Posted by: Kerry Gans | October 3, 2013

Top Picks Thursday 10-03-2013

Welcome to October!

In sad news, the man who wrote mega-bestseller The Hunt for Red October, Tom Clancy, died this week at age 66.

In banned book news, a North Carolina school board lifts its ban on Invisible Man.

The School Library Journal lists 50 books every parent should read to their child, while Mia Wenjen compiles a list of children’s books with single parents.

Want to find a great city for writers that isn’t New York? Flavorwire has 20 great American cities for writers for you to check out.

Authors buying fake reviews has been a hot topic of discussion for a while in the publishing world. In New York, the justice system is cracking down on fake reviews for businesses–so now the practice might not just give you a bad reputation, but a hefty fine as well.

In this week’s thing-to-freak-out-about, novelist David Gilmour creates a stir by declaring he refuses to teach books that are not written by “serious, hetrosexual guys.” Which he then tries to clarify after the backlash. All of which prompts an interesting response from Holger Syme on the difference between teaching with sympathy versus teaching with empathy.


According to Meg Cabot, YA can help you get back at mean people, while Marcela Valdes explores what is terrifying teens in today’s YA novels: the economy.

Ash Krafton explains how to reduce reader fatigue, and José Bográn has tips for upping the stakes in your story.

Sometimes the most powerful emotions are evoked by subtle techniques. Helene Young discusses refining the tone of your scenes, while Diana Hurwitz talks about achieving a sense of ending–no matter what kind of ending you choose to write.

K.M. Weiland shows how a scene evolves from outline to first draft, and Tyler Vendetti reminds us to choose our words carefully by presenting 10 words you’ve probably been misusing.

Character seems to have been on a lot of writer’s minds this week. Ninie Hammon lists 3 powerful ways to use action to create memorable characters; Susan Bearman shows how personality theory can improve your characters AND your energy level when writing them; S. Alex Martin shares 3 ways to write stupendous supporting characters; Lynn Price shows why it is imperative you know your characters completely; and L.Z. Marie reminds us that if we are going have a character get ill, try to pick an illness that deepens the theme of the story.

In some numerical-themed advice, Janet Fitch has 10 writing tips that can help almost anyone; Victoria Mixon shares 8 lessons to learn from screwing up your manuscript; Duane Vore lists 10 things that K-O suspension of disbelief; and Wendy Lawton talks book length.

Stacey Jay reminds us that the craft of writing is an exercise–we need to keep working out. Calvin Hennick suggests disrupting your writing process when the words aren’t working; and Nick Morgan shares Carmen Agra Deedy’s 3-point secret to great storytelling.

We all share the writer’s demon of never having enough time. Catherine Ryan Howard asks how much time do you need to write?; Ramona Defelice Long has tips to prepare for a month of intense writing (they can also be useful outside of NaNoWriMo); and Leo Babauta tells us how to write without distractions.

Writing is often the pursuit of a lifetime. Jami Gold explores the eternal struggle between our commitment to the craft and our self-doubt; Bob Mayer shares 10 things to remember in the author’s marathon; and Rachelle Gardner explains how to be in this business for the long haul.

And if you are looking for inspiration, here is an interview piece about the authors that influenced current authors.


In a discussion about the importance (or not) of owning an ISBN, Roz Morris discovered that the opinion split upon whether the indie author identified more as an author or a publisher.

If you’re pursuing a traditional publisher, what does a literary agent want to see when they Google you? Adam Muhlig of McIntosh & Otis and Andy Ross of the Andy Ross Agency are seeking new clients.

On the social media front, Jane Friedman wonders why publishers often discount the author website as a marketing tool; Joel Friedlander says blogging your origin story is a great marketing tool; Abigail Carter lays out 10 tips to find time to blog; and Frances Caballo has 4 time-saving social media tips for authors.


Russian library funding must be even worse than here in the USA. A Russian library just hired a stray cat as its assistant librarian.

Check out these 5 criminal mugshots of characters from banned books.<

This weird 1910 novelty book ends with a bang.

Debbie Ridpath Ohi examines strange things that people use as bookmarks.

And if all this book talk has worked up your appetite, drool over these 10 amazing book-themed cakes.

That’s it for us this week!


  1. Thanks so much for the “props!”


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 )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google 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: