Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 12, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 04-12-2018

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Spring Break has come and gone, and we are finally seeing some spring-like weather in our neck of the woods. Here’s some links to grow your writing knowledge.

Celebrate National Library Week! Support your local library, and experience what Stuart Kells describes as the strange magic of libraries.

Reading to children is vital to their future success. Tracy Cooper has 5 ways to keep children engaged at storytime.

Ursula K. Le Guin reminds us that dictators are always afraid of poets.

For National Poetry Month, Melissa Donovan shares poetry writing ideas and activities.

Check it out! A mass of classic books, films and other art is about to enter the public domain.

Melinda Clayton explains terms you need to know before signing a publishing contract.


Do you write crime? Here’s a collection of writing advice from the great writers of crime fiction.

It makes sense that most writing advice focuses on a single story at a time. But what about when you write a series? Ellie Maas Davis discusses writing and editing a book series, and  Sacha Black tells us how NOT to mess up your book series.

The beginning of our book is perhaps the most important section in making it  success. K.M. Weiland shares the ultimate first chapter checklist for hooking the reader,  while Peter Selgin shows how to establish routine while building character on the first page.

Of course, a great beginning won’t offset sloppy writing throughout the rest of the book. Michael Gallant explains how to find the rhythm in writing, Drew Chail demonstrates how to breathe new life into old scares, Laurence MacNaughton gives us 7 ways to master “show, don’t tell”, James Scott Bell discusses short chapters and lots of dialogue, and Donald Maass suggests writing middle scenes with a non-linear approach.

Complex characters draw readers in. Zoe M. McCarthy urges us to allow characters to feel their feelings, Angela Ackerman shows us the destructive power of the lie your character believes, and Janice Hardy asks what your protagonist’s relationships are like.

The words we choose shape the atmosphere in our story. Debbie Young examines how to use colloquialisms and when to avoid them, while Diana Hurwitz talks about landscaping your story.

Sometimes what isn’t said outright is just as powerful as what is. Rose Andrews delves into how to use subtext to drive narrative, and Stavros Halvatzis looks at writing dialogue subtext.

Editing is a massive part of creating a good story. Lisa Poisso lists 6 ways to improve your big-picture revision skills, Scott McCormick advises us on how to solicit and act on feedback from beta readers, and Kristan Hoffman talks about the power and value of critique partners.

Feeling unfocused? Nathan Bransford tells us how to regain our concentration.

Heather Webb explores something we all know too well: a writer’s lessons in failure, while Brian Jud lays out how to set author goals.

Being a creative in a business environment can be hard. Anne R. Allen gives us 10 tips on how to protect your creative self in the marketplace, Nafissa Thompson-Spires discusses writing with a chronic illness, Jane Anne Staw explains how to make your writing anxiety disappear by thinking small, and Mary K. Jensen tells us how to release your inner book two pages at a time.

Gordon Long explores 6 key differences between storytelling and writing, while Mary Laura Philpott delves into why we need memoirs of ordinary lives.


Amazon seems to change the rules weekly. Amy Collins catches us up on all the recent changes at Amazon and what they mean to our marketing plans.

Jim Milliot reports that hybrid publishing and diversity of voices were focuses at the IBPA conference, and Damon Suede discusses getting the most out of conference networking.

If you’re querying, you are always eager to get those letters out there. Mary Kole advises when we should delay agent submissions, while Janet Reid outlines 7 ways to demonstrate that you’re not ready to query.

Once you do send, and you get that coveted agent call, Nathan Bransford explains how to handle an offer of representation.

Jane Friedman reminds us that a strong author platform is about more than numbers, Kristen Lamb dissects what platform is and why do authors need it, and Jami Gold asks if your platform needs a spring cleaning.

Frances Caballo shares 5 things she wishes she had known when she published her first book, and Ann Griffin has advice for the soon to be self-published.

In marketing, Sandra Beckwith interviews a guest on how to promote your audiobook, Kristen Lamb explores how social media changes but humans don’t, and Alee King has 16 promotional strategies to grow your Facebook group 3x faster.


Check out these 10 satirical covers for the terrible books you can’t get away from.

Marisa Crawford examines how Judy Blume taught a generation of young girls to be feminists.

Natasha Frost investigates the secret codes hidden in the books of a Scottish library.

The beloved children’s book, The Little Prince, was born of despair.

Emily Temple has your pocket guide to 10 literary movements of the past 100 years.

Take a look at these 23 anonymous confessions left on a public typewriter.

Here are 31 underrated foreign novels you should read.

What did you think when you read The Great Gatsby. Read 100 of the best 1-star reviews of The Great Gatsby.

Chris L. Terry shows us how to spend a literary long weekend in Richmond, Virginia.

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


  1. Thanks for the massive blog love this week. I feel like we won the lottery! Plus, all the other great links to explore!
    -Fae Rowen


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