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…

  1. Historical Fiction and the Victorian Novel
    • Currently, two pages but is very repetitive
  2. Scholarship, Methodology, and the Rise of Illustration
    • My historiography is basically non-existent. This is partially due to the lack of substantial critical scholarship on the text
    • I did not mesh my sources well when discussing how I’ll be talking about Fabiola
    • The transition into illustrations and that section as a whole are awkward
    • Too many “I” statements!!!
  3. Fabiola; or, The Church of the Catacombs
    • Longest and probably the strongest part of my paper, though I can do a lot more literary analysis than I’ve done/quote from the actual text
    • Transitions very sloppy and choppy
  4. Fabiola’s Legacy in Novels
    • Unfinished and rambling
    • I need to more critically engage the separate novels to prove my point
  5. Fabiola’s Legacy in Plays
    • Non-existent
    • I need to find a way to talk about them
  6. Fabiola’s Legacy in Film
    • A mess, point blank. While there’s a lot to work with, I need to find the language to speak about them more clearly
    • I don’t have the second version of Fabiola and that might throw a monkey wrench in my whole plan!!!

It’s now a waiting game for my Professor’s feedback to move forward. I leave you all with the first version of Fabiola in film form. It’s out of order (one in order is on the sidebar to the right of the screen via Youtube) but, being able to read the little cue cards if you don’t understand Italian is very nice!




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