Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday, where we bring writerly links to you.
Andrew Harrison interviews the creators that are shaking up modern comics.
Kameron Hurley addresses the sad economics of writing short fiction.
Think grammar doesn’t matter in everyday communication? Stephen Wilbers explains why your writing speaks volumes about your competence.
In war-torn Damascus, a ray of hope shines—what a Syrian city’s first free library looks like.
If you find it hard to find time to read, Shane Parrish has a simple plan to start reading more.
Science fiction and fantasy are hugely popular genres. Charlie Jane Anders lists 10 rules more SF/F authors should break, while Gaëtane Burkolder uses her experience with culture shock as a window into world building.
Scenes are the building blocks of our novels. K.M. Weiland shows how to take the guesswork out of what scenes belong in our first act, Janice Hardy tells us how to add conflict to our scenes, and C.S. Lakin explains how writers can benefit from outlining their scenes after they are written.
Characters are the emotional heart of our stories. Stephanie Norman has 7 tips to creating the perfect anti-hero, Lary Crews reminds us not to let our characters sound the same, Janice Hardy discusses choosing between 1st and 3rd person POV, and Jo Eberhardt talks about writing supporting characters that matter.
The best advice comes from people with experience. Donald Maass explores how to fill the empty page with non-boring words, Juliet Marillier discusses her worldview as an older writer, Yvonne Kohano reflects on the split between her organized daytime life and pantser writing style, and Rachelle Gardner meditates on lessons from the gym.
Sometimes we all need a way to keep us writing, especially when life throws curve balls. Janice Hardy discusses bouncing back when your writing routine gets disrupted, Karen Y. Bynum has 5 tips for finding motivation to write, Chuck Wendig imagines what his ideal novel-writing story-lab would look like, and Daphne Gray-Grant explains why you should walk more if you’re a writer.
It’s not always easy, moving forward in this writing life. James Scott Bell shares 10 penalties all writers must avoid, Jordan Dane lists the 12 most common obstacles a writer faces, and K.M. Weiland discusses how being an OCD writer nearly killed her career.
As hard as it sometimes is, we can find our way to the career we want. Marie Lamba gives us 7 steps to writing success, and Stephanie Burgis has a message for every writer who’s struggling to believe in themselves right now.
In publishing news, Amazon plans to open hundreds of physical bookstores.
If you are self-published, you have many pricing options. Jami Gold discusses the pros and cons of freebies. And if you want to do an audiobook, Jay Swanson lists 5 steps to creating a great audiobook.
Those authors going traditional want an agent. Andrew Lownie shares 7 ways to increase your chances of being taken on by a literary agent, while Ken Pisani explains why trying to find an agent is the worst thing ever.
Marketing is how we get discoverability, and platform is how we market ourselves. Cathy Yardley shares adventures in platform building, Joe Moore asks: what’s your brand?, Brian Basham lists promotional ideas, Dave Chesson shows us the importance of keywords to ranking on Amazon, and A.P. Fuchs has 5 tips to make your books stand out at conventions.
Social media carries a large part of our platform. Dan Blank lists 5 steps to social media bliss, Anne R. Allen gives us 5 reasons to be on Google+ even though the new Google+ is awful, and Matt Aunger discusses blogging with 5 major mistakes content writers make and how to avoid them, and how to use content right and build trust in your brand.
THE UNIQUE SHELF
Artist Nicholas Rougeux reduces 8 classic novels to their punctuation.
Maura D’Amore shares a fascinating interpretation of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie.
Take a peek at the underbelly of London with George Barrington’s new London Spy for 1809, or The Frauds of London Detected.
The New York Public Library’s Early Amerian Manuscript Project examines the early 19th century diary of Elizabeth DeHart Bleeker, a young New York woman.
You can help restore Shakespeare’s New Place.
The Newberry Library’s new site highlights historical paleography—the history of handwriting.
Professor Marissa Nicosia examines what happens when a 17th century poem meets a recipe for face cream.
This room with a view would make an excellent writer’s room.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Isabella Bradford shares advice for writers of romantic fiction circa 1790.
Need something to help you relax? Try this coloring book based on the Bodleian Library collection.
That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday!