Scribble, scribble, eh what?


Typing cartoonJust passed the 13,000 word mark on my current book about Machiavelli and municipal politics, this weekend. So far, I have gone through explanations of Chapters 1-10 of The Prince. The Prince has 26 chapters, so I’m about 40% of the way through my analysis, more or less on track for a 35,000-40,000 word book.

It’s a little tough in places trying to fit Machiavelli’s words and ideas to modern issues and themes, but so far I think I’ve done a fair job of finding relevant metaphors, issues and events. The next chapter, on ecclesiastical states, might be a bit of a stretch, since their relevance today is minimal, so I suspect I’ll need to conflate a couple of chapters here.

[pullquote]It’s a little tough in places trying to fit Machiavelli’s words and ideas to modern issues and themes. [/pullquote]I hope to have the core material written over the next two weeks.I’m working with several translations of The Prince, but the core material I’m quoting comes from the public domain Marriott translation. It’s a bit of a stodgy version and isn’t broken into paragraphs for easy reading. Fortunately for me, I have a print version that is, so it’s a bit easier to find material and to read.

Once the basic overview of The Prince is complete, I’ll bring in selections from The Discourses to bolster my arguments, as well as throwing in some quotes from Sun Tzu, Han Fei Tzu and one of my favourite books on leadership – Robert Greene’s 48 Laws of Power. Then I’ll try to add a few examples from Canadian municipal politics to it. Toronto these days seems to have a wealth of stories.

I want this to be about the same size as my last two books, so I have to try to focus and not be too long-winded.

One of the books I’ve been reading recently while doing this is Maurizio Viroli’s Niccolo’s Smile, an excellent and highly entertaining biography of Machiavelli. Understanding the events that shaped his life makes it easier to understand Machiavelli’s political theories.

I’ve also been reading books and online essays/articles about Machiavelli’s political theories, ethics, and morals. Some have been a bit densely pedantic (is that an oxymoron?), but others have given me some material to consider.

Well, back to work… 1,000 words a day is my minimum target and the day’s not getting longer.

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  1. Managed to top 16,000 words by the end of the day, yesterday, with Chapter XIII from The Prince. Added several books I got in the mail to the bibliography. Scanned through four of them last night, but will have to spend a lot more time on them over the next few weeks.

    Have to rethink the structure, though, when it’s finished. Should I stick to Niccolo’s chapter framework, or collate it into a theme-based order and break his structure apart? Probably best to decide when I have The Discourses added in..

  2. Just completed Chapter XXIII, a fun chapter on dealing with flatterers. Getting my stride now as the tone of the book is becoming much clearer and I am focusing on specific points. Topped 24,000 words this morning. Three of Machiavelli’s original chapters left to do, then start on bringing in The Discourses and other works. Looking for about 35-40,000 words total. But will there be a willing publisher for it?

  3. Sunday: the book is now, more than 32,000 words long. I have all of The Prince rewritten, all 26 chapters, in modern form and am fairly content with what I’ve done.
    I have started to add quotes from The Discourses, Han Fei Tzu, Sun Tzu and Robert Greene to the text.
    next I have to dig through the past news to look for some useful examples, but so far everything I’ve found in recent news that fits my focus relates to Stephen Harper, Rob Ford or the former Collingwood mayor. I need a broader, more inclusive brush.

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