Thursday, December 11, 2008

Thesis and the Minotaur

I'm finally finishing up the first draft of my undergraduate thesis. There's definitely a different set of skills associate with writing a long document, specifically one which is non-fiction. A few times I've found myself explaining something which I then realized that I had covered in a previous section, and the question arises whether to take out or shorten one of the descriptions, or whether to go ahead and explain the same thing twice. Most books seem to go for the latter, which irritates me a bit. I don't need you to tell me the same thing five times, particularly if it's in the same chapter.

And if you are going to go ahead and state things multiple times, should the things stated more often be the things that are more important and/or confusing? I've encountered the same dilemma when writing rules. If one adopts a policy to restate everything until the ratio of concept-statement to concept-difficulty is achieved, the whole thing begins to resemble that Marx Brothers routine in which one side of a mustache is trimmed a bit too much, and then the other, until finally there is no mustache. I want my thesis to retain its mustache, damn it!

Oh, and I hadn't come across this game before, and found it rather interesting, though I mostly just wanted a pun in my title.

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