The Noble Pen for March 3, 2016

Next Noble Pen Meeting

March 3, 2016 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids


Nelle Harper Lee, who has been much in the news this past year, died at age 89.


Ciuin finished two school papers, which the professor liked.

Bill found a reader to critique his book.

Aime W. spoke to a school and was pictured in the Muscatine Journal.

Cassie cleaned up the first 10,000 words of her sequel, added two new chapters, and got it to her editor, all in one intensive day of writing.  She has sold 89 copies of her first book in its first three weeks of release.


Dialog makes up a large part of most fiction writing.  Jenna Kernan gives us eight reasons dialog is useful in a narrative.

Writing effective dialog doesn’t always come naturally, in part because good dialog is not a transcript of a conversation.  Have you ever read a verbatim transcript?  It probably sounded very awkward.  Conversations usually ramble, are full of social niceties, have many sentence fragments, and uhh, you know, pause fillers.  We tend to forget most of that and only remember the important points.  Dialog should be condensed to make the points that advance the plot, and only sprinkled with enough conversational traits to read like we remember the conversation, but not sound like a transcript.

Maxwell Alexander Drake makes this and other points about dialog. The tips before the exercises are good.  Another article illustrates the difference  as does this one.  Here are 25 tips on dialog (caution: serious vulgarity). Here are some more tips.

Here are some guidelines for choosing dialog tags and proper punctuation.

Always get to the dialogue as soon as possible. I always feel the thing to go for is speed. Nothing puts the reader off more than a big slab of prose at the start.  ~P.G. Wodehouse

I do love to eavesdrop. It’s inspirational, not only for subject matter but for actual dialogue, the way people talk. ~Lynda Barry

I’ve found that good dialogue tells you not only what people are saying or how they’re communicating but it tells you a great deal – by dialect and tone, content and circumstance – about the quality of the character. ~E. O. Wilson

Upcoming Schedule

March 3

March 10
Aime W.

March 17

March 24
Aime W.
Bill H.

March 31
Open slots

Keep Writing,