Fiction Thesis (Help Me!)

In a little over a week, I will officially begin working on my graduate thesis. Which is completely terrifying. Mostly because I have yet to decide what I want to do. So instead of spending the next two weeks freaking out about it, I decided to ask for your help. I really value the opinions of my readers (you guys have raised some really awesome points on book reviews or discussion posts), so I’m curious as to what you think about the direction(s) I’m heading in, or if you have any better ideas. Because let’s be honest: there are always better ideas.

First off, a brief overview of my assignment. Since I’m getting my MA in Fiction, my thesis involves one of two things: I can either complete a collection of short stories or a portion of a novel. I’m not sure which direction I want to take. I’m leaning toward short stories, but only because I think it might be easier to complete (or at least for me to view it as complete). Although I am definitely more inclined to write novels than shorts in general.

Here are my ideas (so far):

The first is kind of a dystopian novel in which the ruling class uses technology to remake themselves into personifications of the Greek gods and oppress the masses. The story centers around one of the new generation of “gods”, which have been basically manufactured in a lab, rather than genetically modified: Athena. She kind of starts to see how corrupt Zeus is, and runs into Hades, the leader of the “human” rebellion, and the story goes from there.

My second idea for a novel isn’t quite as fleshed out, because it’s a bit more recent. Basically, I kind of wanted to write about a magic university with a very diverse cast of characters. This idea kind of stemmed from the characters; they just kind of popped into my head one day (the main character is a cute, feminist African-American girl, who befriends a deaf girl with strawberry-blonde hair and a tall, cocky Asian upperclassman, and they have to fight some as-yet-undetermined evil). I like the characters and the setting, but this story has (as yet) no villain or major conflict. Something I can work on, but I don’t have as much of the story living in my head as the first book.

My final idea is a short story collection about what happens after the fairy tales end. I haven’t decided if I’m going to go with the popular (Disney) versions of the stories, or the originals (which might be difficult because basically everyone dies), but I think it might be fun to work on this. Just off the top of my head, I could write about the Little Mermaid having trouble acclimating to the human world, the seven dwarves being depressed after Snow White leaves to marry prince charming, what happened to Cinderella’s evil stepmother, etc. This one’s more of a fun project, but I’m not sure if it’s thesis material.


I would really love to hear your input on this! I am extremely indecisive, and this is causing some major anxiety (as if I wasn’t already worried enough about having to write a grad school thesis). Any and all questions, comments, constructive criticism, and totally different ideas are welcome! Thanks in advance – I’m excited to hear what you have to say!

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17 thoughts on “Fiction Thesis (Help Me!)

  1. I love all three ideas to be honest. But if I think about which one I would be most likely to pick up in a bookstore, it would probably be the second one. I have read quite some fairytale retellings, and it is quite hard to make them feel both nostalgic and unique (and not depressing, especially the after ever after). But if done well, it’s something I would be interested in too. Overall though, I love the sound of the second one most. Best of luck!

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    1. Thanks for your feedback! If I’m honest, that’s the story I’m leaning toward, too. I’m just scared because it needs more development. Even if I don’t choose it for my thesis, it’s still something I want to work on in the future.

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  2. If I had to pick one that most appealed to me it would probably be the fairy tales, just because that’s right up my street. The others sound great though, and truth be told I’d read them all, which I know probably isn’t very helpful 😋

    Best of luck whichever you end up choosing. I’m sure if you trust your gut you’ll go with the right one 😊

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  3. I love the idea of the fairy tale endings, but if you’re pulling to the second choice (which also sounds great!), I think you should go with that. You should choose the one that most excites you, because you’ll be working so hard on it. I think. I know that doesn’t help much, as you’re probably excited about them all. 🙂

    No one has mentioned above that the first option is also good. It sounds really intriguing! I can see why you’re undecided. Go with your gut!

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  4. They all sound like great ideas, the short story one is definitely one that struck out at me because it seemed somewhat funny and also definitely unique, I like how your thinking of talking about how the dwarfs are depressed and ariel having trouble in the human world. It seems like something you won’t see anywhere else, also it’s honest and truthful like the truth about fairytales.

    Your second idea is also really interesting though and definitely fits within a sort of YA category, if you are only writing part of the novel though will you be able to set the context and setting of this idea whilst having something interesting and enticing like the villian and the heroes interacting and incorporating action scenes. Unless you can write the whole novel or if the section you have to hand in needs to be rather a large word count?
    Sorry I haven’t got a clue about MA’s so I probably am really wrong or thinking in the wrong direction, good luck! I look forward to seeing what you go with or if you come up with anything else 😀

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    1. I actually didn’t even think to check word counts (or any of the other major requirements) until I read your comment. Clearly, I’m on top of things. We’re supposed to turn in the beginning of the novel or a collection of short stories totaling 10,000-15,000 words. Which isn’t all that much. But now that I’m reading all the other requirements, I have to really think about what I’m going to choose.

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  5. If it were me, I’d go with the short stories, because I could whip those out in no time. But since you’re leaning toward option two, go with that! I’d read all of them. And thanks for reminding me to get back to my post-Snow White dwarf story!

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  6. These all sound great. Of all of them, I’d probably pick up the first one in a bookstore (because OBVIOUSLY whichever one it is will be published one day). You sound like you have a much clearer direction with this one, which I think is good considering you have to write it for a pretty big reason.
    If you’ve already decided, please ignore everything I just said 🙂

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    1. I love this comment! Thanks so much! I have still totally not decided – I have actually written a partial draft of the first one, which is probably why it sounds more thought out. I guess I just feel weird writing fiction for school. Which is probably not the best going into a creative writing masters haha

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  7. Try to go with your gut. I know that it isn’t very decisive, but which one is feeling the most ‘itchy’? And yeah, be practical. I am also trying to keep a narrow(er) focus. Just starting my thesis also, in a different discipline, and keep pinging off new ideas that are really just going down rabbit holes! A Masters thesis word count is not huge. And the time frame is a major consideration regarding content. I feel your pain!

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