Posted by: Kerry Gans | August 30, 2012

Top Picks Thursday 8-30-2012

I hope you are all enjoying your last week of August! We are—three of us Chroniclers are on much-needed vacations!

We all want to protect our work. Guy Anthony Demarco tells us how to get our pirated material taken off the web.

Support your local library: An eloquent essay on why libraries are so important to communities.

A couple of event announcements: Little Bird Publishing House is holding an OPEN SUBMISSION for a YA paranormal anthology, closes October 31.  And Deana Barnhart is hosting the Gear Up To Get An Agent event.

We talk a lot about the need for character diversity in literature. Ashley McAllister gives a critique of identity and sexuality in current teen literature, and Autostraddle lists their 20 best YA novels for queer girls.

When you die, what happens to your literary estate? Casey N. Cep of The Paris Review talks about literary estates and what happens to books after authors die.

And if you’ve managed somehow not to see this already, here is the publishing process in GIF from Nathan Bransford.


Now, on to writing those books that will comprise your literary estate!

Katie Ganshert asks if your novel has a measuring stick—something that gives the readers a NEED to know what happens next. Knowing your audience is helpful in finding the thing that will keep them turning pages. Dan Blank explains how to figure out who your audience is.

Readers are the other half of the writing team. Every novel asks its readers to suspend disbelief. K.M. Weiland explores 5 ways you’re preventing readers from suspending disbelief. Jane Lebak talks about leaving room for the reader to do their part by avoiding overshowing, overtelling, and overselling.

Even though we can’t see the characters on the page, body language is still of great importance. Rayne Hall discusses the many ways to use body language in dialogue scenes, and Angela Ackerman gets specific with body language and lying.

Even though it’s fiction, readers want it to feel real. Dell Smith says this is one of the reasons that dream sequences rarely work well. However, taking Jack Croxall’s technique of fictionalizing real places can give your settings and scenes added spark. And if there isn’t a real word that fits what you want to say? Kathryn Craft says make up new words to get that perfect meaning across—but be sure to contextualize it well enough that the reader knows what it means.

There are a lot of rules in writing. Many pertain to POV. Ciara Ballintyne goes over the rules of POV—and when to break them. Unlikeable characters are a hard sell, and so we are often told to avoid writing them. Jean Oram tells us how to make unlikeable characters likeable.

Transitions can make or break the smooth reading of a book. AJ Hartley explores the right way to do instant transitions, where the author throws the plot sideways in a breath; and Chris Rosales talks about the power of using transitions as metaphor.

All of us writers want to succeed (whatever our definition of that is). Malena Lott asks: How badly do you want it? And Kristen Lamb wonders if our high-pressure world and “always on” mentality is pushing us to do things detrimental to our careers—and characters.

After that first successful book comes the sequel. Tommy Greenwald discusses how to write a sequel without losing your mind.

Maria Semple resurrects a literary novel form and explores the magic of the epistolary novel, while Vanessa Di Gregorio abhors the term “literary fiction” as divisive and elitist.

More authors share their hard-won writing advice. Demian Farnworth gives us 12 lessons learned from 12 years of writing; Christopher Meeks shares more writerly insight from Shelly Lowenkopf; and Jocelyn K. Glei has gathered 25 insights on becoming a better writer from 25 famous authors.

Two subjects near to my heart: John Scalzi on writing at home with a toddler; and Tim Kane wondering when writing notes tips over into being a hoarder.

Sometimes we all need motivation to get butt-in-chair and write. Psychologist and author Sarah Fine continues her series on writer’s block with brain clog and avoidance; Joe Bunting gives us 17 reasons to write something NOW; Sean M. Chandler shares the 10 probably pointless things he does to help himself write; and James King’s canine companion is the best enforcer of butt-in-chair—no wonder dogs are man’s best friend.

Still not feeling creative? The Passive Voice discusses how we are taught to unlearn creativity as we grow—and what to do about it.


Last week’s debacle was LendInk, but since misinformation still seems to be circulating, here is Victoria Strauss at WriterBeware with the true story—and a warning about online lynch mob ntalities.

This week’s debacle is paying for good online reviews—usually from people who have never read the book. David Streitfeld spotlighted the business of paying for good reviews; Porter Anderson gathers the different reactions to the buying book review news; and Pamela van Hylckama Vlieg tells authors that you do not have to pay for book reviews.

Amazon’s Kindle hit India this week, with a digital bookstore of over 1 million titles.

In literary agent news, the Christopher Little agency has partnered with Curtis Brown.

Jami Gold talks about the different decisions authors need to make about their backlist in the new publishing environment.

Looking to improve your marketing? Rachelle Gardner lists 10 things to know about speakers’ bureaus; Peter Winick explains why your book is just one component to success; and Mundimoms explores the 3 deciding factors in buying a book (hint: book bloggers are way up there).

And if you’re writing for your own blog or guest posting for a blog tour, keep in mind Brandon Andersen’s 10 essentials to keep Web readers engaged.


Jim Kuhn shares tooltips for using the Folger Shakespeare Library’s website to save and share images and details. Great for research.

For the last weekend of baking yourself in the sun: As I Lay Frying, a blog matching literary quotes to photos of doughnuts.

That’s it for us—and for August! See you in September!


  1. Thank you for your link to my DMCA page. I hope it’s useful to folks who are dealing with piracy.


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