Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 11, 2019

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 04-11-2019

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! This is National Library Week, and today is National Support Teen Literature Day. So go to the library and check out some YA books!

Speaking of reading, studies show that print story books encourage more meaningful interactions between kids and parent than digital books.

The writing world lost two writers this week: author of feminist science fiction Vonda N. McIntyre died at age 70, and experimental novelist Jonathan Baumbach died at age 85.

As the writing world expands to include more diverse voices, Rheea Mukherjee discusses what it means to be a bi-cultural writer.


For the memoir writers out there: Anne R. Allen has 14 tips to write a compelling memoir, Beth N. Carvin tells how to collaborate with others on your memoir in 6 easy steps, and Tim McConnehey explains how to tell a true story in a creative way.

Children are drawn to the rhythm and rhyme of poetry. Penelope Lively discusses the elements of a good children’s poem, and Mary Kole explores syntax in poetry and poetic voice in rhyming picture books.

There are many intertwined elements that propel our story forward and keep readers turning the pages. Jami Gold looks at drive vs. focus to define our story, