The Ramonat Seminar: Conquering the First Draft

Pictured above is St. Taricisus by Alexandre Falguière, a french sculptor that I found while writing my first draft, who was directly inspired by the child/teen saint’s death scene in the novel Fabiola. While my lamentations overwriting the rough draft were by no means on the same level, his expression mirrored my own when I finally turned it in around 3AM. Over spring break, I was on an Alternative Break Immersion in the Bronx, so had no access to laptops or the like to start my rough draft. But, if I were to be honest with myself, I should have started writing earlier on!

Before I dive into the frustrating aspects, here are some of my triumphs. For one, I finished. It did not hit the 25-page minimum requirement but it’s currently 21, and still something to be proud of. It was 18 pages long, and Prof. Roberts gave me a few days to clean up some scenes I’d left unfinished. Another accomplishment was the fact that I more or less stuck with my thesis and my outline’s structure. While I’m still tweaking my thesis, the overall flow of the paper is good, I believe. And, finally, I am proud of the number of different sources (images, primary text, etc.) I was able to include.

Now, onto the bad in the 6 major sections of my paper (excluding my introduction and conclusion). In general, I definitely need to do more work with integrating my sources in a more natural manner, backing up my statements with more direct citations, as well as not straying from my main argument. More specifically… Continue reading “The Ramonat Seminar: Conquering the First Draft”

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The Ramonat Seminar: Outlining & Challenges 

How is it that a fictional Roman martyr, written by a British theologian in 1854, ended up as a sword swinging, tragic romantic heroine debuting in 1960 in LA?

The process of outlining has been pretty rewarding though it’s had its challenges! Above I’ve posted a tentative (because everything other than my topic is at this point in time) introduction to my research paper. Before I dive into unpacking Fabiola as a text, I must begin by having a clear road map aka an outline. I don’t have a lot to say on this topic but, what I do say hopefully shines a light on the process.

I loved the way my ideas finally came together. It’s been hard trying to map it out in my head, however. While I’ve done my best to gather good sources, I started to feel overwhelmed by them all. Which ones were good and which ones were bad? Which ones are still relevant and which ones aren’t anymore? It was getting harder and harder to slosh through it all, as my Zotero and notes in my word doc. grew.

I had a lot of trouble, at first, getting the outline arranged due to these factors. But, after carefully selecting the handful of sources I absolutely needed, things got much easier for me. Below, I’ve posted a small snippet of the outline. It’s not very long (about 3 pages double-spaced). Despite this fact, it does contain a lot of useful information. I went for a blended style, underlining my own words I hope to refine and use inside of the paper, along with italicized/bulleted list of outside sources to support my arguments.

It has helped me see what my paper will become, a somewhat chronological tale. I’ll begin with a little introduction and move into a historiography of 19th-century literature studies by senior scholars (with an American and English focus). Then, I’ll transition into a bit of history on historical fiction, as a genre, when it was “established” in the early 1900’s. From there, it’s Fabiola from roughly its publication date, to its last film version in 1960/61.

There’s much more to come! March 21 will be how I approached typing up the first draft. Hopefully, it goes as smoothly, more or less, as this outline did.

As always, till then.

P.S I hope all of your birthdays were awesome, any leap year babies out there 🙂