Weekly Update – 8/23/17

Hello, Internet!

I feel I’ve been middlingly productive this week. I’ve been delayed or distracted by some outside factors (such as applying for online courses, and a friend visiting from out of town), but I’m still pleased with the work I’ve done.

So, haven’t been super productive on my writing, but I think that some of the reasons have been healthy ones.


Not much to report, here. I did a smidgen of reading on Republic, but not as much as I’d like. I’ve reached the more complicated passages (just stopped in the middle of the infamous Line metaphor) which continue to be incredibly interesting to me, but also require me to read much more slowly.

Every now and again I get the itching to go dig up a Greek copy of the text and examine some of the specifics of the translation’s word choice. A fantastic example is Socrates stating that his share of the argument is just his “opinion” regarding the form of the Good (but Plato has a very specific notion of what “opinion” is, which leads me to wonder if this is the same word for “opinion,” or just a best-fit in translation).

According to Amazon, my copy of The Echo of What Was Lost should be arriving sometime today. So that’s good.


As usual, working on my book has been more complicated than I foresaw.

So, my initial thinking after restructuring Chapter 7 last week was that I could more-or-less zombify and reorganize various scenes and end up with my new chapter. That was sooo wrong.

I’ve really just ended up writing a whole new chapter (by hand, because it reduces distraction) with bits and pieces from my old scenes stuck in like plaster. The general shape of the battle remains the same, but a lot of the meaning behind the action has changed.

In the original version of this fight, my main character was pretty competent. Now that I’m moving the fight forward by months, I consequently need to up his competency from where it originally was.

I think this will make the overall story stronger, but a lot of the nuances and characterizations will have to change throughout the book. The city of Steelseat will be besieged for a majority of the novel (instead of the last third), increasing the pressure on all the characters. Additionally, since Ajax will have to have more initial skill (the in-story reason is that he was taught somewhat how to fight by his deceased father), less of the training-type scenes will need to remain “on-screen,” apart from when he learns to use magic.

While the whole of Chapter 7 isn’t finished, I feel like I’m close – anywhere from two paragraphs to two pages.

Sort-of on the downside, I’m not planning to work on Rule this week. Well, I am, just not getting further along on my second draft.

As I’ve mentioned both above and last week, I’m currently working on applications to a few online graduate programs in writing. The ones which have really caught my eye are two Master of Fine Arts (MFA) programs. In each of the MFAs I’m looking at, the final goal/thesis project is to have a completed manuscript of book length which is of publishable quality.

Sort of like what I’m trying and struggling to do right now, isn’t it?

A big part of why I want to join a creative writing program is so that I can get all these revision skills which I really never properly learned. (And I’m inclined to think that the revision of long-form writing is unteachable, only guideable.) Each of the MFA programs I’m looking at wants a writing sample of about twenty pages.

I’ve got around two hundred pages to choose from! … Though only about thirty, forty pages which I’ve actually revised.

So my goal for this week is to take about the first twenty pages of The Rule of Iron, brush over them speedily, and then send them to the different programs I’m interested in.

On a separate note, I should also begin to spend a little thought deciding if I want to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) again this year. I’m leaning towards ‘no’ because it would interfere with my revising (and possibly schoolwork, if a program is in session). Even so, I do know I want to write an article or blog or whatever talking a bit about NaNoWriMo, and my experience with it last year.

I really liked it, and I want to encourage others to take the challenge.

In Review

Last Week: Finish revising Chapter 7 of The Rule of Iron, and read some more Plato. Moderately successful? I didn’t end up reading much, and that chapter is real close to completion (not including the other seven times I’ll end up reading over the book).

This Week: Prepare application materials and apply to online writing programs. If I really put my nose to the grindstone, I think I can brush up the opening of Rule and get all this material mostly handled in the week.


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