Monthly Archives: May 2018

The Noble Pen for May 24, 2018

Next Noble Pen Meeting

May 24th, 2018 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

Author Tom Wolfe died last week at age 88. He had a career in journalism, wrote nonfiction, and some fiction.  He published at least fifteen books, including The Right Stuff.  Here’s a republished interview.

Victories

Uriah got an A on a ten-page school paper.

Education

How do you pick the title of your novel?  If you go through a traditional publishing house, you probably don’t.  The marketing department will pick the title, replacing your working title.  If you use a smaller house you may have some say in it, and if you are independent it is all up to you.

Here’s some advice on ways to come up with a title.  This post suggests brainstorming methods.  Here is more advice.  You probably should have alternative titles and ask as many people as possible which ones are most likely to catch their interest.

Your title should be distinctive but not distracting and somehow connected to your story and genre.  You should search for similar titles and avoid any that will get confused with a classic or appear to be riding the the tails of a currently popular book, movie, or song.  It is not smart to name your book The Games of Hunger.  On the other hand, it is permissible to use a title that already exists, and this happens frequently.  Titles have little legal protection, and if the other book(s) is/are relatively unknown and not similar you are probably okay.

Upcoming Schedule

May 24
Ciuin
Uriah
Aime

May 31
Jeremiah
Laura
Uriah

Jun 7
Logan
Nick
Open slot

Jun 14
Open slots

Jun 21
Open slots

Keep Writing,
Bill

The Noble Pen for May 17, 2018

Next Noble Pen Meeting

May 17th, 2018 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

We have room on the upcoming schedule for more submissions.  Let me know if you have material ready.

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Ciuin has arranged with a bake shop in northern CR to have them display and sell books by Noble Pen authors.  Ask her for details.

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The committee for the Nobel Prize in Literature will not be awarding one in 2018 because a scandal has led too many members to resign.  Interestingly, they cannot be replaced until they die and thus an impasse occurs.

Victories

Aime has identified how the Democracy story will end.

Ciuin wrote the trial, result of trial, and ending of her battle scene in Chessmaster but has a lot to do on the battle itself.

Nick has beta readers for some of his stories.

Education

Some people advise all cliché phrases are to be “avoided like the plague.”  See Wikipedia discussion.  Writer’s Digest offers a short list of overused phrases.  Here’s a list of 681 clichéd phrases.

I’m not so sensitive to them as to ban their whole list, and feel an occasional one can serve a purpose.  I see nothing wrong with “benefit of the doubt,” for instance, and wouldn’t object to occasional use of “ace in the hole”, “all in a day’s work”, or “crash course.”  However, “drives me up the wall” tends to do so, I’ve seen pancakes that weren’t “flat as a pancake,” and I’ve never seen a real “loose cannon.”

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Backups are vital.   Someday you will need one when you are least prepared. What is the state of your backups if you had a crash RIGHT NOW?

Some people consider it necessary to have at least three copies of any important work, such as on the working computer, on a flash drive, and on a cloud storage service like Dropbox (read about)(sign up with referral link instead for more free storage).  If you burn CDs or DVDs that can be another option.  You could substitute more flash drives for the cloud service.  A good scheme is to have two or more and rotate which one you update in case you overwrite a version you wanted.

I find it useful to make a copy of the project file now and then with the date inserted into the file name, as  MyBook2018_05_17.doc so that I can go back and look at prior versions (the cloud may only keep old versions for a limited time).

If you know how to use batch files or command lines, this line is handy, with appropriate drive letter and folder name in place of those shown:
xcopy c:\MyBook e:\MyBook\ /D /S /R /I /Y
It will copy any newer-dated or additional files and only those files, from that folder and its subfolders to the other drive.  If the folder has blanks in its name, you must enclose the name in double quotes.  Windows should have made it easy to do this kind of copy, but didn’t.

Upcoming Schedule

May 17
Logan
Aime
Uriah (revised submission)

May 24
Ciuin
Open slots

May 31
Jeremiah
Open slots

Jun 7
Logan
Nick
Open slot

Jun 14
Open slots

Keep Writing,
Bill

The Noble Pen for May 10, 2018

Next Noble Pen Meeting

May 10th, 2018 at 7 pm

Scott’s Family Restaurant

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids

News

Crime fiction is quite popular.  This article from the UK discusses reasons.

Victories

Ciuin has Petty Theft for sale at a bake shop.  She wrote more on Chessmaster.

Education

Aime recommends this video about cliches.

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Chuck Wendig offers twenty-five rules for writing stories.   Some are what you usually hear and some are distinctly different.  You’ll need to pardon his vulgarity in spots.

Emma Coats assembled a list of 22 rules of storytelling as applied to Pixar movies.

The greatest rules of dramatic writing are conflict, conflict, conflict. ~James Frey

There are three rules for writing. Unfortunately, no one can agree what they are. ~Somerset Maugham

Upcoming Schedule

May 10
Ciuin
Aime
Uriah

May 17
Logan
Aime?
Open slot

May 24
Ciuin
Open slots

May 31
Jeremiah
Open slots

Jun 7
Nick
Open slots

Keep Writing,
Bill