Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! It’s mid-September and those of us with kids in school are now settled into our “winter” schedules.
We often highlight the need for greater diversity in books, and here is a thought-provoking essay from Maggie Stiefvater as her attempt to support diversity goes awry.
Properly portraying mental health in books is a form of diversity. Karen Jensen and the people at Teen Library Toolbox are launching a Mental Health in YA Lit project in 2016 and are looking for people to write for it.
YA authors and readers, led by Patrick Ness, continue to raise money to help Syrian refugees.
A few months ago we shared Anne R. Allen’s guide to creating a digital executor for your works. In a case far predating digital technology, ownership of a manuscript by French Romantic writer Chateaubriand is being disputed between two families. Apparently his wishes were not made clear.
Sometimes the biggest hurdle to writing a novel is just finishing it—getting to The End. Martina Boone has 8 steps on how to write a novel and actually finish it. For all those pitfalls that snag us along the way to The End, Roni Loren lists 13 writer woes and the books to cure them, and Nancy Erickson shares 10 mistakes new authors make (and how to avoid them).
One of the basic building blocks of story is scene. Jordan Rosenfeld and Martha Alderson go over the fundamentals of writing a scene, while Angela Booth shares the big secret to writing fiction in scenes.
Characters populate our scenes and propel the story forward. Dave King discusses the math and music of multiple characters, Janice Hardy shows how to easily introduce characters in a scene, and Jami Gold has 3 1/2 tips for fixing an unlikable character.
Your characters talk—but do they talk correctly? Kristen Lamb lists 9 ways to improve your dialogue.
We all make errors in our writing. We’re only human, after all. K.M. Weiland shows us 8 paragraph mistakes we don’t know we’re making, James R. Tuck tells us how to write action scenes, and Jami Gold explores the unconventional idea that a few typos can be a good thing.
For those who think revision means simply finding the typos, Mette Ivie Harrison says you’ve got revision all wrong—and tells us what it really means.
No matter what genre you write, Rob Eagar suggests taste-testing your books before you publish to boost sales.
While any book can be difficult to write, some books reach a level of difficulty we sometimes can’t explain. Jodi Meadows gives is tips on how to cope with writing difficult books. P.J. Parrish shares tips for brewing up a bracing hot manuscript, and James Scott Bell talks about writing on fire.
No matter how on fire you are, Lorraine Devon Wilke wants to urge self-published authors to NOT write four books a year. Janice Hardy reminds us that quality books take as long as they take to write, and Daniel José Older says to write to your rhythm, not to a schedule.
Writing is always a risky business, either emotionally or financially. Benjamin Vogt discusses taking the risk to write deeply about your family history, and Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers talk about collaborating on a picture book.
A lot of people are self-publishing now. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, David Kudler explains how to clean your manuscript for e-book formatting, and Emma Barnes discusses the idea of a publisher’s technical debt. If you want some help, Jane Friedman examines the value of agent-assisted self-publishing, and Therese Walsh talks to BookBub, a resource for getting your book into the hands of your readers.
Agent Janet Reid weighs in on several topics of interest this week: She discusses the legality of pseudonyms, and also how (or whether) to include awards in a query. If you are querying, Dahlia Adler warns against querying agents and publishers simultaneously.
Whether looking for an agent or going it on your own, you will at some point have to write a synopsis and elevator pitch for your book. Rochelle Deans lays out how to edit your synopsis, and Rachelle Gardner explains how to create an elevator pitch.
One way to market your book is to get people to review it. Janet Reid shows us an example of how NOT to ask for reviews. Meanwhile, Rachelle Gardner explains what content marketing is and why that is a better way to sell your book.
Marketing today usually relies heavily on social media. Gary McLaren lists 5 reason why writers should be on social media networks, Chris Syme explains that social media marketing must be relevant, and Chuck Wendig thinks that social media doesn’t serve the function you or your publisher think it does.
Twitter is a huge social media platform these days. Annie Neugebauer has 5 Twitter mistakes and how to avoid them, Sydney Scrogham is learning to fly on Twitter, and Frances Caballo shares tips and apps to help engage your readers on Twitter.
We all want to succeed. Jeff Goins shares the unfair truth about how creative people really succeed, while Lisa Gail Green gives 5 reasons why supporting other writers is important to YOU.
THE UNIQUE SHELF
Finally! The golden rules of How To Write Good! Now we will all be best sellers.
Check it out: Jake Offenhartz has The Definitive Guide to Picking Up Women at a Bookstore.
If you write historical fiction, take a look at this treasure trove of photos of England from 1850-1990, online for the first time.
Zing! Putdowns with flair! Here are some charming words for nasty people.
Arianna Rebolini lists 32 books guaranteed to give you wanderlust.
Artist Javier Jensen has made classic book covers come to life in GIFs.
That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We’ll be back next week with more writerly links from around the web.