Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 12, 2012

Top Picks Thursday 04-12-2012

Congratulations to friend of the blog Jonathan Maberry on the release of his latest Joe Ledger novel, ASSASSIN’S CODE and on winning the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a Young Adult Novel for his YA novel DUST AND DECAY.

The 10 Greatest Lessons From Einstein.

Because it’s tax season, Andrew Chapman writes a 2-part post on being a tax-wise author/writer

Neil Gaiman interviews Stephen King. What more can you ask for?


Openings are crucial, and can drive a writer crazy. Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing lists questions to ask when writing your opening to make things easier. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you end up with a false start that splutters dead before 10,000 words. Rusty Fischer explains why these “starter WIPs” are often gems in disguise.

Once we get writing, there are a ton of specific writing elements we need to deal with. Stina Lindenblatt talks about subtext; Brian A. Klems deals with flashback; Rayne Hall shows how a simple door can raise suspense; and Roseann Biederman explains how to write effective dialogue.

Then you have the characters. Marcy Kennedy shows how to make strong female characters likeable, while The Blue Stocking blog handles the many types of choices your characters face.

Kait Nolan explains what paranormal means, and what paranormal elements you can use to spice up any genre. And if you ever wanted to know how to cover up a murder, Brainz has the answer.

After you’ve mastered all those pesky story elements, the final edit awaits. Roz Morris tells what she looks for in her final edits, and asks what you look for in yours. Nicole Steinhaus reminds us to get rid of passive sentences. Many writers also edit for other people, so Nathan Bransford offers 10 Commandments for editing someone else’s work.

The writer’s life is a little nuts. We all know this. Yet we embrace it. C.S. Lakin asks “Am I crazy or what?” And we all know how hard this life can be, so Nick Thacker explains why it’s okay to be naïve. To prove that it can be done, Chuck Wendig tells us how to be a full-time writer.

Creativity is a prerequisite of writing. Ollin Morales lists 4 ways to hack into your mind and become more creative; Tim Kane shows how to trick writer’s block and get back to writing; Jennifer Chase gives tips for boosting creativity; and Chet Cunningham explain why every writer needs a read and critique group.

For those writers who write short, Kurt Vonnegat gives 8 essential tips for short story writing, and for those who write long, Elizabeth S. Craig advises how not to be overwhelmed by the long process of writing a book.

Kelly Jensen gives the run-down on YA books on the big screen, while Paul Anthony Shortt talks about what we can learn about book writing from movie writing.

The road to publication is full of highs and lows, and even getting published doesn’t put an end to the roller coaster. Tonya Kappes advises how to write through the emotional baggage, and Julie A. Lindsey gives us 5 reasons to celebrate rejection. Meanwhile, Julie Musil explores the connection between publication and “being enough,” and Jody Hedlund talks about what to do when you offend or disappoint a reader—because it’s impossible to please everyone.

Dear Editor answers the question: Can I query agents before my manuscript is done? Tim Kane warns against the urge to submit substandard work, and Jane Lebak tames the dreaded synopsis, often the companion of the equally dreaded query.


Of course, all eyes are still on the Department of Justice investigation of collusion over agency pricing. The latest news is that the DOJ has settled with Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster. Aplle, Penguin, and Macmillan chose to fight on, and Macmillan CEO John Sargent explains why they are not settling. Meanwhile, Smashwords weighs in, saying agency pricing brings lower prices for consumers and higher income for authors.

Amazon is once again at odds with the Big 6 publishers. Laura Hazard Owens explains why some Big 6 publishers are not signing the new annual contract with Amazon. In the UK, Tim Waterstone blasts Amazon, warning that Amazon will destroy Britain’s book industry unless it can be made to play by the same rules as other book sellers.

Larsen Pomada Literary Agency has two new agents seeking submissions: Kat Salazar and Pam van Hylckama Vlieg, better known as YA blogger Bookalicious.

And if you choose to bypass the agent and self-publish, Publishing A Book is an Adventure has 5 steps to follow before self-publishing.


A new trove of unedited German fairy tales shows just how much the Grimm brothers edited their tales to fit the moral (and very sexist) climate of their times.

The New York Public Library is going to digitize collections that include papers from George Washington, Henry David Thoreau, and Mark Twain, among others.

Medieval Illuminators is a website dedicated to reconstruction, study and practice of original techniques and technologies of medieval book art. Fascinating stuff!

That’s it for this week!


  1. Great eclectic list! Thanks so much!


    • You’re welcome! I love that there are five of us contributing, because you do get that wonderful eclectic mix that you don’t get from just one point of view.


  2. Thanks for including me in another great mash-up. I’m always impressed when a blogger can pull together a mash-up like this because I know the time it takes to find and vet all these links and then put them together by topic.


    • You’re welcome, Marcy! One of the advantages to being part of a group blog is that there are 5 of us finding and vetting, so all that remains is putting them together.


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