The Quick(ish) Descent to Thesis Insanity: (Mostly) Redemptive Song

I had my meeting with my advisor yesterday, the big two hour kind of  
meeting where we went over my novel with fine-toothed combing  
mechanism, and I can report, confidently, that I didn’t die. The  
scariest part was sitting in front of her with the manuscript and  
watching her move around her office (as if she was putting it off!),  
then finally sitting down, sighing and saying, “Well, um, ok.”

But, friends, her intentions were neither cold-hearted nor snake-
like
. She had  good things to say (for the most part). It seems the  
re-writes I did brought the novel into coherence and upped the  
tension throughout. She loved certain scenes involving a character I  
added as sort of an afterthought, and she was able to think about my  
book in the sort of analytical way that smart people think about  
things. Okay, yes, she now hates my first chapter, and yes,  
apparently chapter four isn’t exactly “logical by any sense of the  
word”, but overall, not that bad! My favorite part of our two hour  
meeting involved her asking about whether I did something because of  
some sort of complicated, subtle symbolism when I think I just did it  
because I had seen a particularly moving episode of Friday Night  
Lights
right before I started to write.

Other highlights: “You could potentially keep this part if you just  
made it…hmmm…you made it much, much smarter. And funny.”

“I’m having difficulty telling the difference between these two  
characters.”
“Well, Jay has blond hair.”
“Yeah, um, that wasn’t really what I meant.”

“This part kind of reads like a bad college guidebook.”
“Like Barron’s?”
“No. Like one that didn’t get published.”
“The Princeton Review?”
“Stop.”

So now I have official orders. And strategy. I have to turn in the  
new ending to the book at the end of next week, all of the vignettes  
(my book has vignettes!) by the end of the following week and then  
make all of the changes that we talked about in this meeting before I  
turn it in to my advisor and reader on April 18. For anyone not  
keeping track at home, that’s eight extra days that I didn’t think I  
was going to have! I can write at least infinity words in eight days,  
so that has taken some of the pressure off. I now have time to play  
the Big Cat in several games of Stratego (editorial note: I am VERY  
good at Stratego. And it’s cheating if you surround your flag with  
bombs) and occasionally shower.

Also, March Madness starts today. Everything–for the time being–is  
coming up Milhouse! Kevin. I assume this will change in the next 36 hours.  
Onward. I hope your weekend is chillaxed yet intensely fulfilling.

Gettin Jiggy,
Wit It

Will Smith

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7 thoughts on “The Quick(ish) Descent to Thesis Insanity: (Mostly) Redemptive Song

  1. Tom

    Well, man, it looks like things are amazingly good in Kev Land as of the writing of this blog. The real question is, how strong are your powers of procrastination? I believe I’m man enough to squander an extra eight days of reprieve…are you?

    Seriously, glad to hear the good news.

    I had no clue they even made Stratego anymore. I thought it was retired back in the 70s.

  2. Genevieve

    I liked this bit of dialogue:
    "This part kind of reads like a bad college guidebook."
    "Like Barron’s?"
    "No. Like one that didn’t get published."
    "The Princeton Review?"
    "Stop."

    You should put it in your book somewhere. And the Paula Abdul reference was good, but the nod to Milhouse was bombdiggity awesome.

    See! We told you it would be ok. You say that she actually "loved" certain scenes in your book? There are people in everyone’s life who throw around the word "love" loosely, but one can never say that about someone who critiques writing. Keep it up, man.

  3. Shelly

    Wow, I thought I was the only one left with a love for playing Stratego. Have you ever been able to get your spy to find the flag?

    So eight more days… that’s awesome, now you can spend quality time rolling around in the love of March Maddness, tracking your online bracket and talking to trash to all your friends because you picked for Drake and UConn to lose.

    Loved the Paula Abdul reference, I didn’t even need to click the link, just read it and laughed.

  4. Kristan C.

    EIGHT extra days! Not one, not two, but eight! That’s, like, magicalness.

    Yesterday, I climbed a couple of San Francisco hills. As I stood looking out at the bay, I recalled how I’d recommended this as a meditative and restorative activity when you were visiting the Left Coast. It seemed like a good suggestion at the time. Yesterday, it just seemed sweaty. Hmpf.

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