Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | February 15, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers and Readers 02-15-2018

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! ♥ Are you, like us, wondering how long the Valentine’s Day candy will last? Around here, it’s either gone in a couple days or still sitting in the bowl at Halloween. ♥

Sending out love this week to writer Judy Blume. In honor of her 80th birthday, Emily Temple shares some of Judy Blume’s advice for aspiring writers. With more writing tips, Melodie Campbell lists the top ten peeves of creative writing teachers.

Publisher’s Weekly‘s Calvin Reid reports that the comics industry is asking the New York Times to restore its graphic bestsellers lists. Since graphic books continue to show considerable growth, restoring those lists makes sense to us.

The award season continues. The American Library Association has announced its 2018 youth media award winners and the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medals for excellence in adult fiction and non-fiction. Also, The Guardian‘s Alison Flood reveals the winners of the PEN/Nabokov and the PEN/Saul Bellow awards.


DiAnn Mills takes a look at how to keep the writing juices flowing, and Daphne Gray-Grant asks: are you up to the task of writing?

Trying to decide what to write? Should you write what you know? — Emily Temple presents 31 writers’ opinions. Maybe you should start with something short. John Dufresni delves into the very contemporary art of flash fiction.

For those working on characterization, Melissa Donovan illuminates archetypal characters in storytelling, Zoe M. McCarthy gives examples of showing your characters flaws, and September C. Fawkes focuses on how to write introspection well: show “just enough.”

Every story needs conflict. Donald Maass considers the tension that arises when worlds collide, and Kristen Lamb explores conflict: elixir of the muse for timeless stories readers can’t put down.

If you’ve finished your first draft, Stavros Halvatzis addresses writing the second draft, and Jami Gold presents her master list of story development skills and her master list of line editing skills.

Fae Rowen shares a simple tip to help get rid of saggy middles, while James Scott Bell details stuff that takes readers out of a story, and K. M. Weiland writes about cohesion and resonance.

For those writers working on a series, Joanna Penn explains why writing in a series will make you more money as a writer, and Janice Hardy sets out a 3-step plan for handling backstory in a series.

Shannon A. Thompson reminds us why you should make time to write while editing/revising.

If you are considering collaboration, Heather Webb shares her tips for writing with another author.


Mark Gottlieb explains how to write an effective hook.

For writers looking for an agent, Janice Hardy examines what your query says about your book, and Janet Reid gives some advice on querying a novel in verse and how to query when you have self-published books. Janet also suggests not reading too much into an agent pass.

Marketing is vital for all writers considering publication. Daphne Gray-Grant lays out how to do better at selling your writing, Grace Wynter mentions five marketing tools for authors who hate marketing, and Ali Luke shares seven ways to market your self-published novel.

Melissa Bowersock asserts if you want to sell more books you need to write more books.

Andrea Dunlop explores launching your second book and beyond: 4 questions to ask.

For Indie authors: Orna Ross presents business models for Indie writers: which one is right for you?  Joel Friedlander wonders: is offset printing the future for Indie authors? Also, Frances Caballo explains how to manage a Twitter account as an Indie author.


Looking for places to add to your bucket list: Emily Temple provides a visual tour of 35 literary bars and cafés from around the world.

Brandon Tensley reveals how a new documentary shows how Lorraine Hansberry took advantage of her talents to advance civil rights.

According to The Guardian‘s Jonathan McAloon, T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land” remains one of the finest reflections on mental illness ever written.

For those who want to read books by famous authors but don’t have a lot of time for reading, Emily Temple supplies a list of the shortest novels written by 20 famous authors.

If you’d like to read books that famous people have read, Erin Schreiner gives us a peek at famous readers’ borrowing records from a private New York library.

♥ That’s it for this week’s Top Picks Thursday. ♥ Have a great week reading and writing, and catch us next week for another roundup of blog posts for writers and readers.



  1. Thanks for the blog love, J. Thomas! You’ve found so many great resources for us. I’m calling today’s Top Picks Thursday: Time Sump Thursday. But that’s a very good thing.


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