Posted by: Nancy Keim Comley | April 5, 2012

Top Picks Thursday 04-05-2012

YALSA’s 2012 Best of the Best reading challenge begins. Even if you don’t want to actively participate in the challenge (reading 25 of 80 books), the list has something for everyone: YA, audio books, graphic novels, even adult books.

Wondering what to call your book? For all your title inspiration needs try the Random Book Title Generator.

Happy National Poetry Month! To celebrate, the Writer’s Digest poem-a-day challenge (not too late to start).


Brad Beauregard views style as something to fight against, rather than to strive for.

Bologna 2012 is over. Diane Roback and John A Sellers presents a wrap-up: A Look at the Trends of the Show.

What is ‘Women’s Fiction’ and for that matter, is there a specific genre labeled “Man’s Fiction”? Meg Wolitzer’s essay “The Second Shelf,” is about the culture’s reactions to fiction written by women.

While we’re on the subject, when writing strong female characters, how do we keep them likable?

From Victoria Schwab, a blog post on procrastination, percolation, and why some writers stop writing. If you find yourself making excuses why you can’t write Chuck Wendig at terribleminds has some insights. 25 Lies Writers Tell.

Would a morning writing ritual help?

More encouragement to writers, Matt Myklusch writes ‘7 Things I’ve Learned So Far.’ Need a challenge? Robert Lee Brewer and the April Platform Challenge: Day 1. If your having trouble settling down to work the article The War of Art: The Reason You’re Avoiding Your Most Important Work may help.

Shaun Usher reminds us about William Safire’s Fumblerules of Grammar. A list all writers should frame and those of us who are grammatically challenged might consider tattooing inside their eyelids.

How do you enrich your writing? If you write fiction, Chuck Wendig wants to Speak Of Your Non-Fiction Reads.

If you’re a Kid Lit Poet, or just love poetry, check out these neat ways of celebrating National Poetry Month!

How to write something fresh even though every story has already been told.

Having trouble with your Muse? Joe Bunting give 7 Reasons Your Muse Isn’t Talking to You  After that, three Myths about Art and Success by Carsie Blanton.

Matthew E. May writes about The Neuroscience of Creativity: Why Daydreaming Matters.

Are you a plotter or a pantster? Ten Questions to Ask When Beginning a Book.

Creating Characters with Personality. Once you characters have their personalities, what about dialogue? When Arguments Are a Good Thing: Conflict in Dialogue by K.M. Weiland.

While you are turning those characters into people with conflicts, don’t forget to juice up the romance and no, I don’t mean THAT way (at least not yet). Mary Kole explains how to make real romance hum in your manuscript–go beyond the physical attraction.

Do you have multiple Beta readers? Here’s an MS Word trick: combining changes and comments.


Do agents HAVE to fall in love with a book, or do they take on projects they know they can sell? Agent Mary Kole of Andrea Brown Literary Agency answers.

This week the New York Times had an article about parents who self-publish their children’s books. As you can imagine this generated many opinions, two of the most interesting are from Seth Godin and a very thoughtful one from Maureen Johnson.

NEW Agent Alert: Natasha Alexis of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth Literary Agency is seeking literary fiction, YA and commercial fiction.

Facebook reaches 800+ million people and is a great way to connect to friends. What about if you want to use it as a marketing tool? Jane Friedman gives 5 tips on how to get the most out of Facebook.

On Twitter, a new hash tag, #HYFA2, is being tried by some authors who want to help authors.

Are you a freelance writer or trying to break in? 10 tips to better interviews.

Some fiction authors live in dread that they are going to be plagiarized. Julie Anne Lindsey say: You are not going to be plagiarized – calm down!

Writer’s are asked to read aloud from their own work all the time. Ezra Barany gives advice, including audio examples, on how to read aloud an excerpt from your novel.

The Unique Shelf

In Europe before the printing press, many books came from monastic scriptoriums. What were they like? Irene O’Daly gives an insight in: ‘Turning Darkness into Light’: Depictions of the Medieval Scribe.


  1. “Writer’s are asked to read aloud from their own work all the time. Ezra Barany gives advice, including audio examples, on how to read aloud an excerpt from your novel.”

    Thanks so much, Nancy, for spreading the word about my blog post! I feel that every author who wants to market their book well should flex their reading-aloud muscle.

    Thanks again,

    Ezra Barany
    Author of the Award-Winning
    Bestseller “The Torah Codes.”


    • For some reading their own work is a terrifying experience. It was a great post, thanks!


  2. Thanks for the mention, Nancy.

    Those posts about creativity and procrastination are really useful. I think there comes a time in your writing, and I’m there now, when what you need is doodle time. Chilling out, letting your mind wander, and not worrying too much where it’ll take you. That’s not easy to do when you’ve got a deadline, but it’s essential.


    • Glad you found them useful!


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