Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 7, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 05-07-2015

Welcome to the first links round-up in May! Boy, is this year flying.

We all know reading is good for your mind. Shankar Vedantam brings us a study that shows that reading Harry Potter has an effect on your behavior. We know the digital world affects our brains. Hugh McGuire wonders if reading books can save us from digital addiction.

Theodore Jefferson celebrates 85 years of Nancy Drew, the girls who changed how girls saw themselves. Unfortunately, as Shannon Hale tells us, boys are still all to ready to mock things they see as “girly.

Awards! Check out all the Edgar Award winners, and Word Girl wins a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Writing-Animated Program.

Libraries give free access to information, Sabina Khan discusses diversity in writing, and Robin Willis explores the Did Not Finish debate.

Neil Gaiman talks about freedom of speech—all speech, especially the kind you don’t like.


Savvy Book Writers have 15 important question to ask yourself before you write your story. Roz Morris shares tips on how to transition from day-job writing to fiction.

Anne R. Allen lists 13 reasons why you should write short stories this month, Georgia T. tells how to write a “locked in” murder mystery, and Jason Heller wonders: does post-apocalyptic literature have a (non-dystopian) future?

Jami Gold explored how to make characters recommit to the story goal after the Black Moment, Kurt Chambers examines how to show emotions in your writing, and Janice Hardy shows how to craft dialogue in a scene.

We get a lot of feedback on our work, and it can be contradictory and confusing. It can also make us defensive. Jami Gold suggests we look at feedback through the lens of intentionality. Can we justify why we made the choices we made?

Shannon A. Thompson takes a humorous look at writer problems, while Martina Boone looks at the scary side of the writing life.

Chuck Wendig lists some stupid writer tricks, Laura Blackhurst shares 10 commonly misused words in writing, and Todd Hasak-Lowy examines the 7 stages you’ll encounter when writing a novel in lists.

Sometimes it’s the beginning that does us in, sometimes later stages. Jody Hedlund shows us how to deal with paralyzing first chapter fears, while Jami Gold explores what to do if we’re sick of our story.

What writer couldn’t use a little more confidence? Anne Deavere Smith explores confidence and self-esteem, while Mrs. N. gives succinct advice on how to be more confident.

To keep your writing limber, you can join Christina Katz’s 21 Moments Writing Challenge. Annie Dillard advises us how to reclaim our capacity for joy and wonder.


For writers wondering just how much power a publisher has over your manuscript, agent Janet Reid answers the question: can a publisher make you change your ending? And Debra L. Butterfield explains the top 3 mistakes writers make when submitting to editors at houses.

In case you are new here and new to searching for an agent, Jane Friedman presents how to find a literary agent, and Mally Becker tells us what literary agents want to see before signing a writer. Meanwhile, Janet Reid explains how to interact with an agent should you meet them in a social situation.

Marketing these days usually means reviews and social media. Penny Sansevieri tells us how to get 100 reviews on Amazon, Alexis Grant shows how to use Twitter to gain professional goals, and Frances Caballo explores social media dashboards for authors.


Technology can be a blessing and a curse. Three-time Caldecott winner David Wiesner has a new, amazing app called Spot. Meanwhile, Maureen Johnson bemoans the tribulations of creating passwords for online use

Brandon Robshaw lists which children’s books sum up the decade they were published.

Over 100 lost stories by Mark Twain have been discovered!

If you love libraries, ogle these 9 beautiful libraries with extraordinary reading rooms.

Ever wonder how much of Shakespeare’s London is left?

Cindy Wolfe Boynton sets the record straight on the bewitching history behind The Witch of Blackbird Pond.

That’s all for us this week!


  1. Thank you for including me in your Top Picks Thursday! 🙂


  2. Thank you for sharing my humorous article about writer problems!


    • I gave us some laughs! And sometimes in this business, we need to laugh at the absurdity of our lives! 🙂


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