Posted by: Kerry Gans | July 9, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 07-09-2015

Things are heating up around here as summer takes hold, so we’ve got some red-hot writerly links for you this week. Welcome and enjoy!

How often have we read or heard or witnessed a horde of Internet trolls attacking someone? Anne R. Allen discusses public shaming, cyberbullying, the hive mind and what to do about it, and Shanna Germain also talks about the surge in cruelty towards authors on the Internet.

We writers love to write—but non-writers may need a little persuasion. Here are 3 ways writing will improve your life even if you’re not a writer. Laura Probert shares 9 great reasons everyone should write, and Gregory Ciotti addresses the psychological benefits of writing.

Kate Taylor explains how the Common Core is reducing kids’ exposure to literature in the classroom.

Real teens have their say about why we need diverse books, and Gregory Schmidt examines how gay comic book characters zap stereotypes.
In a release appropriate for July 4th, Stephen King releases an exclusive audiobook called “Drunken Fireworks” in advance of a print anthology.


Most writers don’t lack for new ideas, but sometimes you just get stuck. Joe Hartlaub shares a unique—and potentially heart-wrenching—way of shaking the cobwebs from your brain.

Openings are arguably the most important part of the story—if you don’t grab your readers then, they won’t read (or buy) the book. Donald Maass examines the methodology of openings: intrigue vs. engagement.

Once we’ve hooked a reader, we need to keep them turning the pages. Ninie Hammon explains how to add twists to your plot, and Linda Clare lists 3 ways to test the tension and pacing in your scenes.

Even with a good opening, your story can fizzle if the stakes aren’t high enough. K.M. Weiland shows two ways your stakes could be too low and how to fix them. One way to mess up your stakes is with an ill-placed or ill-conceived dream sequence, as Kristen Lamb explains.

Characters have beliefs and those beliefs help motivate their actions, which Jo Eberhardt examines. Robin Rivera takes a look at unlikeable secondary characters and their functions in a story, Kristen A. Kieffer breaks down what is needed to create a powerful antagonist, and The Script Lab shares how to write a coherent character sheet.

All writers have to face editing and revision. Rachel Funk Heller explains how to revise with a Master sheet, Jordan Dane describes his rolling edit process, and Clare Langley-Hawthorne discusses how to evaluate feedback when so much of it is subjective.

Once you’ve finished one book, should you start the sequel right away? Janice Hardy explores the two schools of thought on when to start your sequel.

Jason Black tells us that writing doesn’t have to be hard—just be lazy and let the readers do all the work. Rene Denfeld and Stephanie Feldman discuss the limitations of writing to genre and the senselessness of the hard line between fantasy and realism.

It’s clear by now that the most productive writers often find the most success in today’s market. Joanna Penn shares habits of writing productively, James Scot Bell tells of moving from failure to success in writing, and Max Booth III lists 16 amusing tips for making time to write once you’ve abandoned your integrity.

Where do you get inspired? Debbie Young discusses the joys of unplugging and letting your subconscious work, while Patrick Samphire talks about finding writing inspiration when you’re exhausted and overwhelmed.

Authors share their knowledge: Eoin Colfer discusses his lifestyle, Chuck Wendig tackles his many authorial faces, and Kurt Vonnegut’s graduation speech.


In publishing news, a new study shows that e-lending won’t put a big dent in book sales, and French publisher Delcourt will release 151 French graphic novels (in English) via Comixology.

Also, Amazon is increasing the importance of reviews in its rating system, and Valerie Shanley details all the ways to self-publish a book on Amazon.

If you are searching for an agent, Lisa Katzenberger lists 4 questions agents ask writers at pitch sessions. Also, agent Peter Knapp has joined New Leaf Literary and is open to queries.

Publishing is a business, and businesses usually entail contracts. Agent Janet Reid explains the “life of copyright” clause often found in publishing contracts.

Launching a book is hard work. Jeff Goins describes the good, the bad, and the ugly of launching a best-selling book. And be sure to throw yourself a party to celebrate! Tamar Hela shows how to plan a book launch party online or offline.

If you are an author of independent bent, here are some alternate distribution tactics to try. Porter Anderson explores a new service to help self-published books get distribution to libraries, while the Author Market Institute explains how to distribute non-ACX audiobooks.


Handwriting seems to be making a comeback, whether on paper or on screen. Navneet Alang explores this attraction as he examines the point of handwriting.

To liven up your typed text, meet the exclamation comma and other obscure punctuation marks.

Love books? Farrah Penn has 11 charts that perfectly sum up being a book addict.

If you are interested in fashion through the ages, check out travel writing from the time period you are researching. From Joan of Arc underwear to diamond stockings, find fashion in travel writing.

Mystery lovers, check out this true story of a prodigal book: a miraculous return of a rare volume to the University of Pennsylvania Library.

If that leaves you wanting to know more about rare books, you can apply to the Rare Book School in Virginia.

That’s all for us this week! Stay cool and enjoy your summer!



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: