Day 21: What if your manuscript’s misfit is actually your argument's through-line?

This post is from the 30-day reflective writing series I made for Academic Writing Month (November 2018). For background on the series and links to all the videos, visit this page. To turn on subtitles: On a computer, hover at the bottom of the video window to make the row of icons appear; click on the “settings” icon (which looks like a cog), and select “Subtitles.” On a phone, the “subtitles” icon is in the bottom right corner of the screen.


  • In yesterday’s question, we focused on releasing a piece of our manuscript that we know no longer belongs, now that our argument has evolved. Today, think about a piece of your manuscript or project that you’re not ready to release, but can’t figure out where to put. This could be an idea, theme, character, claim — anything you’ve been thinking of as a conceptual chunk in your argument, that you haven’t been able to find a home for within your argument.

  • You may have tried putting this piece in several different places in your manuscript, and you may have contemplated discarding it. Now, consider a third option. Imagine this piece as a through-line of your entire argument: something that is present in the introduction and conclusion, and linked to at various points across the body of the argument. Could it be that the reason the piece doesn’t seem to fit anywhere is that it actually belongs everywhere?

  • Whatever direction you go in your response to this question, hopefully this exercise will bring greater clarity on the structure and framing of your argument. It’s possible this exercise will lead you to conclude the piece does indeed need to be released, but now you can feel surer of that decision.

Posted on November 20, 2018 and filed under reflection questions, #AcWriMo.