The Noble Pen for February 13, 2014

Next Noble Pen Meeting

February 13th, 2014 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids


If you have any Vampire poetry (yeah, Noble Pen doesn’t do poetry, but some of you may) that you would like to see in a new anthology being assembled, contact Tyree for submittal information.  Deadline is in about a month.


Nick got his own printer.  He found a beta reader for his revised western.

Cassie integrated her research into the outline of a new novel.

Dylan received feedback from three beta readers of various novels.


There is no end to the mistakes a writer can make.  Here are a few to avoid from James Scott Bell, Brian Klems, Susan Breen, Sally Zigmond, and others:
-Lack of problems at the beginning of the story.  Characters without problems tend not to catch the reader’s interest.  This can occur if you begin the story too early.  Start where the protagonist is doing something important for the plot.

-Lack of stakes throughout the book.  To create tension, the protagonist needs to have something at stake, be about to lose it, and have to work toward the goal.  The stakes don’t have to be saving mankind or finding the Lost Ark.  Small goals or fears can serve if you can make the characters realistically worried enough about them.

-Too-long dialog.  Dialog should be more condensed than real conversation.

Too much or too little detail. Readers need only enough detail to fill in the picture in their imaginations.  If you don’t give them enough, they won’t follow the story, but too much will bog them down and bore them.

-Too predictable.  Readers like to be surprised by logical turns of events.  Even if you are inspired by true events, your fiction doesn’t have to stick to the facts if you can make it more interesting.

-Characters that the author hasn’t developed enough.  Understand your protagonists and antagonists, their inner goals and motivations.  You don’t have to tell their life story, but knowing it will let you drop in the necessary clues for the reader to understand them.

-Getting too attached to your words.  Sometimes you need to cut out things that don’t contribute enough to the plot, characterizations, mood, etc., no matter how much you like those words.

-Setting unreasonable goals.  Be realistic in how much time you will work or how many words you can produce, and then meet that goal.

-Neglecting your backups.  Hard drives and flash memories sometimes fail, and it’s always the worst possible time for losing your work.  A good plan is to periodically save copies on hard drive, portable media, and cloud storage.  Putting the date or version number into the file name lets you keep multiple versions so nothing gets lost in revision.

Upcoming Schedule

Feb 13th
More about commas

Feb 20th
Dylan (end of S&L)

Feb 27th

Mar 6th
Open slots

Keep Writing,