Posted by: Kerry Gans | July 19, 2012

Top Picks Thursday 07-19-2012

The writing world lost two beloved children’s authors last week: Else Holmelund Minarik (age 91), who wrote the Little Bear books, and Donald J. Sobel (age 87), creator of Encyclopedia Brown.

In happier news, the Department of Education finally opens the long-awaited federal school library grants application process.

Charlie Jane Anders brings us 10 science fiction books everyone pretends to have read—and why you should actually read them. How many have you read?

Agent Jennifer Laughran gives us the heads up on the app iAnnotate, which allows people to highlight, annotate, and write on the ms with their finger on the iPad.

Any animators out there? PIXAR is offering 2-day training in character animation and storytelling.


If you have a blog, or are trying to write for newspapers and magazines, chances are you will need to interview someone. And someday you may be interviewed yourself! Christina Katz gives tips on how to impress people you interview and be professional—on both sides of the pen.

Talk about prolific! Brian Keene sent the Twitterverse into supernova mode by Tweeting that he wrote 40,000 words in one day.

Hermine Strand investigates the fine art of bull: research and selective memory as he ponders how much research a fiction writer really needs to do.

Rachel Wilson talks about the intricate relationship between setting and story.

Jacob M. Appel focuses on 10 ways to start your story better; Moody Writing details how to write a compelling bottle scene; and Zachary Petit examines the key to thrilling readers.

In the grammar details, Laura Hancock lists 37 essential rules of writing, spotlighting frequently misused words; and Grammar Girl highlights a gender-neutral third-person pronoun that has arisen spontaneously in kids’ slang in Baltimore.

Sean M. Chandler lists 5 keys to a strong protagonist, while Cheryl Alldredge gives your characters voice with the secret to writing distinct dialogue.

Writing is revising, as we all know. Kristin Cashore shares some tips on revision; Leah Hultenschmidt tells how to tone up flabby writing; and Kathryn Craft explains what a freelance editor can do for you. Meanwhile, Bethany Kent reminds us that bad writing is NOT the same as a writing style, and you should listen to your critic without your ego getting in the way.

Lee Child debunks the biggest writing myths; Zachary Petit shares writing advice from Sandra Brown, R.L. Stine, and David Morrell; and Jami Gold unveils her ultimate RWA conference packing list.

Some cool (and unique) writing advice! Art Fuller brings us Joss Whedon’s Top 10 Writing Tips; J.W. Alden lists 10 Bruce Lee quotes that can improve your writing; Tim Kane shows how Vermeer can help your writing; and Rachelle Gardner details how to use interval training methods in your writing process.

Jamie Reed creates an ode to a spiral notebook and writing longhand; Erin Bowman tackles the fear of the blank page; and Zachary Petit shares 5 ways to balance writing and life.

Author Stephanie Burgis talks about the powerful connection she made with A WRINKLE IN TIME’s Meg Murray—a connection we all aspire to make with our readers.


Kristin Lamb explores 5 mistakes that are killing traditional publishing, and how to fix them. Meanwhile, Victoria Strauss talks about Pearson (Penguin)’s acquisition of Author Solutions, the self-publishing giant with a sometimes shaky reputation, and what it all means.

Agent Janet Reid warns us never to send a partial when a full is requested and agent Carly Watters explains why agents take on less than 1% of all queries.

Marie Lamba tells us how NOT to get an agent, while Sara Foster takes the opposite tack with how not to get rejected before agents read a word, and Adrien-Luc Sanders has an eye-opening post on how six minutes can make or break a query.

Crystal Patriarche explains how book publicity is like a zip line; Jane Friedman extols the necessity of having a self-hosted blog or website; and Rachelle Ayala explains Triberr in 5 easy steps.


The Bloggess Jenny Lawson shares her personal cure for writer’s block.

A fascinating behind the scenes look at the art of digitally photographing Medieval manuscripts from Guilio Menna.

That’s all for this week!

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