Posted by: Thomas Drinkard | October 27, 2010

Good Advice from Mentors

I’ve been fortunate to know several terrific writers. One of them, Anne Carroll George (author of the ‘Southern Sisters’ series) was one of the first to advise about dialogue. A scene she critiqued had four people sitting around a table listening to a story–one which went on and on. Anne said, “…people don’t allow others to talk that long without interrupting. You’ve got to have a couple of others breaking into the story. You need to break long dialogue with narration and let others talk, that’s how people react to stories.”
In talking about production, Anne said that she tried for five good pages each day. I make that a goal.

When I began to write seriously, another wonderful lady talked to me about problems with romancing the muse. Helen Norris Bell, who wrote hundreds of fine short stories, including “The Christmas Wife” ( perennially shown on HBO during the Christmas season) said that I shouldn’t be concerned that my writing was dry after a day of teaching. “Teaching takes up all your creative energies. If you teach well, you won’t write well that day,” she said. She was exactly right. Now that I no longer teach, I write with more energy.

Good thoughts for writers from two marvelous ladies.


  1. Thank you for the great advice. It is great to be reminded.

  2. Very lucky to be surrounded by such a crowd of great teachers. They give good advice.

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