The Noble Pen for Sept 4, 2014

Next Noble Pen Meeting

September 4th, 2014 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids


Novellas by Mrs. Tolstoy will be published, which reflect her side of a turbulent marriage.


Authors from other countries are also protesting Amazon’s tactics.


Dylan wrote 30,000 words this week.

Tyree wrote more on Bombay Sapphire II and Wolf, and started a pulp story with a new superhero.

Ciuin used a backup file after a messed-up edit.  Backups work!  Her human rights class professor will let her write all papers on gypsy issues.


How long should a story be?  How long is a piece of string? They should be long enough to do the job without a lot of excess.  Always review your story to see if it contains padding that does not move the story along.  However, a long manuscript may not be publishable regardless of whether it is the right length for the story it tells.  If your writing is tight and still too long, you may have to modify the events of the story to fit a publishable range.

The Nebula Awards define lengths for short story, novelette, novella, and novel.  Definitions vary.  Other formats include drabble, usually defined as a story of exactly 100 words, and flash fiction, which is variously defined as less than 300 or 1000 words.

The average book sold through Amazon has 64,500 words.  Chuck Sambuchino offers a detailed guide that recommends 80-100 k words for most novels and memoirs, with sci-fi running slightly longer.  Westerns and books for younger readers tend to be shorter.  Here’s another guide , and a third, that mostly agree, and define lengths for other formats.  Wikipedia goes into the details of counting words, which you can digest for details after getting your story into the right length range for your market.

One always tends to overpraise a long book, [just] because one has got through it. ~E. M. Forster

You know what writers say about their long books: If I had another year, the book would be half as long. ~David Remnick

Upcoming Schedule

Sept 4

Sept 11

Sept 18
Open slots

Sept 25
Open slots

Keep Writing,