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

The Noble Pen for April 21 2016

Next Noble Pen Meeting

April 21, 2016 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

The American Library Association updated its list of most challenged books.  Even the Bible makes the list.  Here’s a related discussion.

Victories

Cassie sold 18 books and made contacts with other writers at a book signing event in Cedar Falls.

Dylan got good feedback on a commission.

Education

When you are writing early drafts of a story, it is easy to be too critical.  Don’t let your inner editor take control and stop your progress, perhaps even causing writer’s block.  Just write.  You can edit later.

Daphne Gray-Grant offers tips to deal with your inner editor.

One technique for dealing with the nagging feeling that something isn’t right, but freeing your mind to continue, is to type a reminder that this sentence/paragraph needs to be reworked and then go on.  Noelle Sterne uses the all-caps word FIX, but I prefer something that won’t accidentally occur in your actual text, such as four question marks.

Another tool is a deadline.  Tell yourself you have to finish this chapter before going to bed, no matter whether it is good or bad.  Ciuin’s nagging service could help.

If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word. ~Margaret Atwood

Write drunk, edit sober. ~ Hemingway

Upcoming Schedule

April 21
Shannon
Dylan

April 28
Bill H.
Aime

May 5
Nick
Randy

May 12
Open slots

May 19
Open slots

Keep Writing,
Bill

The Noble Pen for Apr 14, 2016

Next Noble Pen Meeting

April 14, 2016 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

Another copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio was recently discovered in a private library on a Scottish island.  There are a couple hundred known to exist, and bring well over a million dollars at auction.

Victories

Dylan got a 4-star review.  He finished a commission.

Ciuin got an A on a school paper.

Education

Maybe your story is a comedy or satire, or maybe not.  Regardless, you can inject some humor to give contrast to tension and add entertainment for the readers.  William H. Coles offers an essay on using humor. Various categorizations of humor may include ten or twenty types.

Leigh Anne Jasheway offers some fundamentals of humor.

Upcoming Schedule

April 14
Randy
Aime W.

April 21
Shannon
Dylan

April 28
Bill H.
Open slot

May 5
Open slots

May 12
Open slots

Keep Writing,
Bill

The Noble Pen for April 7, 2016

Next Noble Pen Meeting

April 7, 2016 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

The Mark Lawrence Fantasy Blog off is accepting submissions of self-published books, due by May.  Dylan did well in (but didn’t win) a previous round.

–//–

We heard a recommendation for ello.co, which is a social network that tends to have more of a concentration of creative people than FB.

Victories

Dylan finished serialization of Sand and Ash.

Ciuin has been editing Petty Theft and working on Chessmaster.  She has a client for her Writing Fairy nagging service.

Cassie, Aime, and Dylan were recorded in a series of interviews with Iowa authors that is intended for TV distribution.

Shannon was on a podcast for Unreliable Narrators.

Randy is retiring, so will have more time for writing and dancing.

Education

How long does it take to write a novel?  The answer varies greatly of course.  Here’s a good discussion of how much time, finding time, and making good use of the time.  Nanowrimo has demonstrated it can be done in a month, but nearly everyone finds that much more time is needed to clean up that month’s output.  Here’s one author’s detailed analysis of the meticulous records she kept as she wrote a novel in one year.

Upcoming Schedule

April 7
Nick
Ciuin

April 14
Randy
Aime W.

April 21
Shannon
Dylan

April 28
Bill H.
Open slot

May 5
Open slots

Keep Writing,
Bill

The Noble Pen for March 31, 2016

Next Noble Pen Meeting

March 31, 2016 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

If you didn’t get a ticket to the June talk by Stephen King in Iowa City, forget about it.  They sold out the Englert right away.

John Grisham is giving away his latest book because he thinks it covers an important topic.

Victories

Ciuin was admitted to grad school.  She has been doing rewrites on Pawn and Petty Theft.

Dylan finished a commission.

Stacie got 120 copies of her book and has now sold or given away all of them.

Education

A story needs enough plot that the reader doesn’t have it all figured out right away. Here are some ideas about plot.  Chuck Wendig offers a lot more ideas (foul language warning).

Some people plan meticulously.  The snowflake method is one planning tool, where you make a very short summary, and revise on successive passes to add finer and finer detail like the branches on a snowflake.  Others recommend just letting the creativity flow and seeing where it ends up.

If you want to see some scholarly study of plot in an abstract sense, try this link.  What I took away was that frequent alternations of positive and negative events and descriptions make for a page-turner.

But all good things in moderation; this article says you could have too much plot.

Upcoming Schedule

March 31
Stacie
Cassie

April 7
Nick
Ciuin

April 14
Randy
Aime W.

April 21
Open slots

April 28
Bill H.
Open slot

Keep Writing,
Bill