Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 20, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 04-20-2017

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Many of us are on spring break this week. If you are, I hope you are having fun and relaxing!

The New Yorker writer Hilton Als wins the Pulitzer Prize for criticism, a list of other Pulitzer winners, and a more in-depth review of some of the African-American winners.

Lee Wind reminds us that April is National Poetry Month.

The book world has recently lost two writers: Mari Evans, poet of black Midwestern freedom, died March 10th, and Patricia C. McKissack, honored children’s author, died at age 72.

Want to read outside your genre but aren’t sure which books in other genres are the best to start with? James Wallace Harris talks about the Genreflecting Advisory Series.

The ALA has announced the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2016, listen to an interview with the founder of We Need Diverse Books Ellen Oh, read this list of books dealing with the refugee experience for middle-grade and YA readers, and a library in New York City purposely had low windows to lure youths who “did not care to be outdone” by kids they saw reading inside.

Got an out-of-control book collection? Katie and Kelly McMenamin  tell how to organize your book collection your way.

CRAFT

For memoir writers: Ange de Lumier has 6 points to consider when writing a memoir.

K.M. Weiland defines what it means to move the plot, Colleen M. Story discusses how to use a writer’s intuition to strike creative gold, and Becca Puglisi examines why readers stop reading.

Characters—our stories would be nothing without them. Jami Gold defines who the protagonist is in a story, Alison Green Myers discusses character development through music, ESL Drummer takes the character interview to new depths, Robin Rivera explores the conundrum of killing nice characters, James Scott Bell talks about characters having the courage to change, and Kathryn Craft shows how to amplify your story’s power through groups.

Dialogue, properly written, can make your story sparkle. Janine Savage gives tips on adverbial dialogue tags, and Jen Matera advises speaking your dialogue to get the voices right.

Once we’re done writing, we need to make our prose shine. Larry Brooks discusses the common mistake of overwriting, Kristen Lamb examines 3 newbie mistakes, Jami Gold shows is how to fix bad writing habits, Melissa Donovan explains how to use the ellipsis, and Lisa Lepki tells us what editing software can teach you about writing.

Kassandra Lamb debates whether or not to write short, and Liz Michalski examines the role of the subconscious in our writing.

Jeff Goins lists the 7 differences between amateurs and professionals, and Bill Ferris dissects the social contract for writers.

Writers want less stress in our lives. Shay Goodman explore how recognizing patterns in your life can make you more efficient and less stressed, and Nathan Bransford reminds us that its okay to feel emotions other than what society tells us we should feel about events in our life.

Lucky for us, many writers are free with their writing advice. Emily Temple lists Kurt Vonnegut’s greatest writing advice, Chuck Wendig deals with writing blurbs for books, and Amber Love talks about writing, comics, and more.

Take a peek inside audio book narrating as David Kempf interviews audio book narrator Ray Porter.

BUSINESS

If you’re interested in freelancing, Jane Friedman says freelance writing IS a viable career and don’t listen to naysayers.

Form rejections can make writers crazy. Jessica Faust gives the top 10 reasons why BookEnds Agency rejects manuscripts, and Parul Macdonald shares 6 myths and truths of what an editor at a publishing house looks for.

Susan Spann lays out how to request a reversion of publishing rights.

Steve Laube examines some ways to grow your market.

The book blurb is your chance to hook the reader. Rayne Hall shows how to write the perfect blurb, and Beth Bacon tells how to generate more book sales with a key-word powered blurb.

How to get the word out about your book? G.D. Harper does a case study on how to maximize Facebook advertisements, and Frances Caballo outlines many ways to get attention for your book on Amazon.

Social media can be a help or a hindrance to writers. Janet Reid explains that you don’t have to be everywhere on social media—just where your readers are, and Melissa Donovan shows how to use Pinterest for writing ideas and inspiration.

THE UNIQUE SHELF

Lindsey Bahr reviews the Emily Dickinson tale A Quiet Passion, while Lynn Neary talks further about the film.

Check out these 30 enamel pins for book lovers.

Three libraries claim to be the oldest library in Texas—and they’re all kinda right.

Raquel D’Apice has issues with Goodnight Moon that many of us can relate to.

David Cole reveals a case of poetry in the courtroom.

How knowledgeable are you? Can you pass a 3rd grade grammar test? Can you get a 5 on this AP English exam? How good are you with synonyms?

