Welcome to the first Top Picks Thursday of October! Fall is most definitely here—we’ve had rain falling for literally a week. The soggy leaves are changing color and the damp breeze is brisk, whisking us ever closer to the spooky festivities of Halloween.
Lee Wind talks about a different type of spooky troll—one-star review trolls. A new kind of censorship is arising, as bigots flood Goodreads with one-star reviews of books they disagree with politically. Chuck Wendig gives his take on the oft-heard advice that writers and artists should never speak out politically.
A powerful voice who did speak out, Langston Hughes’s poem “I, Too” adorns the new National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, and tells us about America’s past and present.
While Halloween is a time for costumes and pretending, Andy Molinsky tackles a real-life struggle everyone faces—imposter syndrome.
These books are the real deal—the longlists for the 2016 National Book Awards.
In sad news, Chinua Achebe, African literary titan, dies at 82.
Writers love libraries, and Loretta Chase documents the legacy of Andrew Carnegie and his libraries.
While non-fiction is a different animal from fiction, Zoe M. McCarthy shows how we can use novel techniques to spice up our non-fiction writing.
Janice Hardy shows how to stop explaining your story and start showing it, while Namrata Poddar wonders if is “show don’t tell” a universal truth, or a Colonial relic.
When writers start a new fiction piece, sometimes we get stymied because our premise has been done before. Mary Kole explains how to get specific to make a premise fresh, Jo Eberhardt shares 3 lessons Supernatural taught her about writing authentic characters, and Kristen Lamb explores the two critical elements of all great stories.
K.M. Weiland answers 7 questions writers have about scenes vs. chapters, and Jami Gold discusses how strengthening stakes does not always mean going big.
Once we’ve written, writers get feedback and revise. Rather than jump in hot, Mary Lindsey advises a cooling off period before diving into critiques.
All writers have a lot of items on their To-Do Lists, while also trying to improve our writing. Rochelle Melander shows how to juggle multiple tasks and thrive, Angela Ackerman shares a list of craft resources to elevate your writing, Susan Leigh Noble tells us why she writes fantasy, and Erika Robuck reminds us to remember why we started writing in the first place.
Rachel Sharp explains why we can never know or control exactly how our writing will be perceived by the audience, Seth Godin expands on the big fish in a little pond metaphor, and Chuck Wendig says that yes, writing is too a job.
Writers are business people as well as artists these days, and there’s a lot of important minutiae to understand. Kathryn Goldman explains the legalities of pen names and copyright, while David Kudler demystifies the HTML of ebooks.
We’re all looking to market ourselves as best we can. Laura Kaye shares tips to make yourself more promote-able, while Kathryn Craft gives us 7 ways to bring elevated energy to your support team.
Social media is one of the best ways to reach people, so Penny Sansevieri shows us how to make the most of a Goodreads giveaway.
THE UNIQUE SHELF
Two of my favorite things put together—books and secret passageways.
Check out the many futuristic predictions of H.G. Wells that came true (and some that didn’t).
A bit late perhaps, but Chaucer Doth Tweet shares advyce for the sesoun of returninge to scole.
The amazing parallels between Jane Austen stories and reality TV.
A new biography of writer Shirley Jackson explores the contradictory roles she occupied: “wife or author, popular genre writer or highbrow novelist, mother or witch.”
Can’t get enough Tolkien? Rachel Nuwer brings us The Tolkien Nerd’s Guide to The Hobbit.
Amazing technology now exists to read what was once unreadable. MIT uses radiation to read a closed book, while elsewhere scientists virtually peek inside an ancient, charred, Biblical scroll.
Have you ever seen an antique object and wondered: what was that for? You are not alone. See one man’s quest to solve the mystery of the phantom page-turner.
Although we five chroniclers don’t live close to each other, we do live in the same region — southern and central New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania — and we’re going to show our support for libraries by concluding with a photo of a local library for the next several weeks (until we run out of them!) This week, we’ll give a shout out to the North Castle Public Library in Armonk, NY.
That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! See you next week!