Posted by: Kerry Gans | July 14, 2016

Top Picks Thursday! For Readers and Writers 07-14-2016

May 11 - laptopWelcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday, where we round up some of the best posts about writing and reading on the internet. We’re at the July midpoint, and the heat is on!

The Guardian announced its longlist for the 2016 Children’s Fiction Prize.

Matt Hearndon has found a surprising way to write better without becoming a better writer.

Savvy Book Writers looks into the shocking fact why authors don’t get paid.

As diversity in books becomes more in the public eye, Corinne Duyvis and Kayla Whaley give a detailed post on disability terminology; Nicole Chung, Cathy Linn Che, Karissa Chen, Ari Laurel, Christine Hyung-Oak Lee, and Shing Yin Khor explore Asian American literature; and Emmie Mears talks about life as a writer when her very identity is political.

The highly-anticipated movie The BFG released July 1, and here Steven Spielberg discusses why he made The BFG.


Getting the structural elements of our story correct can go a long way to making revisions easier. Angela Ackerman explains why choosing your setting is so important, Roz Morris discusses whether you really need conflict in every scene and disaster in every act, and K.M. Weiland shows how to transform your story with a moment of truth.

We all have our own writing style, but there’s always room for improvement. Roz Morris shares 3 steps to a smoother writing style, while Nat Russo clarifies the difference between defending your style and being stubborn.

At some point in the process, writing is just you alone with your words. But having friends to help get you to that point can improve your writing. Janice Hardy shares the benefits of talking through your scenes, while P.J. Parrish discusses the benefits and details of successfully co-writing fiction.

James Scott Bell reveals how to write an eating scene, and Donald Maass explains how to get ahead of the reader so your pace doesn’t lag.

Rob Vlock examines 8 classic openings and why they work, while David R. Gillham shares 5 tips for writing historical fiction.

Barbara Baig reminds us that not all writing practice is created equal, Isabel Costello explores writing about love, and James Scott Bell lists 5 pieces of writing advice you should ignore.

Creativity and craft can be improved in many ways. Melissa Donovan shows the power of reflective journaling, and Jordan Dane shares ideas to improve your writer’s group.

As writers, our personal emotions can influence our creativity and writing. Carmen DeSousa explain how you can use your emotional rollercoaster to your writing advantage, and Jenny Blake has 10 tips on how to write a book without losing your mind.

Lauren Laverne revels in the simple bliss of book shopping, and H.M. Bouwman has an epiphany about the writing life while writing (in the) happy middles.


No matter how you publish, you need to understand copyright. Susan Spann busts some popular copyright myths.

If you self-publish, you do it all. Jami Gold discusses how bonus material can keep your readers coming back for more, while Thad McIlroy examines Barnes & Noble’s announcement that it will sell self-published books in stores.

Publishing can be overwhelming, so Jurgen Appelo broke it down into his Gearbox Method of publishing. Some people publish books from their blog posts, so Zoe M. McCarthy tells us what you should consider when going from blog to book.

If you are slogging through the query trenches, Annie Neugebauer dissects the query letter pitch, Janet Reid shares 10 reasons she rejected queries and how to avoid those mistakes, and Marie Lamba takes us inside query land.

Tom Chalmers asks an often-overlooked question: what is book marketing anyway? Kate Raphael gives 5 steps to a killer book talk, and Barb Drozdowich reveals 10 tricks for getting your book reviewed by a book blogger.

Anne R. Allen tells authors to ignore the blogging rules, and Julia Seales lists 7 times authors have had the last laugh.


There is perhaps no single piece of technology more central to a writer’s life than a keyboard. Joel Friedlander takes a look at the history of the keyboards of our lives.

Today, many use blogs to document their lives. F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald used scrapbooks to document their lives—and the Fitzgerald scrapbooks are now online.

Interested in literary travel? Try following the route of Don Quixote, one of the greatest novels of all time. Or discover Samuel Pepys at London’s St. Olave’s church.

Esther French examines the Elizabethan plants that Shakespeare would have known well.

Meet Mabel Loomis Todd, the adultress who made Emily Dickinson famous.

If you sometimes worry that your writing habits are a bit odd, check out the eccentric writing habits of famous writers.

That’s it for Top Picks Thursday this week! Enjoy this summer weekend, and we’ll see you back here next week.


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