I just started grad school in philosophy, and I've found that nothing I've done in undergrad has truly prepared me for this; specifically, I had a lot of guidance when writing my papers. I was given specific questions that helped me to give the Prof. what he wanted. My philosophy 101 class was taught by a grad student (in the midst of defending his own dissertation) who gave us more material than we could reasonably digest while in our early 20s. When left largely to my own devices, I focused more on the application of the philosophy in politics rather than the semantics, and for the most part, I did well and was happy about it.
Now I'm trying to write a paper with the instructions that I discuss the concept of being for 25 pages from Plato's Sophist. I'm not allowed to use outside sources or reference outside of the context of the text or the class. Everyone else in my program seems to know what they're doing. I've talked to my professor and some of my peers at some length (though I was too embarrassed to reveal the extent of my perplexity about doing this), but I still feel very much adrift.
How do people write crazy long seminar papers about 2 pages worth of text? How to I crack open the brain of the philosopher and write substantively rather than b.s.? Is there a special rubric that I could follow, even if it's a loose one?