Posted by: Kerry Gans | July 10, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 7-10-2014

Another week, another link round up! Welcome to the Author Chronicles.

We lost three beloved authors this week: Mary Rodgers, author of Freaky Friday, died at 83, Walter Dean Myers, powerful writer and reading advocate, and CJ Henderson, who died after a battle with cancer.

We’re heavy into writing conference season now. If you are on or hosting a panel at a con, Miss Cecil Castellucci has tips to panel like a Lit champ, and Chuck Wendig lays out what writers should know about panels at conferences.

If you want some diversity in your reading, James Dawson has drawn up an LGBT reading list.

In this brave new world of story telling, Eli Epstein explores 8 creative storytelling methods open to writers today.


When writing, authors know we are only half the puzzle—the reader it the other piece. Celeste Ng discusses leaving space for the reader in our writing. Whatever you do, avoid these 4 cliché story endings that readers will hate.

Every scene needs to be vital to the story. Claire Scobie has 10 ways to sharpen your scenes, Janice Hardy explains how to keep informative scenes tense, and K.M. Weiland warns against the common writing mistake of having one-dimensional conflict.

Characters need to be complex; we all know this. Giving them skills can help create depth. Becca Puglisi discusses the talent of photographic memory, Lt. Matthew Sherley talks the art of hostage negotiation, and Janice Hardy recommends giving your secondary characters skills, too.

Anne Marie Gazzolo shares 5 ways to build strong characters, and Heather Web explores what makes an anti-hero so attractive.

Emotions are by definition illogical, but we need to convey them to the reader. Lee Wind explains why teenagers act crazy sometimes, while Jami Gold shows us how to layer intense emotion in our story. In your dialogue, make sure your characters are doing more than just talking.

Bill Johnson reminds us that a story is a journey of feelings, supported by details of time and place. Those details are important—as a writer, how observant are you? Take this fascinating (and actually useful) quiz from Dr. Katherine Ramsland that explores your observational intelligence quotient (OQ). Are you an innie or an outie—or, like me, smack dab in the middle?

Guy Bergstrom examines how weird news teaches us great storytelling, and Ava Jae discusses how to write YA dystopian fiction.

Jen Matera shares some MS Word tips that could make your life easier.

For some advice in navigating this writing life: Jami Gold sees a silver lining in bad reviews, Joshua Becker explores the responsibility that comes with opportunity, Shannon Donnelly shares 10 ways to beat writer’s block, and Marion Winik lists 7 things she’s learned so far in her writing journey.

As the Amazon-Hachette dispute drags on, Chuck Wendig sees the tenuous peace between self-published and traditional published cracking. He weighs in on the dangers of ideology, false dichotomies, and turning publishing into the equivalent of a religious war.


The drawn-out Amazon-Hachette fracas has authors taking sides. Several best-selling authors post an open letter asking Amazon to resolve the Hachette dispute without harming authors or readers; Hugh Howey asks: do writers need a union? and sets up a petition in support of Amazon; and Chuck Wendig responds to Howey’s petition with a dose of reality.

If you are in search of an agent, Chuck Sambuchino shares a 16-tip checklist before submitting your query; agents weigh in on whether authors should hire an editor before querying; and new agent Whitley Abell of Inklings Literary seeks writers of young adult, middle grade and women’s fiction.

Eric Nelson explains what good book sale numbers look like and how anybody can estimate any book’s sales using public data; and agent Janet Reid tells us how to answer the question: who are you to write this book?

What’s your platform look like? Rachel Thompson list 3 Twitter basics you probably don’t know, and Chris Robley explains why your author website should be your online priority.


President Theodore Roosevelt has 10 rules for reading.

Jonesing for a new Poirot mystery? The Agatha Christie estate authorized a new Poirot book.

Members of Robert Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition verify that a copy of Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield went to the Antarctic with them.

If you love Dr. Seuss, put the Windy City on your vacation list. The Art of Dr. Seuss Gallery has opened in Chicago.

Awesome painted “bookbenches” inspired by classic literature are springing up across London.

We love libraries, and if you do, too, check out Robert Dawson’s beautiful photos of America’s most unique libraries.

That’s it for us this week! Keep cool and enjoy the summer!



  1. Great links! Thanks for sharing! (And thanks for the shout out for my post! 🙂 )


    • You’re welcome, Jami! You had some good stuff this week (as usual!).


  2. Thanks for the blog love. You’ve done all the work for me–and given me a wonder time sump!


    • You’re welcome, Fae! We love to showcase blogs with great advice.


  3. Wow — I know what I’m reading this weekend! Thanks for including our post in your roundup in such great company!


    • You’re welcome! We’re always looking for great advice–keep up the good work!


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