Merry Christmas! Today we revisit the most popular links of 2014—since there were several ties, the 12 links is actually 16 links. And after the links, the Chroniclers have listed some of their favorite books, in case you are looking for something to read over the holidays!
8. Joanna Penn clarifies your multiple authorial rights and how to exploit them for the most gain.
7. Chuck Sambuchino compiles advice from agents on how NOT to start your novel.
6. Janice Hardy on when to add a scene break.
5. C.S. Lakin explains that novel construction begins with concept.
4. Janice Hardy lists 4 ways to never start your novel.
3. Chuck Wendig gives us 25 ways to write a page-turner.
2. Claire Scobie explores 10 ways to sharpen your scenes.
And our most popular link of the year:
1. Roz Morris on why novelists should read obituaries.
As our gift to you, we put together some of our favorite books—hopefully you’ll enjoy them, too!
J. Thomas Ross
I have a lot of favorites, but I’ve been thinking about that very question because it’s one authors are often asked. I think my all-time favorite has to be To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It’s such a deeply layered story there are many reasons for my choice; however, it’s one many people have read.
For the second, I’ll pick a less well-known science fiction classic, a great book that’s not known by many but should appeal to more than just sci-fi fans. It’s Earth Abides by George R. Stewart. I first read the book in the ’60s and thought it was a newly published book; later I discovered it was first published in the ’40s. When most apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic books of the time dealt with nuclear holocaust, Stewart chose disease to wipe out most of the population. The book deals with how a few people survived and set up the beginnings of a new civilization. The well-written book made such an impression on me that I’ve never gotten it out of my head. I’ve reread it a number of times, amazed each time that Stewart’s scenario becomes more plausible as the years pass.
I second To Kill A Mockingbird, but I’ll add some variety with other favorites.
One I only read in the past year is Newbery Award winner Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse, a middle grade novel in verse about the Dust Bowl. Like all American students, I learned about that period in history, but this novel made me FEEL it. When I looked out the window after reading it, I expected to see nothing but dust.
My second pick is my perennial favorite, The Once and Future King by T.H. White. Every reading gives a new layer as I aged. As a kid I loved the magic, as a teen I enjoyed the political intrigue and the romance, and as an adult I am fascinated by the psychological and emotional examination of the characters as they deal with power, death, betrayal, and greed. The Once and Future King is also the basis for Disney’s The Sword in the Stone and the musical Camelot.
Here’s a grab bag of goodies:
Confessions of a Murder Suspect (Confessions, #1) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetero
The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R.Carey
The Shadow Unit created by Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear, Will Shetterly, Sarah Monette, Amanda Downum, Leah Bobet, Holly Black, Kyle Cassidy, and Chelsea Polk. “The FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit hunts humanity’s worst nightmares. But there are nightmares humanity doesn’t dream are real.”
Nancy Keim Comley
My favorite books of the year starts with Greenglass House by Kate Milford for its beautiful writing, wonderful plot and delightful characters.
The Only Thing Worse Than Witches by Lauren Magaziner is the second book—it’s my small boy’s firm favorite and whenever I read it aloud he laughs hysterically and wants more.
Have a joyful and peaceful holiday season!