Saturday September 25, 2004

Final Draft

I haven't been blogging about my progress in order to actually make progress, but I finished a final draft of my Master's thesis last night. It currently stands at 89 pages and 16,175 words—a long novelette. I refer to 43 different books and articles, mostly grammars of particular languages because it's a cross-linguistic survey of coordination strategies. I've reached this point about six weeks later than I originally planned, and it really needed to happen before the quarter started. I just squeaked it in under the wire.

Formatting relies heavily on Doulos SIL, and I learned a lot about how to make Word XP sit up and beg. I approached formatting the same way I approach software projects: I started writing, got 1/3 of the way in and realized the styles were a disastrous mess, stopped and took the time to completely revamp the styles to be lovely and clean, and then finished without further incident. Very satisfying.

All that remains, after a final grammar-and-style pass by The Wife, is to send off the draft to my readers and cross my fingers. I'm nervous about their reactions. The thesis is longer than I'd intended even after I cut pretty aggressively—30-50 pages is the suggested target length—and since it's a survey of languages, it's possibly they'll ask me to go back and look again at all 30 of the languages in my sample for some detail I overlooked. Let's hope not.

While I was working on the big draft, posting here felt like being unfaithful to my thesis—it had a right to expect my full writing attention, don't you think?—but now that I'm done, expect the rate of posting to pick up. I've got posts brewing about Vance's The Languages of Pao, Ted Chiang short stories, the ST:TNG episode "Darmok", the Science Fiction Museum, Sky Captain, Word formatting, and PDF conversion. Hmm, I'll bet I can title the last one in such a way that it becomes the number one Google hit its subject, like this post did, so I'll have to make sure my explanation is clear.

I'm off to see a slide show at the salle—the official FIE photographer at the Olympics is a member, and he's going to show us the cream of his 15,000 (!) fencing photos from Athens. (I want a poster of this photo.) After that, I'll start working my way through the Star Wars trilogy on DVD, which I bought myself last night at 11:00 as a reward.

[Now playing: "Wet Blanket" by Metric]

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Congrats on getting your final draft finished. I can understand your frustration with word and formatting. Personally for anything that requires formatting I use Microsoft publisher.

Enjoy the freedom of being finished.

Posted by: Blinger at Sep 25, 2004 9:45:28 PM