Sunday, October 15, 2006

Proposal Woes

Just when I thought that everything was moving along rather smoothly as regards the fall's crop of grant proposals (one down, three in progress), I received a rude shock.
One of the said fellowships, which will remain nameless here, requires submission of a completed chapter. Now, of course, no chapter is truly complete until the dissertation is complete. Obviously, one picks a chapter that looks sufficiently complete and polishable for the purpose.
Of my chapters, it seemed to me that the first chapter was in the most nearly final state and could easily be made to appear finished. I inquired of my advisor, a month or so ago, whether she thought there was any reason to avoid using the first chapter. She replied that the first chapter ought to be an especially good candidate, because it lays everything out for the reader.
I proceeded to work away at tidying up the first chapter--throwing out anything that was incomplete or questionable about it--and wrote up a nice conclusory bit leading to the next chapter. It was pretty much complete and required only, I think, a thorough proofreading.
This fellowship is one whose basic instructions are on a public web page, which was where I had gotten my information about the need for the chapter, how long the proposal itself had to be, and so forth. One does the actual application via an online, password-protected site. I had filled out some of the information on the initial pages of this site but was putting most of my energy into writing the proposal and fixing up the chapter.
This morning I decided that it was time to fill in more blanks on the online application. In doing so, I proceeded farther in it than ever before, and made the appalling discovery that, on the very last page of the online application, one is instructed that the sample chapter cannot be over 25 pages and must not be an introduction or conclusion.
This was very annoying and disheartening. While it would not be so hard to lop off 5 pages of the 30-page chapter I had planned to submit, I am unsure that there is any way of making it appear to be other than Chapter 1.
Evidently the remainder of my day will have to be devoted to examining my other chapters in search of 25 pages' worth of material that can be fashioned into a complete-looking chapter. Since I am not short of material, I know it can be done, but I am thoroughly disgusted.


Blogger Kristen said...

Oh dear! My sympathies! Back to my own &*^%^&* grant writing ...

October 16, 2006 1:46 AM  

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