Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | May 12, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers and Writers 05-12-2016

The Author Chronicles - Top Picks Thursday - writing - laptop - Mother's Day flowersWelcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday. Today is National Nutty Fudge Day. Just thinking about fudge lifts my spirits. How about you? Shall we share some?

Today is also National Limerick Day. No, we’re not including any examples that we’ve written, but we encourage you to create and share your (tasteful) limericks in the comments.

If you find writing poetry too challenging, Laura Drake spells out why writers should write flash fiction.

Here’s help for those confused about the meaning of certain literary terms: Vinita Dawra Nangia defines literary fiction and Janet Reid clarifies the definition of previously published.

Most people wish they could have more hours in a day — or could, at least, use their time more efficiently. Roni Loren shows the benefits of tracking your time and Greg Dybec shares how to write a book when you have a full-time job.

New to a writing career? Anne R. Allen advises beginning writers don’t derail your writing career before it starts: 8 ways new writers sabotage themselves, Lynda Cohen Loigman provides tips to avoid discussing your novel-in-progress, and L. Z. Marie asks writers to consider their writing personas.

And for writers struggling with rejection, Martin Chilton relates the story of how — 50 years ago — Jacqueline Susann’s Valley of the Dolls went from rejection to 30-million bestseller.


At the beginning of a writing project? Janice Hardy talks about choosing what story idea to work on next and clarifies the best way to tell and to write a story.

Dina von Lowenkraft urges writers, whether plotters or pantsers, to trust themselves and how their minds work, while K. M. Weiland writes about planning your story: what George Lucas can teach you (not) to do and Don Calame explains how writing for films can improve your novel writing.

When you’re ready to begin your manuscript, Jennie Nash suggests yanking your reader into your story with a great opening line.

Jo Eberhardt offers pointers for writing descriptions when writing is not like a movie, Sarah Callender expounds on the art of paying attention, and Kathryn Craft examines how to plumb the emotional depths of your setting.

A number of blog posts delve into characterization: Kristen Lamb details how to create legendary villains, Mary Kole takes a look at how to make unappealing behavior in your characters relatable for your readers, and K. M. Weiland explains how to harness the dark side of your impact character. Tamala Hancock Murray asserts that variety is the spice of characters, while Publishers Weekly‘s Maurice Boyer interviews David Walker about the need for more diverse superheroes. Finally, Janice Hardy reveals how to write characters that don’t sound like you.

Jessi Rita Hoffman illuminates how to write a thrilling action scene.

Writing genre fiction? Alan Baxter lists 5 tips for writing cross genre and Sophie Masson shares the building blocks of great YA fiction.

So you’ve finished the first draft. Catharine Bramkamp shares how to ignore your novel for a while before starting your second draft. You might also want to have a critique partner look at your manuscript, so Dee Romito stresses six rules that keep critique partnerships golden. When you are ready to revise, Aimie K. Runyan takes a look at the editing process.

Chuck Wendig advises writers to defy reality and become an artist by managing expectation, anxiety, and doubt.


Have you considered ghost writing? Roz Morris details how to become a ghost writer and has three ghost writers talk about how they balance ghosting with their own writing projects.

For writers seeking an agent, Writer’s Digest‘s Chuck Sambuchino highlights new agent Alexandra Weiss, who is building her client list, and Janet Reid answers a writer’s question about approaching other agents after an offer of representation fell through.

Roz Morris answers the question: how do you become an editor?

For Indie writers: in Part Three of “What’s Your Reader Retention Plan?” Jami Gold explains how to use redirects to ensure your links never get broken; Joel Friedlander explores the new Amazon Success Toolkit, an all-in-one-place reference for how to use all of Amazon’s tools successfully as an indie author; and Debbie Young proposes 5 questions to ask yourself when pricing your self-published books.

Jane Lebak discusses using box sets to help your career.

On the topic of social media, Penny Sansevieri reveals the secrets to turning your Facebook page into an epic marketing tool, Dan Balow answers the question “Should I still have a website?” and Savvy Book Writers tell all about Google+ for writers and why authors need a media kit.

If you’re a blogger, Beth Hayden explains how to use guest blogging to promote your book, Iniobong Eyo explains how to steal your way to a successful blog, and Jason Gracia explores how to choose a blog topic that’s pre-programmed for success. If you include book reviews on your blog, Savvy Book Writers offer important tips on how to write book reviews.


Since Sesame Street began, many of parents have watched and enjoyed the show along with their children. Edward Vukovic shares five life lesson from Sesame Street.

The Guardian‘s Maev Kennedy reports on the finding of a message in a bottle after 108 years at sea. That’s the new record for the amount of time a such a message spent at sea. (No email in those days.)

BuzzFeed‘s Farrah Penn reveals 16 things every book lover has secretly done and Jarry Lee shares 18 confessions only true book lovers will understand.

Farrah Penn shares 15 secrets to writing a successful novel according to children’s book authors.

We love libraries! If you live in New York, send an email to urge City Hall to provide more funding for libraries. In the School Library Journal, Linda Jacobson shares great ideas for library writing programs.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday. Enjoy the spring weather, and take time to read!


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