Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | August 25, 2011

Top Picks Thursday 8-24-2011

Between vacations, illness, moving, and lack of Internet access, the five of us have been a bit disorganized this week. We appreciate your patience. Next week we should get back to our regular schedule.


Looking for ways to improve your writing? Writer’s Digest’s blog suggests 25 Ways to Improve Your Writing in 30 Minutes a Day. For those struggling with finding motivation, the Men With Pens blog post by James Chartrand discusses How to Fuel Your Motivation with Your Values.

Author Jody Hedlund tells writers How to Avoid Creating Plastic Characters on Janice Hardy’s blog, The Other Side of the Story. Improve your characterization by having your characters use Dialogue as a Weapon to advance their own agendas in a guest post by James Scott Bell on the Writer Unboxed blog, which also provides some advice from writer Joe Bunting about what to do If You’re Discouraged Because Your Writing Sucks. Jody Hedlund also discusses the writing process in A Method in the Madness: Outlining as You Write.

For those in the revision/editing stage, check out Autocrit Revisited: When Your Book Needs More on the Blood Red Shadows blog, which gives a look at the value of using Autocrit and Donald Maass’ Writing the Breakout Novel. When you’ve finished the revision, read 10 Proofreading Tips to Ensure Your Self-Published Works Are Flawless from Randall Davidson on the duolit blog, tips that can be helpful to all writers.

James Scott Bell gives some thoughtful advice to writers — No Fear, No Envy, No Meanness — on the KillZone Authors blog. The Fantasy Matters blog features Monica Byrne’s essay Why Fantasy Matters: A Personal Apologia.


Writing is both an art and a business, and sometimes the two conflict. On the Liar’s Club blog, writer Marie Lamba reflects on When Art and Business Collide. YA Fantasy Guide presents Stacey ONeale’s warning: Don’t Fall For It: Scams Against Writers, while Guy LeCharles Gonzalez discusses Why Books? 9 Reasons to be Optimistic on the Digital Book World blog.

If your manuscript is finished and you are looking for an agent, writer Amy Reed tells the story of how she got her agent on the Writer’s Digest blog, and Kathleen Ortiz blogs about Query Etiquette. For more about queries, the Girlfriends Book Club gives Query Letter Tips That Work, and KT Literary blog provides Notes from a Query Workshop. From writeoncon, Elana Johnson explains How to Write a Synopsis.

An interesting post on psfk talks about Why Authors are Going Directly to the Book Seller. The WM Freelance Writers Connection presents Linda Stephans’ thoughts on setting and pursuing writing targets — Baby Steps Making a Difference.

In the area of social media, Terrible Minds blog presents 25 Things Writers Should Know about Social Media; Problogger provides useful information for bloggers on How to Optimize Your WordPress Database; and Janice Rogers talks about The Hidden Perils of Blogging on Gem States Writers.

In Money from Nothing: The Economic Value of Writing Original Fiction, Holly Lisle asserts that writing, even poor writing, benefits the economy.

In an amazing bit of history, Loretta Chase and Susan Holloway Scott present evidence on Two Nerdy History Girls blog that Henry VIII may have originated steampunk!

In The Guardian, Sara Crown reviews Susan Cooper’s Over Sea, Under Stone.


  1. Thanks for the shout out on my Blood Red Shadows blog. I am going to check out some of the others as well – you’ve covered all the areas, creating, revising, marketing, nicely.


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