The Noble Pen for Jan 30, 2014

Next Noble Pen Meeting

January 30th, 2014 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids


Rachel submitted a poem to the prestigious, literary publication The Iowa Review. Their current contest is open until January 31.

Janice’s story based on a song has been requested by the author of that song.

Tyree has done more writing on Aoife this week than any other week.

Ciuin is writing up a world-building exercise and story for a friend, who gets to decide after every scene what she would do next.


It ain’t over until it’s over. ~Yogi Berra

Make sure your story has a good ending, so the reader won’t decide it’s over before finishing it.

The number one rule is: Don’t introduce any new characters or subplots in the last fifty pages of a novel.  The backstory should have been explained by now.  Anything there should at least been foreshadowed, or the reader may feel you’ve cheated them by not setting it up properly.

While much of the advice pertains to novels, even a short story needs an ending.

Make sure the protagonist is deeply involved in the resolution.  They need to be the catalyst for the resolution, and/or changed by the events.  It is not good for them to just watch the resolution or to be rescued; it is better if they are the rescuer but must overcome some personal obstacles to perform the rescue.

And it must have a resolution.  The reader should be satisfied that it is a logical (though unexpected) wrap up of the conflict.  A cliffhanger or obvious lead into a sequel is only acceptable if you have a multi-book contract in hand.

Try to have some unexpected (but foreshadowed) turns.  Don’t just have it wrap up like a column of falling dominoes.  Make the reader feel they need to know the outcome, but can’t predict it.  These are the books they will remember and recommend.

Make the ending a dash to the finish line, perhaps a zig-zag one, but no more complicated than necessary.  Emphasize conflict, not description.  Don’t complicate it with explanations or philosophizing.  Try not to need a lot of wrap-up after the climax.  This sentiment is echoed here.

The story can come full-circle, so the ending resembles the beginning except for the characters’ growth and solving a problem.  Or it can have a linear ending where the characters have moved on in place, maturity, etc.

It’s up to you, should it have a happy ending?

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. ~Lao Tzu

I seldom end up where I wanted to go, but almost always end up where I need to be. ~Douglas Adams

This is your life, and it’s ending one minute at a time. ~Chuck Palahniuk

If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story. ~Orson Welles

Upcoming Schedule

Jan 30th
More about commas
Barbara & Matt

Feb 6th

Feb 13th
Short grammar lesson
Tyree (?)
Cassie (?)

Feb 20th
Open slots

Keep Writing,