Renaissance writers were the original rock stars, and now you can read more of their Renaissance literary treasures online; Michael Freemantle traces the history of Gowland’s Lotion, a popular but toxic 18th-19th medical remedy mentioned by Jane Austen; and check out this miniature manuscript in a circular format.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! See you next week!

Posted by: Matt Q. McGovern | April 19, 2017

Getting into character

I recently finished reading the book ‘Dropped Names’, by Frank Langella, the accomplished actor.

I’ve always enjoyed the interviews I’ve seen of Frank Langella over the years, particularly his description of the devotion to the craft of acting. This actor with extensive experience of the stage can be very soft-spoken, causing one to listen carefully during his interviews. His voice is easy to listen to, and reading his book was easier still because I could hear him saying the words.

I have written before about my strange habit of flash-reading, or reading for only a minute or so. An activity that is carried about exclusively on the phone, I read Dropped Names over the last two years, mostly in elevators or waiting for the bus. Only recently did I actually sit down at home to read the last of it in a more conventional setting.

Of all the books I’ve read in this very temporary fashion, his was amongst the easiest to pick up where I left off each time I would read. I attribute that to having heard Frank Langella speak before (in a non-acting context) and his book being written in a way that very closely matched his speaking style.

This got me thinking about the importance of reading your writing out loud. Each reader that reads your book will have a natural reading voice in their head, whichever it is. Obviously we would all hope our writing does this naturally for readers. Reading a few scenes out loud in different voices (our own voice but with different inflections) might give us a better idea of how our story sounds.

I wonder now if Frank Langella, or some other voices I can think of, have read fiction professionally. Having a favorite voice or two would be good to keep in mind while you’re reading your own writing out loud; it may cause you to change your writing to benefit it.

There were other observations I made from the book that pertain to writing. Frank spoke about various approaches to acting as well as giving many brief but poignant profile descriptions of people who interacted with this deep craft. It’s easy, as a result of the reading, to start thinking of the craft that pertains to writing and the various approaches there are, as well as thinking of the best approaches to the industry of writing.

Overall, I took from this book an underlying theme of “how to act”, as in how to act in a certain situation as opposed to on the stage or behind the camera. This comes from Frank as well as a number of people he talks about and I can easily parlay that to my own thoughts on writing.

I would recommend this book to any writer that likes a book that’s not about writing per se, but one that easily gets them thinking of it.

Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 13, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 04-13-2017

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We’re heading into Spring Break here, so if you’ve got vacation, enjoy!

The winners of the Pulitzer Prizes, including Colson Whitehead’s Underground Railroad .

Speaking of awards, Joanna Penn discusses what the validation of awards means to writers.

Diversity comes in all shapes and sizes (that’s rather it’s definition, isn’t it?). George Takei is writing a graphic novel about his experience in a Japanese internment camp during World War II, Native Realities Press has rebooted Jon Proudstar’s Tribal Force, the first all-Native superhero comic, and college student Kaya Thomas creates “We Read Too” mobile directory of 600 books that prioritize diversity.

Kim Savage explains how she kept writing after her muse died.

We love our bookstores. Chelsea Hensley shares 5 etiquette tips for the bookstore, and Epic Reads hosts Bookstagrams of beautiful bookstores.

A study shows that liberals and conservatives read totally different books about science.

Help support these stories of public school librarians by SLRI productions with a Kickstarter campaign.

CRAFT

Although we collect mainly writing posts, this SCBWI post has tricks and tips for the illustrators among us.

Want to write your memoir but don’t know where to start? Cyndy Etler shows how to use lists to write a memoir.

The opening of your book is arguably the most important patch of real estate in your story. Hallie Ephron describes the importance of a strong opening scene, Jennifer Probst explains the use of powerful hooks to snag a reader, and James Scott Bell advises creating mystery, not confusion, in the opening.

There are many craft elements you can use to spice up your story. S.C. Sharman discusses when and where to use foreshadowing, Diana Hurwitz talks about injecting humor, Kristen Lamb plunges into deep POV, and Chuck Wendig rushes to defend the semicolon.

K.M. Weiland shows how to write stories your readers will remember, Angela Ackerman delves into the character motivation of gaining fulfillment by giving back, and Chuck Wendig examines “character agency”.

Delilah Dawson talks writing Star Wars and Adventure Time, Chuck Wendig reminds us that we can write at any age, and Shaunta Grimes has 25 habits to make you a better writer.

