The Noble Pen for June 14, 2012

Next Noble Pen Meeting

June 14th, 2012 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids


Some people are finding they don’t have time to prepare for reviews of multiple large submissions.  Recently, we have considered 5,000 to 10,000 words per submission to be normal.  If two or three of those push the maximum, it becomes a chore to read and comment on 25,000 to 30,000 words.  More so if the material isn’t distributed on the weekend.

After some email feedback and a discussion at the meeting, the consensus seems to be that we should lower that to “about 6000” maximum.  If someone has a 7 to 12k story that really needs to be read all at once, or if we need to fill slots, they can request a double slot on one night for a total of not more than 12,500 words.

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Some people have commented “I didn’t go to the meeting because I couldn’t get all the material read.”  Please don’t let that hold you back.  If you can contribute something, the group has benefited and you may have benefited also.  We don’t give failing grades for not doing everything.

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Author Ray Bradbury died June 5 at age 91.  He wrote The Martian Chronicles, Fahrenheit 451, and many other stories.  His writing career began in 1938 and continued for decades, with his material being made into films through the last few years.


Tyree got a glowing review for Nyx 1 on the Amazon site.  He has worked up a plan for Nyx 4.


For homework this week (held over due to low attendance June 7) read Tyree’s article on What Editors Want and, if possible, watch the movie Medicine Man.   Apply these questions from his list to that movie.

-What are the two main characters’ goals (major or minor) and the obstacles?  For example:
Goal: Crane wants a place to sleep when she arrives
Obstacles: Campbell is intoxicated and doesn’t know her or why she is there

-What are the characteristics (foibles) that make them seem human?
Example: Campbell plays with the children

This kind of analysis can show how to make your story much more interesting for readers.

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More about commas (Thanks, Shannon).

Fanfare for the Comma Man  discusses historical usage, modern trends, and how even the fussiest style guides disagree.

The Most Comma Mistakes shows us what is definitely wrong, no matter which style guide you prefer.

And finally, a slightly risque cartoon, the Comma Sutra.

Upcoming Schedule

June 14th

Educational – see above for homework

June 21st

Open slot

June 28th

Open slots

July 5th

Nick (double slot)
Open slot

Keep Writing,


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