“The aim of good prose words is to mean what they say. . .

. . . the aim of good poetical words is to mean what they do not say.” (Chesterton)


I’m bad at keeping track of how many words I’ve written, so I don’t have a number to give you. I do know that with school starting in January, I’ve written mostly for assignments and not much on things of my own. (I wonder why it is that when something’s assigned, we don’t think of it as belonging to us? Because we’re making it to order?) Because that one workshop started out with poetry, I’ve written more poetry — loosely defined — in the last eight weeks than in the last eight years.

What I really want to be writing is the new Of the North. I have to content myself with writing down notes like “running late that morning — more detail” and then in some free time writing 1900 words that turns out to be more infodumping than anything useful, and trying to cut it down without success. There’s so much room to grow in that story.

It would be nice to also write more in parts of the retelling of Lily’s story that I’ve started. I keep getting idea for it and having to put them to the side. The chronology is getting messed up too. She’s supposed to have some brothers who are very young when she gets married (being at least 26 at that time), but in fact that doesn’t work with the time they were adopted and how old they were, at least not if time continues to proceed at the pace it is now. We don’t know that it will, we have to take it on faith, but there’s no good reason to believe that it would be different for her, which is causing all kinds of snarls in the plot. And there’s a scene I’d love to do, involving her suitor and a couple of very small brothers, which couldn’t work if things stay as they are. On the other hand, if I try changing when the boys were adopted, I’d have to change the timing of at least one other important incident, not to mention researching adoption, which I’d really rather not have to do. If all that happened before the story starts it would save me a lot of work, and the adoption process isn’t really germane to Lily’s story.

I’ve also sent out the first two chapters of Wind Age for beta-reading, and having serious doubts about a scene in the ending, whether it’s necessary or not. To decide that it would help to have a certain audience in mind, but the thing is, whoever I write the book for, someone not in that group will likely pick it up and then leave a bad review because it offended them or something — whether that’s an unbeliever unhappy that paganism is not portrayed as equal to Christianity, or some poor Christian who thought they were getting Christian Fiction.


Textbooks. And classmates’ work. I can’t remember anything new worth mentioning. We bought The Edge on the Sword and The King’s Shadow, though.


I try to spin a yard or so a day to keep my fingers in practice. I’m getting better at keeping it even, and having a distaff (who needs a name — I’m thinking some sort of kenning, but I can’t come up with a good one) to hold the fibre is a lot of help. What I still don’t know is whether I should be spinning with my right hand out to the side, or with everything in front of me. I find it much easier to do it in front, so for now that’s what I’m doing.

I also did some more research on seventh-century veils, and had my eye on a certain towel we use for dishes as being almost perfect. When I made inquiries, however, I found that my chances of finding similar ones at thrift stores are extremely thin, because its first use was as a receiving blanket. So much for that.


School. I have two Philosophy classes, two writing workshops, and a Literature class.

I line-edited a novella for Hope, which was fun, and I get paid for it too, which is nice. I’m not used to getting paid for things yet. The only thing is, I’m pretty sure at least one typo or grammatical mistake has survived. They have a way of doing that.

My writer’s block is slowly fading, but I was glad all the same when it came to a Tuesday and the end of the month that I’d already written most of the post. It’s exhausting not being able to write, and having deadlines and things doesn’t help a whole lot. Next week at least we’re on holiday.

Is anyone interested in these ramblings about what goes on as a break from me pontificating about art, or complaining, also about art? I thought I should ask, and not waste a post a month on something you’re not interested in.


About Nolie Alcarturiel

Creative Writing major and Philosophy minor, contemplating a Master's degree in Medieval History. I enjoy practically anything to do with medieval history, including the domestic arts, with an especial emphasis on the Anglo-Saxon Era. In my spare time I read endlessly, do medieval living-history, hold philosophical debates at the drop of a hat, and write books on even slighter provocation.
This entry was posted in Lily's stories, Of the North and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to “The aim of good prose words is to mean what they say. . .

  1. Hope Ann says:

    Yes, figuring out a target audience would help. And hey, if someone not in that group reads your book and doesn’t like it… well, it wasn’t meant for them to care for anyway. You already knew they’d not care for it and you haven’t marketed it to them. If they chose to read it anyway, then that is great for them. If they like it, it is wonderful. If not, well, one book won’t ever please everyone (which is a great pity, bit it also makes it easier on us when it comes to writing). 😉


    • thegermangolux says:

      Exactly. You can’t please everyone. So don’t try. Write what you know is good and true and is at least an attempt at God-honoring art, and then worry about your audience.

      Which novella is this, Hope?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hope Ann says:

        Which novella is what…?


      • thegermangolux says:

        Sorry, I was talking too quickly. The one that the host of this blog edited; is that one that you have published yet, or are we allowed to hear about it?


      • Hope Ann says:

        Oh, yes. Song of the Sword. That one is published already. It was published last year, actually, and then I realized I needed it edited… I just put up the corrected/edited document this afternoon so it will be live on Amazon by tomorrow… probably.


      • thegermangolux says:

        Oh, okay. Great! You’re just doing in e-book format, I take it.


      • noliealcarturiel says:

        For now. She might publish a paperback anthology of her retellings (maybe later this year), and if so I am going to buy it.


      • Hope Ann says:

        Yes. I’ll be putting my first three novellas in paperback this fall, but right now they are all ebooks.


  2. thegermangolux says:

    I’ve been enjoying the posts on art and history and stuff. Keep writing what you will.

    Rest assured, it’s not vain pontificating. It would be if you were saying stuff like, “And thus we collectively observe, due to the fact that the envelope, or epistemological bubble, of anthropological understanding has derived from extensive and even elusive channels of objective pursuit, not barred by the oecumenical dogmas and social constructs forced regularly upon scientific philosophers.”


    • noliealcarturiel says:

      Oh! Then I have a quote for you. Someone (in the Philosophy of Religion book) in an article on the teleological argument, quoted someone else:
      “There can be no origin of species, as opposed to an Empedoclean chaos of varied monstrosities, unless creatures reproduce pretty much after their kind; the elaborate and ostensibly teleological mechanism of this reproduction logically cannot be explained as a product of evolution by natural selection from among chance variations, for unless the mechanism is presupposed there cannot be any evolution.”
      I forestall your favourite Chesterton quote by putting it in myself: “It is a good exercise to try for once in a way to express any opinion one holds in words of one syllable. If you say ‘The social utility of the indeterminate sentence is recognized by all criminologists as a part of our sociological evolution towards a more humane and scientific view of punishment,’ you can go on talking like that for hours with hardly a movement of the gray matter inside your skull. But if you begin ‘I wish Jones to go to gaol and Brown to say when Jones shall come out,’ you will discover, with a thrill of horror, that you are obliged to think.”

      Liked by 1 person

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