Posted by: Kerry Gans | January 14, 2016

Top Picks Thursday 01-14-2016

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We have many writerly links to share with you today.

Writer Beware is a trusted source of information on scams and questionable practices that target writers. Victoria Strauss compiled her Best of Writer Beware 2015 post.

Here’s a list of Top 100 Writing Blogs for writers and bloggers—many will be familiar to those who visit us frequently.

Salman Rushdie receives the Mailer Prize for Lifetime Achievement.

Author Peter Dickinson, two-time winner of both the Golden Dagger and the Carnegie Medal, died on his 88th birthday.

Take a peek at what school librarians are buzzing about right now, and check out these 10 children’s books that feature diverse characters.

Claire Tomalin argues that with food banks, lack of children’s services, and attacks on health services, Charles Dickens’ novels are more relevant than ever.

Writers understand the importance of reviews, but Kristen Lamb lays out the way things work so that readers can understand the power that consumers wield and why their reviews matter.


Sometimes we writers struggle with the overarching parts of writing. Matt Herron shows us how to use Scrivener to start and finish a rough draft, David Corbett explores what to do when your story arc is impossible to fulfill, Janice Hardy tells us what we need to know about “show, don’t tell,” and K.M. Weiland gives us 5 ways to give your book the re-readability factor.

Ever wanted (or needed) to invent a language for your story? Lee Wind gathers articles to help inspiration and process when inventing languages. Kathryn Tanquary shares 7 tips on how to write about other (real) cultures.

Our narrator shapes the story. Emma Darwin explores how you can make emotion real while using less, editor Kaylan Adair lays out the differences between characters in chapter books, middle grade, and YA, and Deb Caletti lists 8 tips for writing an unreliable narrator.

Sometimes, it’s the smaller things that trip us up. C.S. Lakin discusses the 5 essential components of scene structure, Janice Hardy explains describing movement, and James Scott Bell tests our editing chops with “How many writing errors can you find?”.

For those of us on our writing journeys, Marieke Nijkamp shares 3 things she wishes she had known earlier, Jami Gold talks preserving writer sanity by recognizing takers and setting boundaries, and Viginia Kelly gives us 5 Google search tips for authors to make research easier.


Jane Friedman answers the burning question: What is traditional publishing good for? And if you want to be published, Writers’ Relief has 16 steps to making your publishing dream come true. Any publisher claims a certain amount of your publishing rights, so Susan Spann explains the good, the bad, and the ugly of obtaining reversions of publishing rights.

If you pursue the traditional path, you will need to query. Agent Janet Reid discusses what to do when an anthology you are in has become a mess, Jane Friedman gives us the Complete Guide to Nonfiction Query Letters, and Benjamin Johncock shares the best rejection letter he ever received. Even if you get the coveted revise-and-resend rejection letter, Heather Alexander advises not to turn those edits around too soon.

Once you have query letter in hand, see if either of these agencies is a good fit for your work: the Jill Corcoran Literary Agency, newly re-opened to queries in new categories, or new agent DongWon Song of Howard Morhaim Literary, who is seeking science fiction and fantasy.

Marketing is the lifeblood and the boogeyman of the modern author. Judith Briles discusses what to do when your book is lost in the sea of discoverability, Miral Sattar lists 7 ways to nail your author SEO, C.S. Lakin shows how writers can optimize their book’s description on Amazon, and Janet Reid gives a simple method of deciding who should be on your mailing list.

E.T. Carlton lists 4 easy steps to creating an author brand right now, Jamie Jo Hoang lays out how to create a professional press kit in 8 easy steps, Sophie Masson talks about the art and craft of author interviews, and Frances Caballo urges us to go where the readers are: Goodreads.


Victorian female writers shared a problem with many modern day successful female politicians—they suffered from the motherhood trap.

E.B. White shares his take on how to write for children and the writer’s responsibility to all readers.

Susanna Oakes takes us inside Georgian era circulating libraries.

Any era is partly defined by its food. Catherine Rider found 15th century recipes for entertaining in an Exeter cathedral library manuscript, and Isabella Bradford sampled a recreation of Emily Dickinson’s 1883 Black Cake.

Science and writing have an intricate partnership. Sharon Ruston examines the science of life and death found in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. In more modern times, science is providing a way to reassemble broken manuscripts, such as Lisa Fagin Davis’ attempt to digitally reconstruct the 13th century Beauvais Missal.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Stay warm and we’ll see you next week.

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