Friday, March 12, 2010

Advice, dialogue and (mis)communicating

I found this interesting blog on LinkedIn, from Anne Maclachlan, who does a bit called "Here's Why."

Anne was kind enough to give me permission to repost the blog she did on author Dr. Deborah Tannen, a New York Times bestselling author and communications expert, for our weekend readers and writers who just can't wait until CJ Ellisson blogs again on Monday.

Anne is not only a blogger, but a published author of horror with "The Thing in the Crosstrees" from the anthology The Bitter End: Tales of Nautical Terror. She is a former news content producer for the San Diego Tribune. She has produced two interactive English as a Second Language (ESL) textbooks and has won awards for her writing from the Society of Professional Journalists and San Diego Press Club, as well as the Southern California Writers Conference.

Since her credentials make me seem like a novice, I have paid attention to her blogs closely, especially this week's on Dr. Tannen. I found Dr. Tannen's article very informative. It has a lot of good advice and our topic this week deals with advice. A few weeks ago, we talked about writing believable dialogue and Dr. Tannen talks about the dialogue (or lack thereof) between men and women.

For aspiring writers, her writing could give valuable tips for writing believable conflict between male and female characters. For our readers, it might help explain some of the dialogue in today's books or, more importantly, in normal life.

Judge for yourselves.

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Dr. Deborah Tannen: Solving the communications battle of the sexes.

Deborah Tannen is still my favorite communications expert (so this is more or less a shameless plug of her work) and here’s precisely why: You Just Don’t Understand: Men and Women in Conversation.

[caption id="attachment_1454" align="alignright" width="120" caption="Deborah Tannen"][/caption]

That’s what started it for me, anyway. Dr. Tannen covers everything from male-female communication in the workplace and in social situations to family dynamics and that scary mother-daughter thing. Her advice is concrete and usable. She explains why we tend to communicate the way we do, investigates the social and genetic influences on speech, and lays out how better to listen and understand.

And the thing is, her observations are so accurate and astute that they just might affect your life. If you want to see how and why, here’s an excerpt from some of her writing for a quick look.

Before the next time you want to ask a woman “Why didn’t you just   say that?” or want to yell “You aren’t listening!” at your favorite man, it might be worth your while to investigate these books.

Good luck, all the same.

Excerpt from "You Just Don't Understand: Men and Women in  Conversation" by Dr. Deborah Tannen.

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Again, I want to thank Anne Maclachlan for letting Wicked Writers repost her blog. Hopefully, our readers have found something useful from it.

Oh, and don't forget to catch Wicked Writers next week when we talk about the art of reviewing. Our guest blogger will be Harley Palmer, founder of the Writing Academy at, who will share how she reviews the dozens of short stories she has received from her students' writing assignments.

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