Great Tips for Dialogue From Meg Waite Clayton

My latest endeavor in the publishing industry has been to follow all the big publishers, agents, writers, etc., on Twitter. I absolutely love their tweets, and I wish I had done this so much sooner. I highly recommend it. Side note: I also love TweetDeck for following certain publishing-related hashtags, but I’ll probably post more about that later on.

Anyway, it was via @RandomHouse that I discovered this gem of advice for writing dialogue, as compiled by Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters, among other titles. She’s got a great blog full of great advice, not just on dialogue, so those of you working on your own stuff should definitely check her out!

Meg’s Blog:

My Twitter List of Significant Writing/Publishing Entities: (in case you’re interested in doing the same!)


Writer’s Block: “It’s Artificial.”

Movie Cover or Non-Movie Cover?

One of Parini’s books. Movie Cover or Non-Movie Cover? (Photo credit: Robert Burdock)

That quote comes from Jay Parini, poet, novelist, biographer, and teacher at Middlebury College in Vermont. In an interview from the fall about his experiences with writing, Parini talks about overcoming writer’s block (which he’s never had, by the way!), and gives some advice to new writers.

Here’s some more of his thoughts on writer’s block:

If you’re blocked, you shouldn’t be writing. You should be fishing. Or mowing the lawn. Or fixing things. Or anything.

Check out the rest of the interview at Jon Winokur’s blog, Advice To Writers, and then come back and let me know what you think! I’m sharing my thoughts below (that’s my version of a “spoiler alert”).

Some of the most poignant advice came from Parini’s advice to new writers. He says the trick is to find a time where you can write, uninterrupted, and guard it with your life. He also said that if you spend that time reading, it’s okay. He makes a great point about the connection between an author’s reading habits and writing habits that I wholly agree with. If I can’t find anything good to read, I’m kind of indifferent to my writing, which isn’t good for productivity!

I can also connect with his thoughts on writer’s block. It’s true that whenever I really feel like my writing is just not coming to me, it’s usually because I have school work, errands, or other things on my mind that are making it hard to be creative. Some of my best writing came during my holiday from school – I got three solid, ready-for-the-editor chapters finished in six weeks!

What are your thoughts? Do you feel that your writing is connected to your reading? Do you believe in writer’s block?

A new, FREE alternative to Duotrope!

Money, money, money

Hello writer friends.

I’ve been asked to pass around the link to a new, FREE alternative to the popular submissions tracking website Duotrope. As many of you know, Duotrope recently became paid-subscription only. But this new site is looking to fill the void it left in us broke, penniless writers. It comes from the guys who bring you

So here it is.

What’s cool about Grinder is that they promise to keep it free.

“We believe that that value of a good tracker lies in the statistics and any attempt to restrict access will dilute and diminish that value.

For that reason, The grinder will NEVER have a compulsory cost to the writers who call it home.”

Now, I am not too familiar with Duotrope, as I haven’t been submitting work seriously enough that I really needed it, and I know I won’t pay to use it. So I can’t really fairly compare the two, but I think based on the site’s statement that I quoted, Grinder really has some potential to compete with Duotrope. For those of you who ARE seriously submitting your work, let me know how Grinder works out for you if you decide to give it a try!