Monthly Archives: April 2018

The Noble Pen for Apr 26, 2018

Next Noble Pen Meeting

April 26th, 2018 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

The fight over a broadway production of To Kill A Mockingbird continues.  The executor of Harper Lee’s estate thinks the production is not true to the novel.

Victories

Aime’s son is writing and they had their first big serious discussion of writing.

Ciuin has emphasized the chess theme in prior chapters of Chessmaster.  She is at 80k words and hopes to complete the story this weekend.

Education

Every writer needs to find plotting methods that work for them, and those may differ from those of other successful writers.  You need to try lots of advice and see what helps you.  Jan Ellison offers some tips.  I particularly like her point that you need to get to the end of the story before you polish parts of it.  That approach is consistent with the Snowflake Method.  It’s hard to bring yourself to tear up a beautiful chapter when you find later that the plot needed to go a different direction.  There are many ways or levels of detail to outline, from a strict structure to a loose summary of the story.

For those who want to improve their planning, this article on outlining may help.  Here is a page with downloadable links for several types of outlines as fillable PDF forms you can edit and print.  A seven-point story structure is a classic configuration that may help you shape the story.  Here’s  a collection of outlines used by successful authors.

But not everyone believes in detailed planning.   Some people write by the “seat of their pants”, to use a metaphor that came from pilots who stay oriented by their senses instead of by instruments.  These writers let the story develop as it seems to need to go.

Which are you, or can you take a middle road? John Irving says he always knows where he’s headed, though it would appear from this interview that he doesn’t necessarily know how he will get there.

Upcoming Schedule

Apr 26
Jeremiah
Uriah
Randy

May 3
Aime – short educational session on cliches
Nick
Logan (double: complete short story)

May 10
Ciuin
Aime?
Open slot

May 17
Open slots

May 24
Open slots

Keep Writing,
Bill

The Noble Pen for Apr 19, 2018

Next Noble Pen Meeting

April 19th, 2018 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

It’s always been known that bad news travels more quickly than good news.  Now social scientists are studying how fake news propagates, relative to other things.

Victories

Ciuin added 8,000 words to Chessmaster, putting it up to 72,000.

Education

If you know where to start and end, how do you get the reader to stay with you through the journey?  Generally, you need to maintain conflict and tension, with complications and/or more problems for the protagonist to get through.  But it should all tie together – don’t give the characters a lot of distractions that have nothing to do with the climax and resolution.

Camy Tang writes about keeping up interest through the “The Sagging Middle” Part 1 and Part 2, based on Dwight Swain’s Techniques of the Selling Writer.

This article offers a bunch of ideas to help keep that middle interesting.  Here are more suggestions.

It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. ~Ernest Hemingway

Focus on the journey, not the destination.  Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.  ~Greg Anderson

Upcoming Schedule

Apr 19
Ciuin (double)
Randy

Apr 26
Jeremiah
Uriah
Randy?

May 3
Nick
Logan (double: complete short story)

May 10
Open slots

May 17
Open slots

Keep Writing,
Bill

The Noble Pen for Apr 12, 2018

Next Noble Pen Meeting

April 12th, 2018 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

The Science Fiction News edition for 2018 Spring (Northern hemisphere) is available.

Victories

Nick edited on his SSS novel.

Ciuin finished an editing job.  She got an order for Petty Theft.

Education

You don’t dare have an important character who isn’t interesting.  There are a lot of ways to make an uninteresting, unlikable character.  It’s trickier with your protagonist than the antagonists.   Here are some negative characteristics that characters may have.

Unlikable characters can be interesting.  They typically come with built-in conflicts, and conflict is the meat of storytelling.  Here is a discussion of some interesting but unlikable characters from published fiction.

Upcoming Schedule

Apr 12
Uriah
Randy
Ciuin

Apr 19
Ciuin
Aime
Open slot

Apr 26
Randy
Jeremiah
Open slot

May 3
Nick
Open slots

May 10
Open slots

Keep Writing,
Bill