Saturday, May 19, 2007

Letters I've Written, Never Meaning to Send

So I'm sitting here in a coffee shop trying to get some writing done. Or more accurately, I'm really just trying to plan some writing, and even that's not happening. See, the work I've been doing for the past while has to do a few different things. I might end up turning some of it into a job talk, and part of it'll certainly be its own essay at some point. But right now, I'm getting set to write this stuff up as a chapter of my dissertation.

The problem is, it's the chapter that's really nothing but a random salad of background material for later chapters. I can't leave parts out just because they don't fit into any nice, compelling narrative thread that could tie the chapter together. It's all got to be in there to set up the next two chapters.

So here's where I'm stuck. How do I transition from one part of the chapter to a completely unrelated part of the chapter? "Meanwhile, back in the Fortress of Solitude. . . ." Or maybe I should just make the key section heading, "Segue!" I'm getting desperate here. Seriously.


P.G.O.A.T. said...

PGS, this here strikes me as an appropriate time to repeat to you a very important piece of advice. It's something we all know, but must be reminded of from time to time:

No one will read your dissertation. No one.

Get over these delusions of elegance. Bang the thing out. Worry about the structure when you're making it into a book.

Anonymous said...

Just in case you're monitoring your comments on this old item:

pgoat's advice is good. Also, I'd say that most important thing to just to write the fricking stuff down first. If you know what the bit and pieces of background are that you need for later on, just write those up. Go ahead and say "and now back in the fortress of solitude" if that's the easiest way to slap in transitions. You can always prettify it later, figure out a better frame, or whatever. The important is not to spend a bunch of time sitting and staring at your computer screen.