Posted by: Kerry Gans | December 6, 2018

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 12-06-2018

Welcome to our first Top Picks Thursday of December! Saturday is National Brownie Day (yum!), and Monday is a blockbuster with Dewey Decimal System Day (remember that?), Human Rights Day, and Nobel Prize Day.

Are you a translator? SCBWI is opening their Work-In-Progress Grants to translators.

Bookstores are making a comeback. Molly Parent and Stephen Sparks talk about the power of a small town bookstore.

Did you all survive NaNoWriMo? Jess Zafarris did, and gives us 9 lessons learned from a first attempt at NaNoWriMo.

Check out these gifts for the booklovers in your life (or for yourself).

Libraries do so many things for their communities. This library on the US-Canadian border has become a reunion point for separated Iranian families—and the tension that comes with that unexpected role.

Winter is upon us, and Arthur Klepchukov lists fiction writing contests worth your time in winder 2018-19.


We’d all love to see our books released in multiple languages, but their success rests on the skill of the translators used. Emily Temple interviews 10 literary translators on the art of translation.

Novels aren’t the only art form available to authors. Tobias Carroll asks: why doesn’t America love the novella?, while Mary Jaksch gathers 20 tips from the greats on how to write short stories.

Since we can always hone our craft, Joe Garza explores using the comic triple to be funnier, wittier, and hated by complete strangers.

While writing, we need to juggle many elements at once. Nathan Bransford shows how to raise the stakes in a novel, Stavros Halvatzis explains turning points in stories, Dawn Field helps you fill the holes in your story, and Jane Cleland shares 2 strategies for writing great story endings.

Some stories have large casts, some only one character. K.M. Weiland lists 10 rules of writing large casts of characters, Richard Bradburn tells us how to write better dialogue, and Jo Eberhardt stresses the importance of finding the emotional core of your work.

One of your characters is usually the antagonist. Kassandra Lamb breaks down the dos and don’ts when creating your villain, September C. Fawkes suggests brainstorming your antagonist’s plotline earlier, and Erica Sunarjo has 7 tips for making your antagonist more prominent.

Once we have written, we have to go back in and fix everything up from deep revisions to copyediting. Janice Hardy shares 3 ways to add tension to a scene during revision, Zoe M. McCarthy says to look for these 5 common problems when self-editing, Donna Galanti discusses letting go in writing and in life, and Anne R. Allen lays out 7 dos and don’ts when you’ve finished your first novel.

Most writers search for the Holy Grail of more productivity. Lynn Dickinson explores the pros and cons of binge writing, Jane Friedman shows how to focus on a single sentence when feeling stuck, Linda Wasmer Andrews advises that to become a better writer, be a frequent walker; and Ange de Lumiere has 5 ways meditation can help writers.

We all learn from those who have greater  or different experiences than we do. Stephanie Chandler has gathered advice for new authors from the experts, Literary Hub interviews Joyce Carol Oates, Harrison Demchick shows what we can learn from teen writers, and Barbara O’Neal shares 30 things she has learned about the writing life.


We hear about Creative Commons a lot, but how many of us really understand the nuances? Deborah Makarios  shares an author’s guide to Creative Commons.

Want to increase access to your books? Russell Phillips shows how to self-publish large-print books, and Melinda Clayton explains why you want to distribute your ebooks with both Baker & Taylor and Overdrive.

If you are writing a non-fiction proposal, you need to pinpoint your readership. Jane Friedman tells us how to define and describe readership for non-fiction proposals.

Being agented as a writer can have its ups and downs, but always try to be professional. Janet Reid warns against pretending to have an offer when you don’t, and talks about publishing a work on platforms like Wattpad before seeking an agent. Sangeeta Mehta interviews agents Holly Root and John Cusick about what happens when you need to switch agents.

Getting publicity for our books can be difficult, and often involves speaking or interviews. Judith Briles explains why authors need a canned introduction, and Sandra Beckwith shows how to be quoted by the press.

Our author brand lives online these days. Patricia Sands explains how to create an authentic author brand, Cristian Mihai gives us a beginners guide to writing a great blog post and why titles for blog posts matter, and Frances Caballo clues us in on 7 horrible mistakes we’re making on social media.


Alana Mohamed has gathered 13 drafts from famous authors that only writers can appreciate.

Check out these 17 books coming to TV and film in 2019, and Netflix announces plans to adapt Roald Dahl stories.

Adam Vitcavage asks: is Iceland the most literary country in the world?

Matthew Wills explores William Goldman and the mystery of screenwriting.

Here are the biggest fiction bestsellers of the last 100 years—and what everyone read instead.

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


  1. I’m honored to be included here–thank you! Have reposted out to T, FB, LI. Shoutout–my newest book, How to Create a $1,000,000 Speech


    • Always glad to have her here. And good luck with the new book!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


%d bloggers like this: