The Noble Pen for June 30, 2016

Next Noble Pen Meeting

June 30th, 2016 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

When sending submissions, be sure to click REPLY ALL.  Your moderator may not always catch when you reply only to him and other people do not receive your submissions.

Victories

Ciuin wrote more on Chessmaster.  Her client for Writing Fairy service has finished the story and Ciuin is finishing her critiques.

Dylan got over setbacks to make progress in publishing Sand and Blood.  A reader for one of his alternate byline stories liked it so much they commissioned a short sequel.

Aime was in a newspaper article because of her discussion in the city council.

Stacie got promo material for her book and a Square app so she can take credit cards when selling it.

Education

Many tools can help with the initial editing of your story by pointing out things a human might miss.  MS Word includes a grammar checker.  As with any tool, it isn’t always right but will point out things to consider.  A quick on-line search finds many tool offerings, free or for sale.

ProWritingAid offers free registration for their on-line proofreading tool that checks many aspects of your writing. They also sell tools.   You paste a section of your text into the free version window, click submit and analyze, and it reports over-used words, sentences of monotonously same length or excessive length, cliches, repeated phrases, alliteration, and other things you may want to consider changing.  It also highlights dialog tags so you can see at a glance what you used.

It helped me a lot, but became tedious after I changed the major offenses.  My biggest complaint is that it reports too much.  I even tried a better writer’s material with the same result.  The highlighting of repeated common 2-word phrases, 2-word alliterations, etc. (like “to town” or “an apple”) results in clutter that hides the things I want to find and change.  The homonym finder is a nice idea but appears to have no context sensitivity so you see ALL of them.

The author of Writer’s Diet offers a free on-line tool for evaluating your writing.  While not as extensive as Pro Writing Aid, another view is often useful.

Grammarly is a free browser add-on that says it checks whatever you type in your browser and is context sensitive.   One of our members uses it and finds the free version somewhat helpful but it has aggressive nagging to buy the upgrade.

There are also on-line forums where you can post work for critique by others, gain experience in doing critiques, and discuss writing topics.  One is writingforums.org where you have to do some critiques during a waiting period before you can post your own work.  An issue with such forums is that postings may be “publication,” so it is best to only post small samples.

Does anyone have recommendations for other tools?

Upcoming Schedule

June 30
Ciuin
Aime
Randy

July 7
Nick
Aime
Stacie

July 14
Ciuin
Mark
Laura

July 21
Randy
Ciuin
Open slot

July 28
Open slots

Keep Writing,
Bill

The Noble Pen for June 23, 2016

Next Noble Pen Meeting

June 23rd, 2016 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

Everybody seemed to like the idea of having three reviews per week until we work off some of the backlog, but only with a 4,000 word limit per submission.  Please check the schedule as juggled around for this purpose, to see that you are okay with your current assignment.

The need to break chapters to stay near or under 4000 words is going to be a recurring problem for some people, and that doesn’t allow for best critiques.   We may have to start allocating words, not just slots.  If you need more than 4000, we can try to borrow from other submitters who have shorter pieces.

Victories

Dylan got an updated blurbs for his books and is ordering a proof of the Sand & Blood cover.

Ciuin is writing (and it’s not school papers).

Education

A college lists five myths about writing.  Veronica Sicoe has a list of thirteen falsehoods about writing.   Renée Rosen offers her list of myths that she finds to be true and/or false, and some productivity tips.

Upcoming Schedule

June 23
Stacie
Randy
Dylan

June 30
Ciuin
Aime
Open slot

July 7
Nick
Aime
Open slot

July 14
Ciuin
Mark
Laura

July 21
Randy
Ciuin
Open slot

July 28
Open slots

Keep Writing,
Bill

The Noble Pen for June 16, 2016

Next Noble Pen Meeting

June 16th, 2016 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

A rumor says the public library in Fort Dodge is looking for Iowa authors for a book fair.  A brief search failed to find information, so if you have details let us know.

–//–

We’ve developed quite a backlog of material for review, with the schedule currently filled 5.5 weeks out.  Should we go back to doing three reviews per week?

Victories

Dylan has a patron for his alternate byline.  He has made progress toward getting Sand and Ash published.

Cassie joined a 500-person Facebook group to promote her book.  She is near 30k (out of expected 35-40) on the sequel.  She incorporated edits on 10k words back from her editor.

Shannon was invited to a book fair in Clinton, Iowa on August 27th.

Education

When writing a story set in a real-world prior time, your research doesn’t guarantee the reader will feel immersed in the time.  Alison Love offers some advice that may help.

Upcoming Schedule

Jun 16
Aime
Ciuin

June 23
Stacie
Randy
Dylan

June 30
Ciuin
Aime
Open slot

July 7
Nick
Open slots

July 14
Ciuin
Mark
Laura

July 21
Open slots

Keep Writing,
Bill

The Noble Pen for June 9, 2016

Next Noble Pen Meeting

June 9th, 2016 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

It’s here – a “library” with no books, just electronic ways to access information.

Victories

Dylan was on panels at WISCON and got blurbs for his books.  He finished a weekly serial.
Stacie and Dylan are to participate in an Iowa Authors book signing on July 16.

Education

A self-published author talks about how self-publishing isn’t easy or cheap to do well.  Here’s one person’s overview of the options and processes.  And someone who had three conventionally published books and found self-publishing to be a dismal failure.  And finally, some advice on problems and solutions.

Upcoming Schedule

Jun 9
Shannon
Barbara

Jun 16
Aime
Ciuin

June 23
Stacie
Randy

June 30
Ciuin
Dylan

July 7
Nick
Aime

July 14
Ciuin
Open slot

Keep Writing,
Bill

 

The Tap Shoed Noble Pen Newsletter, June 2nd, 2016

Next Noble Pen Meeting

June 2nd, 2016 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

Hi guys, Shannon here. I’m taking over for a couple weeks while Bill is on vacation.

News

Aaron Bunce, local author, along with Dana Beatty, who as many times done PR for the ICON convention, and Terri LeBlanc who runs the Second Run Reviews website are doing an event called Imagine Other Worlds with Authors, a mass-signing event at Lindale Mall.
http://otherworlds.secondrunreviews.com/

Victories

Amie applied to do a blog/column/whatever for Publisher’s Weekly.
Stacie finished her rough draft, but she is afraid she will be torn apart by nurses with torches and pitchforks.

Education

A little bit on that gnats.

Upcoming Schedule

Jun 2
Nick
Randy

Jun 9
Shannon
Barbara

Jun 16
Aime
Ciuin

June 23
Stacie
Randy

Keep Writing,
Shannon

tap

The Noble Pen for May 26, 2016

Next Noble Pen Meeting

May 26, 2016 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

Hi guys, Shannon here. I’m taking over for a couple weeks while Bill is on vacation.

News

As we were discussing last night, there’s always more to learn:
http://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/may/20/what-makes-bad-writing-bad-toby-litt If you don’t have time to read it, the big takeaway line for me was, “Bad writing is written defensively; good writing is a way of making the self as vulnerable as possible.” Along with, “To go from being a competent writer to being a great writer, I think you have to risk being – or risk being seen as – a bad writer. Competence is deadly because it prevents the writer risking the humiliation that they will need to risk before they pass beyond competence. To write competently is to do a few magic tricks for friends and family; to write well is to run away to join the circus.”

I was going to post another article that looked interesting, but after giving it a scan, it was overly pedantic.

Victories

Ciuin has (finally) graduated! On to grad school!

Cassie did her Facebook hop. It didn’t work (bad hop).

Dylan is setting up a Broken Typewriter booth for ICON.

Dylan made someone cry, in a good way.

Dylan turned his 2,500 word serial chapter into 8,000 words.

Dylan has mastered chainsaw juggling.

Education

Okay, I screwed up and forgot education, or I mixed it with news.  I’m rusty at this.

Upcoming Schedule

May 26
Aime
Stacie

Jun 2
Nick
Randy

Jun 9
Shannon
Barbara

Jun 16
Aime
Ciuin

June 23
Stacie
Open slot

Keep Writing,
Shannon

The Noble Pen for May 19, 2016

Next Noble Pen Meeting

May 19, 2016 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

Plagiarism isn’t confined to prose.  A recent scandal involves crossword puzzles.

–//–

Retiring co-founder of Barnes & Noble, Leonard Riggio reflects on changes in the book business.

Victories

Shannon edited a book for Dylan.

