Posted by: Kerry Gans | December 18, 2014

Top Picks Thursday 12-18-2014

Welcome to this week’s links! Happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate.

Amy Nichols discusses a scary New Year and what came out of it in lang may yer lum reek.

Buzzfeed adds to the book list parade with their 23 Best Picture Books of 2014.

Ever wonder if you can make it as a writer? Jane Friedman answers the question: do you have what it takes to be a successful author?

Most writers can’t make it on their own. Lori Twining lists 10 reasons to attend a writers’ conference.

K.M. Weiland wonders: do writers HAVE to be readers?

If you can write a compelling story in 99 words or less, check out this free writing contest. As always, read the fine print before entering.


NaNo is over, but James Scot Bell shares the lessons he learned from NaNoWriMo 2014.

Big picture problems like plot structure and pacing can drive us crazy and cause huge revision later in the process. Jami Gold has one step to make sure our plot works, Angela Ackerman talks about the story midpoint and mirror moment, and Jake Kerr discusses pacing problems and solutions.

For the details of your writing, Sue Coletta has 3 tips to amp up your writing, J.S. Morin shares 3 tips to write a setting, and C.S. Lakin how to generate motifs for your novel.

Characters are the heart of our work. Carol Lynch Williams lists a few reminders on making a character real, Alan Chin reminds us that too much dialogue can spoil everything, Neal Abbott outlines how to write a protagonist both unique and universal, Mary Kole explores the power of conscious vs. unconscious action, and Rock Higgins explains how your character can survive being confronted with multiple attackers.

Most of us are not full-time writers. Some of us don’t want to be—and that’s fine. Justin Zoradi has 9 important tips for the sometimes writers among us. And because all stripes of writers sometimes need to freshen our novels, Z Zocolante shares 6 ways to resuscitate your novel.

We all wish we had more time! Kariss Lynch shares tips for managing time as a writer, and Jane Friedman lists her favorite digital tools of 2014 to make the most of the time we have.

Want to improve your writing? Rachel Gardner lists 11 ways to become a better writer without writing, while Katherine D’Souza advises us to show and listen.

Almost every writer I know has doubts about himself at some point. This fear of failure is prevalent and age-old, as seen in this article on Lord Byron and the elusiveness of literary fame. These doubts can lead to procrastination—putting off our writing dream until “someday.” Amy Nichols faces the myth of someday head on. And even when we’ve “made it” some of us feel like we’re posers, not “real” writers. Kate Tilton tells us how to overcome imposter syndrome.


The iconic magazine The New Republic misses its first issue in 100 years. Ryan Lizza takes us inside the collapse of The New Republic.

If copyright law confuses you, check out Duke University’s comic book that tells you everything about copyright you need to know.

Joe Craig shares his successful query letter that got him his first agent.

Want to see your book on the silver screen? C.S. Lakin shares inside tips on how authors can get their novels made into films.

Are you getting the most mileage out of your work? Nina Amir has 20 ways to repurpose your work for profit and promotion.

Marketing! Simon Whistler discusses audiobooks and podcasts, while Naomi Blackburn talks book trailers.

Make your web presence work for you—Nina Amir shows how to safely find and use photos for your blog posts, while Paula Krapf explains how to create the perfect keywords to bring traffic to your website.


J.K. Rowling reveals the Harry Potter character she most regrets killing—and it isn’t who you might think.

The UK’s prison book ban is ruled unlawful.

Jennifer Schaffer collates 51 of the most beautiful sentences in literature.

If you are researching almost anything, check out UNESCO’s Memory of the World site.

In the classic author category: a previously unseen letter by Jane Austen is set to be sold at auction, Rachel Hope Cleves bakes Emily Dickinson’s bread recipe, and the BBC investigates why Charles Dickens had a personal postbox?

Take a look at the stages of Medieval book production with the Hamburg Bible. And if you think book spam is relatively new, think again. Erik Kwakkel brings us Medieval spam’s oldest advertisements for books.

That’s it for us this week! We’ll see you on Christmas with our top 12 links from 2014.


  1. I’m honored to have made the list. Thank you!


    • You’re welcome, Sue! We can all amp up our writing more.


  2. Thanks for the shout out! Hmm, looks like I need to make some time to check out these other posts. 😉


    • You’re welcome! And there are always so many good posts around the blogosphere–it’s hard whittling them down each week!


  3. Thank you for sharing my post as well as some other great work. 🙂


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