I just checked the departmental handbook to see if it gave a specific page count for the prospectus. Alas: 20 pages plus bibliography. After all kinds of cutting, editing, etc., I'm at 32 and a half. I'd like to think this means, yay, I've basically started writing my dissertation, but on some level, I realize that there are at best 20 good pages in there, once all the repeated ideas (and, on occasion, sentences) and tangents are removed. The good news is that between grant proposals and this last conference paper, if I've learned anything this year it's how to get to the point already, in half a page if necessary. Next up: dissertation proposal as haiku.