Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We’re almost halfway through November—how’s NaNo treating you?
Whether you are NaNo-ing or not, you still face the struggle of writing during the holiday season. Stina Lindenblatt has some tips on how to survive writing through the holidays, and Rachel Cayley examines what counts as writing in the first place.
Reading is awesome. Adriana & George Sifakis give reasons why reading with your child is a habit worth keeping, Sean Manning advises that (as an adult) reading in a bar might not be the best idea, 17 writers tell about the importance of reading, and neuroscientists look at what happens to your brain when you’re lost in a book.
And although Halloween has passed, here are the 13 scariest things about living with a writer.
The general public believes the popular myth that writing is all about innate talent. Anne R. Allen lists 8 things more important than talent. One thing every successful writer points to as essential for success is perseverance. Alison Breen has 7 ways to keep writing when you feel like giving up.
Okay, we’re writing. But which story to work on? K.M. Weiland tells us how to know if a story is ready to be written. And should we write it fast or slow? Emily Wenstrom lets us know that fast first drafts are not for everyone—and that’s okay.
How do you find the elusive quality of “voice” for your work? Part of it is wrapped up in point of view, so Kristen Lamb helps you find the best POV for your book. But voice is more than POV, and C.S. Lakin explores what voice really is in a novel.
K.M. Weiland examines how much realism your novel really needs. Part of realism is showing the diversity of society around your characters. Mari Naomi shares An Illustrated Guide to Writing People of Color, and Non Pratt looks at gender representation in YA.
After all your writing is done comes the revising and editing. Kimberly Griffiths Little discusses the craft of micro-level revision when polishing your book.
It’s always valuable to think things through before making a decision. Naomi Blackburn talks about long term consequences for short term behaviors in the publishing business. Summerita Rhayne discusses the pros and cons of switching genres, and David Rasch, Ph.D., examines negative thinking and writing blocks.
The writing life and writing process isn’t one-size-fits-all. There is no “one” right way to do this. Chuck Sambuchino collates helpful advice for new writers from literary agents, while Mason Curry peeks into the daily rituals of famous writers. Use what works for you!
Amazon is a dominant force in bookselling these days. Throughout its history, it has been hailed as both savior and villain. Keith Gesson explores how Amazon ended up as literary enemy number 1.
If you are self-publishing, you need to understand formatting. Wyrding Way Press explains what needs to be in the front and back matter of your book.
If you are seeking agent representation, Colby Marshall has 10 things to know about pitching agents and editors. Agent Monika Woods of Inkwell Management seeks literary and commercial fiction, memoir, and nonfiction in food, pop culture, science, and current affairs.
Your author website should be your online hub. Kimberly Grabas lists 30+ tips to drive traffic to your website.
THE UNIQUE SHELF
Lots of authors in the news this week. Bill Watterson, the reclusive creator of Calvin & Hobbes, has reappeared; in Dragons At Crumbling Castle, Terry Pratchett’s young imagination is on display; and Rhianna Pratchett discusses writing for games and diversity.
Are your debts similar to Edgar Allen Poe’s debts in his 1842 bankruptcy petition?
If you are bad at grammar, maybe you need better rhythm. Researchers explore the link between grammar and rhythm.
200 years later, Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park is still relevant. Which is, of course, why it is considered a classic.
Do you hate writing THE END? Here are 12 books that end in mid-sentence.
Mallory Ortberg gets funny with 7 brutal literary breakup texts.
And if you’re interested in studying Medieval paleography, there’s an app for that!
That’s all for us this week!