Posted by: Kerry Gans | July 31, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 07-31-2014

Welcome to our end of July links round up! Hard to believe we are closing out another month already.

Erica Wagner shares the 2014 Man Booker Prize longlist.

With censorship and challenges happening so frequently, Kelly Jensen shares her thoughts on the latest case, and a list of books with censorship as a theme.

Want to be a Poet Laureate? There are more Poet Laureate jobs, but requirements vary widely.

Life influences our writing in many ways. Ethan Gilsdorf examines how Dungeons & Dragons has influenced a generation of writers.

Arielle Calderon shares things you probably didn’t know about Lois Lowry’s The Giver.


We talk mostly about novels here, because that’s what we write. But here are some great posts on other formats. Jodie Renner has some basic tips for writing a riveting short story, Clara Kensie tells us how to write a serial novel, Karen Woodward revists how to write a Choose Your Own Adventure story, and Kristin Hultgren has 8 tips for older adults for writing their life story.

Susan Kouguell shares how to pace a scene, Mary Buckham shows us how to write an active setting, and Corporal Allen Norton talks about terrorism information for writers.

If you’re just starting out, here are some WriteTips for beginners from Jamie Chavez, Kat Zhang lays out how to get a scene from your brain to the paper, Judith Rosen discusses the line between middle grade and YA, and Ruth Harris lets you in on the secret weapon of all successful writers—editors and editing.

Characters make the story live—and they usually narrate the story. Skye Fairwin asks: how believable is your character’s storytelling? Meanwhile, Mike Klaassen explains how to write your character’s thoughts and James Scott Bell discusses writing dialogue. K.M. Weiland delves into the art of the negative character arc, and what happens to that character in the third act.

Sometimes we get off the writing track. Amanda Patterson shares 10 simple tips to get back on the writing track, Clementine Beauvais discusses her strange cross-inspiration with writing and famous paintings, and Kory Shrum tells us how to form a writer’s critique group.

We always fear failure. Jami Gold explains the value of failure, The Magic Violinist says that failure IS an option for writers, and Jody Hedlund tells us how to justify spending lots of time writing before publication.


Amazon makes news every week, it seems. Jeremy Greenfield discusses how Kindle Unlimited is changing the Kindle Bestseller lists, while The Guardian thinks that Jeff Bezos needs allies as well as ambition. James Brindle examines HarperCollins’ creation of a website for US ebooks, realizing that going alone will not break Amazon’s hold.

Editor Aubrey Poole from Sourcebooks discusses indie vs. traditional publishing, Corey Adwar shows how indie writers are now making a living, and James Robinson discusses his experience crowdfunding his book.

If you’re going traditional, you need an agent. Victoria Strauss talks about the need to update the agent-author agreements to include self-publishing. Sara Megibow tells us whether or not authors even need an agent, while Harold Underdown lists the proper way to format a manuscript. And if you need to write a cover letter for an agent or freelance work, these great artists tell us how to write a cover letter.

Victoria Strauss of WriterBeware answers many questions about the latest scams plaguing the writing world, and Helen Sedwick warns self-publishers to find out who owns your book cover.

Once your book is out there, we need to spread the word. Writer’s Relief discusses self-promotion—the key element to success many writers avoid, and Neil Patel shares 12 things you should do on Google+ right now.


Alex Segura is giving Archie Comics’ superheroes a redesign and a new imprint.

Kathryn Schulz shows us the best punctuation marks in literature.

Kaitlin Manning talks about the sometimes rude doodling in the margins of Medieval manuscripts.

That’s it for us this week! Happy August, everyone!



  1. Thanks for the links! It’s been so interesting to watch the industry change, and posts like this help us all stay on top of the shifts. 🙂


    • Thanks! Doing this every week has really helped me stay current on what’s going on, that’s for sure!


  2. Thanks. Will check them out.


  3. Thanks so much for including me (and Bryan!) in this list. 🙂


    • You’re welcome! We like your posts here–keep up the good work!


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