Posted by: Kerry Gans | November 23, 2017

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 11-23-2017

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the USA, and here’s a helping of writerly links for you to feast on.

Looking for books to read over the holiday weekend? Check out TIME Magazine’s Top 10 YA & Children’s Books of 2017, or the 2017 National Book Award winners. And while you are at it, listen to (or read) Annie Proulx give one of the best National Book Award speeches in recent memory.

In case you are wondering why the tots are singing during storytime at your library, Abby Hargreaves examines how modern library storytime develops early literacy.

Jana Oliver explores why ebook piracy matters.

Clare Langley-Hawthorne discusses how failing the NaNoWriMo test might be a win for your writing process.


For the poets in our readership: Chris Townsend talks about counting feet: on running and poetic meter.

Even pantsers usually have some “big picture” elements in their heads when they start a story. Kristina Pérez discusses maps and worldbuilding, Janice Hardy explores plotting with layers: 4 steps to a stronger plot, Jeffe Kennedy shows how keeping secrets creates suspense and amplifies tension, and Laura Drake has a fix for a boring scene.

Characters and their actions keep your readers invested. Melissa Donovan explains how to create authentic character relationships, Mary Kole teaches how to write active character reactions, Becca Puglisi advocates writing characters that mirror real life and character flaws for your hero, and Jeanne Kisacky examines (too) close third person.

Nicole Blades shares 5 ways to save your character from a drowning story, Scott McCormick walks us through creating a villain your readers will loathe, and Janice Hardy offers the impossible choice as a surefire way to hook readers.

Revision and editing help us make the most of the words on our page. K.M. Weiland shares tips for how to choose the right sentences, Janice Hardy examines raising the stakes: revising to keep readers reading, and William Ryan has 5ways to improve a first draft.

There are many ways writers coerce themselves to get the words on the page in the first place. Chris Babu shares 13 things that transformed him from reader to published author, Tasha Seegmiller talks about maintaining writing accountability, and Clare Flynn explains how working with a critique group can improve your writing.

Nathan Bransford urges us to be scared of the right things as writers, while Christina Delay says don’t let worries hold you back from writing.

Kate Frost delves into if it’s worth doing a creative writing MA, and Steve Laube investigates the curse of the writer.


Kristen Lamb discusses how to break into the Big 5 publishers.

If you self-publish, David Kudler has an overview of ebook retailers now that Pronoun has closed its doors, and Laure Valentin walks us through how to self-publish in France.

One marketing item every writer needs is an author bio. Sara Wigal tells us how to write an author bio, and Anne R. Allen shows how to tweak your author bio for any occasion.

A few other marketing items to consider: Sandra Beckwith explains how to create a book publicity tip sheet, and Jay Artle talks to Tim Lewis about how authors use podcasts to grow their brand.


In recently discovered story, Raymond Chandler’s villain is the US healthcare system.

Read an 1861 review of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations

Here’s some history for fantasy writers: Craft guilds.

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

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