Posted by: Kerry Gans | November 22, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 11-22-2018

Welcome to a Thanksgiving Top Picks Thursday! We are thankful for our readers, and for all the bloggers who continue to produce content we can share with our readers. We wish everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Sadly, novelist and screenwriter William Goldman died this week at age 87. He wrote and/or adapted The Princess Bride, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and All the President’s Men, among other works.

In awards news, the National Book Foundation announced the National Book Award winners for 2018, and LitHub announced the 2018 winner of the Restless Books Prize for New Immigrant Writing.

Libraries were on people minds this week. Arianna Rebolini discusses what it’s actually like to be a librarian, 12 life-changing services you didn’t know your library offers, and 26 people talk about how public libraries make their lives better. Alana Mohamed shares 17 things librarians want you to know about libraries, and Olivia Rana wonders where all the mobile libraries have gone.

Okay, so you’ve bragged about doing NaNoWriMo, but now you know you’re not going to get it done. Many people experience this. Bill Ferris remarks on how to abandon your NaNoWriMo novel without humiliating yourself.


We focus a lot on stand-alone works, but what if you are writing a series? Janice Hardy has 7 tips on writing a series.

Plot is essential in guiding your reader properly through the story, so the story logic needs to hold strong throughout. K.M. Weiland tells us how to choose our story’s plot points, and Lisa Cron discusses the crucial importance of because, but, and therefore.

Many subtle elements must come together to make your story compelling. September C. Fawkes demystifies context, text, and subtext and how they help storytelling, Steve Laube lists popular story tropes in current fiction, and Janice Hardy looks at how to develop your novel’s theme.

Stavros Halvatzis explains how to write the story midpoint, Cait Reynolds examines how money drives drama, and Dawn Field explores truth and narrative: the two timelines of your story.

Our characters draw our readers into the story. David Corbett discusses how to write flawed characters and antiheroes, Donna Levin lists 4 essential steps to making your protagonist real even when they are nothing like you, and Scott H. Andrews describes how to make readers feel and care.

Editing and getting the final details sorted out is the last step in making your story shine. Sarah Kolb-Williams gives us 10 ways to fake a professional edit, Selina J. Eckert explains how to fact check our fiction, and Sue Coletta makes sure we bone up on our knowledge of skeleton forensics.

Writers often discuss the “rules” for process and for craft. Ginger Moran outlines the 4 stages of writing a book from first draft to publication, Jonathan Franzen shares 10 rules for novelists, and Anne R. Allen explores stupid writing rules…because one size does not fit all.

The writer’s voice is found only through writing a great deal. Rachelle Gardner explains the writer’s voice and how to develop one. To write enough to develop your voice, you must keep writer’s block at bay. William Kenower writes on believing in the Muse, and Grant Faulkner has ideas to beat writer’s block.

To be a successful writer, you must master failure. Tyler James Smith explores failure and writing, Maureen Crisp discusses how to become a master writer, and David Smith brings us Dan Brown on how to write a bestseller.


If you self-publish your books, David Kudler examines the new subscription option for PublishDrives.

So what happens when an agent asks for a Revise & Resend, you decide to shelve the project, and then you want to query that agent with a new book? Janet Reid explains the best way to approach an agent who sorta liked you before.

There are many marketing avenues you can take, but you need to make sure they are the best ones for your book. Joel Friedlander has 5 questions on the book production and marketing matrix, Brian Jud shares tips for adding radio to your marketing, and Cathy Lamb advises using props while making live presentations.

Blogging is one of the main ways authors stay in touch with their readers. Nate Hoffelder tells WordPress users how to avoid getting stuck with Gutenberg, the new WordPress editor, Stephanie Chandler has simple steps to guest blogging, and Cristian Mihai lists ideas for beginning bloggers.

Finally, as the new year approaches, Frances Caballo discusses how to update your social media sites for 2019.


Many people are still discussing the death of Stan Lee last week. Carrie V. Mullins examines why Stan Lee’s death is a loss for literature, while LitHub remembers Stan Lee and the world he created.

Frances Yackel takes us inside the annual book sorting competition—the nerdiest sporting event in New York.

Tobias Carroll explores why Ursula K. Le Guin has inspired so many musicians.

Zachary Leader shows how Saul Bellow reckoned with money and fame.

Ernest Hemingway wrote a letter about the fishing trip that inspired his Old Man and the Sea—and it just sold for $28,000.

That’s it for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We’ll see you next week unless we are all in a turkey stupor.


  1. Thanks for the shout-out. Hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving!


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