Posted by: Kerry Gans | January 10, 2013

Top Picks Thursday 01-10-2013

For our readers who are looking for ways to help others, the anthology ANGELS CRIED is raising money for the Sandy Hook survivors; and writer Peter David has had a stroke—here’s how you can help.

Think your writing is bad? Check out the movie BAD WRITING, which features some not-so-bad writers.

J.K. Rowling writes…Dr. Who? Maybe. See who else might be featured in an upcoming Dr. Who anthology.

For those of you who haven’t yet given up on your New Year’s Resolutions, Liz Seda lists 5 reason your New Year’s Resolution is destined to fail. If your resolution was to write more, Ash Krafton shows us how to squeeze more writing time out of our day, while Lynda R. Young has a list of resolutions just for writers.

More Bests: 50 authors recommend their favorite books of 2012; the School Library Journal lists 100 magnificent children’s books of 2012; check out 10 of the most beautiful school libraries around; Travel & Leisure picks America’s best bookstores; and Flavorwire shows off the 20 most beautiful bookstores in the world. Some of those stores and libraries are simply breath-taking!

We here at the Author Chronicles mostly write in the middle grade and YA genres, so we have kids and their issues especially on our minds all the time. Neil Gaiman’s inspiring “Make Great Art” commencement speech is being turned into a book by Chip Kidd, so it can continue to inspire others; Aimee Eubanks Davis explores why literary look-alikes are important for kids; and singer Amanda Palmer tackles the heartbreaking subject of cyber-bullying, hate, and surviving while living life on the Internet.


In celebration of J.R.R. Rolkien’s 120th birthday, here are some of his own words to inspire: his The Hope Against The Lies of Men, and his response when the Nazis asked if he was Jewish.

Ellen Kushner’s Sound & Spirit radio show explores how musicians, artists and writers have been influenced by the Lord of the Rings.


Kaitlin Ward reminds us of our obligation to be aware of the words we use, because they are powerful.

Let’s talk genre: If you’re looking to get into Horror, Stacked Books talks about what horror is and gives a list of YA books that fit. Meanwhile, NPR explores just what is it that draws millions of readers and viewers to Fantasy. Speaking of Fantasty, take a look at the OFFICIAL maps from the world of GAME OF THRONES. And what’s up with this New Adult stuff? Jami Gold explains why New Adult exists.

Our stories all start with an idea. Roz Morris shows us how to strengthen your story idea so that it can carry the reader through the whole book.

After the idea comes the all-important opening. Kelly Leiter shares some secrets for crafting a successful opening, and Kay Honeyman lifts us into inspiring openings.

Once you get past that opening, you can get tangled in that sagging middle part. Jim Butcher gives various remedies for conquering the “great swampy middle.” And while you’re there, tackle the hard stuff: Roni Loren answers the question, “Should you write that potentially controversial scene?”

I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again: the devil is in the details. Gail Gaymer Martin tells us how to research a setting so we get the details right, while Kristen Lamb explores how much detail should writers use and Michelle Krys warns against overwriting. Then there’s those pesky 20 common grammar mistakes that (almost) everyone makes.

You’ve written the draft, survived the swampy middle, nailed the opening. Now you need to edit that puppy. Stina Lindenblatt walks us through the levels of edits and the types of editors available; Cathy Yardley gives us a simple approach to revisions; Chuck Wendig shares his process for editing/rewriting a novel; and Kathryn Craft explains how editing can change the punch of your book.

C.S. Lakin takes “showing” to a whole new level by suggesting filming your novel—or at least thinking through each scene as if you are going to film it.

Patrick Ross realizes that some writers write with their “eyes” and some with their “ears.” Are you an eye writer (visual) or an ear writer (auditory)?

Ever wonder if your critiques are actually helping the writer? Melissa Donovan gives tips for writing helpful critiques.

Jamee Rae explains how writers can find work; Nataly Kelly shares 6 things she’s learned about publishing you won’t find in most books about publishing; and Jane Friedman answers the question: How long should you keep trying to get published?

Want to writer great fiction? Read. Jane Higgins tells us why creating great fiction requires reading great fiction, and Cressida Downing gives her take on why some writers say they don’t read.

On writing overload? Jami Gold has tips for recovering from writing burnout. Charlotte Rains Dixon shares the essential conditions for writing success; and Rachelle Gardner shows us how we might be stressing ourselves out by interpreting the facts into an incorrect fictional story we tell ourselves.

C.S. Lakin helps us get perspective in our writing journey; Seth Godin explains why we are all artists; and Susan Taylor Brown reminds us that in writing, love comes first.


Jane Friedman brings us up to speed on commodity publishing, self-publishing, and the future of fiction. Some of the future may be seen in the new distribution partnership and joint venture between Macmillan, St. Martin’s Press, and Entangled.

Mike Cane theorizes as to how and why “Nook Media is killing itself in the womb.”

Meanwhile, Penguin releases a cool set of George Orwell reissues.

Lori Devoti reports on a roundtable discussion of professional agents on the topic “the role of the literary agent in a changing marketplace.”

Sarah LaPolla gives tips on how to research new agents and companies to see if they will be able to meet your needs—especially as publishing continues to change almost daily.

John M. Cusick lists 10 surefire ways to turn off a prospective agent; Mary Kole tells us how NOT to do a rejection follow-up; and Bree Ogden weighs in on finding an agent for novellas and other query etiquette.

Worried about your first radio interview? Brad Phillips shares 7 ways to rock your radio interview (and what not to do).

Meantime, when you attend an author event, remember these Dos and Don’ts of author events.

Got a blog? Chris Higgins lists 8 things every blogging writer should know. And Kristin Lamb wants authors to harness the power of story to make their blogs memorable.

If Twitter is more your style, agent Molly Jaffa shows us how to wow agents in the Twitterverse.


BookRiot ranks Ian Fleming’s Bond novels from worst to best. Do you agree?

Check out some lovely vintage ads promoting libraries and reading.

For anyone looking for research sources, the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography has been updated with 225 men and women who died in 2009. Also, if you’re talking about history, make sure you get it right: Mary Miley Theobald debunks history myths.

Want to see where classic authors made the literary magic happen? Check out the homes of Victor Hugo, Kipling, and more.

Speaking of classic authors, a Charles Dickens statue will be erected in his hometown, against his dying wishes.

That’s it for us this week!


  1. Thanks for linking to my blog! 🙂


    • You’re welcome! Keep up the good content!


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