Posted by: Kerry Gans | October 16, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 10-16-2014

Welcome to this week’s eclectic mix of craft, business, and fun writing links from around the web!

Zilpha Keatley Snyder, author of 40+ books for children including The Egypt Game, has died at age 87.

Announcing the 2014 National Book Awards Finalists.

In England, a child pleads for someone to save the Liverpool libraries.

In diversity news, Mitali Perkins has created a checklist to see race and culture in kid lit and YA, while Alexander Chee discusses the benefits to reading exclusively women writers.

Every writer gets asked awkward questions by friends and family members. L.Z. Marie gives us handy responses to questions people always ask writers.


It’s that time of year—NaNoWriMo approaches. As thousands of writers gear up for the long haul, veterans of the writing marathon give advice. Mia Botha shares 5 life-saving tips for writers, and Janice Hardy discusses planning your novel’s beginning.

It’s that time of year—Halloween approaches. In this season of terror, the horror genre comes into its own. April Genevieve Tucholke has 6 tips for writing young adult horror, while Emily Wenstrom gets freaky with how to write a scary story.

The start of your book is of utmost importance, so Ingrid Sundberg examines 4 types of prologues. But how do you keep the reader turning the pages? Jessica Bell shows us how to create strong chapter endings (scroll to below the contest for the article).

There is a lot prose writers can learn from screenwriting. However, prose has different requirements than screenwriting. Roz Morris discusses writing description in prose, while Dale Kutzera examines the differences in screenwriting vs. prose writing.

It’s impossible to write a story without a character. Robin LaFevers shows how to discover your character’s secrets in pre-writing, K.M. Weiland explains how to write character arcs in a series, Sharon Arthur Moore has tips to write “bad boy” characters, and if you want to kill off a character, Patti Phillips has 100 ways to die an unnatural death.

We are often told about the writing rules—and that we can break them with reason. Colleen Oakley and others discuss 5 writing rules we break—and why.

There’s a lot that goes in to a successful book. Laura Backes collects 7 things editors at children’s book publishers wish writers knew, and Karen Russell and Chris Adrian discuss digital books and story design.

When you are starting your writing career, you need a great deal of two things: practice and feedback. Melissa Cornwell shares 5 ways writing fan fiction can help a beginning writer. Critique usually goes both ways, so Cecelia Dominic shares tips for being the critiquer and the critiquee.

Sometimes the writing game can seem incredibly slow, and the goals impossibly high. Jami Gold reminds us that slow progress is still progress nonetheless, Elizabeth S. Craig recommends setting the bar low for goals, and Neal Martin shows how to use your mistakes to achieve success as a writer.

Scott Myers explores whether the creative life thrives more on ritual or routine, while Chuck Wendig tells it like it is and reminds us that nobody owes writers anything.


Amazon plans to open their first physical store in Midtown Manhattan before the holiday season.

Signing with a small press can be wonderful—or it can be a nightmare. Salomé Jones discusses the potential perils and pitfalls of signing with a small press—and how to avoid them.

If you’re self-publishing and want print-on-demand, what service should you use? Giacomo Giammatteo compares Ingram Spark vs. CreateSpace for POD. If you’ve been disappointed with your traditional publishing career, hear how bestseller Eileen Goudge revived her career by self-publishing.

Ever wonder how to register copyright on your work? Victoria Strauss tells us how to avoid getting scammed and register copyright correctly.

Marketing takes many forms. Your author bio is one of the first things many people see, so D. Jean Quarles gives us 5 tips to writing a strong author bio. Christina Hamlett lists 5 simple rules for an author phone interview, and Joanna Penn tells us how to read your own audio book and sell direct to customers.

Social media plays a large role in our business lives these days. Janet Reid lists 10 common errors in social media, Jason Matthews asks: should writers blog?, and Jawad Kahn gives us the only 3 traffic generating techniques beginning bloggers should concentrate on.


Coffee and writers go together. Many of us write in coffee shops. But are you being a coffee shop etiquette offender?

Lost stories by a young Truman Capote are published in a German magazine in the run-up to a book of them out later.

Check out this Open Road Media mini-documentary (about 1.5 minutes) about women in SF & Fantasy.

That’s all for this week!


  1. This is one of those blog posts you have to bookmark and come back too. It’s filled with insights and my browser is now filled with additional tabs of content I’ve yet to read. Great work here – Awesome resource!


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