Posted by: Kerry Gans | June 30, 2011

Top Picks Thursday 6-30-2011

Welcome to Top Picks Thursday!


Plot and POV and characters…oh my! The scriptwriters at The Script Lab examine the 5 key plot points used in movies—which also happen to apply to novels, too. Once we’ve got the plot, we need to figure out who is going to narrate. Freelance fiction manuscript editor Jodie Renner explores the pros and cons of using the first-person POV in novel-length works. And since some of the characters we create might not survive until the end of the book, YA science fiction and fantasy author Janice Hardy gives us a step-by-step to make readers care about expendable minor characters.

Like unruly children everywhere, our characters need structure to thrive. The Hero’s Journey is an essential structure all writers have heard about—and if you haven’t, Lori Sizemore gives a concise overview using The Clash of the Titans as an example. Meanwhile, agent Josh Getzler takes us to the Modifier Zone, with an outrageous example of modifier vomitage and a real example of a fantastic opening.

Our craft often includes intangibles, and we never stop creating in our heads. YA author Julie Musil reminds us that writers are always writing—even when we’re not. And author Robin Kaye worries that she might lose the magic and create technically perfect writing that is not good writing.

Social networking runs the new publishing paradigm, for better or worse. For those still not in the Twitter-verse (or uncomfortable with it), Miss Remmer gives a rundown of the Twitter basics, while author Jessica Lawson gives us advice straight from the horse’s mouth—tweets from agents. Since a vital part of the social media is having an author website, agent Kathleen Ortiz lists the basics for a website, with separate lists for unpublished and published authors. Blogging is also almost a must, John Kremer at lists 45 (actually 51) ways a novelist can blog successfully.

In straight up money talk, Eric at Pimp My Novel gives his take on why author advances are declining—and may become extinct.

In light of the vanishing advance and all the promotional work authors are expected to do these days, many authors are considering or choosing to self-publish. Author Bob Mayer talks candidly about what it takes to succeed as a self-published author (hint: a lot of hard work). If you self-publish, you will need to know basic book design terminology, so Joel Friedlander over at The Book Designer demystifies some of the more common terms.

Finally, many agents are getting into the self-publishing market, whether as all-out publishers or as facilitators of self-publishing for their clients. The latest to make this move is Dystel & Goderich, who stress that their first priority will remain selling books to traditional publishers.

Dystel & Goderich has been very candid about its plans and philosophy, but the agent-as-publisher model is still new, and Writer Beware points to many questions (primarily conflict of interest questions) that remain.

Welcome to the brave new world that is publishing in 2011!


  1. There is a lot of helpful info here. Thanks 😉


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