The Noble Pen for May 4, 2017

Next Noble Pen Meeting

May 4th, 2017 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids


Author Robert M. Pirsig died recently at age 88.  He is known for his book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  That book was rejected by 121 publishers before one accepted it and it became a best seller, a fact that might give aspiring authors some hope.


Randy’s book Sins of Intent is on presale at Amazon and he received the first shipment of print books.  His author web site is live.

Dylan has the proof copy of Sand and Bone, which completes the Rutejìmo series.


Backstory can be problematic for authors.  The reader may need to know some facts about the characters and situations but will probably get bored if you start with the story of their lives.  It is usually better to start where the significant conflict, action, and tension begin.  That leaves the problem of getting the backstory facts into the narrative, but interrupting the flow for pages of history is also a way to lose readers.

Karen Dionne discusses how she approaches backstory, trying to time it and achieve a balance between flow and needed information.  Eleanor Henderson thinks it is crucial to have sufficient backstory, but agrees that it is important to present it carefully.  C.G. Blake considers how much backstory is too much and gives an example of how a little dialog can do as much as paragraphs of backstory.


Look at Austen. In her novels, you get a dance, followed by an encounter, followed by a letter, then a period of solitude. No flashbacks and no backstory. Let’s have no more back story! ~Colm Toibin

Upcoming Schedule

May 4

May 11
Open slots

May 18
Open slots

May 25
Open slots

Jun 1
Open slots

Keep Writing,