The last thesis semester was pretty intense and started with a thesis in its entirety turned into the professor of the previous semester and the current semester mentor, Robert Root. The major complaint about my thesis was a lack of focus and also the complexity. I did write more, sometimes rewriting sections to better fit my intent.
The chief trauma in this semester was I had a terrible time writing the last two chapters, my brain just wouldn't cooperate and tell me what I needed to make it end. Luckily, I did eventually get it written.
What did I cut?
A fatal flaw according to Vivian Gornick is to include a self-defense, a scene portraying my entrance into the scene to showcase my own lifespan even if it goes against the purpose for the memoir. So yes, I cut out scenes that talked about where I was in my life during the story of my brother's life. Not all of it was cut, since things that happened in my life connected with things that happened in my brother's life. Essentially having the narrator put too much of their own opinions, life, or experiences slants a book and amounts to authorial intrusion which detracts from the flow of story by taking the attention of the reader and moving it to the narrator.
I often had to cut telling of events and turn it into scene and cut back on scene if it didn't greatly advance the story.
Why did I use mixed genre?
Poems helped place the story with a worry point or more emotional way of looking at a time. Photos helped to show what we saw versus what we remembered experiencing and helped make the point about place and our connections to place. Photos helped humanize the piece.
One source of conflict was my desire to include references that might help an audience following in my footsteps could use for their own search or own understanding.
About Book Lists
There is really a solid sense of accomplishment to look back and say, I read all of that.
A major revision for my introduction required that I use more specificity in explaining how an author contributed to my own growth in this area. I expected to have one or two points but I had far more in the final version.