The Noble Pen for Feb 15, 2018

Next Noble Pen Meeting

February 15th, 2018 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids


The National Book Awards took a small step to becoming more international with the addition of a prize for books translated into English.


Aime submitted a column to the newspaper.


How long should a story be?  How long is a piece of string? They should be long enough to do the job without a lot of excess.  Always review your story to see if it contains padding that does not move the story along.  However, a long manuscript may not be publishable by traditional publishers regardless of whether it is the right length for the story it tells.  If your writing is tight and still too long, you may have to modify the events of the story to fit a publishable range.

The Nebula Awards define lengths for short story, novelette, novella, and novel.  Other peoples’ definitions vary.  Other formats include drabble, usually defined as a story of around (sometimes exactly) 100 words, and flash fiction, which is variously defined as less than 300 or 1000 words.

The average book sold through Amazon in 2014 had 64,500 words.  Chuck Sambuchino offers a detailed guide that recommends 80-100 k words for most novels and memoirs, with sci-fi running slightly longer.  Westerns and books for younger readers tend to be shorter.  Here’s another guide , and a third, that mostly agree, and define lengths for other formats.  Wikipedia goes into the details of counting words, which you can digest for details after getting your story into the right length range for your market.  Whatever MS Word reports tends to be used nowadays unless someone has specific counting software.

One always tends to overpraise a long book, [just] because one has got through it. ~E. M. Forster

You know what writers say about their long books: If I had another year, the book would be half as long. ~David Remnick

Upcoming Schedule

February 15
10-minute educational – Stacie S.
Stacie S (submission carried over)

February 22
Stacie S.

March 1
Riley 10-minute educational
Open slot

March 8
Open slots

March 15
Open slots

Keep Writing,