Posted by: Kerry Gans | December 1, 2011

Top Picks Thursday 12-01-2011

Happy December!

Congratulations to all who participated in NaNoWriMo – you survived!


This week Character seems to be on a lot of people’s minds. Shilpa M. Mirza explains how to build characters who stay with your readers; MJ Kane talks about building real characters; and Jeannie Campbell discusses what a character’s relationship to their grandparents says about him/her. Kristin Lamb explains how to create the all-important antagonist (and recommends books about writing tools), while Ava Jae explores writing memorable minor characters by remembering that even they have their own life stories and their own goals in every scene.

Finding time to write can be hard, and being creative in the limited time you have can be even harder. Anne Greenwalt advises setting achievable and measurable writing goals to help us not only feel successful but be successful. Creativity consultant Jeffrey Davis gives us 12 riffs to show up and shape up time so we can make the most of what time we have. James L. Rubart tells how breaking down a huge task into smaller chunks took away his paralysis and allowed him to write fast and avoid procrastination. And Jody Hedlund shares her 4 steps for organizing plot ideas into a novel so that when you sit down to write, it flows quickly.

Once you’re writing your first draft, turn off your inner editor. Matt Herron outlines 5 reasons not to criticize your first draft. But once you’ve moved into revision, Larry Brooks tells us how and why to write with power (and power-writing does not mean lots of adjectives).


We’re all going to be published someday, right? Right? Roni Loren shares 3 things you can do now to prepare for published authorhood; Ash Krafton rounds up links to keep your spirits up while agonizing over your rejection stats; and Victoria Strauss warns not to be scared away from pursuing traditional publishing (and into shady vanity publishing deals) by widely-disseminated but false statistics.

Once you’re published, other concerns pop up. Chuck Sambuchino posts an FAQ about book royalties, advances, and making money; Joanne Kaufman talks about the new ways independent bookstores are trying to connect author and reader; and agent Jennifer Laughran addresses the fear that your agent might drop you.

If you’re going the self-publishing route, Morgan Mandel has some ebook formatting tips for Kindle and Smashwords.

We all know the publishing world is in flux, and there is a lot of experimenting going on. Agent John Rudolph agrees that enhanced ebooks have been a flop, but does the new SnapTag idea have merit? Agent Mary Kole talks about college age YA protagonists and the so-far unsuccessful attempt to establish a New Adult category phenomenon. And agent Morris Shamah shows how e-comics are leading the way in “going e” while still supporting the brick-and-mortar stores.

And as if you needed any more reasons, Sarah Baughman lists 5 reasons to sign up for a writers’ conference (and links to a couple of sites to help you find one near you).


How an arts education teaches students to think, not parrot information: Teaching Creativity: The Answers Aren’t in the Back of the Book by Brian D. Cohen.

Those acronyms for writers – what do they mean? by Donna Galanti. Fun and useful – and the photo of the sign will make you laugh!

For research buffs, we have Kat Howard’s The Pen & The Sword post about fencing (swordplay) in real life, movies, and books; and Impulsive Hearts’ Regency Resources for historical information on Regency era England.

A new literacy blog targeted at teachers and librarians seeks authors looking to promote books in non-fiction or informational areas and for author contributors to the blog.

The greatest Winnie-the-Pooh Collection of all time can be yours for a mere £2 million ($3,139,299).

A comic to brighten your day – The Adventures of Writer by Tymothy Longoria


  1. Thanks for including me guys, I look to your weekly round up here for great tips and advice as usual!


  2. Thank you for the inclusion!



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