Posted by: Kerry Gans | December 3, 2015

Top Picks Thursday 12-02-2015

Welcome to the first Top Picks Thursday of December!

With the holiday seasons upon us, Ruth Harris puts together 25 gift ideas for the writers in your life, and Laurel Garver discusses cultivating your creativity during the holi-daze.

Isaac Fitzgerald brings us BuzzFeed’s 24 best fiction books of 2015, while Krystie Lee Yandoli examines the 9 books President Obama bought on Small Business Saturday.

Diverse voices strengthen the literary landscape. Nobel winner Svetlana Alexievich’s books will be published by Random House, Brazil’s only slave memoir (the life of Mahommah Gardo Baquaqua) will be published in Portuguese for the first time, Cheryl Morgan explains how superheroes saved her life as a transgendered child, and web comic Der-shing Helmer discusses cultural appropriation in comics.


Here are some closing thoughts on NaNoWriMo 2015: Tiffany Schmidt talks Couch to 50K (words), and Kathy Edens discusses life after NaNo—time to punch up your narrative arc and character development.

Characters are the heart and soul of our stories. James Scott Bell tells us how to bring characters in from the cold, Janice Hardy explores actions vs. choices, and Molly Best Tinsley explains the power of point of view.

If you have a novel languishing, Anita Evensen shows us how to finally finish your novel, but Mary Robinette Kowal warns that sometimes writers block is really depression.

Larry Brooks advises spinning hope from rejection, and Brunonia Barry discusses the difference between writing for love or money.

Kathryn Craft discusses healing through writing, while Janet Reid gently warns that to have a successful memoir you need more than a heart-wrenching story.

Writing is an art form, a craft with a process. Mary Fan shares her cycle of writing, Sara Benincasa declares that real artists have day jobs, Larry Schaubert points out that all writing is derivative, and Chuck Wendig lists 100 thoughts and tips on storytelling.

We live in a hectic digital landscape. Nina Amir discusses mental tools you need to survive the modern era, and Angela Ackerman lists writing and marketing tool resources for writers.


If you are self-publishing, your entire future is in your hands. Joel Friedlander discusses how to plan your publishing journey—even if you’re not the planning type. There is much to consider, including what name to write under. Roz Morris explores the pros and cons and practicalities of writing under a pseudonym. And what about accepting payments? It’s easy here in the First World, but Mark Williams explores how to accept payments from outside the First World’s sphere.

For those pursuing a traditional publishing path, we need to prep for query letter and pitch sessions. Rachelle Gardner breaks down how to write a query letter, while Lisa Katzenberger shares 4 questions agents ask writers at pitch sessions. If you write literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, biography, memoir, or nonfiction in the areas of health, science, business, parenting, and education, agent Nan Thornton of Zachary Shuster Harmsworth is looking for you.

Publishing is a business, and marketing is part of that business. D’vorah Lansky shows how to have a virtual book tour from the comfort of your home, and Jody Hedlund lists 5 traits that foster publishing success.


The Shakespeare400 celebrations are coming together: new novels, poems, and plays. Also, Jennifer Reid begins a 10 episode podcast called Let’s Talk Shakespeare with an episode examining the question: Was Shakespeare educated?

In a labor of love, the Lake District estate where Beatrix Potter first imagined Peter Rabbit is being restored.

Here’s 15 weird things you never knew there were words for.

Old documents are often preserved in strange ways. A postmaster stored a trove of 2,600+ undelivered 17th century letters, while birds (yes, I said birds) saved centuries-old documents in their nests.

The Library of Congress acquired photographer Robert Dawson’s portfolio of over 600 photographs of U.S. public libraries. The photos show how varied libraries are and how each conforms to the needs of the community it lives in.

That’s it for Top Picks Thursday this week! Please join us next week for more writerly links.



  1. Thanks for including me and my post. You all rock!


    • Thanks, Nina! You always have great content–we include you quite often. 🙂


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: