The Noble Pen for Sept. 14, 2017

Next Noble Pen Meeting

September 14th, 2017 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids


If you don’t have enough to argue about, consider how to spell Shakespear(e).  A controversy has arisen on a campus.


Ciuin started edits on Petty Theft using what beta reader response she has.  She reworked a lot of Chessmaster.

A store requested Randy to do a signing.

Nick did cleanup edits.


Writers Digest has an old but good article on storytelling techniques.  While focused on science fiction and fantasy, there is a lot to be gained for other genres.  It is important to give the reader enough information to follow the story, without overloading them with too much disconnected data to remember.  It’s a balancing act.  Generally you should not give the reader information until shortly before they need it.

An important method is giving information by implication.  If the characters know something, so they speak and act accordingly, then the reader can often pick up that information without being “told” and that makes the story flow smoother.  I’m very fond of the example from the opening of Heinlein’s story Free Men that I’ve quoted before, showing how a few lines of dialog paints the outline of the world the characters live in. He was an expert at immersing his reader in the world of the story without stopping to describe it.

“That makes three provisional presidents so far,” the Leader said. “I wonder how many more there are?” He handed the flimsy sheet back to the runner, who placed it in his mouth and chewed it up like gum.

The third man shrugged. “No telling. What worries me-“ A mockingbird interrupted. “Doity, doity, doity,” he sang. “Terloo, terloo, terloo, purty-purtypurty-purty.”

The clearing was suddenly empty

“As I was saying,” came the voice of the third man in a whisper in the Leader’s ear, “it ain’t how many worries me, but how you tell a de Gaulle from a Laval. See anything?”

“Convoy. Stopped below us.” The Leader peered through bushes and down the side of a bluff.

Notice that he does not tell you we are hiding in the woods with a resistance group in a country where a breakdown or conquest has splintered the loyalties of the population, because that can be inferred from the dialog and action.

This technique helps a lot with finding words to leave out, while still giving the reader what they need.

The best artists know what to leave out. ~Charles de Lint

The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in. ~Henry Green

Upcoming Schedule

September 14

September 21
Open slot

September 28
Open slots

October 5
Open slots

October 12
Open slots

Keep Writing,