Academia

So, the plan to wake up ‘early’ (I’d set my alarm for 10:30am) did not quite play out, but I did go in to  uni and do some research on my topic, enough to get some notes and non-academic resources out of it. I set 5 days aside to get this thing done, but now I don’t think I’ll need them – 3 or 4 seems more likely as long as I’m actually doing the work, and today was a decent start. Could have been better, but first attempts generally go that way. I’m confident that I’ve got enough momentum to carry me through here. My goal for today is to come up with a research question, as we’re meant to come up with our own, and then tomorrow just find a ton of academic resources to build an argument with.

I also got the first of my 3 YA novels from The Book Depository, which is the first Vampire Academy book, so I’ll probably start on that tonight after I come up with my research question. Or, alternatively, I’ll start on it after I’m done with all of this assignment stuff. Passion for my YA project having drained away, the upshot has turned out to be getting much more excited about Tallulah again, which is, I would say, a win, not merely a balancing-out of circumstances. I’m starting to see possibilities, exciting new directions that build on what I’ve got going with this revision, and I want to see how they look once this revision is done, so wanting to get this revision done is obviously very serendipitous.

It really is funny how you’ve got to spend time to make time. Yesterday at around this time I was fretting about how little time I had to do anything; this evening I’m pretty confident that I can get three things done – formulate an essay question, revise a chapter and then either draft a bit of my YA WIP or read a bit of Vampire Academy. Since the movie’s coming out soonish I’m certainly interested to know what all the fuss is about, and of course join the book-purist bandwagon. (Also I’m seeing a movie tonight. So possibly 4 things will get done. Not bad.)

And it’s also research. I have all of these assumptions about what YA ‘is’, but I’ve only seen a few examples of it – high-profile examples that have been turned into movies, for the most part. I loved the trope-heavy nature of the City of Bones film, and that was definitely the biggest influence on Mortal Foil/Foiled/what’s in a name I’ll think it up later, but I have started to really feel the restriction of only taking influence from one source, even if that source itself took inspiration from several other things. So I’m looking forward to expanding my perceptions of what YA means.

Or alternatively all three of these novels will follow a really similar formula and I’ll learn nothing new. We’ll see.

The other thing that I’m looking forward to is the fact that all of these books are written by women; about 90% of my bookshelf is devoted to male authors, and aside from anything else it would be nice to start moving towards balancing that out a bit. But mostly, as I’m all about gender stuff, it’s always interesting to see how men and women write differently – and similarly. Growing up with a lot of male authors undoubtedly shaped my writer’s voice a certain way as a writer, so there’s also the prospect of expanding my influences in that regard.

As an exercise, last night I copied a page from that JG Ballard book I’m still crawling through just to see how the style felt to write. I think it’s got to be more than one page to get a real sense for how and why a different writer chooses their words and structures their sentences, pacing and whatnot, but it’s a really interesting exercise nonetheless, cloning somebody else’s voice into your writing history. I will definitely do it again, and would advice any other writers out there to give it a try. And now I’ll probably go try and construct an essay question before I get too tired.

It’s good to be doing things again.

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