Thursday, June 28, 2012

Flappers and Narwhals: A Thesis Adventure!

Formspring time!

How is your thesis book coming along?

Very well, thank you. It's a little slow at times, but I'm only a few weeks away from writing the conclusion.

If anyone's been checking my Figment page over the last few months, you've probably noticed that besides the occasional contests, my updates have slowed down considerably.  There's a good reason for that. 

My third and final year of graduate school is approaching and in order to earn my diploma, there is one last epic task that I must complete: writing a finished, polished manuscript. My thesis. 

No matter what genre you work in - whether it be fiction, nonfiction, or poetry - this is the usual requirement for graduation (besides, you know, getting good grades and all that). Fiction writers have the option of either writing a novel manuscript or a short story collection manuscript for their thesis. 

After much deliberation, I decided to take on a novel. 

The last year is usually spent working closely with one's thesis director and committee; we gather together, talk about revisions, and then I go back to my office and scratch my head until I figure out the best plan to attack my editing. In order to this successfully, and get the best feedback I can, I must complete the first draft of my thesis before returning to school.

So that's what this summer is for. I have been writing every single day to reach that goal.

Because it's a school-related writing project, I'm not able to share it. However, I can tell you a little about it. 

My thesis is set in a fantasy world inspired by the 1920's. There is a girl who studies shipwrecks and lore. There is a boy who speaks to numbers. 

This novel is bursting with flappers, lighthouses, gramophones, an adventurer's club, deaths, narwhals, pocket watches, keys, wooden props, a castle, islands, witching waves, candy floss, ocean liners, violets, a carnival city, squash racket matches, captains, sailors, saltwater swimming pools, childhood crushes, fire, and foul storms. 

I've been listening to a lot of The Hush Sound and A Fine Frenzy, two bands I've adored for a while. I've also been filling my iPod with a ton of electro swing. 

My research books include, but are not limited to a 1927 reproduction of a Sears catalogue and an early history of ocean liners. 

And of course, there's always bits of inspiration to be found along the way: 

Richard Barthelmess, you're terribly cute. 

The anatomy of a 20's girl! 

And of course, a happy helping of Fatty Arbuckle and Buster Keaton's misadventures.


  1. ohhh your novel sounds so yummy - you always manage to pack in more wonder & delight with each new work. happy writing; hope this summer is really productive!

    1. Thanks, Janelle!

      Me too! I'm trying not to get too distracted by other things :)

  2. That sounds amazing. Too bad we don't get to read it. :'( Good luck writing it and I hope it blows your college professors away!

    1. Yay! Aw, you will. I'm hoping to show a sneak preview of it in the spring.

      Thanks! I like to surprise them with some strange ideas, haha. They are all excellent at helping me improve my writing :)

  3. 1920's .... pocketwatches ... gramophones .... jazz age ... flappers ... lighthouses..... TOO .... MUCH .... EXCITEMENT!!!

    You have overloaded my brain.

    Deep breaths Ben .... gonna be a while before you get to read this. Now just calmly back away from the computer and let this poor gal finish her thesis ....

    1. Bwahaha. I think I've overloaded my MS too ;)

      I'm sure you'll get to take a look at it sooner than you think, haha. I have a feeling that this school year will move very quickly :D

  4. What a wonderfully unique idea!! If you haven't already, I really suggest reading some of Catherynne Valente's work. Her stories are whimsical, fantastical, and unique, much of what I think your story is turning out to be.

    Will you eventually publish your novel? I can't imagine being barred from this lovely idea forever, hehe !


    1. You're right; Valente is a genius. Not only are her books fantastic, but her blog posts are very inspiring :)

      Yes, I hope so! I want to start submitting it as soon as it's all polished and approved by the committee! Aw, thanks you!

  5. I have nominated you for a blogging award:

  6. So, did you finally complete the thesis? From the sound of your story, you really got all things under control. Well, it is certainly good to have things organize so that you can avoid having problem with your thesis. But, if you think you’re in trouble, website like this can really help out. Just make sure the one you would use are trustworthy.