The Noble Pen for Mar 30, 2017

Next Noble Pen Meeting

March 30th, 2017 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids


Mark Lawrence has updated the ratings count for his very interesting older look at sales versus ratings.  In summary, he says ratings matter, but runaway successes are off the charts.  Another analysis says the relationship isn’t clear-cut.


Jim C. Hines (blog) has added to his series of posts on author income, and collected the series into one pdf file.


Riley’s short story was accepted for an anthology of Gates of Antares stories, and he was invited to write an entire book for the series.

Cassie got teasers to go on the cover of her next book and updated her author site.


It’s time for an update of the dialog discussion.   Dialog makes up a large part of most fiction writing.  Jenna Kernan gives us eight reasons dialog is useful in a narrative.

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

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.  Chuck Wendig (caution: serious vulgarity) gives 25 tips on dialog. Here are some more tips.

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

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