Looks like I might have to rethink that former point I made about “doing less in the library” slightly…
Having just received feedback on my recent proposal for the Practice in Context module there were some key criticisms of my plan for the next few months; in particular a strong point was made of me lacking much in the way of theoretical sources and journals, something I can’t really argue with. While I’ve been doing a fair few write ups on films, books and comics in the cyberpunk vein – and more recently the detective/noir genre – its true that I’ve been making most of the connections and observations myself, rather than referring to published sources on the matter. Frankly, this is a dimension of my studies I’ve neglected far longer than I should have so it looks like I’ll be scouring library archives in the near future for relevant papers and publications on my subject matter – being better informed certainly wouldn’t hurt.
The other big criticism that was made besides this was my lack of a clear-cut question or goal to address in the module’s concluding academic essay. I’d outlined a vague intention to ‘build up a picture of the most successful approaches in the comic book industry’ without providing a firm statement of intent. The idea of having everything planned out in advance is one which doesn’t sit particularly well with me given the changeable nature of my schedule and possible approaches, many of the professionals I’ve contacted are yet to respond to my pleas for their time and I’m still not 100% exactly what I’ll be attending when.
Much as my plan of action remains tentative, so the question itself is liable to change but for sake of providing a fixed focus to begin working around I have devised the following guideline for myself:
‘Researching the context of my medium/chosen genre and identifying comparable conventions within them, which niches and publication/distribution routes would be most appropriate to my work?’
I realise that sounds a little clunky, but for now at least it gives me a better idea of the exact direction my research should be heading in. The best thing I can do for now is just to push forward and reinforce the ideas more considerately as they develop.