The Noble Pen for February 5, 2015

Next Noble Pen Meeting

February 5th, 2015 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids


A charity auction of 75 first edition books with the authors’  recent annotations brought over a million dollars, with prices up to $80,000.   See the list and sample annotations.  Some of the authors found it uncomfortable to review what they had written earlier in their careers.


Cassie heavily revised two more chapters.  She plans to go to a book festival in LA in April, and is planning a research trip in July to see the places in Chicago that she uses in her story.

Ciuin got a school paper back marked A+ and is 2/3 done with another long paper.


A lot of good fiction has a dystopian setting, and maybe your story is in that category.  Wikipedia has an overview.  You need a sympathetic character to walk the reader through that world.  You want your readers to relate to that world, and you can do that by taking things that are problematic, annoying, or disturbing in the present world and extrapolating them.

Social commentary has often been made by exaggeration and extrapolation in dystopian fiction. The more you can make your world an extension of, or parallel to, the our present and history, the better the commentary.

Scared of ebola? Pandemic disease has been the basis for many dystopian views of the future.  What will the next pandemic be, and will our society disintegrate because of it?  How will your characters try to cope?

Don’t like red-light cameras?  They are a minor Big Brother element, consistent with the novel 1984.  What if cameras on every corner watched for all kinds of activity?  How would your characters behave?

Your cell phone shows where you are and is being used more and more to conduct business, and could become necessary rather than just convenient. What if your phone’s presence at a crime scene was enough to convict you, and stolen phones were being used by factions in a power struggle to eliminate their opposition?  How would your characters get involved?

Do try to make your story original and fully thought out.  In the recent wave of dystopian stories, too many are not.  As one comment on a forum put it, “not every dystopia requires the MC to lead a revolution against a totalitarian regime.”

This article, and this one give more tips.

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Feb 19
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Feb 26
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Mar 5
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