Why on earth would anyone assign a paper of 20-25 pages? As a teacher, such an assignment condemns you to have to read all those pages. And it seems to encourage, almost to require, excessive wordiness and obfuscation, a.k.a. bullshit.
Since it's a seminar paper, a single paper at the end of a full course, and since I will never see teacher feedback on it or revise it, perhaps I should view this in the process-over-product fashion:
The 20-page paper is not the point so much as the mental energy expended on synthesizing ideas and the mediation of those ideas, through language, into learning. That's what it will be for me; for the teacher it will demonstrate that I have read and engaged with the material.
I wrote my heart out all day yesterday and only have five pages to show for it. My beautiful bibliography doesn't count as a page, sadly.
I'm still making my argument and haven't even begun the arduous task of finding literary evidence to support the parts of the claims that are about the literature. I do have an outline, of sorts, to guide me through. And thank goodness, unlike in journalism, there's a conclusion to write at the end -- more synthesizing but no new research. So it's just negotiating those 14 pages in the middle that will be my challenge today and tomorrow. I've promised myself I will complete at least six more pages today.
Meanwhile, my next-door-neighbor's dog is kenneled right outside my bedroom window, where he only puts her in the early mornings, and where she barks in her deep, full-throated way; it sounds like a large dog barking in my room. This morning at 7:30 a.m., I, who am essentially a pacifist, could very easily have opened my window and put a bullet in my neighbor's dog.
And as usual in glorious 2008, there is too much personal drama to concentrate well. As usual, it will be a freakin' miracle if I get this done. Now to finish my coffee and get to work.