Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 14, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 05-14-2015

Welcome to this week’s writerly links!

Congratulations to all the 2015 Bram Stoker award winners, especially friend of the blog Jonathan Maberry. Join Jonathan, Christopher Golden, and James A. Moore on their debut podcast of Three Guys With Beards.

Almost all writers suffer from insecurity. Alex Cavanaugh tells us how to get a handle on writer insecurity.

Many of us have been mentored in our careers—the benefits of that are obvious. Susan Spann examines the benefits of mentorship for the mentor.

James Patterson wants your help. Share your ideas on getting kids to love reading on the hashtag #GetKidsReading.

If you’re looking for books to read, Karina Glaser’s middle grade flowchart tells what MG books are right for you, while Ann Morgan shares 5 must-read adult books from around the world.


For our narrative non-fiction writers, here is Linda Cracknell with 5 tips for writing narrative non-fiction.

And if you choose to fictionalize real events, Kathryn Craft has some great tips for novelizing true events.

Whatever we write requires some amount of research. Kristen A. Kieffer describes how to research your novel effectively.

Structure is the underpinning of any good story. Stuart Horwitz discusses how to plot and outline without a formula, P.J. Reece shows how to find the heart of your story, and Weifarer talks about using parallel chapters to perfect a scene.

Characters carry the emotion of the story. Rachel Starr Thomson explains point of view (POV) and the dangers of head-hopping, while Kristen A. Kieffer delves into deep POV. Roz Morris has 5 tips if your characters are all too similar, and Rochelle Deans explores the use of humor in the midst of tragedy. While character arcs are necessary to engage the reader, K.M. Weiland looks at whether a character’s arc can be a subplot.

Joe Hartlaub discusses exploiting strengths and weaknesses in characters, Donald Maass explains how change engages the readers, Caitlin Durante shares 3 ways to convey characters’ emotions, Jami Gold explores alpha heroines, and Kristen Lamb shows how opposition is the key to a strong story.

Sometimes it’s the things readers don’t see that make a story great. Owen Elgie discusses literary misdirection, Kirsty Logan gives 5 tips on creating atmosphere in your writing, and Christina Hamlett shares the building blocks of creating brilliant monsters, bogeymen and other creatures that go bump in the night.

We can suffer from time and resource management issues. Lisa Bennett demonstrates what to do with all your writing languishing in boxes, Drew Chial shows how writers can keep time from slipping away, Kevan Lee lists 50 amazing resources to make you a better writer, and Sonia Thompson shares a simple, science-backed way to improve your writing skills.


While writers still argue the merits of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, Andrea Phillips reminds us of a middle ground—in praise of the small press. Hal Robinson examines where authors fit into multi-channel publishing.

The publishing industry is moving toward environmental sustainability, led by the Green Press Initiative, HMH, Macmillan, and others.

Agent Janet Reid tells us what to do if you’ve started querying and then realize your novel really isn’t up to snuff.

Many writers do blog tours now, but Stuart Horwitz has 5 tips for a Do-It-Yourself real-world book tour.

When we publish, either self-publish or traditional, it’s always a good idea to have a plan. Jami Gold talks about creating a publishing plan, and Joel Freidlander discusses strategies for your author websites.

All those plans include finding your audience, so Naomi Blackburn shows how to find your audience online. Some plans hope to generate money from your blog, so 21 experts tell how to monetize your blog.

Annie Neugebauer explains how Twitter is a good place to meet people, hang out, and get found. And wherever you go online, Shari Stauch wants to keep you safe from cyber-trolls and book bullies.


Ever wonder how writers invent languages? Take some invented language lessons from George R.R. Martin and others.

Looking for a hot new literary magazine to query? Check out Rhapsody, the literary magazine of United Airlines.

Don’t worry about not being published by age 25. Here are six famous novelists that didn’t publish until after age 40.

Dr. Jenni Nuttall explores how Middle English drama used stanza styles to depict good vs. bad characters.

That’s it for us this week!

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