Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | May 24, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers and Readers 05-24-2018

The Author Chronicles, notebook and pencil

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash


Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday, our collection of interesting, inspiring, informative, and off-beat recent blog posts that snagged our attention. Enjoy!

Is motivation necessary for success? Joanna Penn interviews Jeff Haden about writing and his book The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win.

A new European law will have an effect on writers in the U. S. too. Cate Baum gives an overview of GDPR and a free privacy policy template.

Over the years, definitions and boundaries of various genres shift. Donna Bryson of The Christian Science Monitor takes a look at how after decades of dwarfs and elves, writers of color are redefining the fantasy genre.

We love gems of wisdom from writers: Jenny Hansen shares the top 10 success tips from Neil Gaiman, and Randall Klein advises: be a better reader — get out of your genre comfort zone.

For short story fans, Literary Hub announces the 2018 O. Henry Prize stories.

We’ve lost another great one. The Atlantic‘s Adam Kirsh remembers Philip Roth, a giant of American literature, who died Tuesday night at age 85.


The Author Chronicles, fountain pen

Photo by Art Lasovsky on Unsplash



Are you spending your writing time staring at a blank page? Aneeqah considers the fear of starting and how to get past it.

Jami Gold wonders how much of yourself is in your writing?

Many writers need to do research to add believability to their stories. If you’re one of them, Sara Letourneau writes about conducting informational interviews for story research.

We all know the beginning of a novel is important. Janice Hardy answers the question: how much really needs to be in your novel’s opening sentence?

There’s no story without conflict. Stavros Halvatzis examines how to manage rising conflict in stories, and Jenny Hansen advocates using the 12 stages of physical intimacy to build tension in your fiction.

Several bloggers shared tips about characterization. Writers Write recommends avoiding Mary Sue characters, while Bonnie Randall proposes pushing your character past the breaking point. Elizabeth Spann Craig investigates how empathizing with your characters can create a better story, and Margie Lawson suggests writing fresh faces — beyond the cold, hard stares.

Chapters are built from scenes. Janice Hardy zeroes in on when less is more: taking away elements to fix a problem scene, and James Scott Bell explains advanced scene technique: the jump cut.

When the first draft is finished, it’s time for editing and revision. For those evaluating word choices, Alan Burdick analyzes why nouns slow us down, and why linguistics might be in a bubble. Terry Odell addresses finding and correcting typos and manuscript mistakes, and Janice Hardy shows how to edit a novel without feeling overwhelmed.

If you’ve finished the editing, Annie Neugebauer explains which types of readers to use for feedback.

Growth is part of the writing journey. K. M. Weiland lays out how to grow as a writer in 5 logical steps. One way to expand your skills is to try something different. Bill Ferris offers the hack’s guide to writing serial fiction.


The Author Chronicles, laptop, coffee, hands writing in notebook, glasses, books

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash



In Publisher’s Weekly, Jim Milliot reports that 2018 is off to a decent start for publishers.

For those seeking agents, Janet Reid focuses on how to query a book that straddles genres and clarifies whether agents prefer an interesting author bio or a relevant author bio.

If you’re self-publishing, check out Nate Hoffelder’s big list of ebook market analytic tools. Also, Joel Friedlander offers help for senior citizens who self-publish.

Some — most? — of us do not relish marketing, but whether self or traditionally published, we need to tackle it. Here’s some help: Alee King lays out 13 smart tips to supercharge your social media marketing strategy, Joan Stewart delves into how to become an author expert and strut your stuff, and Meghan Dietsche Goel reveals what kind of swag works well in her bookstore.

Working on your brand? Anne R. Allen discloses 10 ways to tank your brand.

There’s always more to learn about social media. Frances Caballo provides 10 social media tips for authors, and Sandra Beckwith clarifies how to interact with readers on Goodreads.

Nathan Bransford goes over how to make a good author website, and Scott La Counte explains how to develop a content strategy for author websites, while Christina Delay makes sense of using Google AdWords to make interested readers commit.

Book titles cannot be copyrighted, but trademarks are a murkier issue. At Writer Beware, Victoria Strauss weighs in on the #cockygate trademark shenanigans.


The Author Chronicles, library, shelves of books

Photo by Caitlin Lin on Unsplash



Tech Crunch‘s Anthony Ha reports that the Arch Mission Foundation and Astrobiotic plan to send a microfiche library to the moon, where it won’t be susceptible to fires, floods, and other disasters that could destroy libraries on Earth and should last millions of years. A great idea, although retrieving a book might be problematic for many years to come!

Modern technology is amazing. Researchers uncover two hidden pages in Anne Frank’s Diary, according to Nina Siegal in the New York Times.

Electric Lit‘s Dipsikha Thakur says Sir Arthur Conan Doyle helped invent the curse of the mummy, and Emily Temple reveals the 12 best Sherlock Holmes stories according to Arthur Conan Doyle.

Literary Hub‘s Kelli Maria Korducki believes Jane Austin’s practical concerns about marriage are still relevant.

Michael Moorcock thinks about the truth of Ray Bradbury’s prophetic vision: why Fahrenheit 451 endures.

CrimeReads’ Nathan Ward discusses how Elmore Leonard honed his craft writing gritty westerns.

Jane Dykema asserts that the Yanny/Laurel illusion can teach us how to love ambiguity.

Georgia Knapp ponders: do I really want my dates to read my writing? How do you feel about that?


The Author Chronicles, glass of wine, glasses, open book open side down on table

Photo by Aliis Sinisalu on Unsplash


Tomorrow is National Wine Day, so if you’ve had a rough week, pour a glass and pick up a good book or relax with friends. We wish you an awesome Memorial Day weekend too.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday. See you next week!


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