Posted by: Kerry Gans | October 15, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 10-15-2015

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! It is already the middle of October—time to start getting ready for Halloween!

There is a new resource for writers: One Stop for Writers, from Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. They brought us the Emotional Thesaurus and many others—all of which are searchable on this website, which all has so much more to help writers. Check it out!

In literary prize news, Jonathon Sturgeon examines why Svetlana Alexievich’s Nobel Prize is good for literature, and the Deborah Rogers Foundation announces a £10,000 Writers’ Award to support a first-time author.

We talk quite a lot about diversity in publishing, and a recent study showed the large gender gap in literary award. Roz Morris shows that gender inequality is not the only inequality going on the awards.

Halfway through October also means closer to NaNoWriMo. To get yourself ready, K.M. Weiland has 6 tasks you’ll love yourself for checking off your NaNo pre-writing list, and Janice Hardy shows how to plan your novel’s beginning. These tips will serve you well for any writing project, not just NaNo!

Rebecca Lawton examines our inherent need to tell stories—and the power of listening.

Rewriting literary history, a recent discovery shows that Rev. William Leitch from Scotland envisioned space flight 4 years before Jules Verne.


Sometimes we writers get inspired by, or find valuable research in, works in the public domain. Janet Reid explains the proper way to incorporate public domain information into your work.

World-building is key to pulling your readers into your story, especially so in genres such as fantasy and science fiction—but beware of boring or overloading your readers with your world. Kassan Warrad has tips on concealing the world-building adeptly, Autumn M. Birt shows how to efficiently write descriptions, Christine Frazier discusses using elements from established mythology in your stories, and Melissa F. Olson shares 8 tips on conducting a research trip for your WIP’s setting.

Janice Hardy lists 4 tips on adding a new twist to an old plot idea, a Harvard linguist debunks 10 grammar myths learned in schools, C.S. Lakin shares a talking heads avoidance device, and Teddy Wayne has tips for writing good dialogue.

Lisa M. Collins gives us 5 tips for when your characters are stuck in the mud, and Tara Kehoe examines the YA literary trope of the teen having to take care of the parent(s).

Revision is a major part of making your work the best it can be. Jen Matera describes what an editor expects from an author, and Lucienne Driver explores the revision decision.

Sandra Block explains how being a neurologist helps write mysteries, and Susan McBride discusses the lighter side of mysteries while reminding us to never be ashamed of what we choose to write.

Being a successful writer often has as much to do with mindset as with luck. Kristen Lamb explains how women might be sabotaging their careers by being “good girls,” and David K. William examines 10 things highly authentic creatives do differently.


Chuck Sambuchino rounds up 25 debut authors sharing advice on getting published.

Many writers freelance. Jane Friedman shares some tips for those who want to freelance full time.

People judge books by their covers—it is a fact of publishing life. Jami Gold has 6 tips for finding a cover artist, and Roz Morris tells her story of avoiding a book cover disaster at the eleventh hour so you can avoid repeating her mistakes.

Marketing is a many-headed beast. Angela Ackerman explains how authors can find their ideal reading audience. Sharon Bially shows why book PR needs a lot of lead time. Indies Book Promo lists 3 self-publishing tools that boost sales, and Abs Farah examines the idea of pay-what-you-want pricing.

The web is a valuable tool for marketing, but it is also fraught with pitfalls. Jane Friedman shows 3 ways to avoid long-term problems with your author website, Chris Syme explains how to avoid social media advertising scams, and Frances Caballo lists 11 ways you might be spooking your readers on social media.


Albert Einstein was brilliant, but what did he know about writing? Check out these 15 lessons Einstein can teach writers.

If you’re a book lover, these 24 photos will resonate.

Do you have an out-of-control To-Be-Read pile? Roni Loren shows how to organize your TBR.

Harry Potter makes the news twice this week: A new illustrated version of Sorcerer’s Stone is being released, and a coloring book is available.

The pen is mightier than the sword: Nicole Lynn McLean examines power and emotion in women’s correspondence in 15th century Italy.

Check out this digitized collection of 1,100 pages of Jane Austen’s handwritten work.

Nathaniel Hawthorne is considered a classic author now, but in his time a now-forgotten “scribbling woman” outsold Hawthorne by a large margin.

In the time before e-readers how did people pack a lot of text in a small package? Erik Kwakkel introduces us to the incredible expandable Medieval books.

Some trivia for you: the English language is chock-a-block with invisible nautical terms.

Who knew? Vladimir Lenin loved the British Library.

That’s all for Top Picks Thursday this week! We’ll see you next week.

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