Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 19, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers and Writers 05-19-2016

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! There’s something for everyone this week—we even have several articles on translators.

First, some awards: Ed Roberson was awarded the 2016 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. KRadical has the rundown on the Nebula Awards, as well as some thoughts on representation in sci-fi.

In sad news, comic book creator Darwyn Cooke has passed away.

Abington Free Library - a favorite haunt of writersWe love our libraries here on the Author Chronicles. Listen to this Scholastic podcast hosted by Suzanne McCabe with guests John Schumacher, Deimosa Webber-Bey, and Kristina Holzweiss.

Although we all dream of our works being translated into languages common and obscure, we don’t often talk about the life and work of translators. Translator Lydia Davis talks about being a multilingual wordsmith and the danger of “translationese”, Emma Ramadan shares the challenge of translating genderless characters,  and Diana Clarke explores the struggle of translating from Yiddish and exploding the grammatical norms of English.

Author and bookstore owner Louise Erdrich discusses the psychic territory of Native Americans in American literature.


Sometimes mixing media can open new doors of creativity. Rob Hart discusses 8 writing lessons from Hamilton: The Revolution (about the making of the musical), and Laura Williams talks about weaving a comic book secondary plot throughout her prose.

Plot and character are so tightly intertwined that it’s hard to separate the two. Roz Morris shares how to avoid plotting mistakes, Chuck Wendig explores dialogue and how it relates to plot and character, Mike Mariani discusses the ubiquitous use of orphans in literature, and K.M. Weiland has 8 tips for how to write child characters.

The nuances of your writing can make or break your work. Alex Limberg shows how to make fiction come alive using the senses, Jerry B. Jenkins talks about the draining effect of “hedge words”, Zoe M. McCarthy lists the correct usage of 5 infrequently used phrases, and Janice Hardy discusses the rule of three and how it helps our writing.

Writers all know we can write better—our art is one we never fully master. Bryan Collins has 101 writing tips to improve your writing today, Kristen Lamb shares 6 ways to self-edit and polish your prose, story coach Larry Brooks urges us not to be that writer, and Donald Miller shares 6 tips for surviving criticism.

Handwritten writers page blurredPretty much all writers have times where they want to increased their creativity. Misfit Alexa lists 5 ways that handwriting will make you a better writer, Kate Krake looks at how defining your creativity will improve your writing, and Daphne Gray-Grant has 5 more ways to boost your creativity for writing.

We all get overwhelmed at times, and sometimes our process stops working. Kate Moretti discusses cutting through the busyness to get to the business, Anne Stormont shares her writing process, and Jenny Blake lists 10 tips to write a book without losing your mind.

The great thing about the internet is that writers old and new can share their experiences with the rest of us. Don Spector tells how two words changed the course of his career, Salman Rushdie talks letter writing, fairy tales, and drinking with Gunter Grass; Micah Perks examines how her best friend Willa Cather helped her beat stage fright, Vogue Magazine reposts an archive article by Virginia Woolf from 1924, Mikita Brottman explores Jane Austen’s ivory cage, and Lee Child discusses the frightening power of fiction.


The inventor of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, explores his vision for the future of ebooks, and David Kudler discusses online ebook conversion tools.

Rachel Thompson shares which social media channel sells the most books, while Jason Matthews suggests checking on Scribd for a pleasant surprise.

Agents, publishers, and contracts. Alycia W. Morales has 25 ways to scare off agents and editors at a conference, Annie Neugebauer explains why all writers need to master the query letter, Janet Reid shares a checklist to follow between offer and acceptance, and Susan Spann dissects royalty clauses in publishing deals.

Marketing is a broad term and encompasses many items. Nick Thacker directs us to the best writing book marketing plan on the internet, Dan Blank lists 3 common marketing fallacies that writers need to be wary of, Nicole Waggoner has 3 steps to parlaying random encounters into book sales without being pushy, and James Scott Bell says it’s time to ditch “discoverability.”

Angelika Schwartz describes how to make a book trailer, Frances Caballo lists 45 Twitter hashtags for writers, Jo Piazza explores how Instagram is changing the way we buy and sell books, Ron Bueker compares building an author website on WordPress vs. SquareSpace, and Kirsten Oliphant explains how to get started with an email list.


Writers, do you think your novel is taking a long time to write? How about the Ultimate Latin Dictionary—122 years and still working on letter N.

Adelle Waldman takes a look at Samuel Richardson, the unlikely man who invented the modern novel.

Most of us have huge To Be Read piles. Alex Weiss explores what your TBR list says about your personality.

Here are 12 word facts you may not know about the word “cake”.

Think you know all about Macbeth because you know the Shakespeare play? You’re wrong. Julian Harrison brings us the real Macbeth.

Jason Daley brings us 5 things to know about the Diamond Sutra, the world’s oldest dated printed book.

New England is known for the distinct accents of the region—and now researchers have rediscovered 5 lost Native American languages in Massachusetts.

That’s it for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! See you next week for more writerly links.


  1. Thanks for the mention in the above post. What a great blog this is! Happy to have discovered it and in such a nice way too 🙂


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