Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 20, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 04-20-2017

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Many of us are on spring break this week. If you are, I hope you are having fun and relaxing!

The New Yorker writer Hilton Als wins the Pulitzer Prize for criticism, a list of other Pulitzer winners, and a more in-depth review of some of the African-American winners.

Lee Wind reminds us that April is National Poetry Month.

The book world has recently lost two writers: Mari Evans, poet of black Midwestern freedom, died March 10th, and Patricia C. McKissack, honored children’s author, died at age 72.

Want to read outside your genre but aren’t sure which books in other genres are the best to start with? James Wallace Harris talks about the Genreflecting Advisory Series.

The ALA has announced the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2016, listen to an interview with the founder of We Need Diverse Books Ellen Oh, read this list of books dealing with the refugee experience for middle-grade and YA readers, and a library in New York City purposely had low windows to lure youths who “did not care to be outdone” by kids they saw reading inside.

Got an out-of-control book collection? Katie and Kelly McMenamin  tell how to organize your book collection your way.


For memoir writers: Ange de Lumier has 6 points to consider when writing a memoir.

K.M. Weiland defines what it means to move the plot, Colleen M. Story discusses how to use a writer’s intuition to strike creative gold, and Becca Puglisi examines why readers stop reading.

Characters—our stories would be nothing without them. Jami Gold defines who the protagonist is in a story, Alison Green Myers discusses character development through music, ESL Drummer takes the character interview to new depths, Robin Rivera explores the conundrum of killing nice characters, James Scott Bell talks about characters having the courage to change, and Kathryn Craft shows how to amplify your story’s power through groups.

Dialogue, properly written, can make your story sparkle. Janine Savage gives tips on adverbial dialogue tags, and Jen Matera advises speaking your dialogue to get the voices right.

Once we’re done writing, we need to make our prose shine. Larry Brooks discusses the common mistake of overwriting, Kristen Lamb examines 3 newbie mistakes, Jami Gold shows is how to fix bad writing habits, Melissa Donovan explains how to use the ellipsis, and Lisa Lepki tells us what editing software can teach you about writing.

Kassandra Lamb debates whether or not to write short, and Liz Michalski examines the role of the subconscious in our writing.

Jeff Goins lists the 7 differences between amateurs and professionals, and Bill Ferris dissects the social contract for writers.

Writers want less stress in our lives. Shay Goodman explore how recognizing patterns in your life can make you more efficient and less stressed, and Nathan Bransford reminds us that its okay to feel emotions other than what society tells us we should feel about events in our life.

Lucky for us, many writers are free with their writing advice. Emily Temple lists Kurt Vonnegut’s greatest writing advice, Chuck Wendig deals with writing blurbs for books, and Amber Love talks about writing, comics, and more.

Take a peek inside audio book narrating as David Kempf interviews audio book narrator Ray Porter.


If you’re interested in freelancing, Jane Friedman says freelance writing IS a viable career and don’t listen to naysayers.

Form rejections can make writers crazy. Jessica Faust gives the top 10 reasons why BookEnds Agency rejects manuscripts, and Parul Macdonald shares 6 myths and truths of what an editor at a publishing house looks for.

Susan Spann lays out how to request a reversion of publishing rights.

Steve Laube examines some ways to grow your market.

The book blurb is your chance to hook the reader. Rayne Hall shows how to write the perfect blurb, and Beth Bacon tells how to generate more book sales with a key-word powered blurb.

How to get the word out about your book? G.D. Harper does a case study on how to maximize Facebook advertisements, and Frances Caballo outlines many ways to get attention for your book on Amazon.

Social media can be a help or a hindrance to writers. Janet Reid explains that you don’t have to be everywhere on social media—just where your readers are, and Melissa Donovan shows how to use Pinterest for writing ideas and inspiration.


Lindsey Bahr reviews the Emily Dickinson tale A Quiet Passion, while Lynn Neary talks further about the film.

Check out these 30 enamel pins for book lovers.

Three libraries claim to be the oldest library in Texas—and they’re all kinda right.

Raquel D’Apice has issues with Goodnight Moon that many of us can relate to.

David Cole reveals a case of poetry in the courtroom.

How knowledgeable are you? Can you pass a 3rd grade grammar test? Can you get a 5 on this AP English exam? How good are you with synonyms?

Renaissance writers were the original rock stars, and now you can read more of their Renaissance literary treasures online; Michael Freemantle traces the history of Gowland’s Lotion, a popular but toxic 18th-19th medical remedy mentioned by Jane Austen; and check out this miniature manuscript in a circular format.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! See you next week!

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