PeterMBall

28 Days of Thesis Updates: Days Six through Eight

The university library has a mold problem. A significant mold problem that’s led to the closing down of the stacks in the library where most of the books I need are located. Couple this with the library’s odd opening hours until the semester starts and you probably get some idea of where my time went over the weekend – it took three trips, some net-time, and  some odd conversations with the librarians as I tried to explain that I didn’t know what the call numbers of the books where because I’m used to just *going there and finding them* after all these years, but I finally got about two-thirds of the texts I wanted this afternoon. The rest at basically MIA, which isn’t going to change until the mold is done with and the library returns to life.

The rest of the weekend was non-productive, but fun. Eberron game on Saturday, lunch with Angela and her fellow clarionite Lisa Hannett on Sunday where we discussed writer-type things, then far to little sleep as I fretted about what I’m going to do if this library situation continues the way it’s going (probably make weekly drives to the Gold Coast, but that’s not ideal…). Now I’m fretting about being behind on the word-count again, but the situation isn’t yet untenable so I should probably stop.

28 Days of Thesis Updates: Day Five

Yesterday was all about the doubt; lots of wondering whether what I’d written the day before was worthwhile and if I should continue in the direction I was going. Previously that led to massive cuts in word-count as I tried to clarify things; yesterday I just bulldozed forward and kept doing what I’m doing. Probably a good sign that it is working, on some level, unlike the other stuff. Or the panic is starting to become a productive force in terms of drafting, rather than a hindrance.

Still, yesterday was slow, and I kind of argued myself into a corner as I pulled apart the idea of genre and exegesis. Not an inescapable corner, but one that stopped me cold at 3 am when my brain couldn’t quite figure out what happened next. Finished the day about 300 words under where I needed to be to ensure a January 31st wrap-up, but that’s not an insurmountable problem yet, just as long as today goes well (and it should). In other news, I killed the second printer cartridge since starting the thesis yesterday.

Oh, and while I remember: does anyone out there have a copy of Orson Scott Card’s How to write Science Fiction and Fantasy? I need to know whether it’s the place where Damon Knight’s “Science Fiction is what I point at when I say Science Fiction” quote shows up in written form (and whether I’m remembering the quote right).

28 Days of Thesis Updates: Day Four

So yesterday was the most solid day of work on the exegesis I’ve had, clocking up over a thousand words and setting up something that actually resembles a segment rather than random ideas that I’m struggling to link together. Basically I’ve been doing in the exegesis a more detailed version of what I did in the first two days here (pull apart the idea of the exegesis itself) and things just started falling into place; huzzah for blogging, without which I’d have never realised that this is what was interesting me and stopping me from going forward.

And while I’m still dreadfully behind based on when I started the process, I’m now on-par as far as wordcount goes (assuming a January 31st finish for the draft), even with the massive cuts of day 3. This is calming news.

I’m due a trip to the library to grab a bunch of books, since the haul I’ve got here was grabbed haphazardly in the hours before the university library’s closed down over the holidays (long story). Realised today that I don’t have the books on Bahktin that I wanted, but they’re local to Nathan campus so it’s not a huge problem; also looking at grabbing some secondary texts while I’m there, since there’s a bunch of interesting genre theory being utilized in some of the research I revisited today and I’m interested enough to go seek it out and give it a once-over. This visiting the library thing is looking more and more difficult to handle, since the university library’s are only open at weird times until classes start again in March. I may have to bite the bullet and go visit them during weekday business hours, horrendous parking costs be damned. Today wasn’t anywhere near as productive as yesterday as a result of the constant looking for references I didn’t really have, but the latest issue of the Gothic Studies journal showed up and it was full of awesome stuff that reminded of exactly why I love academia.

I still, however, want to be working on a story instead of doing this (and I’m still antsy enough to snap any smart-alec who says “hurry up and finish then”).

Best Fantasy-Magazine Story of 2008 Poll and Contest

We interrupt my obsession with the thesis to remember, for just a moment, that occasionally I write fiction. To whit:

Fantasy Magazine are running a reader-poll and contest to discover the best Fantasy story of 2008; one of the stories they published in 2008 was On the Finding of Photographs of My Former Loves, which I’m kind of fond of for obvious reasons. Logically I should be here asking you to head on over and log a vote for me, since there’s chocolate at stake for the winner as well as bragging rights, but I’ll be honest – Fantasy publishes good work and I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read there this year. Just go and have a poke around and then vote; it’ll be worth it. And, if you’re so inclined, leave a few comments – they’re giving away an Amazon voucher to a random reader who leaves comments. Voting details and complete 2008 story listing.

28 Days of Thesis Updates: No Angst Today

It’s six o’clock. I wrote 1200 words today. Clean words. Nice words. Usable words. About a thousand of them are even in consecutive order. It’s the first time since I started this whole damned project that I’ve actually hit the word-count I needed to hit on a given day.

In short, there will be no angst when I write my day 4 report tomorrow.

But I still want to sit down and work on a short story instead of continuing with this.