Wednesday, 18 June 2008

A PhD is Still Writing

I was going through one of the PhD chapters earlier (the one on canons and their prebends, since you want to know so badly) and I realised something quite annoying. It was really badly written. The actual content was fine; well researched, carefully thought out arguments (even if I do say so myself). It was just the writing style that got to me. I could hardly believe I'd written something so clunky and unreadable.

Two reasons struck me for it. 1- it's quite an old chapter, from before I was making much effort to write, and 2- I think I was making an effort to be as 'academic' sounding as possible. In short, I wasn't letting my writing there be influenced by my writing anywhere else. That's just so idiotic of me. Good writing is good writing, whether I'm using it to tell a story, amuse, or carry an argument in a thesis.

Obviously, I can't make the thing read like a blog, and there probably isn't much scope for characterisation and plot development, but I can at least make it readable, can't I? (Actually, I've just had a better idea. I'll put the whole thing into rhyming verse and see how they like that. Not very much, I suspect.)


Andi said...

I've always wondered what impact great literary theories - Derrida, Foucault - would have had if they had simply written clearly - would they have been heroes or would their work have been seen as bunk?
in either case, I'm with you - write well in all aspects, and you will have done yourself and your work justice.

stu said...

I've come to the conclusion that 'great' philosophers are mostly incapable of writing coherently. Maybe it's because they've got hold of a white hot idea, and they're just trying to keep up. Either that, or they're making it up as they go. With Derrida, it's hard to tell.