Posted by: Kerry Gans | July 14, 2011

Top Picks Thursday 7-14-2011

Welcome to Top Picks Thursday!

If you missed author Marie Lamba’s guest blog yesterday, sharing tips gleaned from a YA editors panel at the YARWA (Young Adult Romance Writers of America), take a look!


To boost your productivity and creativity, read these tips from Todd Henry, founder & CEO of Accidental Creative consulting firm. After reading them, put them to work by following author and scriptwriter Jurgen Wolff’s 10 steps of execution.

Characters are the heart of most books, and Superhero Nation gives a great list of how to introduce important characters so readers care about them right away. On the other hand, paranormal author Jami Gold uses The Green Lantern to show how NOT to write characters. And since every great book needs a great villain, author and former editor Deborah Halverson explains why perfectly nice people make perfect Bad Guys.

Now that you have some fantastic characters, you need to give them all a voice. Grammar Divas tells us how to avoid having all of your characters read the same, while the Bookshelf Muse shares tips on voice from the pros at the SCBWI Florida conference and explains how to use weather in writing to layer a scene and enhance or contrast a character’s emotions .

Daily Writing Tips gives us seven sound techniques for effective writing (literally how the words sound on the page).

Author Al Sirois points out the value of targeting your writing to particular word counts in short stories.

Finally, Helen Parry at A Gallimaufry discusses Tutivillus, the literate demon, and all he symbolizes.


An Interview with Beth Potter, Associate Editor, Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers

Finding an agent is the first step toward the Holy Grail. YA author Laura Ellen shares her story of persevering through multiple disappointments to find the right agent for her. But even though most of us will need/want an agent, can you look TOO much? Can you be addicted to finding a literary agent?

Social media has invaded every aspect of our lives, and we get advice from all over the Internet. But how do you know who to listen to? Jane Friedman explains how to know who has the authority online. Donna Galanti goes beyond using social media marketing and explores the power of social media to “pay it forward” (there’s a contest, too). And for those of you wondering what the heck #FollowFriday is on Twitter, here’s a fun comic explaining the theory vs. the reality!

Marketing has so many options these days, it’s hard to know which way to go. Agent Rachelle Gardner assesses the value of book trailers. Author J. Aday Kennedy urges us to use little-known holidays to promote our books. Author and educator Jaleta Clegg gives tips for giving memorable readings. Lastly, Mandy Watson talks author marketing from a school librarian’s point of view.

Procrastination is a big problem for many writers, and one of the biggest excuses is “I’ll do it when I have more time someday.” Jody Hedlund calls out this myth and tells it like it is. Once you’re actually writing, agent Rachelle Gardner advises knowing what writers should concentrate on at different stages of their careers, and how to title your book. After you’ve got the agent (because of your awesome title) and you get a book deal, author Katie Ganshert explains how she handles content edits from a publisher.

Author Jenn Reese wishes for a world where there are no “boy” books and “girl” books, only good books, and explains why very different books can appeal to everyone.

Finally, since some fiction writers may also be freelancing in non-fiction, here is some advice from freelancer Jake OCallaghan on how to stop getting rejected as a freelance writer.


Author Kate Ellison posts comic drawings of “writer face” as we go through the stages of writing.

For those looking forward to the last Harry Potter movie, Tiffany Schmidt shares her Harry Potter memories on her blog. Come share yours!


  1. Good stuff here, as usual. thanks for providing us with these resources..and I appreciate the links! see you in class, Kerry. -Donna


    • Thank you for always having quality information for us to share! See you in class.



  2. Thanks for the mention!


    • No problem. I thought the topic of who has authority on the internet was fantastic. There’s so much junk out there, it’s great to have some guidelines!



  3. Dear Kerry, thank you very much for mentioning my blog, I feel honoured! I hadn’t come across this site before and it looks really interesting, I’m looking forward to investigating further! (And I definitely must read the link about procrastinating.)


    • Helen – You’re welcome! One of our group here (Nancy) is a folklorist, and she found your article. That’s what I love about working in a group blog – we all get exposed to ideas we might not come across on our own. And I loved your idea about the spoken word becoming three dimensional and having a weight of its own.



    • Hi Helen,
      Your Thesis must have been fascinating.


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