Posted by: Kerry Gans | December 4, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 12-04-2014

Welcome to the first Top Picks Thursday of December! Already? Wow.

Now that NaNoWriMo is finished for another year, Corina Koch MacLeod and Carla Douglas share some post-NaNo revision tips, and Chuck Wendig explain what happens next.

In a busy holiday season, it can be hard to find time to write. Leila Austin has 5 ways to stay in touch with your WIP while busy.

A company sponsored a fiction book, in return for product placement in the book. Is this a good or bad trend?

In the ongoing discussion about diversity in children’s books, Zetta Elliott and Ibi Aanu Zaboi explore how black girls can find heroes, too.

The New York Public Library staff lists the books they’re thankful for, and The New York Times lists its 100 Notable Books of 2014.

Looking for great places to buy books? Arianna Rebolini gathers 16 bookstores to visit this holiday season.


For the screenwriters out there, Tom Williams lists 5 screenwriting rules you can break and 5 you can’t.

Have you ever wanted to re-invent a beloved story? Robin Rivera has 6 tips for re-imaging a classic story.

Whatever story you write, your first chapter is über-important. Jeff Gerke outlines 4 approaches for the 1st chapter of your novel.

Our characters are (ideally) complex. Mary Kole explains positive and negative character motivation, Janice Hardy explores what makes your characters uncomfortable, and Kassandra Lamb discusses the psychology of emotion.

Gillian Bronte Adams spills 3 secrets of three-dimensional characters, Heather Jackson tells us how to choose a main character in an ensemble cast, and Drew Chial talks about repurposing SMART goals for character development.

Once we finish writing, the revising begins. Yvonne Chan explains how to edit your writing. While you’re editing think twice about your use of profanity—Russell R. James investigates: to curse or not to curse? If you are working with a proofreader, Excellent Proofreading and Writing lists common proofreading marks to know.

In the advice column today, P.D. James’s 10 tips for writing novels, Dianne E. Butts thinks elevating your writing hinges on one simple sentence, and Hilton Hamann finds focus in going old style.

Richard Ridley asks: is the early bird more creative? Stacia M. Fleegal ponders: Are your writing goals needs or wants? Figuring out your writing needs vs. wants can make writing more fulfilling and help you reach your goals.

If you find yourself fighting writer’s block, BrainSnorts has 3 ways to get unstuck. Writer’s block or no, Chuck Wendig says there’s no excuse for not finishing what you start

Interviews are an important part of a writer’s work—both conducting them and giving them. Deborah Swift explains how to interview people as research for your novel, and Ursula K. LeGuin discusses her career, her latest work, and the overreach of Amazon.


Amazon’s fight with Hachette is over, but a lot of authors got caught in the crossfire. Here’s one take on why Amazon is no threat to authors, despite its fight with Hachette. Stephen Colbert disagrees with these 10 best shots against Amazon.

Amazon may be the behemoth, but unorthodox small publisher David Godine has snagged two Nobel Prize winners over 4 decades.

It’s hard to get noticed in the writing world. Joan Curtis shares 7 tips to help writers gain attention in the world of fiction.

Agent Janet Reid talks sense about the agent-author relationship. First she discusses the pros and cons of the two dominant agency contracts: one book at a time vs. all books for your career. Second, she lists 9 ways NOT to screw up your new agent relationship. Meanwhile, agent Erin Murphy shares 12 things debut authors have taught her.

We talk a lot about copyright, but how does trademark impact our work? Helen Sedwick explains trademark and what writers need to know.

Got a book coming out? Kate Brauning gives tips on how to prepare for release month.

Platform building is important, but can be terrifying for many writers. Jane Freidman profiles 5 writers who are doing their online presence the right way. And Jason Kong shares 7 email marketing secrets every fiction writer should know.


Maria Popova compiles 2014’s best books on psychology, philosophy, and how to live a meaningful life.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Geoffrey Chaucer.

In a modern miracle, a rare Shakespeare First Folio, regarded as the most important book in English literature, is discovered in a small French town.

That’s it for us week!

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