Posted by: Kerry Gans | November 6, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 11-06-2014

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Election Day is now behind us in the USA, so we can get back to important stuff…like NaNoWriMo!

Kristen Lamb asks: to NaNo or not to NaNo?, and also tells us how to write a terrific novel and minimize revisions; Cari Noga, and award-wining NaNo novelist, shares 8 tips; Margot Papineau has 10 frugal tips for NaNo; and Nathan Bransford has everything you need for NaNoWriMo.

In non-NaNo news, Noah Berlatsky argues that YA fiction doesn’t need to be a “gateway” to the classics to have merit. If you’re looking for some good reading in the middle grade range, Jim Dean has a list of the top 20 middle grade novels of the last 10 years.

In the closing of a literary chapter, Michel Faber plans to stop writing novels.


Something we all need to know: How to format your manuscript properly, from editor Jodie Renner.

We need the story to compel the reader to keep turning the pages. Bridget McNulty tells us how to explain your story without using backstory (which can slow the pace), while Jack London shares 4 ideas to end a book chapter.

Our writing can be specialized, either by region or by genre. Elizabeth S. Craig explains how to write a regional tone without overdoing it, while Kiersi Burkhart unveils the secrets to writing for kids.

Mary Kole explains the difference between a character having complexity vs. flip-flopping. One way Julie Eshbaugh gets deep into her character’s psyche is to write a letter from her character to herself. Eliot Schrefer discusses getting into the mindset of teen readers. And if your character is in the military, get the lingo right. Geoffrey Ingersoll and Jeremy Bender list a lexicon of military vernacular to help get you started right.

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Ruth Harris explains how to turn real life into bestselling fiction. Whatever you write, no matter how true, will draw critics. L.L. Barkat advises how to deal with annoying critics.

Jeff Goins has 10 ridiculously simple tips for writing a book, Jacey Bedford compares singing and writing, Jurij Burchenya explains how to write every day and meet your daily writing goals, and Elizabeth Law shares Robert McKee’s 6 things that make a story great.


In Amazon-related news, agent Andrew Wylie backs Hachette in the Amazon dispute. Also, Victoria Strauss examines the new Kindle Scout program.

If you are looking to create an audiobook, Audible is not the only service. Lee Stephen compares CD Baby and Audible.

Agent Juliet Mushens discusses querying your novel in an #AskAgent video.

Ever wonder how using public domain material affects your copyright? Helen Sedwick explains the relationship between public domain materials and your copyright.

Marketing takes a big chunk of our days. Marcy Kennedy gives us 7 reasons Twitter isn’t building your platform (and fixes for them); Nina Amir lists 6 ways to write a quick free ebook to build your mailing list; H.L. Dyer shares a baby step approach to writing the dread synopsis; and Jonathan Maberry talks about the importance of storytelling in marketing and advertising.

Social media is a staple of life. Joel Friedlander finishes his article 7 traps waiting for successful bloggers, and Marcy Kennedy tells us how to stay safe on Twitter and online.


Jennifer Schaffer complies a list of great American bookstores. How many have you visited?

Still getting used to a single space after a period? Keith Houston shares 5 punctuation marks that look nothing like they used to.

Did you know that Andy Warhol and his mother collaborated on books about cats?

Check out the story of a Canadian soldier whose bear cub inspired Winnie the Pooh, through the eyes of his great-granddaughter.

Since we all need inspiration, whether we are NaNo-ing or not, Doree Shafrir has compiled 24 quotes from famous writers that will inspire us to write more.

That’s it for us this week! Happy NaNo-ing!

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