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Meg Waite Clayton's Blog

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I've got my final cover for The Four Ms. Bradwells, and am so excited about it that I am going to leap ahead in my narrative here to cover the great cover process. For starters, you might like to know that deciding on a cover for The Wednesday Sisters was a long and tortured process. We had an...
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You may recall that when last you saw our fearless hero (me!), she'd had the bad judgment to send her editor a revised draft of The Four Ms. Bradwells on Valentine's Day. I went off for a romantic evening with my husband only after my editor, who was out here on the west coast for a few vacation...
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In Part 1 of this little series, "Manuscript Puberty," I shared the experience of sending a first draft of my new novel, The Four Ms. Bradwells, to my editor, and getting comments from her. That was December 30. I spent the next several days brainstorming in the same red journal in which...
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I just got my first peek at the likely cover for my new novel, The Four Ms. Bradwells, along with a description of what the book is about. The two together got me thinking it might be fun to blog my way through the months left until the book hits bookstore shelves, to give 1st Books readers who...
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Dave Barry's Writing Technique: "Get coffee. Stare at the screen. Write a bunch of things that aren't any good. Then comes that moment when I'll say, 'That's still not any good.'" The quote comes from a wonderful interview in this morning's NYT Magazine. Lots of funny stuff in the...
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I had the great pleasure of paneling with Richard Bausch - who is not only a wonderful writer, but also a kind and generous one - at the AWP conference last weekend. I dug out this quote from an interview of him in The Atlantic: "I don't teach writing -- I teach living this life, contending...
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I read Tim O'Brien's amazing short story, "The Things They Carried" in the first writing class I took. I've read it many times since, but I wouldn't need to have reread it even once to remember its incantatory beauty and emotional weight. I had the great fortune to study with Tim at the...
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Think how much easier this writing advice is to execute in the days of word processing global changes: "Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very;' your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be." -Mark Twain
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I just came across the most wonderful "Rules for Writing" series at the guardian.co.uk site, thanks to a mention of it in yesterday's NYTBR's "Inside the List". On the site, many truly extraordinary writers of all sorts list their "10 Rules for Writers." I haven't had...
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From Mark Strand's "On Becoming a Poet" in The Making of a Poem, an idea for what a poem may be, which I think also applies to fiction: "A poem may be ... the ghost within every experience that wishes it could be seen or felt, acknowledged as a kind of meaning." - Meg
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Stumbled across this Mark Twain quote as I'm going through revisions to a new novel I hope to get to my editor tomorrow: "If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything." Now if only I were writing nonfiction! Instead I'm trying to remember all the many things I changed...
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A passage that ought to give all struggling writers hope, from Booker-prize winner Graham Swift's Making an Elephant. He's talking about the time before he'd ever published a word, though he'd been "a writer in theory and spirit for some dozen years; in practice - if not in print - for some...
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In 1941, J.D. Salinger had seven storied rejected by The New Yorker. Apparently undaunted, he submitted an eighth the same year, "Slight Rebellion off Madison," which was accepted. BUT, it was about a disaffected teenager (can you guess his name?) nervous about the war, and in the wake of...
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I was drawn to a documentary about the sculptor, Auguste Rodin, this afternoon because one of my favorite places to write when the weather is good is on a bench by the Rodin sculpture garden at the Cantor Arts Center. I had no idea that Rodin's story is such a lesson in both the need to believe in...
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Growing up, I wasn’t much of a joiner. Yes, I joined Brownies, but only because my mom led the troupe. In middle school, I joined the Snowflake Ski Club with my friend Sheryl Cohen, but before the second group lesson had ended, we’d set off on our own. Join a sorority in college? I only have...
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