Posted by: Kerry Gans | July 18, 2013

Top Picks Thursday 07-18-2013

Summer around here has been alternately trying to drown us or broil us. Stay cool, everyone!

In great news for all of our readers, a new study shows that bookworms have better brains in old age and are less prone to dementia.

We all know teens who loved a book will flock to see the movie, but data suggests that movies made from books make teens hungry to read the books as well.

Attorney Brad Frazer clarifies the often-misunderstood Fair Use doctrine by giving us 7 questions to ask to determine if it is fair use.

Speaking of doctrines, author John Scalzi has a new policy for conventions he attends regarding harassment of attendees.

What happens when an author dies before completing a book? In the case of Diana Wynne Jones, her sister Ursula Jones (also a children’s author), finished writing the book.

Looking for an agent? Submissions for the August Pitch+250 contest at Adventures in YA & Children’s Publishing are open from July 31st to August 3rd.


Want to know how to keep your readers hooked from line one? Lynette Labelle critiques opening lines to figure out why they hook or don’t. James Scott Bell examines the reasons readers put down a novel—and tells us how to avoid them. Carmen DeSousa wonders: is there a “normal” structure when writing—or is a good story all that really matters?

A novel is nothing without a good antagonist. Liz Bureman discusses the 2 types of villains, and how to use them effectively, while Deborah Halverson says nice people make perfect bad guys.

If you write non-fiction, don’t ignore fiction craft. Darcy Pattison unveils fiction techniques for non-fiction writing, while Edie Melson focuses on dialogue basics for nonfiction and WriterAccess explains why you should read fiction as a non-fiction writer.

Whether you plot or pants, Katherine Longshore learned the hard way that sometimes you just have to let go of all the writing advice and trust yourself to tell the story. If it’s still not popping, Laura Varlas suggests going deeper and writing like a scuba diver.

After you’ve written your novel, use Patricia Gussin’s five types of edits to improve your work. And you can check out these 4 things that Star Trek can teach us about writing from Thomas Smith.

Research can be fun, but be careful not to do something stupid in the name of research. Sara Grant brings us a cautionary tale of leaping before she looked.

Lost your writing mojo? Kristi Holl tells us how to regain the passion for our writing. Jami Gold reminds us of the importance of sharing our gifts, which can help us all rise together.

We all have writing dreams or we wouldn’t be on this blog today—either as reader or blogger. Anne R. Allen peeks inside our dreams and asks: are your dreams standing in the way of your writing success? Meanwhile, Jordan Rosenfeld examines the myth of overnight success and why it’s bad for writers, and Danie Ware shares 6 tips for moms and everyone else on how to find more time to write.


Now that the agency pricing case is over, Nate Hoffelder wonders if publishers will “window” their books from Amazon until they have debuted elsewhere.

Agent Jim McCarthy defines what success means in the publishing world. On a related note, Nathan Bransford looks at what JK Rowling’s pseudonymous flop tells us about the nature of commercial success, while Alyssa Rosenberg calls JK Rowling out for hiding behind a male name.

Commercial success depends so much on marketing. Porter Anderson explores if today’s book marketing is all in the algorithms. Joanna Penn shares 5 successful marketing tips for selling fiction and 3 critical marketing principles anyone can use. Toni Tesori recommends building your fan base before you need it—and sticking with it even when it’s hard. And Jody Hedlund reminds us of the importance of output in this age of “long tail marketing.”

Adam Croft lists the 8 ingredients of a great book blurb, and Kate Fall takes the blurb writing one step further.

If you are searching for an agent, check out Jessica Negron of Talcott Notch Literary, who is looking for YA and adult fiction, romance, and thrillers.

Bloggers, Vinita Zutshi tells us how to write our best post ever; Victoria Grefer shares the biggest way blogging has helped her career; and Jakob Nielson’s 13 writing tips for the Web.


Russ Kick returns with The Graphic Canon, Vol. 3: From Heart of Darkness to Hemingway to Infinite Jest—a book where visual artists take on literary classics.

Chuck Wendig wants to know what your favorite urban fantasy books are—join the conversation.

Want to read that Medieval manuscript you’ve got on your bookshelf? Erik Kwakkel’s got a free online course about Medieval handwriting.

Finally, have some fun with this hilariously random Random Name Generator.

That’s all for us this week!


  1. Thanks for the shout-out. This is a great list of links!


    • Anytime, Anne! You always have great posts. we love to share them.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: