It was a dark and stormy night. Actually, it was more like a regular day, partly cloudy, but most definitely last semester when I began to write a 5,000 word essay for the Critical Approaches to Design module. Open to any topic, I decided to explore the use of Surrealism in Guinness advertising. My hope was that certain research would require multiple trips to the pub and interviews with pink elephants. The sober reality was a hefty research document and multiple drafts (rather than draughts) to really define how I would link the Flâneurs, Gilroy’s zoo animals and pint drinking squirrels into one document. More on that later.
It was during this module that an A5 flyer went around campus calling all students to enter the Student New Angle Prize (SNAP) writing competition. A 500 word essay about East Anglia, it was the first time this competition was introduced to UCS. I probably would have put myself forward for root canal to put off Harvard Referencing my essay, but this was much more enjoyable and with a handsome cash prize to be won, I clicked “Open New Document” and began typing.
I wrote about my personal experiences with ringing church bells. In 500 words I aimed to cover how I was introduced to this particular English tradition, give some insights into the complex world of ringing, recount my achievement of ringing a peal and conclude with the overall concept that the bells provide a soundtrack to East Anglia. Easy, no? This week the winners were announced and I was awarded second place! A fantastic result, the Chairman of the trustees of the Ipswich Institute presented me with the runner up award and some gracious insights about why my entry was chosen.
Now back to other things in black and white: Guinness! When writing a critical analysis of 5,000 words there is the temptation to view the sea of type and say, ‘YES! I’ve made it, let’s submit this badboy!’ It’s hard to go back, delete whole paragraphs even, and focus on the scope of the essay. The SNAP competition was a nice half pint taster of why that is absolutely necessary. Revision and alterations make perfect. It takes time and a ruthless hand to cross out repetitive
and repeating sentences, check your/your’e spelling correctly and have it viewed by a fresh pair of eyes. But the work does pay off.
Just over the horizon lies my final year dissertation. Some dutch courage may be required but with the experiences of the Critical Approach module and SNAP, I feel I’m in a good position to tackle it. All in all I’d say good things come to those who write…and write…and revise…and write again…