Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 10, 2012

Top Picks Thursday 5-10-2012

Happy Mother’s Day, early!

The Author Chronicles is turning 1 year old on May 29th! Stay tuned for details about our month-long celebration and giveaway contest in June!

In sad news, Where The Wild Things Are author Maurice Sendak died at age 83.

Did you know that Helen Keller was accused of plagiarism—at the age of 12? Mark Twain defends her with the argument that “the bulk of all human utterances is plagiarism.”

Teacher Librarian Bev Novak explores 10 things school libraries can learn from the Apple Store.

Jonathan Gottschall on how fiction shapes us for the better—and why.

And exciting news for friend of the blog Tiffany Schmidt! Her second book, Bright Before Sunrise, is due out from Walker-Bloomsbury in 2014!


Ever find yourself unable to stop revising? Even when the manuscript is finished and you are proofreading for print? There’s always one more phrase, one more word… Jen J. Danna talks about knowing when it’s time to let go, and Tim Kane advises to forget perfect and be content with good enough.

The little things matter in writing. Julie Glover makes the case for why grammar matters in your book, and Sherry Thomas explains the beauty in the details.

Stina Lindenblatt states that one of the most common reasons for manuscript rejection is that an agent cannot connect with the main character—and tells us how to fix that. Perhaps your main character’s actions are unfocused. Jami Gold wonders: Does every scene need a goal?

Sean D’Souza shares three core elements of storytelling; Brian A. Klems tells how to write a stand-alone novel with series potential; Rob Donoghue (although talking about RPGs) makes a great point about “leaving out the egg” in our stories; and Chuck Wendig gives us 25 things writers should know about creating mystery.

There are a lot of parallels between novel writing and script writing, while at the same time they are two very different media. Lydia Sharp lists 5 ways novelists can benefit from watching movies and TV shows; Jael McHenry tells us there are other things to do with our “darlings” than kill them; and James Moran shares 7 tips for new screenwriters.

A good writing process helps you avoid the dreaded writer’s block. James Moran explains his writing process; Rachelle Gardner lists 9 ways to beat writer’s block; and Leo Valiquette shares how he learned to stop worrying and love the blank page.

In this day and age, writers are immersed in technology. Jade Varden tells us how to put your ebook into print; Kait Nolan lets us in on the secret of how to change the editor font in Scrivner for Windows; and Shannon from Duolit enlightens us with 4 steps to making your own book trailer.

The Internet can spread ideas, and also fuel angst and debate. Jennifer Laughran, in light of the backlash from Orson Scott Card’s latest anti-gay screed, asks: How does the private life of an author/artist affect your opinion of their work? And, in a highly heated ongoing debate, Zoë Marriott explores the Bloggers/Reviewers vs. Authors angst.

Ever envision what your perfect mashup book would be? Tansy Rayner Roberts, Kat Howard, Andrew P. Mayer and other authors discuss their dream genre crossovers. While those are books that people wished were written, Chuck Wendig recommends four books to his readers, and asks his blog readers to recommend four of their own favorites in the comments.

Publishing may be in major flux, but there’s a lot of opportunity in the crazy for us writers. Kristen Lamb shares her vision of the future of publishing—teamwork, humility, and innovation. Victoria Mixon lists 7 reasons to be grateful you’re a writer, and Kirkus McGowan advises to not give in to fear, and write what you want to write.

In order to write what you want, you need to make time to write. Carolyn Arnold advises turning off the Internet completely to get more work done, while Tanya Dennis finds more writing time with less sleep.

Writing is a dream for many, and those that pursue it often give up something else (like sleep—see above paragraph). Donna Galanti shares how achieving her dream cost her the love of reading she had once had. Milli Thornton had lost her ability to daydream—until she learned to listen in order to free her subconscious. Rita Shulte finds that in many people, the drive to succeed steals their joy of writing. Alternately, Nathan Bransford finds that sometimes, writing when then s*** hits the fan can be a lifeline.


This is both a good example of marketing and something that looks like fun – a contest from Misty Provencher: Win a FULL MANUSCRIPT CRITIQUE, a copy of CORNERSTONE w/ author’s notes, an Addo-inspired cookie scarf & MORE.

Internet tools are a staple of writers’ marketing these days. Marcy Kennedy shares four little known factors that could destroy your blog’s chances of success; Jason Arnopp lists 10 reasons why Twitter is great for writers; and Jody Hedlund gives us 8 reasons not to quit social media when you’re burned out.

T. K. Richardson talks piracy, ebook theft, and copyright violations.

Roz Morris asks: Where will self-publishing get quality control?

Over at MiG Writers, they are interviewing their literary agents. Meet Carmella Van Vleet’s agent Marie Lamba of Jennifer Dechiara Literary, and Christina Farley’s agent Jeff Ourvan of Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.

From Bookalicious, a photo of the ten most read books in the world.


Elspeth Antonelli creates a pictorial essay of the writing game.

For your research needs: a fascinating hand-drawn map of Anglo-Saxon London ca. 500-1050CE.

Finally, a live map showing what books are being bought where in the world. WARNING: you may find yourself staring at this for hours. It’s really fun!

That’s it from us this week! Happy Mother’s Day to all moms out there!


  1. Thanks for all the hot info – especially loved the unique shelf this week!


    • I love it, too! A lot of that comes from our folklorist, Nancy. She finds the most awesome arcane stuff!


  2. Thank you for sharing these posts. I found the blog about rejections and blogging quite useful. Forming multidimensional characters can be tough.
    Barbara of the Balloons


  3. Thanks for the menion! Have a very happy birthday on the 29th May.


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