Posted by: Kerry Gans | June 26, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 06-26-2014

Welcome! Is it really our last links round-up for June?

This week, Daniel Keyes, author of Flowers for Algernon, died.

Author Salman Rushdie wins the 2014 PEN/Pinter Prize for his “unflinching gaze” over his career.

Gerri George examines song lyrics as literature.

Publishers spend the night in jail–as part of a fundraising campaign for prisoners’ right to read.

Reading Is Fundamental reminds parents to keep kids reading over the summer–and start with these 10 beloved children’s books banned for stupid reasons.

We often address diversity here. A.L. Sonnichsen explains why she wrote a Chinese protagonist even though she’s not Chinese, and Kevin Duffy looks at diversity from a class point of view, asking why working-class fiction has become almost nonexistent in publishing.

Sadly, Angry Robot is shutting down their YA (Strange Chemistry) and Mystery (Exhibit A) imprints immediately. We wish good luck to all the staff, artists, and writers affected by the closure. If you want to help the authors, continue to buy their books–like these on this Strange Chemistry Goodreads shelf. Here are authors Gwenda Bond and Kim Curran on how the closure is impacting them emotionally and career-wise.


To outline or not outline? You can do either and still plan ahead. Roz Morris discusses how to write a novel with an outline and still be creative, while Nathan Bransford tells us how to plan a novel without actually outlining.

We have to keep each scene focused and tense, or we lose the reader. Janice Hardy has a quick tip to keep your scenes moving, and Jody Hedlund lists 4 ways to caffeinate your story.

We’ve all got characters to deal with. Diane Drake gives us 5 tips for creating a lead character your audience will care about, Alyssa Hubbard demystifies how to write female and male characters, Tom Pawlik lists the 9 ingredients of character development, and Delilah S. Dawson shares how to write broken, messed-up, antiheroic characters.

When your characters speak, keep this advice in mind: Jen Matera tells us to speak our dialogue, and Jodie Renner reveals dialogue nuts and bolts.
What goes into a good story? K.M. Weiland says the 3 elements of story are humor, action, and relationships. Add to that learning to say things simply yet powerfully, and avoiding these 6 embarrassing grammar mistakes.

Not writing a novel? Autumn Brit discusses the art of the short story, and Helen Ketteman explains the tools she uses to make picture books sing.

So much goes into a novel. Jennifer Lynn Barnes explores how original your plot needs to be, Ninie Hammond shows us the one thing you MUST do after the climax of your novel, and Jami Gold shares 7 lessons from sports.

We can always use advice from those who have been before us. M.A. Ray tells us what NOT to say when you’re a writer (and what to say instead), Jennifer Cruise explains how to find time (or not) to write during a busy day, and Now Novel lists 151 must-visit writing websites.

Creativity is both a writer’s joy and a writer’s curse. Graham Wallas describes the 4 stages of creativity, Alex Honeysett gives us 4 ways to get back on track after losing interest in an idea, Andrew Lewis Conn shares 7 ways to beat writer’s block, and Clare Langley-Hawthorne explores the actual activity of the brain when writing.


Think publishing is a little opaque? Mike R. Underwood reveals 25 secrets of book publishing.

Does being on a digital best-seller list mean you’ve got it made? Tony Horwitz, a digital bestseller, explores his disappointing foray into digital publishing, and why he wished he had involved his agent from the start.

Melissa Petreshock has 5 tips for writers about how to find, track, and destroy the dread ebook pirates.

Face it, when you put a book out there, presentation is everything, from the cover, to the interior, to the editing. You need it all to be quality. Joel Friedlander explains just how much attention you should pay to your book design, and Belinda Pollard tells us why book editors cost so much.

Marketing–the very word makes many writers cringe. Emily Wenstrom shows us how to love marketing, Noah Lukeman has 15 tips to help sell your ebook series, and Lindesay Irvine explores what might be the most head-scratching marketing plan in fiction today.

If you’re not sure you’re making any impact on the web, Dianna Booher explains how to measure your online influence.


Ever worry about how you’ll dedicate your book? Jo Barrow put together a list of some of the best book dedications ever.

Some unpublished Pablo Nerdua love poems have been discovered in his papers.

Here are 10 fun teen summer novels that adults will love, too.

Do you usually think the book was better than the movie? Check out these 13 books that were waaay better than the movie.

If you want to flaunt your book love but hate commitment (or needles) these 18 temporary tattoos for booklovers may be for you.

That’s it for us this week! Enjoy the summer weather!



  1. Wow — thanks for sharing our post on grammar mistakes in such great company! I know what I’m reading this weekend.


    • You’re welcome! Grammar glitches get us all–thanks for sharing your advice.


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