Posted by: Kerry Gans | December 27, 2012

Top Picks Thursday 12-27-2012

Happy Holidays! The season of giving can also be a drain for those of us who are introverts. Veronica Roth has a winter holiday survival guide for writers to get us through. Chuck Wendig reminds us of 25 ways for writers to help other writers—not just now, but all year round.

Time for more year-end lists! The New York Times has their Favorite Book Cover Designs of 2012; Brain Pickings has their Best Graphic Novels and Graphic Nonfiction of 2012; and the Chicago Public Library has their Best of the Best Kids’ Book List—books for every age from picture books to older middle grade.

Stop the presses! Neil Gaiman plans his last book-signing tour EVER.

An interesting group to check out: Rayne’s Research Club for Writers is s Yahoo Group focused on background research for writers. Draw on other members’ expertise and personal experiences to give your Work in Progress plausibility and authenticity.

Some interesting stats on how ebooks and print books compare in various activities (for example, which is better for reading to kids).

Okay, hands up, how many of us have wanted secret passages in our house? Even better if they are bookshelf secret passages! Drool away. I’m already trying to figure out where I can put one in my house.

Can’t wait for the YA debuts of 2013? The Lucky 13s group has posted the opening lines to 68 of their books coming out next year.


The “big picture” items can make or break your narrative. Tim Kane searches for the perfect story structure. Meanwhile, Larry Brooks posts questions you should ask yourself before writing any scene. And Kristen Lamb uses A Christmas Carol to explore the power of names, symbols, and truth in writing.

Jan Lewis explores how an inspired opening can draw readers in, while Jurgen Wolff explains how to keep readers guessing for the rest of the book.

Building your characters can be tough. F.C. Malby explores indirect characterization; Rebecca Belliston uses beats to strengthen characters and setting; and The Bookshelf Muse Physical Attributes Thesaurus entry on NOSES shows us how noses can be used to show character and emotion.

Writing tips, anyone? Chuck Palahniuk has a Christmas stocking of writing tips; Ava Jae reminds us that when writing we should cannibalize everything we experience; Jonathan Gunson says the secret to success is to follow your own deepest interests when deciding what to write; and Kurt Vonnegut’s daily routine may inspire you in yours.

Chad R. Allen on how to come up with a great book concept; Bryan Mattimore on how semantic intuition can unleash your creativity; and Will Hindmarch wonders if all revision should stop once a work is published, and if new revisions should supplant the original or exist side-by-side.

And for our poetry-writing readers, Writer’s Relief shows how you can write better poetry by thinking less.


Digital Book World weighs in on Penguin’s settlement with the Justice Department, and Huffington Post comments on what Penguin’s agency-pricing settlement might mean to MacMillan and Apple, who are still fighting the suit.

Independent bookstore Prairie Lights starts its own small press, in partnership with the University of Iowa Press.

One of the original vanity presses, founded in 1949, Vantage Press has ceased operations.

In comics news, DC Comics names Shelly Bond to head its Vertigo imprint.

Got books published in the United Kingdom? You might want your agent to check out the government’s proposal to changes in UK copyright law.

Having an agent can help you navigate the quickly-changing world of publishing. Here’s some new agents and agencies looking for clients: Paula Munier of Talcott Notch is seeking mystery/thriller, SF/fantasy, romance, YA, memoir & more; Jordy Albert and BrittanyBooker have formed The Booker Albert Literary Agency and are actively building their client list; and agent Jennifer Udden of the Donald Maass Literary seeks science fiction, fantasy, and mysteries.

Publishers Lunch is launching Bookateria, a discovery tool to “merchandise the daily book publishing news.”


Kat Rosenfield has a unique take on if A Christmas Carol were a YA novel.

Critic Dwight Garner goes in search of literary Manhattan.

The New York Public Library is getting a makeover—take a peek at the renovation renderings.

Oxford University’s Sprint for Shakespeare has crossed the finish line—Shakespeare’s First Folio is now digitized.

Happy New Year! We’ll see you in 2013!

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