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Stack of Books
Posted on Thursday 17 March 2016 at 8:58 am

Night Manager, Shades of Magic, Dissertation

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I'm caught back up on Night Manager. I'm enjoying it. I promise I'll get back to my moral dilemma post at some point and hopefully more thoughts on the series overall. Maybe when it ends. Or when I magically find more hours in the day.

Anyone reading V. E. Schwab's Shades of Magic series? Second book just came out and I'm undecided how I feel about it and would love to hear others' thoughts if anyone has read it. The series is about parallel worlds with different levels of magic, the handful of people who can move between them, mostly via places in Londons since the only guarantee is that they all have a London with a river, and the consequences of crossing between the worlds. I kind of think the second book was a good adventure story with lots of character development and I had a lot of fun while reading it, but I was also left feeling a bit disappointed because almost nothing happened to move the plot forward for the overarching storyline of the trilogy. It felt like a placeholder / killing time, but it was a really fun placeholder.

This dissertation chapter is never going to end! Last week I got a lot of great writing done. Problem is that large chunks of it weren't on my outline. For example, I spent two days hunting for a letter that was supposedly in a couple different document collection but every source I had that mentioned it gave a wrong location. I finally found it and expected to use it for one quick sentence, but it turned out aI found something in it that I don't think anyone else has discussed correctly so I ended up writing five pages of close analysis of it in comparison to other documents, what others have missed with it, and how that all fits into my overall argument. Really good stuff! But not in my plan and I have neither the time nor pages to keep deviating from the plan at this point. The chapter is already likely to be over 50 pages. Ugh!

To try to cut down on the deviations and adding too much detail, yesterday I shoved everything off my desk but the outline for the remaining stuff I need to write and I wrote a version of it all based just on what was in my head. The first part is OK and followed the outline pretty closely. Then I started hitting places where the argument wouldn't quite flow as outlined so I rearranged on the fly and kept writing. By the end of the day, I was rather brain dead so it gets very choppy and more like two half sentences saying the basics of what each paragraph should say, but it's done. Now I'm planning to spend the next few days filling in the holes: adding the details and evidence and sources, elaborating where needed, etc. Only problem is I wanted the finished product to be around 10 pages and my version with a billion holes is already a little over 10 pages. Oh well. It'll get done and should go pretty quickly since I've got the structure in place. I've got the argument and all the pieces and they flow so now I don't have to do heavy thinking, just grabbing the articles, books, and documents I know go in each section and plugging in details. Whatever I have Sunday night / Monday morning (or sooner) is getting printed and tossed in my advisor's box.


A work in progress
ancarett at 2:35 pm on 17 March 2016 (UTC) (Link)
Great news on the dissertation progress, even if you feel a bit behind with the insight on the source you're assessing anew. That will be a worthwhile addition.

Keep on trucking. Remember that a crappy first draft is better than no first draft because it can be polished into beauty but the non-existent draft never can be fixed.

If it helps, I'm writing madly this week and next, finishing a super-tight chapter draft, 5k words max including references. That's an epic challenge of a different type. Writing with you!
bratty_jedi at 2:40 pm on 17 March 2016 (UTC) (Link)
The document really is kind of cool and exciting. I actually felt like I knew what I was doing with this whole history thing! But I'm just so deep in finishing that I'm overwhelmed with everything so it's like super exciting and super frustrating at the same time which makes all the stress worse because I feel like nothing is good enough and I can't be happy even when I'm doing cool things because I'm just behind. Always. No matter what I do. Write 15 to 20 pages in a week? Not good enough because didn't get through enough of the outline or didn't write 50 pages or whatever. I know that's just part of the nature of the beast and everyone in the heavy drafting gets this way sometimes so I'm just trying to keep trucking, but it is exhausting.

Thanks for the encouragement. :) I know I'll get there and I'm not actually worried about not being able to do it or it not being good enough (right now anyway as that varies). It's just the time pressure right now.

Good luck with your writing! 5k words would kill me right now, I think. I'm barely getting started at 5k. :)
Wine gums, envy, pieces of rainbow
qwentoozla at 7:07 am on 18 March 2016 (UTC) (Link)
I must have missed your Night Manager post originally, but I think you made some interesting points there. I'll be interested to hear your other thoughts on it!

Good luck with your chapter!

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