Monday, April 13, 2009

Ryan's Prospectus Update

Mom said I ought to post what happened to me today, so here goes.

I've been working on my prospectus over the last few weeks. The prospectus is a formal proposal to the English Department. You tell them what you want to do for your thesis, you tell them why, and you tell them what material you'll be drawing from. With a creative thesis like mine, they want to know what genre your project falls under and what work you'll be doing within the genre.

I put off my prospectus because I worried my project wasn't "academic" or "literary" enough, and that turning in a prospectus would only expose my hackery to my peers. But I've been working on this master's degree for a while now and figured it was time to kick things in gear. So I set up an appointment with my committee chair for today, asking him to proof my prospectus. I cringed when I emailed it to him this morning, and at 2:00 I knocked on his door, expecting to get my clock cleaned. ("You call this a prospectus?!")

He said it looked great. There were a few small points he thought I should clarify, but he signed off on it. He also suggested some conferences and workshops over the summer that might be worth looking into, for making contacts with agents and publishers and such. Needless to say, I was very relieved when I left his office.

Next I tapped on the door of another professor. See, I need to have three professors signed onto my committee, and I only had two--my chair and another professor recommended by my chair. For the third member of the committee, I selected a professor I'd taken two workshops from. He was familiar with my project and had given me some very positive feedback. But every time I tried to contact him, he'd been out.

Not today.

He answered the door and invited me right in. I asked him to be a reader on my committee. He inquired when I planned on defending and I told him in the fall. Grimacing, he leafed through his files and confessed he was already on eight other thesis committees due for defense in the fall. I told him I understood, but he interrupted and asked what I was working on again. I told him it was my angel story, and he nodded and considered that for a moment.

"I really want to be in on this story," he said finally. "So I'll say yes to you and no to the next person who comes to my door."

He signed my form and told me not to send him anything until the beginning of fall semester. I practically floated out of his office and back to work at the Bookstore.

All I need to do now is tighten up the prospectus and turn it in next week with my committee's signatures. And then finish my novel, naturally. It's coming along nicely, and I'm meeting with a great writing group every week. It's good to have a deadline, and the feedback is always very helpful.

And that's my good news for the day.


Mike and Judy said...

Hurrah for sympathetic Professors. Good luck to you and I hope you find the quiet time to finish the book- easier said than done with 2 littles at home!

trumpet girl said...

We are so excited for you Ryan! We will the first ones at Barnes and Noble to buy your book when it is published!

Mom Alleman said...

I know that you have already told us your great news--but it was fun to read about it, too! Keep up the good work, Ryan. We'll see you soon.