We all get discouraged sometimes. J.K. Rowling talks about how to deal with failure, while David Barnett says that two unpublished books does not make you a failed author—it makes you a quitter.

BUSINESS

Want to freelance, but are uneasy? Linda Formichelli and Diana Burrell take on 4 freelancing myths holding you back.

In self-publishing, Joel Friedlander tackles the fake news about self-publishing, and Ron Vitale show how to identify your audience via Google Anaytics.

Janet Reid explains how to pick between multiple agent offers when they all seem good, and Nathan Bransford demystifies what literary agents do.

Good marketing reaches your readers and connects to them emotionally. Casey Demchak discusses the core messaging marketing toolkit for authors, Judith Briles shows how your media book pitch can open doors, and Anne R. Allen looks at the pros and cons of author newsletter vs. author blog.

Writers have a love-hate relationship with Goodreads. Sonja Yoerg explains why Goodreads is your friend, and Barb Drozdowich shares 6 ways for indie authors to use Goodreads to network.

THE UNIQUE SHELF

Finally! Someone to correct all those misspelled signs! Meet the Grammar Vigilante: Defender Of Truth, Justice And The Grammarian Way.

In a wonderful history find, the Smithsonian and Library of Congress purchase a rare 1860s photo of Harriet Tubman.

Ever wonder what the most famous book that takes place in your state is? Wonder no more! Check out the most famous book that takes place in every state.

TV opening titles have evolved into mini-movies.

Did you know these 23 movies you probably didn’t know were based on books.

In 1902, a Frenchman imagined what women might look like if they started taking up “male” professions.

World War I soldiers and aide personnel’s thoughts get heard in an exhibit of WWI military letters voicing the sorrow of fighting a war.

Many people love the scent of old books—but just how can that scent be described? Erin Blakemore follows the quest to better describe the scent of old books.

An accidental auction discovery deepens the mystery surrounding the infamous “Rice portrait” supposedly of a young Jane Austen.

Learn how Charles Dickens fought to keep Shakespeare’s house from being purchased by the dastardly American showman P.T. Barnum.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! See you next week!

 

Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 6, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 04-06-2017

Welcome to the first Top Picks Thursday of April!

In author news, Colin Dexter, creator of Inspector Morse, dies aged 86, and Robert Silvers, editor of the New York Review of Books, dies at age 87.

The Tome Society has their 2017-2018 “It Lists” out. Congratulations to all the nominees, especially friends of the blog Jonathan Maberry and Tiffany Schmidt.

“A lie travels around the globe while the truth is putting on its shoes.” Libraries and universities are working to improve digital literacy and combat fake news.

Jen Campbell discusses the time-honored trope of pairing villains and deformity.

Michelle Dean explores the importance of writers not looking away.

CRAFT

Ideas come in all shapes and sizes, but agents and publishers often want “high concept” ideas. Jeff Lyons defines high concept, and shows how we can create it in our ideas.

Alison Weiss has 8 ways to become an even better writer—and who doesn’t want that?

Never open with setting description, right? Well… Mary Kole tells us how to open with setting description the right way.

Shannon A Thompson talks character motivation vs. morals, while Jeff Lyons shows how to create a strong moral premise for our story.

Getting the details right is important. Alex Acks examines the “hollow woman” problem in science fiction, and Fred Johnson offers 2 ways to get violence right in fiction.

Writing takes great emotional stamina. Jessica Strawser lays out 5 reasons fellow writers are essential to your writing life, Ray Shepard reminds us that you’re ever too old to write, and Nell Boeschenstein ponders if “taste” is static or malleable.

Kathleen Jones has 6 ways to prepare for being a novelist as a retirement career, Jason M. Hough gives us musings on co-writing a novel, and Jed Herne tells us how to use active reading to become a better writer.

Balancing the writing with the business is difficult for all of us. Janet Reid discusses quitting your day job, Kim English wonders what success in publishing looks like, Melissa Febos asks if you want to be known for your writing or your swift email responses, and Nathan Bransford explores balancing writing to the market vs. writing what you love.

If you want to be a professional writer, Chuck Wendig has some things for you to consider, and Anne R. Allen tackles the myth that slow writers are doomed in the digital age.

BUSINESS

There’s a lot authors need to know these days, and if you are self-publishing, you need to know even more. Joel Friedlander talks interior design for genre fiction, Chuck Wendig shares caveats around work-for-hire book publishing, and Marie Lamba has 6 “To Do’s” if you write.

