I’m pretty much on track with my goals, though I didn’t make my 8 hours of writing time this week. I’ve been falling asleep every time I try to outline, which either means that my story is just really boring (unlikely) or that I need to start working on it before 8:30 pm (more likely).
If anyone is interested, I have another book recommendation — Deborah Harkness’s A Discovery of Witches. I first saw the book on the shelves at Target over the summer, and it was love at first sight (or, at first glance at the blurb). I finally got it from the library last week, and read it in a single sitting on Friday. Here’s the description:
Deep in the stacks of Oxford’s Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery; so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks. But her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries — and she is the only creature who can break it’s spell.
There are so many magical “everything-Lena-loves” keywords here, like “Oxford” and “scholar” and “bewitched alchemical manuscript.” I spent quite a bit of time studying in the Bodleian library while I was abroad in Oxford during my junior year of college, and Harkness does a wonderful job bringing the city to life in her book. What the blurb doesn’t mention, however, is the really sexy, ancient vampire who allies himself with Diana, or the romance that springs up between them (best part, IMO). It’s the first of a series, and I am now dying to know what’s coming next.
Reading was exciting, but the absolute best part of the last few days came on Friday, when I met with my advisor to go over the latest thesis chapter that I’ve written. Based on her feedback, it’s actually not as bad as I thought it was; there are some things to clean up, but for all intensive purposes, I’ve written almost everything that I need for the first draft.
My new goal, then, is to have the polished up first draft written by mid-December, so my advisor can read it over winter break. She’ll have her edits back to me by the start of the new year, I’ll tweak what needs to be fixed, then circulate it to the rest of the committee once she thinks its ready.
I can’t quite articulate how darn exciting this all is. I started grad school in 2008 and hit the ground running like the Type-A personality that I am, immersing myself in research for the project. I had expected to be finished at the end of my second year, in 2010, but so many things got in the way: schoolwork, my TA-ship, and the fact that the scope of my research shifted countless times as I refined my focus.
It’s been difficult, watching my classmates earn their degrees before me and move on. More than once I’ve felt like a failure for not being fast enough, quick enough, but the truth of the matter is that most of them decided to go “quick and dirty” with their MA projects, tackling something small so that they could move on to other topics for the dissertation. That was never my goal. From the start, I’ve wanted to write a MA thesis that would act as a launching pad for my dissertation and beyond. With this project, I think I have that.
Anyway! The really exciting bit about all of this is that I *might* be able to defend my thesis in February, depending on how long it takes the committee to read through and give me feedback… and that means that I just might have a MA degree in time for my 25th birthday! If that is the case, I am having the blowout party to end all parties, since there will be a ton to celebrate. 😀
Finally, I just want to remind everyone that Fun Not Fear!, the NaNoWriMo support group that I’m running with Em, has been launched. If you’re interested, check out our welcome post where you can introduce yourself and learn a bit more about what we’ve got planned. Also, be sure to check out the crazy-awesome mashup of links that we’ve pulled together. There’s everything from reflections and thoughts on NaNoWriMo to a host of resources on writing craft, plotting, and planning.
Be sure to check out this week’s updates from the rest of the ROW80 community. Swing by and show them some love!