Posted by: Kerry Gans | December 15, 2011

Top Picks Thursday 12-15-2011

We’re halfway through December now (can you believe it?). Since the holiday season is supposed to stress goodwill and kindness (as opposed to just stressing, well, stress), read how you can help a great cause: The Teaching Authors Blog is raising money for First Book, which gives books to underprivileged children.

We’ve mentioned before that our libraries are under fire as budgets get squeezed. Author Jonathan Maberry buzzes about 21st century libraries and what makes them so special in a virtual round table discussion.

The holidays are crazy, so Kyle Quillinan shares some ways to make time to write during the holiday season.


Let’s start with some writing advice from Isaac Asimov, and a pep talk from Sean Ferrell on when writers feel small. Belinda Witzenhausen offers the Twelve Days of Writing to spark your creativity, while Wendy Paine Miller uncovers a key attribute for strong novel writing—empathy.

R.W.W. Greene shares 8 thoughts about writing dialogue; Bryan Thomas Schmidt extols the importance of strong heroines in fiction; Carrie Vaughn examines plot structure by outlining the movie Ghostbusters; and H.M. Castor explores how a mutual love of history led two sisters down different writing paths.

Patrick Ross asks “is journaling a cure for creative blocks?” His answer is no—how about you? And if you’ve ever winced at the price of a conference or writing course, Elizabeth S. Craig shares some inexpensive ways to improve your writing or get published in 2012.

Agent Rachelle Gardner talks about the true meaning of persistence in the writing business; Chuck Wendig expands upon the theme with 25 things writers should know about rejection; and Michael Hyatt shows how to turn around the rejection doldrums with a simple shift in your vocabulary.


Amazon made news lately with its KDP Select program, which invites selected self-published authors into Amazon’s already controversial Lending program. While KDP Select is certainly an opportunity, Victoria Strauss examines the fine print of the KDP Select program so that authors will know exactly what they are agreeing to if they sign up. Meanwhile, author L.J. Sellers wonders if Amazon already owns her.

If that isn’t enough Amazon news for you, here’s a good overview and a rational word about the Amazon Price Check controversy by Chad W. Post.

For traditional and self-published authors alike, a great logline can be the key to success. Stina Lindenblatt over at gives a concise way to write killer loglines.

Always wanted to read the classic Chinese novels but felt they were unapproachable? JR Comics debuts adaptations of classic Chinese novels in graphic novel form.

Still on the fence about getting an author website? Jane Friedman gives you a way to get your author website started easily using a free blog platform, while Patrick Samphire brings 5 reasons ever author should have a website that they can fully control and customize.


For anyone near or in Scotland between now and April 29, The National Library of Scotland has an exhibition “Beyond Macbeth: Shakespeare in Scottish Collections”.

That’s it from us!

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