Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 30, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 04-30-2015

Welcome to the final links round-up in April! Happy May Day tomorrow!

In honor of May Day and her latest book The Far End of Happy, Kathryn Craft is launching the Twitter campaign #choosethisday. Kathryn is both raising awareness of suicide prevention resources and encouraging all of us to contribute empowering and positive messages. I love it when authors use their energy to make a difference in the world.

A tale of two awards: The Orwell Prize for political writing shortlists non-fiction by novelists alongside history and autobiography. Meanwhile, the current controversy over the Hugo Awards prompts nominees to withdraw.

Jane Chirgwin tells us what your local librarians can do for authors (and it’s a lot!). If you know of a school library that could use some help, nominate them for a grant through the Patterson Partnership.

Erin Blakemore lists 2014’s most challenged books, while Brigid Alverson wonders why DRAMA, a book about middle school crushes, is being challenged and what that means.

We’ve noted before how girls are expected to read “boy” books, but boys are actively discouraged from reading “girl” books. Chuck Wendig takes a look at how gender divisions trickle down from the corporations themselves and into our psyches.

Yet another study shows the power of reading to make a permanent mark on your brain, and Maddie Rodriguez wonders how much time is enough time for reading?


Story structure guides the reader and builds suspense. Dan Harmon discusses a story circle technique, K.M. Weiland tells us how to know if our prologue is destroying the story’s subtext, and September C. Fawkes explains how to write subtext.

To keep readers turning the pages, we need to write a compelling story. Erika Mitchell discusses building suspense, and Linda Lane talks about complexity, contrast, and layers.

Description can kill our story’s momentum if done wrong. James Royce Patterson has 7 tips for writing captivating description, and Charlie Jane Anders gives us the 7 deadly sins of worldbuilding.

Well-drawn characters are essential to any good story. Nola Sarina shares how to write vivid character descriptions invisibly, and Aasyma shows us with biting humor how NOT to write about disabled folks.

Editing is necessary for everyone. We can begin with self-editing, using online tools such as these grammar style checkers, but as Victoria Wright reminds us, we need outside editors to really make our work shine. Ruth Harris explains how we can use editors and new skills we’ve learned along the way to fix that supposedly “unpublishable” novel we all have in a drawer somewhere.

For those thinking of writing a Gothic novel, Esther Kim has some amusing tips to help you get started.

All writers struggle with creativity and motivation. Kavitha shares 5 tips to help you write out of your comfort zone, Julie Musil urges imperfect action over perfect inaction, and James Clear shares how constraints can actually spur creativity.

In separate interviews, Eoin Colfer and Toni Morrison share their hard-won wisdom about writing and the world.


If you want to go traditional but don’t have an agent, Alexandra Romanov gives us 5 reputable publishers that accept non-agented submissions.

Ebook Bargains UK looks at the future of the Nook.

Keep an eye on this, authors. In Britain, the Green Party is suggesting limiting copyright to a mere 14 years. Needless to say, there has been a backlash.

While on this side of the Atlantic, attorney Helen Sedwick teaches authors how to spot a rights grab in a contract.

Two things every author needs: a title and an author bio. Cindy Fazzi gives us 5 ways to choose your novel’s title, and Ash Krafton shares tips on how to write your author bio in a query if you are not yet published.


All things poetic: If Edgar Allen Poe quotes were motivational posters, rocker Nick Cave creates his first poetry collection, and sequels to famous poems.

Literary Tourism takes us on an adventure through American author museums.

Kate Wiles lists some of the best history apps out there, including digital libraries and Old English translators.

Shakespeare died 399 years ago, but sci-fi/fantasy still can’t get enough of him.

Susie Rodarme serves up 5 small press books for your reading pleasure.

Erik Kwakkel shows us the art of Medieval texting, and the Medievalists profile 20 beautiful images of Medieval and Renaissance women reading.

That’s it for us this week! See you in May!

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