The Author Chronicles

Top Picks Thursday 07-23-2015


Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday!

As the heat of summer settles in, Jarry Lee has 42 of the most beautiful literary quotes about summer.

Author E.L. Doctorow died this week at age 84.

If you’ve ever felt like an untalented hack and wanted to pack it all in take heart: Rochelle Deans says there’s no such thing as talent.

Go Set A Watchman has hit the shelves, and the media is covering all aspects of the release. There’s a new account of how Harper Lee’s lawyer discovered Watchman, the suggestion of a third novel by Ms. Lee, and an article wondering how the “new Atticus” in Watchman impacts people and businesses named after the Atticus Finch of To Kill A Mockingbird.

Whether we read the classics like Mockingbird or genre fiction, reading fiction changes us. The Literacy Site examines what science is saying about fiction readers.

Berkeley Breathed is back with the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip Bloom County.


No matter what length story you are writing, getting the structure right is important. Joe Bunting shares how to write a short story from start to finish, and Colin Marshall takes a look at J.K. Rowling’s spreadsheet plotting Harry Potter.

We want to keep our readers turning pages. We often accomplish this by having bad things happen to our protagonist. K.M. Weiland reminds us that even positive events should have consequences to raise the stakes. We can also entice readers by piquing their curiosity. Beth Hill explains how to stir reader curiosity.

So many details go into creating a gripping story. Elana K. Arnold explores setting as a reflection of character, Katherine Brunt shows how to turn your writing from bad to fantastic, and Clare Langley-Hawthorne lists the most-seen amateur mistakes and how to avoid them.

The majority of writers end up needing to trim our early drafts to reach our word count. Roz Morris has some tips for those whose drafts are too short.

A lot of writing craft is instinctive and subjective. Jordan Dane explains how to stay true to your writer voice across genres, Scott Myers explores Ray Bradbury’s advice about writing: don’t think…feel, and Kevin Kaiser shares 5 lessons he learned while ghostwriting for New York Times best-selling authors.

None of us like failure. But sometimes failing is the only way forward. James Chartrand shows how fear of failure keeps writers from producing their best work, while Chuck Wendig discusses the power of failure.

Writing can be lonely, and finding a writing community can help make our difficult craft easier. Scottish Book Trust has ways you can get your writing out there and meet other writers, and poet and philosopher David Whyte discusses belonging and how to be at home in yourself.

Many writers are also avid readers—we can’t get enough! To help with that, Christopher Tunstall shares 5 ways writers can read more, and Gretchen Rubin tells us how to become a better reader in 10 steps.


We all know the Big 5 publishers, but here are the world’s 57 largest book publishers.

If you’re a self-publisher, Melinda Clayton lists these free online resources for self-publishing.

Struggling with the query letter? Agent Janet Reid lists 10 red flags in any query letter, Sandra Held tells us what essentials should be in every query, and Chuck Sambuchino shares submission tips for writers.

Trying to make the leap to writing? Amy Porterfield explains how to use your day job to build a business (without getting fired). Nina Amir, long an advocate of building a book on your blog, shows how to make your blogged book a success, and Tom Bentley tells us how super-short articles can build a big writing career.

Sometimes you have to get creative in marketing. Stephen Oram shares how to use a quiz to promote a book, Viv Oyolu explains why podcasting interviews are essential for authors, and Darcy Pattison tests out using Pinterest to market children’s books.

Social media is a staple of marketing. Judith Briles tells us how to get started on Twitter in 7 simple steps, and Jane Friedman has tips to improve your email newsletter.


In a beautiful letter to a stranger, author and essayist E.B. White discusses the future of humanity.

If you love animals, here are 51 books all animal lovers should read. If you love books, here are 29 pictures only book lovers will understand. If you love Jane Austen, here are 10 facts and figures about Pride and Prejudice you may not know.

As writers, we at the Author Chronicles love libraries. Allison Meier peeks at secret libraries of New York City, and Steampunk Tendencies shares photos of the most beautiful libraries in the world—the Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum in New York City.

Too many books, not enough time! Rita Mead addresses concerns from readers who say books are ruining their lives, while Stephen Sparks spotlights 10 great writers nobody reads.

That’s it for Top Picks Thursday this week! See you next week!