Posted by: Kerry Gans | January 15, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 01-15-2015

We take a moment to remember those killed in the Charlie Hedbo attack, and all those who have lost their lives to extremists such as those who perpetrated the Paris attacks.

Welcome to this week’s writing links! A New Year brings new plans—what are yours?

Susan Dennard shares 5 things she learned in 2014 and some resolutions for 2015. Roz Morris discusses how to discover your 2015 publishing path, and Marcy Kennedy shares 3 questions to ask yourself before writing an author business plan.

Patrick Ness lists 10 “unsuitable” books for teenagers that all parents and teens should read, and Samantha Shannon and Caitlin Moran defend young adult fiction.

Science fiction and fairy tales play important roles in our literary culture. Emily Perper collates a great reading list on sci-fi diversity, while Rowan Williams explains why we need fairy tales now more than ever.

Samantha Fountain is introducing authors to agents in a special event on her blog—check it out.


We talk a lot about novels here, but short stories are experiencing a revival. Anne R. Allen lists 9 ways short stories can pay off for writers, and Roz Morris explains how to turn a short story into a novel.

There’s a ton of work to do before you even write your work. Kat Zhang shares strategies for outlining your novel, Elizabeth S. Craig tells us how to use a series bible to keep track of details, and Crystal Bryant shows how to write a blurb for your novel—which you can do at the beginning or end of your writing. Meanwhile, PJ Parrish focuses on the importance of great openings of all kinds.

If you are writing a novel, the beginning is most important. Janalyn Voigt discusses where to start your novel. Once you are writing, Mary Kole tells us how to pick the right level of description, Shon Bacon explores the magic of line breaking, Elizabeth Sims shares 21 hacks to raise suspense in your novel, and Jodie Renner shows how to eliminate wordiness.

We all know about needing a story-long emotional arc for a character. Jeane Cavelos shows how easily we can track characters’ emotional arcs in a single scene. Jessica Bell tells us how to ensure character consistency throughout your book.

Most of us edit on computer screens, but Martina Boone reminds us of the importance of editing on paper as well. Meanwhile Allen Eskens shares 3 tips for a better first revision.

Every author has their own secret to success, and many are happy to share it with others. Nina Amir tells us how to overcome the biggest obstacle to successful authorship, Sarah Anne Johnson compiles a list of writers and the best writing advice they ever received, and Malinda Lo discusses writing and self-rejection.

Author interviews are a great source of inspiration and information. Annie Proulx wishes she had never written Brokeback Mountain. Edith Pearlman finally finds success with her new book, and Kevin Fitzpatrick introduces us to 6 little-known women of the Algonquin Round Table.

Sue Faris Raatjes reminds us that writing is not for wimps, Shery Ma Belle Arrieta-Russ shares helpful writing tips for creative writers, Jami Gold explores the ways we handle the negativity of others, and Allison Brennan brings a great perspective over whether writing fast should be the goal of every writer in this new age.


There’s been some debate over whether Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited is good or bad for authors. Morgan Mandel shares her experience with Kindle Unlimited. To this end, James Scott Bell examines whether the self-publishing sky is actually falling.

Jody Hedlund explores whether agents are still the gatekeepers to getting published.

Author platform is key to success these days. Jane Friedman takes an in-depth look into platform building for authors, Jami Gold targets Branding 101: What’s Your Story?, and Monica M. Clark examines 3 good reasons for using pen names.

Social media is integral to platform building. Adrienne Erin shares the top 7 ways authors are using Instagram, Kristen Lamb shows how to use Twitter effectively, and Ash Krafton discusses various ways a single author can raise visibility without sacrificing too much writing time. Alinka Karutkowska has 6 ways to get reviews, and Mary Robinette Kowal reminds us that self-promotion is part of a writer’s job.


Writers love libraries. Franck Bohbot shares photos of the most beautiful libraries in the world. The Bodelian Libraries receive a gift of Charles I’s amazing traveling library.

How well do you know the origins of English words?

Kimberly Byrne introduces us to the top 10 most important notebooks in history.

Truth is stranger than fiction. Anne Bronte’s ghost has been seen in a house on…Long Island.

In an article bound to make you wonder, Annie Holmquist compares a middle school reading list from 100 years ago versus today.

That’s all for us this week!

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