If you are going for an agent, you need a query letter. Nathan Bransford discusses summarizing through specificity. Janet Reid gets optimistic and tells us what to ask an agent after you get an offer, and also discusses why agents try to keep subsidiary rights for their clients.

Marketing can be mind-numbing. Jami Gold addresses the boogeyman of struggling to gain reviews, Sandra Beckwith breaks down Facebook advertising for authors, and Frances Caballo gets serious with Pinterest.

THE UNIQUE SHELF

Some of us find writing to a deadline stressful. How about writing when you’re dying? George Orwell wrote 1984 while dying of tuberculosis.

If you like The DaVinci Code, check out these 9 weird conspiracy theories about art.

Heavens to Darcy! Jane Austen has alt-right fans.

Take a look at 20 fantastic edible books from the world’s biggest edible book festival.

The first Texas style novel was written by…a Frenchman in 1819.

A look at Jennifer Crandall’s documentary project, Whitman, Alabama, in which “the citizens of Alabama use Whitman’s most famous poem as a way to speak about themselves.”

Here are 43 of your favorite books about complicated families.

The largest collection of Saul Bellows papers is now open for research at the University of Chicago.

A tribute to Terry Pratchett, with appearances by Terry Pratchett.

And in the latest things-you-find-when-you-clean-out-your-attic story, a Shakespearean notepad stuns an Antiques Roadshow expert.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Join us next week for more links for writers and readers.

Posted by: Nancy Keim Comley | April 5, 2017

Hooray For the Written Word

A couple of months ago a friend from college sent me a letter. A real letter on paper in an envelope and everything. After looking at it in mild surprise I opened the envelope and took out the page. She wrote that she appreciated the missive I had written and put in with our Christmas card. It made her realize just how much she misses letters. So she decided to put pen to paper and write.

She and I were close in college and have remained friends ever since but with children, work, family and the half continent between us we fell out of touch. In a three page letter she caught me up on her life and through her words and humor I was reminded why I like her so much. She is fun, irreverent, book-obsessed and writes a great letter.  A few days after receiving her letter I sat down and wrote back (I put fingers to keys instead of pen to paper, I have terrible handwriting).

Since then about every week we write to each other. Most nights I write a paragraph or two before I sleep. I sincerely hope we keep it up — there is something very satisfying about getting a letter in the mail.  Texts and email are immediate and demanding but a letter is something to be savored.

Posted by: Kerry Gans | March 30, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 3-30-2017

Welcome to the last Top Picks Thursday of March! Our March is going out like a rainy little lamb, but I think we have finally expelled winter and are ready to welcome spring!

Non-fiction authors often wonder about liability. Lawyer Brad Frazer  lists 5 things nonfiction authors can get sued for.

Looking for something diverse to read? Here are 10 teen books that offer different perspectives on autism.

Kathryn Craft reminds us that although we can do it all, that doesn’t mean we should. If we do get in over our heads, Ruth Harris has some stress busters and burnout beaters.

CRAFT

Sometimes getting from the idea to the page is the hardest part of writing. Kristen Lamb shares signs that you don’t really have a story, Jeff Lyons defines the difference between story and situation, and Casey Griffin has 5 steps to building an outline.

Once we start writing, there are big ticket issues to worry about. Mary Kole explains how to direct reader attention, Donald Maass shows how to produce an emotional response from your reader, and Angela Ackerman explores the character motivation of overcoming abuse and learning to trust.

Tina Radcliffe walks us through the process of writing a scene, and Julie Anne Long looks at using the ordinary to create the extraordinary.

Nathan Bransford tells us how to know if you have a good editor, Jen Matera lets us know how to edit dialogue, and Janine Savage lays out how to write numbers in writing.

So how does one become a successful author? Kristen Lamb discusses if some people lack the talent to be authors, Ivy Sheldon distinguishes between writer’s block and perfectionism, and Diane O’Connell lists 8 things successful authors DON’T do.

BUSINESS

Self-published authors have to know a lot about a whole range of subjects. Dave Kusek and Joanna Penn discuss what authors can learn from the music business, while David Kudler gets into the nuts and bolts of editing your ebook.

To agent or not to agent? Jane Friedman talks about how to land an agent for a self-published book, while agent Janet Reid shares 6 reasons your manuscript got rejected.

