Posted by: Kerry Gans | September 3, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 09-03-2015

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! How many of you are—like me—reveling in the first quiet house you’ve had since summer began?

Oliver Sacks, writer and neurologist, died this week at age 82. Here are 12 of his most beautiful quotes.

Writers find it difficult when their friends and family don’t “get” what they do. Julianna Baggott shares The Rule and 12 tips for writers and their family and friends to help ease the tension.


While we tend to focus on prose here, let’s not forget the art of poetry and all it can bring to our souls and to our prose. Barbara O’Neal extols the powerful nutrition of poetry, and Clare Langley-Hawthrone explores her love of poetry and the lack of poetry in schools today.

Poetry can inspire us, but what can you do when the creativity is just not flowing and you’re on a deadline? James Scott Bell examines when your brainstorming hits a drought, Ruth Harris sings the praises of lists to fulfill our every need, and Erika Robuck reminds us that when all else fails walking can be the simple answer to get our brains unstuck.

Deciding what to write can be difficult. K.M. Weiland explains how to write a sequel that’s better than the first book, and Dario Ciriello discusses why you should ignore trends and write what you want. If you decide to write YA Horror, April Genevieve Tucholke lists 6 tips for Young Adult horror writers to give people nightmares.

Conflict and stakes drive a story’s plot. Drew Chail tells us why every story needs its own pit of snakes, while K.M. Weiland showcases the Pixar way to think about conflict.

Characters draw the reader in. Laura Drake tells us how to get to the bottom of your characters, Janice Hardy shows us how to avoid stereotypes, and Amanda Patterson has 5 simple ways to describe characters. Gabriela Lessa explains how outlining can bring out voice, and Robin Patchen details how writers can seek and destroy banal and obvious dialogue.

Sometimes it’s hard to write regularly, and sometimes your own inner critic is your worst enemy. Matthew Perpetua has 19 easy rules to write something every day, and Jim Dempsey tells us how to overcome your inner critic.

Writing is an emotional and often stressful pursuit. Eliza Wheeler shares how to get past the “I suck” dilemma, Barbara Claypole White tells how to conquer writing doubt, and David Villalva explains what you can do when life is plotting against you.


Once we decide to publish our writing, we need to understand many legal issues we didn’t need to know when we were hobbyists. Brad Frazer explains the doctrine of “fair use,” while Helen Sedwick discusses defamation.

Joel Friedland explores the many issues that influence book design, such as ISBN, copyright, and the need (or not) to incorporate. Christopher Lentz also takes a look at book design by investigating the language of colors and their impact on book covers.

We all are searching for new, better ways to market our books. Maggie Marr has her top 5 book promotion tips. In addition to those tips, book bloggers are a great way to get the word out. To get started finding bloggers right for you, check out The Book Blogger database, which is searchable by genre.

Social media is one way to connect with our readers. Sandra Beckwith shares how to boost social media success with 3 image types, Syed Balkhi has 9 ways to get the most from every single guest post, while Frances Caballo explains the latest social media changes authors need to know.


Kaye Toal shares 11 reasons Terry Pratchett is a literary genius.

Steve Silberman tells us how Oliver Sacks helped introduce the world to autism and helped change how we view the condition.

Check out Jerrold H. Zar’s amusing poem, Candidate For A Pullet Surprise. Every writer can relate!

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


  1. Thanks so much for linking to my blog post! I love how tools and apps let someone like me w/no artistic talent create fun images to share.

    Sandra Beckwith


    • You’re welcome! And yes, it’s amazing what tools let us accomplish these days. 🙂


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