Dissertation Blog #1
Tuesday 4th August 2020
Everything’s been a little up in the air this year.
My MA has flown by through the New Year, past my relocation, into a new job and then during COVID-19.
The course is online, so I work full-time as a level 3 teaching assistant for Manchester City Council during term-time. I start my Teach First programme toward earning my teaching qualification and beginning work as a qualified teacher.
At some stage I would like to apply for a PhD course, to progress into an academic career as a researcher and lecturer of creative writing.
My dissertation is a large extract from my first novel, Renegade, in an upcoming series of steampunk-fantasy hybrid fiction. Check out the portfolio page for more information on the series ‘The Chronicles of Paradīsus’.
I designed the book covers for the first subseries as silhouettes to keep the aesthetics simple.
The timetable below shows where I was last month (anything in the colour purple was missed for the allotted deadline set).
I am back on track. With just over 16,000 words for my story extract–and that’s out of the 51,000 which makes up the first draft of book one.
An artist friend of mine is redesigning my setting map alongside three or four illustrations of major characters. These are to be in black and white only, equally dispersed throughout my book.
The second novel is already in the earliest stages of drafting, but this has been put on pause to finalise the first book, of which an extract will determine my dissertation grading.
I’ve started a dissertation vlog; short weekly updates on my progress to maintain pace, productivity and output.
I may even read a short snippet of the most action-based scenes once fully edited and proofread.
I’ve been told on many occasions that I have a naturally patronising voice, probably due to constant stuffiness with allergic reactions or maybe the years of overusing sarcasm has permanently damaged my tone. The children in my class don’t seem to think so. Customers transferred to a call centre I used to work for, they’re a different story. Jolly good I left the customer service sector. I hope you enjoy the video. Keep an eye out for future uploads including our new FibroVlog coming soon.
I want to look at the ways speculative creative writing opens up its readers and helps them to
be cathartic when reading novels as a form of escapism as well as educational relating to real world topics.
My next set of tutor feedback is due soon. I must prepare 2,000 words for the course leader to review. Timing really is everything. These types of scholarly adventures can get out of hand with ill preparation.
In this case, I’m lucky I start on assignments in advance. It stops the cliche last-minute-rush mad-all-nighter-dash to get the work done.
This idea has been bouncing around my brain for many years, but I only got it down on paper during university. Shame the hard-drive I kept the first draft on became corrupted and I had to start from scratch.
The academic research is another challenge. Secondary sources are easy to locate but collecting primary data and acting as the head researcher can be more difficult.
If you want to help with the survey, you can access the study by clicking this link.
It’s 100% anonymous, confidential and for academic purposes only. All information is stored on a password-thumbprint protected laptop and any raw data collected will be deleted on completion (7th September 2020).
There’s also more information and polls in this post here.
My research is looking into the readership market for speculative literature–how to promote, publish and sell stories tailored to the target audience–as well as how that readership views the purpose of genre fiction, e.g. escapism, or entertainment.
Although, technically, I’m still behind my scheduled targets, I’ve got oodles of time to catch up and nothing more in my heart that I want to do but write.
I’d love to hear about what you’re studying, whether through official educational channels or by self-taught methods, and how you organise those studies.
I’ve tried to include my favourite fantasy-steampunk tropes such as the idea of a quest, good versus evil, mythological creatures, industrial mechanics, treasure, political undertones, historical elements, battle scenes and fellowship. I’ve steered clear of multi-race fantasy, there will be no elves, dwarves or orcs in this series. It will test your Norse and Greek mythology knowledge for certain.
The main character, Chaelle, features as the protagonist in these tales and as mere myth in future novels, but supporting characters could appear in future stories.
Local cultures, tribes and communities were based on a variety of true-to-life examples ranging from the Native Americans, hunter/gatherers, farming districts, Egyptians and many notable others.
By the next dissertation update I hope to have completed:
A full first revision of the creative work.
A basic outline to use for a first draft of my research essay.
Analysis of my primary research study.
Begun the read-aloud edit.
We shall see – can I stay on course for my target goal? Tune in next time.
Chronicles of Paradīsus
Legend of Iron Spine
In the Western Continent of Orbis, on a planet -not unlike our own- called Paradīsus, a political dictatorship sweeps across the land. A tribal Inuit goes on the hunt for justice after the genocide of her native people. Armed with her companion Ohanko, an Aksalan jaguar, she storms toward the capital recruiting an army of rebels along the way.