Friday, 31 August 2012

Actually working on my rationale

For my dissertation, I have to hand in 20k of the novel, then write a 3000 word rationale about it. Why I did what, basically, with some reference to the learning curve that got me there, a commentary in OU speak. Easy, huh? Well, I can honestly say it's the hardest part of my MA for me, and I've held back from doing it. I think I may have written the whole of A Baby's Bones as a displacement activity to get out of writing the rationale. If I ask for another year's extension I may write two more books to get out of writing it.

It's not the words - I did two and a half thousand today. It's just that the words have to be academically literate, well referenced etc. I can write an academic essay in my sleep - anything about psychology, go on, test me. maybe not about computer modelling of cognitive processes, I've forgotten all that. I just didn't grow up in an arts subject, I don't do footnotes, I don't understand the idea of the rationale, at least not well enough to be secure about it. So I took a deep breath, read the last few chapters of Amanda Boulter's book Writing Fiction, which has a sort of checklist about what a rationale should be like, read a distinction level rationale, and then dived into it. I don't know if it's any good, and I'm sticking to Harvard referencing, but I'm going to need at least a day to do all the references. I've got about forty so far...

A Baby's Bones is off to my agent, and no. 1 son and I are reading it to find dodgy bits and repetitions. I do it by reading it out loud, Kez does it on the computer with track changes on. It's not bad but ouch, alliterations are everywhere, some of the dialogue is a bit stilted, and there are some confusing sentences. It makes me wince that anyone is reading it, but they will help me work on it later. I've also sent it to the lovely Nicola Vincent-Abnett, who kindly offered to give me some feedback. It's still fun to work on.   


  1. I can understand wanting to put that off. Good luck. I'm sure you'll do great.

    1. It all seems so long ago, now I've written a whole book since Borrowed Time!