Cassie sold 14 books and made a lot of good contacts at the Clear Lake book bash.  She will participate in a “blog hop” where authors post to each other’s pages.  She will go to a signing event in Madison in August.

Dylan got his panel assignments for WisCon, including a reading.  He is signed up to help with DreamCon as part of ICON this fall.

Ciuin finished all school and paperwork to graduate.  She coached someone to improve their writing by expanding summary, removing passive, and better dialog.

Nick made progress on editing and sent a four-page train spotting report.

Barbara is editing her NaNoWriMo 2015 draft.

Education

Your first draft will be bad.  Everyone’s is.  Trina St. Jean offers advice on how to move a messy draft toward being a good story, with emphasis on the structure.  Chuck Wendig, foul-mouthed as always, nevertheless offers good advice on procedure for rewriting.  Kristin Lamb zeroes on on troublesome wordings.

Upcoming Schedule

May 19
Randy
Shannon

May 26
Aime
Stacie

Jun 2
Nick
Randy

Jun 9
Shannon
Barbara

Jun 16
Open slots

Keep Writing,
Bill

The Noble Pen for May 12, 2016

Next Noble Pen Meeting

May 12, 2016 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

Jim Hines did a post about SF doing good in the community and it has drawn several posts with examples.

–//–

More (crude language) commentary on the Hugo Awards controversy.

–//–

We have many physical and electronic options for writing, but that wasn’t always so.  A recent study looks into ancient ink.

Victories

Amie wrote a 20 page lawyer website and didn’t hurt herself.

Nick started on the 2nd part of his trilogy.

Dylan rewrote the end of his 3rd serial.

Education

Getting a decent book written and published is an uphill battle.  Dana Elmendorf says there are some hard truths a writer must face.  You can succeed if you are willing to put in the effort to overcome them.  Here’s another list of problems and ways to deal with them.

Upcoming Schedule

May 12
Shannon
Dylan

May 19
Randy
Open slot

May 26
Aime
Stacie

Jun 2
Nick
Randy

Jun 9
Shannon
Open slot

Keep Writing,
Bill

The Noble Pen for May 5, 2016

Next Noble Pen Meeting

May 5, 2016 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

Finalists for the 2016 Hugo Awards (site link)  (wikipedia) for science fiction have been announced.  This award has become politically controversial because some feel women and minority authors and themes have been ignored and others argue that who the author is shouldn’t matter when picking good fiction.

–//–

The Diary of Anne Frank is the subject of a copyright battle in Europe. The question is whether copyright dates from her life or that of the people who translated and edited/co-wrote it.  In the US it will remain protected for a long time yet.

Victories

Dylan finished a commission and it was accepted.  Sand and Ash needs only two editors and a cover to get it out.

Stacie has now finished six chapters.

Education

Many writers use a blog to attract attention and readers to their work.  Here is some blogging advice for writers.   There are arguments for and against the effectiveness.  Some say writers may benefit but may find better uses for their time as their careers develop.

Upcoming Schedule

May 5
Nick
Randy

May 12
Shannon
Dylan

May 19
Randy
Open slot

May 26
Aime
Stacie

May 33
Open slots

Keep Writing,
Bill

The Noble Pen for April 28, 2016

Next Noble Pen Meeting

April 28, 2016 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

The summer (northern hemisphere) edition of Science Fiction News is available.

Victories

Dylan’s essay defending self publishing was included in a collective post rebutting a blog entry.

Education

A writer can stall, even when it isn’t writer’s block.  They can write, but just find it more difficult to put in the effort.  By now, the excitement of a new idea has worn thin and the problems of getting the details right seem huge.

One thing that may help is to review (or create) your outline to see if it still makes sense with what you’ve written and where you want the story to go.  If they don’t match up, then decide whether the written material or the outline make more sense and revise accordingly.

You may discover your characters don’t have the motivations to do what you thought they would do.  Or maybe the tension has evaporated.

Chuck Wendig has 25 tips that might get you unstuck.  Here’s Janice Hardy’s take.  Tracey Barnes Priestley has some advice.

Upcoming Schedule

April 28
Bill H.
Aime

May 5
Nick
Randy

May 12
Shannon
Dylan

May 19
Randy
Open slot

May 26
Open slots

Keep Writing,
Bill