Posted by: Kerry Gans | June 11, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 06-11-2015

Welcome to this week’s writerly links! Several of the Chroniclers will be headed to the Philadelphia Writers’ Conference tomorrow, so check back the next three days for our daily recaps.

Jonathan on PW.PNGCongratulations to friend and mentor Jonathan Maberry, for making the cover of Publishers Weekly!

In our piracy-happy world, Susan Spann tells us how to protect our copyrights online.

Writers usually love to read. But does listening to an audiobook count as reading? Laura Marshall investigates. And what about if you loved a book but can’t remember much about it? Natalia Sylvester thinks it still counts.

Sometimes the world changes so fast we can hardly keep up. Arika Okrent discusses 15 common expressions younger generations won’t understand because language changes as technology changes.

And sometimes, the world stands still. Javier Moreno shares school chalkboard drawings from 100 years ago found during a renovation.


We all know that writers need to engage our readers from beginning to end. One way to do that is to create suspense. However, as Danielle Hanna tells us, withholding information doesn’t creat suspense in every situation. We can also engage readers by using Jordan Dane’s 5 key ways to entice readers with imagery. And once we have grabbed them with our craft, don’t let mechanics like incorrect use of the semicolon kick them out of the story.

Characters are such fun to write. When we’re first getting to know them, we might use James Scott Bell’s 30 minute character generator or Monica M. Clark’s 4 tips to write a character portrait. Whatever profession you choose for your character, get the details right. J.R. Olson and David Bruns list 7 mistakes to avoid when writing about the military. And since we love characters, sometimes the more the merrier, as Braden Russell addresses in 5 tips for writing large casts of characters.

There are times every writer can’t seem to get the words flowing. Dianne E. Butts describes how to get unstuck when you’re stalled, while Jo Eberhardt discusses scheduling creativity. Sometimes we’re not so much stuck as just…procrastinating. Katie A. Boorman explains how not to waste your writing time, Ali Luke shows how to write with young children in the house, and Peter Fritze shares 8 tips to help writers avoid procrastination.

Writing is work and play all rolled into one. Myfawny Collins explores a writer’s identity, Jen Matera advises treating your writing like a full-time job, and Marcy McKay tells us how to rekindle your love of writing.

We all have questions about this publishing journey from time to time, and the road isn’t always smooth. Eric Greitens shares 3 tips for building courage and resilience, Robin Black has 21 things she wished she’d known before she started writing, and Chuck Wendig answers the most frequently asked writing questions.


The publishing business is always shifting these days. Victoria Mixon has 3 things you need to know about the new publishing industry, while Ursula K. Le Guin gives her view on the corporatization of writing.

We hear so much about author platform these days. Janet Reid answers the question: must you have a website to land an agent?

While we may or may not need a website to get an agent, we often do need a synopsis—a task many writers hate. Holly Robinson lays out 8 easy tips to write your synopsis, while Writer’s Relief Staff has 5 common synopsis mistakes that fiction writers make.

If you have a book or blog, Nina Amir shows how to repurpose your book or blog content profit and promotion. When promoting, we often seek publicists with good contacts, but Sharon Bially explains why contacts alone won’t bring your book media coverage. Marketing consists of many facets of our author platform, and the Author Marketing Institute team shares a 7 step plan to grow your author network.

Twitter is a large part of platform today, but a lot of authors (*points to self*) are still rather wary or confused by it. Frances Caballo shares 9 Twitter tools and apps to ease our tweeting, Bruan Collins has 6 Twitter secrets for writers, and Ellis Shuman has 5 more things you need to know for Twitter.

Twitter’s not the only game in town. Anne R. Allen lists 14 dos and don’ts for author-bloggers, Nancy J. Cohen is playing with Pinterest, and Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke walk the fine line between (online) love and hate.


Lest we think the Internet has cornered the market on cat memes, Mimi Matthews shares depictions of cats in Georgian and Regency literature—and they look awfully familiar.

Alice in Wonderland is 150 years old, and the Houghton Library hosts an online Alice exhibition. Come down the rabbit hole!

An uncorrected proof of Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar—of which only 8 copies are known—goes to auction.

Dave Walker guides us through 18th century escapes with Evelina, written by Fanny Burney.

Emily Bowles explores the many names Charles Dickens gave himself, such as “the sparkler of Albion.”

Check out the breathtaking beauty of Victorian mother-of-pearl book bindings.

Standing right on the border between amazingly cool and kind of creepy: a 17th century handprint in handmade paper.

That’s it for us this week! Check back tomorrow night for our first Philadelphia Writers’ Conference installment.

AC at the PWC

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