Branding and marketing is essential to any author’s success. Jami Gold looks at how to keep your sanity while building a brand, and Jane Friedman shows how to improve book sales through better descriptions and keyword targeting.

That’s it for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We’ll see you in April!

Posted by: Kerry Gans | March 28, 2017

The Duality of the Writing Mind

I seem to exist on two planes of consciousness at once sometimes, and I have found from other writers that I am not alone in this duality. Sometimes I am in a situation that should be all-consuming, yet there is a part of me that is aloof, watching, observing, recording. I do not know if other artistic people experience this (perhaps they can comment) but it has happened to me frequently enough that I accept it as a fact of the writer’s life.

For example, when my best friend was dying of cancer. Kind of a big deal. Lots of strong, deep emotion. An awful, terrible time. But I remember one moment, clear as if someone else was speaking to me, having the thought, “This would make a good story.”

Of course, I felt super-guilty for thinking that. I mean, I should have been completely immersed in the present, where my friend was dying. And most of me was—except for that little writer part of me.

I have had the same sort of duality with the political situation in America. While a large part of me is overwhelmed by the sheer sur-reality of the current political atmosphere, I cannot help but be fascinated how two people can look at the same candidate, and one see a savior and the other see a snake-oil salesman. An object lesson in point-of-view writ large in the real world.

So what accounts for this double-consciousness? I believe now that this duality is actually my empathetic side coming out—it’s me realizing that I am in a moment that is of universal human significance. A moment or situation that highlights some deeper aspect of human nature.

Recognizing this, I no longer worry that it means I am not “connected” enough to the present. In some ways, I may be more deeply connected than I can articulate. I hope that someday I can use what my duality has observed to write stories that matter—that speak to the humanity in all of us.

Do you find yourself feeling this duality?

Posted by: Kerry Gans | March 23, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 03-23-2017

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We had our worst snowstorm of the season 4 days before the first day of spring, and now it is in the 30s. I hope your spring is warm and sunny!

In author news, author Paula Fox, best known for her award-winning and emotionally complex children’s novels, died on March 1.

In happier author news, check out the cover reveal and excerpt from Ursula K. Le Guin’s new novel No Time to Spare.

Here’s a guide to the upcoming changes to the New York Times’ Children’s Books coverage.

Want some good books to read? The Man Booker International Prize longlist has been announced.

Since we’re also readers, Roni Loren shares her favorite podcasts about reading, for when you can’t actually read but want that reading feeling.

SCBWI is combining the best of both worlds with SCBWI Books for Readers program. If you are an SCBWI member, check it out—your favorite book organization might win a ton of books.

Getting kids to read can sometimes be tricky, but these two people have found a way. One teacher is using graphic novels to turn non-readers into readers, and an 11-year-old boy starts a club for young black boys to see themselves in books.

Classic books are woven into our culture. S.E. Hinton’s beloved novel The Outsiders turns 50 this month, and white Southerners in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s time claimed Uncle Tom’s Cabin was “fake news”—so she wrote a fact check key for it.

If you love to have the Oxford comma argument, consider this—an Oxford comma just changed the course of a court case.

CRAFT

Not finding inspiration for a new idea? Jann Alexander has 3 surprising sources for writers in search of ideas.

Some writers struggle with the big picture. Mary Kole warns of the perils of starting a novel with the aftermath, Jami Gold explores balancing writing rules with our writer voice, and Daphne Gray-Grant explains 7 vexing habits guaranteed to wreck your writing.

Structure carries readers through your story. K.M. Weiland gives us 8 1/2 tips for how to write opening and closing lines readers will love to quote, and Jami Gold lists 3 steps to raising story stakes.

How do you “show” something internal to your character? Kristen Lamb shows how to manifest inner demons outwardly.

Once we have written, writers must revise. Shay Goodman lays out steps to revising your manuscript, and Lauren Schmelz explains why we can’t trust spell check to catch everything.

Life can get in the way of art. Martina Boone explores what to do when the real world is so emotionally draining that you can’t write, and Sue Weems shares 5 sneaky ways to steal time to write.

BUSINESS

Writing is an art, but publishing is a business. Carla King compares Ingram Spark and Createspace royalties so you can make an informed decision.

If you are traditionally published, you always have sales numbers hanging over your head. Janet Reid discusses staying published with lackluster sales.

Ever thought you wanted to be an agent? Janet Reid tells you the first thing you need to understand if you want to be an agent.

