Thursday, March 1, 2012

And The Results Are In!

My meeting with Dr. Burton about my research paper was certainly enlightening. Not that he didn't say anything I wasn't expecting content-and-grammar wise, but there were a few fun twists to the plot! Where to begin becomes the question...

I suppose I shall begin by giving a brief overview of what Dr. Burton had to say about the content of my paper. Now, known of this surprised me--I've had the same criticism on other papers in the past--but it becomes relevant when you look at how I formatted a rather abstract paper.

  • First and foremost, there was a bit of question concerning my thesis. It was a well-fleshed out thesis--that's another thing I've had trouble with before, so I was extra careful--but I didn't quite... place it correctly? I suppose that's a good way to put it. Rather than having the thesis present throughout the entire paper, I didn't really come to hit on what I was trying to prove until the last section or two of my paper. Section, not paragraph. You'll see how I set it up if you look at the paper via the link at the end of the post. Now, I knew this was coming. I could tell while I was writing it that I was a little bit weak on the beginning. Dr. Burton's suggestion is to go through and place little teaser sentences about the thesis while I'm going about setting it up with all of the secondary sources I discuss.
  • The other comment he had to make was about primary sources; again, I saw this coming. Because I'm going in such an abstract angle about Shakespeare, I had a hard time finding a way to correlate an original primary source by Shakespeare with the rest of the paper. I was somewhat hoping to use the excuse that the examples of Fanfiction I found and discussed could somehow float that boat as primary sources, but alas. His suggestion was to focus on one play. Probably Hamlet, because the Fanfiction piece I selected would probably be easier to identify with the primary source. 
Now than, how in the world can I continue on this revenue as a combined project the rest of the class can have imput on? Fanfiction is a virtual playground for commenting--I love going over there far more than I do on the blog, just because so many people are actually actively responding--but what else can be done? I've had some silly ideas--creating my own piece of Shakespeare Fanfiction, with imput and directorial advice from the class, compiling an archive of Shakespeare Fanfiction that would stand as proof of my claim that it is a superior source of adaptation. Dr. Burton even briefly mentioned turning my paper into a work of Fanfiction! Little does he know, but the second he said it I already had a few basic ideas on how that could be done. Maybe that seems a little unrealistic, but that's what Fanfiction authors have trained themselves to do: take even the littlest comment from a TV show or book, and use that as a basis for a full-blown piece of work. Now, my ideas for the piece are somewhat walking the line between Fanfiction and an original work--which I also do, and I have a sister site to called that hosts original work if you'd be interested in checking that out--but because it's based off of Shakespeare I could probably swing it.

How about it? How geeky are we wanting me to get?

Oh, and the paper link: Analyzing Amateur Adaptations


  1. Hey Cortnie, I read your paper and your ideas about you could turn your academic essay into a piece of fanfiction. I guess I am pretty confused about how we can turn our scholarly essays into something like that (that is kind of what Professor Burton suggested for my essay). The academic papers do not have plot, characters, or setting and the only thing that I can think of would be to make that stuff up and then create dialogue between the characters discussing the main points of my paper. What I really wanted to do was put the claim I made in my thesis into practice (try a modern adaptation of a Shakespeare play into film) which is something that you have already done with you Shakespeare fanfiction page. I am just discussing my problems about the creative essay but if you are having the same problems then we can brainstorm together. The only thing from you actual paper that might need some clarification is your assertion in your conclusion that "With this freedom, amateur authors develop a more pronounced method of interpretation towards Shakespeare, able to perform in-depth character creation (and thus analysis) and adaptation that points towards a scholarly nature. What amateur fanfiction writers are today will eventually become the professional scholars and adapters of tomorrow." How is character creation the same as in-depth character analysis? How does it point towards a scholarly nature? (there is a lot of creativity but the examples you provided usually ignored key aspects of Shakespeare's plays and/or characters). I can see how the amateur fanfiction writers could become prominent adapters in popular mediums such as the novel or film (or are you arguing that fanfiction itself will become the popular medium of tommorrow?) but I do not see how they will make the jump into the academic arena.

  2. You mentioned that the idea of creating your own piece of fanfiction for Shakespeare was silly and I disagree. To me that seems like a very fitting direction to take this. In your paper you argue for fanfiction's relevance and I can't think of a better way to back up your claims than to create some Shakespeare fanfiction and then maybe include some commentary on the ways that it has opened the original work up to you. It seems you were talking about fanfiction as a sort of stepping stone to professional adaptations and/or academic responses and I think it would be cool to see you go through that process and document it along the way. Maybe you could include a running commentary with your fanfiction piece that explains the new insights you are gaining about the play.