Essays and Telly and Books and Wha!

26 Jun

Time has crept on, and The First Essay In Twenty Years is due next week.

In this Venn diagram, there is only a very teeny tiny intersection between Things That We Study In This Unit and Things That I Want To Write An Essay About. And that very small area is shaded red and labelled BAZINGA!

There really is not a huge overlap.

And I was thinking about this on Sunday night, and about what I want to write, and how it’s structured into an Introduction and then there are sort of three main areas to focus on (but the line between two of them is a wee bit woolly, and there is a maybe fourth area as well), which are like Parts A, B and C, and there’s detail in each of those parts, and then there are some general and some more specific conclusions, and a glossary, and some sidebars and OMG I could put in some photos and diagrams and screenshots that really underline the commentary that I want to make. And there is some stuff that other people with all their expertise etc simply may not know, which should be shared.

And then I looked at the word limit for the Essay. Which is 1500 words.

And at the post I made in the unit’s forum. Which is over 1400 words. And does not even BEGIN to address all that fascinating stuff.

And I realised that the thing I want to write is not called an Essay, it is called a Book. Or possibly a Thesis.

Also that I really need to edit forum posts. Brutally.

Because there is WAY TOO MUCH to say about games and 1500 words just doesn’t even come close. I think I might have to write my essay about Telly instead. At least there I have a hope of editing myself.


Posted by on June 26, 2012 in grand plans, not your earth logic, study


5 responses to “Essays and Telly and Books and Wha!

  1. Tara

    June 27, 2012 at 1:38 am

    Or thesis – because would that really be such a bad thing?
    I mean yes, OMG the time commitment, but then you break down into digestible little chunks and before you know it you’ve got a whole lot of things to procrastinate about. And even when you’ve written it there’s all this stuff that was totally relevent but just didn’t quite fit, but at least it wasn’t 12,00 words (or 80-100,000, because what kind of thesis were you not thinking about?) squashed into a tiny 1500 word essay.

    • Melissa

      June 27, 2012 at 10:23 am

      It’s a medium-term plan. First, though, I need to work out how I can study with everything else that is happening in my life. I’m having some trauma today and questioning how I can work – much less study – with everything else that is going on, especially with the Bigster.

      • Jonathan O'Donnell

        June 28, 2012 at 5:52 am

        As I see it, there are two ways to tackle your essay problem:
        + Zero in on THE most fascinating thing and write just 1,500 words on just that thing. Nothing else. Just it. This is what you have diagrammed above.
        + Write a 1,500 word overview of the topic. For other people. You know, those that aren’t as fascinated as you are. Like your lecturer. With links and references (heritage-style links) off to the good stuff.

        Also, photos and diagrams and screenshots don’t count towards your word limit.

        My apologies in advance – I know that I know you know all this already. Because this is what you tell your clients about repurposing their 120,000 words of print content for the Web. Know your audience. Help them out. Break it down. Keep it simple. Illustrate with diagrams. Link off to the other stuff.

        It’s just that, in this case, you don’t have to build the whole Web site. Just the introductory page.

        You might also be interested in…

        What to say when someone asks you: “Should I do a PhD?” by Ehsan Gharaie on The Thesis Whisperer, 7 November 2011

        And on the topic of being brutal to your forum posts and your essays:

        5 ways to kill your darlings by Inger Mewburn on The Thesis Whisperer, 16 June 2010

        Or you could do it as a 1,500 word script for a YouTube video. ‘Cause long videos don’t work either.

        Or lay out the whole topic as a 1,500 word taxonomy. In an hierarchy. With no prose except for the definition of scope for each term. THAT WOULD BE COOL! You would fail (unless your lecturer is a librarian with a sense of humour) but it would still be so cool.

        • Melissa

          June 28, 2012 at 12:29 pm

          I love your thinking.

          Unfortunately the essay has a very narrow topic and is, as I understand it, essentially an overview of an entire area, analysed according to two core criteria. So none of these ideas work (although you know I would TOTALLY do the taxonomy thing).

        • Melissa

          June 28, 2012 at 12:43 pm

          Oh. And also. I am fairly confident that wanting to say “Trust me, I’m a doctor” is not a good reason to do a PhD. But contemplating a Masters, if I get through this essay and some other stuff (and depending on what happens with the Bigster’s health) 🙂


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