Posted by: Kerry Gans | August 31, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 08-31-2017

*The Author Chronicles’s hearts go out to everyone in Houston and in the path of Harvey. Wishing all a dry, safe place to stay while they recover.*

Welcome to the last Top Picks Thursday of August! Even though the weather here is cool, the writerly links we have are still hot.

Arthur Klepchukov rounds up fall writing contests worth your time.

Judith Briles discusses the pros and cons of learning online vs. in-person.

Terry Pratchett’s unfinished works are destroyed by a steam roller.

Rachel Deahl examines the latest publishing flap of the New York Times Bestseller that wasn’t.

Tyrese L. Coleman shares her experience of reading Jane Eyre while black.


In the age of technology, T.E. Shepherd has good reasons for writing by hand.

So you wanna write a prologue? James Scott Bell shares a prologue primer with you.

Sometimes we think we have all the elements we need to make a story soar, but it falls flat. Janice Hardy brings us a two-fer today, with how to create meaningful obstacles via conflict, and why you don’t know how to end your scene.

Characters intrigue our readers—and us. Diana Hurwitz examines Wonder Woman vs. Atomic Blonde to dissect what makes a strong female protagonist, the Character Comma lists the 7 key traits of enduring characters, and Jennifer Probst shows how to make secondary characters pop and sell more books.

But not only the protagonists have to be compelling—your antagonists have to carry part of the load, too. Kristen Lamb tells us how to avoid boring villains, The Beginning Writer has some rules for writing dialogue, and K.M. Weiland shares 7 ways to write thematically-pertinent antagonists.

We can learn about writing from other media. MacKenzie Cadenhead discusses writing lessons learned from comics, while Joan Lennon examines how movies can help you become a better writer.

Once you write the manuscript, you need to polish it to (near) perfection. Gabrielle van Welie has 5 quick proofreading tips that have massive payoffs, and Kathryn Craft shares 4 tips for translating critique-speak.

Sometimes we all need a rejuvenation. Ruth Harris directs us where to find ideas when you are blocked, Emily Ruskovich advises ignoring our instincts in order to find the real story, and Helena Fairfax shares how to rediscover your writing mojo.

In other writing advice, Heather Webb shows what a writer’s conference really buys you, Jeff Vandermeer lists the 7 writer types you should avoid becoming, Julie Munro Martin has 7 things she learned from wrecking her novel, and Colleen M. Story demonstrates how to slow time for a more relaxed creative writing sessions.


Foreign rights can add another revenue stream from your book. Daniella Levy tells us what we need to know about translating our book, and Savvy Book Writer has DIY: translate your book information.

Agent Janet Reid shares 5 reasons you heard “no” and how to avoid them, as well as her opinion on whether participating in #PitchWars is a good or bad thing.

Mary C. Moore answers the question: Do Literary Agents Reject Your Submission After Reading One Line?, while Lucy V. Hay comforts us with what creative icons can teach you about rejections.

Nathan Bransford discusses why author platform matters, Carolyn Howard-Johnson tells how to reinvigorate your book marketing, and Dan Smith gives is the inside secrets of book publicity for indie authors.

One element of marketing is getting reviews, and that can be difficult. Emmanuel Nataf explains how searching for review blogs just got a lot easier, and Barb Drozdowich has how to get your book reviewed now.

The internet reigns as the most effective way to reach readers these days. Ricardo Fayet examines MailChimp alternatives, Chris Syme lists 5 ways to use a Facebook pinned post to hook fans, and on the 10th anniversary of the hashtag, Frances Caballo shares hashtags just for writers.


Get a sneak peek at the newly discovered Mark Twain story coming out in September.

Check out 21 of the best Book Week costumes for kids.

Examine these 17 movies that are cleverly disguised Shakespeare plays.

Travel to distant lands with these iconic books set in countries around the world (infographic).

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We’ll see you in September!


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