Many authors want to maintain some privacy even while their career takes them into the public eye. Janet Reid explains whether or how a pseudonym can help you stay private in public.

Marketing is everything you do online and in public. Your author photo is a big part of that marketing—but they can be so expensive. Sandra Beckwith gives tips on how to get inexpensive author photos that wows. If you can hitch your wagon to someone else’s horse to improve your sales, so much the better! Joan Stewart explains how to hitch a ride on someone else’s holiday to sell more books. And Maddie Dawson looks at the answer to the often-fraught question: What kind of fiction do you write?

Online is the main place to meet your customers these days. Anne R. Allen discusses what an author should blog about, while Andrea Dunlop shares 5 better approaches for social media use.

THE UNIQUE SHELF

Amy Krouse Rosenthal writes a heartfelt column on why you may want to marry her husband 10 days before she dies of cancer.

Beauty and the Beast is lighting up the silver screens right now, but Beauty and the Beast has a storied, international folk history.

At one time in history, bookstores did not exist. James Lackington changed all that with The Cheapest Bookstore in the World in 18th century London.

Letters are voices from the past. The many letters of Abigail and John Adams shows their mutual respect, and the new website Epistolae shares Medieval women’s letters.

Explore the Book-of-the-Month Club’s beginnings, and it’s recent revival.

Check out the Aberdeen Bestiary online, and the first 100 Polonsky pre-1200 manuscripts.

The BBC investigates: Did Jane Austen become virtually blind because of arsenic poisoning?

Amanda Nelson brings us a literary map of the world, and Courtney Gorter has every author on your English syllabus, summed up in a single sentence.

If you are reading this blog, you love books. Here are 20 problems only book lovers understand, and 20 quotes from children’s books every adult should know.

If you are looking to find new books to read, especially books outside your normal groove, Frances Campbell suggests some ways to turn over a new leaf.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! See you next week!

Posted by: Gwendolyn Huber | March 21, 2017

Can A Tough Time Be A Great Time To Write?

I’m starting 2017 with another health challenge, the kind of thing where the treatment can be all consuming. This time I am resolved to use this difficult time as a reason to write, a reason to do what’s important.

Yeah, this is a disaster, and there’s all those stages of grief to go through, all seven of them, and tests and treatment which inevitably suck the life out of the patient.

On the other hand, writing is healing and creative, and creating is life.

Posted by: Kerry Gans | March 16, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 03-16-2017

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Who else is going green tomorrow for St. Patrick’s Day?

It’s tax time again! Can’t you feel the joy in the air? Writer and CPA Lisa London has tax tips for writers.

L.J. Alonge discusses the struggle to write past the white gaze as a black author.

More good news for readers! Science says book readers live longer.

CRAFT

Mary Jaksch has advice about how to fire up a stalled novel, but her idea could easily help in the brainstorming, pre-writing phase—which might keep you from getting stuck in the first place.

Writers understand using story structure as we write, but Jami Gold examines what story structure means from your readers’ point of view.

Which comes first, the character or the plot? Kristen Lamb investigates using a paradigm to create your character, and how that character paradigm then determines plot.

Writers obsess about overall word count, but what about scene word count? How scene word count can help in your big-picture editing.

Creativity is a writer’s life blood. Jami Gold delves into brain science by exploring right brain vs. left brain vs. creativity, and Clive Thompson shows how being bored out of your mind makes you more creative.

BUSINESS

For literary writers, Mike Sahno shares 5 pieces of bad advice literary fiction writers get about publishing.

For self-publishers,  Joel Friedlander introduces The Book Makers, a new full-service book design and production service.

Authorpreneurs take note: Stephen Mansfield discusses 10 warning signs of a leadership crash (and how to avoid them).

Agent Janet Reid answers the perennial question: Should I query young agents?

Professional writers need a lot of skills to write and market their books. Heidi Fiedler lists the professional writer skill sets, Chris Syme notes 3 skills every author needs to sell more books, and Amy Collins urges us to seek professional, expert advice on our marketing journey.

Almost all authors have a website these days, but how many of us know how to maintain it? L.W. Linquist shares 10 must-know website tips and tricks for writers.

THE UNIQUE SHELF

If you love your libraries, check out Book Riot’s library gear.

On the romantic front, Dana Rosette Pangan has 7 reasons you should date a reader.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Have a great St. Patrick’s Day!

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