The Noble Pen for Dec 21,2017

Next Noble Pen Meeting

December 21st, 2017 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids


As we approach the end of the year, “Best Books” lists appear.  Here are lists from the NY Times editors and from their critics.


We survived quite well with nine of us crowded into a corner table for the meeting, and the only casualty was a spilled container of bacon bits.

Randy figured out his genre is mystery, not detective.

Aime read a book in three days.

Ciuin’s beta reader who is a teacher passed her book around in the classes and will put it on the approved list for book reports.


Author self-insertion (wikipedia) occurs when the author puts a lot of their own personality into their characters.  A little of this is natural and good; you write what you know.   The author’s habits, little quirks, favorite foods, drinks, movies, etc. will naturally appear in the characters.  They may put their nightmares into their stories, too.

It can be useful to not only use your good aspects, but to also remember things you aren’t proud of and give them to the characters, perhaps exaggerated.  You once came close to failing the breathalyzer so your character does fail it.  You once were so mad at a teacher you key-scratched his car so a character does it.

Carried to extreme, the character becomes an author surrogate, and can be problematic.  Some make their main character like they would want themselves to be and perhaps too perfect (I’ve been so accused).   This is sometimes known as a Mary Sue character (history link).  Nobody likes a character with no problems.

Some let their characters preach their beliefs to the extent it becomes a distraction from the story (James P. Hogan, I’m looking at you).  Or most of the characters can become too similar because they are all partly like the author.

Here’s a forum discussion of the pros, cons, and methods of putting part of yourself into the story.

Upcoming Schedule

December 21

December 28
Stacie S.

January 4
Stacy H.
Open slot

January 11
Open slots

January 18
Open slots

Keep Writing,