that are mostly contemporary fiction that contain fantastical elements. If anyone has any suggestions for a contemporary fantasy reading list, please let me know! I’m up for any and all suggestions, and will research each of them thoroughly!
So far, I’ve got a very rough timeline of what’s about to happen to me.
By the end of the week, I have to:
- turn in the draft of my pre-prospectus so she can give me notes on it (as to whether I’m headed in the right direction or not)
- turn in a preliminary reading list of 5 books (there will be 8-12 on the final list, but this is just the beginning and could change)
By the end of the semester, I have to:
- turn in a “sparkling and sexy prospectus” (her words, not mine…but I do agree with them!)
- have a solid reading list of 8-10 books nailed down
- email my prospectus to my potential thesis committee members, along with the final reading list
By January of next year, I have to:
- have my thesis members selected and all forms filled out
- set a defense date for my thesis (sometime at the end of April)
By March of next year, I have to:
- have a full draft of my thesis completed and turned in (four weeks before defense date)
In April of next year, I have to:
- finish all suggested revisions
- DEFEND MY THESIS
In May of next year, I have to:
As you can see, once the end of the semester hits, the timeline gets a little vague. I know what I’m going to be doing. My advisor actually told me that instead of trying to edit the draft of the novel I’ve already got, if I still have the idea in my head and know where I’m going, just set the original draft aside and start rewriting.
That’s what my next project is. After browsing Amazon and reworking the pre-prospectus I wrote last fall for ENG 500 (the Intro to Grad Studies course required for all incoming English MA students), I’ll start rewriting the first 100+ pages of my novel.
This is a scary and exciting time. I have no idea what I’m going to be doing from here. I’m just gonna take it one step at a time and hope and pray I get it right.
I wish Tony were here.
As always, keep reading.