Posted by: Kerry Gans | March 1, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 03-01-2018

Welcome to the first Top Picks Thursday of March! We are starting to see signs of spring around here, so let’s reinvigorate our craft with some writerly links!

In the wake of the Parkland shooting, the KidLitForLives movement has started posting open letters from authors to the teens on a website. See how you can add yours.

Victoria Strauss discusses her experience when the Internet Archive infringed her copyright and how she remedied it.

Heather Webb explores why readers put your book down and stop reading.

Diana Hurwitz gives us a roundup of writing workshops in March and April 2018.


Writers write many things other than fiction, and in many different genres. Emily Temple has everything you always wanted to know about obituaries but were afraid to ask, Mod Lesya opines on horror, and C.S. Lakin discusses protecting yourself and others when writing a memoir.

Collaborative writing is very different from solo writing. Maryann Miller has 10 tips to make collaboration work.

Melissa Donovan examines style guides: essential writing resources for professionals, while Carol Cram explores tapping the experts: how to enrich your research and your writing.

One of the more important elements of your story is where it takes place. Nancy L. Erickson reminds us of the importance of setting in your story, and Sara Letourneau shows the advantages of mapping your story’s setting.

There are many elements that have to come together to make your story sing. Ruth Harris has 8 common mistakes to avoid, Stavros Halvatzis shows how to write page turners, K.M. Weiland recommends don’t write scenes, write images, Terry Odell discusses suspension of disbelief, and Janice Hardy gives us a handy tip for crafting a seamless plot.

Of all the elements of a story, character may be the one that sticks with readers the most. Angela Ackerman says for memorable characters, focus on the little things, Margie Lawson discusses getting emotion right on the page, Bonnie Randall shows how shame and vulnerability can connect us to characters, Kathleen McCleary explores the true test of character, Jim Dempsey reminds us to give your hero a hard time, and Hanif Abdurraqib examines how the movie Black Panther gives each of its characters the space to be several things at once.

Kristen Lamb says great dramatic writing draws blood and opens psychic wounds, Janice Hardy shows how over-explaining will kill your novel, and Michael Gallant shows how to read, edit, and evaluate your writing with different eyes.

Every writer I know wants to be more productive. Clare Langley-Hawthorne explains how to micro-progress your novel, Sue Weems shows how multitasking is killing your writing, Jarry Lee has 18 life-changing tips for keeping a journal, and Peter Rey examines how handwriting can boost your productivity.

We can learn from writers old and new. Ismail Kadare demonstrates why the tragedies of Aeschylus are truly timeless, and Sarah Weinman interviews David Mamet on writing his first crime novel.

Writing is as emotional as it is difficult. Christina Delay discusses the attraction of passion, Andrea Merrell talks about making the most of your conference experience (part 2), and Dale Darley has 9 powerful reasons to write a book when you are disillusioned about life.


Some people wonder: why do publishers still issue hardbacks? Philip Jones explains.

IngramSpark dissects the differences between independent vs. chain bookstores.

R.J. Crayton answers the age-old question: how can authors protect their works in progress?

Amanda Layman shares 3 principles of a successful freelance career.

Every author dreams of having their book made into a movie. Christina Sibul and Jeff VanderMeer talk about what it’s really like to have your novel made into a movie.

Literary agents share their wisdom: Steve Laube answers 6 questions for a literary agent, Janet Reid opines on should a writer go with a new press when no one else wants the book?, and Patrick McDonald explains how to scale down large manuscript files for sending via email.

There are many ways to build audience and market your book. Cait Reynolds suggests sticking to your genre to build audience and trust, Rick Lite tells us how to evaluate book marketing services, Rafia Zakaria counter-intuitively writes in praise negative book reviews, and Erika Liodice shows how to find unique speaking opportunities to promote your novel.

For your online marketing, Judith Briles says to freshen up old content to fill new slots when you just can’t write, Kate Hanley demonstrated how she uses Instagram to sell more books, Helen Baggott puts the joy back in Twitter, and Frances Caballo urges us to embrace video, because it’s huge!


Roslyn Sulcas explores the challenges facing Harry Potter and the Cursed Child as it migrates from the West End to Broadway.

Michelle Obama’s memoir, Becoming, will be out in November.

Laura Sydell writes on the prescience of William Gibson’s novel Neuromancer.

Check out 20 quirks and strange habits of famous writers.

Damion Searls remarks on the eerie, enduring power of the Rorschach test.

Jen Sherman discussed her favorite souvenirs: Collecting Library Cards to Document My Life and Travels.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Join us again next week for more writerly links!

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