Observe to what extent these different openings inspire you, and choose the approach most appropriate to your topic. For example, do you want to spur emotions, or remain as neutral as possible? How important is the historical background? The exercise can be done in small groups or pairs. Discuss what makes an opening paragraph successful (or not). How does your opening paragraph shed light on what is to follow? What will the reader’s expectations be?
(If good ideas occur to you at this time, save them at the bottom of the page for the discussion section.) Be factual and orderly in this section, but try not to be too dry.
The spoken word versus the act of writing? I have come across many students and colleagues who find that they write much differently than they speak. I feel that writing needs to have a consistent flow and feel fluid to keep its reader engaged. Speaking well and articulating oneself clearly is also something that takes practice. I have found that sometimes recording my words and thoughts via a voice transcribing application is helpful to get ideas out and into a more accessible form. A lot of transcribing software is free for most mobile devices. Much like voice recording the powerful enhancement is to see your words take form after you have said them. You can simply copy and paste the text and edit what is valuable.
This essay is also a work in progress. It’s an ongoing draft in a published format that I will continue updating with new content and fresh ways to simplify the exercises.
The following exercises below were created to help practice and expand thinking about the thesis format criteria above. It is my intention to help my students actively contribute to their thesis over the course of the semester. The exercises can be personalized and expanded upon for your individual needs. I feel that weekly exercises performed with a class or one on one with a partner will work well. The weekly meetings in person are effective. Why? Having a classroom or person-to-person(s) platform for discussion allows for the energy of the body to expose itself. You (and most likely your audience) will take notice as to how you feel when you are discussing the ideas, feelings and concepts that you have written. Are you upbeat and positively charged? Or are you just “matter of fact” and lifeless in your verbal assertions? Writing and speaking should be engaging. Especially if it is about your work! The goal is to entice your reader and audience to feel your convictions and transcend those feelings directly. Awareness of this is huge. It will help you make not only edits in your writing but also make changes in your speaking and how you feel about what you have written.
The format for an MFA thesis in Fine Art (applied arts & digital) will in almost all cases coincide with a final thesis exhibition of completed works. This formats fits accordingly with the thesis exhibition in mind. This is a criteria break down of the structure of the paper. It is a simplified guide. Add or remove what you may for your personal needs.
I teach an MFA and MA course at in NY that puts an emphasis on content and exposure to help students generate their final thesis. The course revolves around several exercises that contribute to the process as a whole broken down into individual isolated parts. Much like your thesis itself, this process is modular, meaning many parts will come and work together to make up the whole. One of the first exercises that I do with this class is identify a thesis template format. This is the basic structure that I have students brainstorm via a series of questions that I ask them. Keep in mind; you most likely already have a default version of this template. This could be the writing format that you learned in high school and had redefined by a professor in college. You may have been forced to use it or suffer the consequences of a poor grade solely on that formatting restriction. This feeling and program may still be running inside of you. So how do we deal with this? Together as a class we discuss and record the answers directly onto a chalkboard (a dry erase board or word document will also do just fine) I ask one of the students to act as the scribe to record the list manually while notes are individually taken also. I later put the information into a re-capped blog post on our class blog. Are you surprised that I use a blog for my class?
You can get started right away. Technology in this area is very accessible and helpful. With use of a blogging platform such as word press one can privately or publicly begin their writing practice and archiving process. Even setting up a basic default blog will do just fine. You can always customize and personalize it later. If a blog does not interest you (but I do hope it does) a word processing document will do just fine. Either way, choosing to wait until your final semester to get started is a really bad idea and poor planning. Are there exceptions to this statement? Of course, and perhaps you will redefine my outlook, and prove me wrong, but until I experience this from someone, let’s make some longer-term plans.
A regular writing practice must be established. This means, you will need to create a plan for how and when practice will take place. The calendar on your mobile device or the computer that you use will work just fine to remind you of these dates and times. Thirty minutes of practice twice a week can work wonders in the installation of a new habit. Are you up for that? Perhaps there is a way to make this decision seem effortless, keep reading.
Thanks for sharing this. I have 3 semesters to go and was already beginning to panic over the idea of writing a thesis this will help me to begin to organize my thoughts. I have promised myself I wouldn’t procrastinate.
Your final thesis is an official archival record of what you have completed, explored and accomplished during the duration of your MFA program. Not only will your thesis be written for yourself, but also it will prove and back up your convictions, theories, assessments and statements for other people. It should be known that the content in this tutorial could also be applied to other writing needs that may be similar to the MFA thesis structure. An MA thesis or undergraduate BFA thesis can also easily follow this format. By all means, you can share it and remix it.