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Thursday, June 22, 2006

Writing With Laverne and Shirley

Yesterday was an extremely productive day. I'm working on a project with a colleague and recent graduate (the first Ph.D. student to graduate from our school's new program). We're taking a few of the results from New Ph.D.'s dissertation and recasting them into a paper which will end up in a book of readings.

My colleague, New Ph.D. and I got together yesterday. The colleague had previously put together a rough draft of about 20 pages that contained a very nice game-theoretic model, but without any of the empirical results from the Ph.D.'s dissertation.

So, we met yesterday to rework the first draft. I'm convinced that rewriting goes better in a social setting. We were able to bounce multiple possible phrasings back and forth off each other, and rewrote over 14 pages in a 7-hour stretch. In addition, we had an awful lot of fun. Once we found out that New Ph.D.'s middle name was "Laverne," colleague decided to go by "Shirley" for the rest of the day. Somehow, I ended up as "Lenny" (I tried for Carmine, but it could have been worse).

We also sketched out the work necessary to finish the project, which New Ph.D. and I will try to crank out today.

Looking back, I realize that the papers that I'm most satisfied with (in terms of the quality of the writing/storytelling part) were done in a "social" setting, where one or more of my coauthors and I got together and wrote or edited the paper line by line. There's something about working side by side with coauthors which makes for a much better product (and a lot more fun).

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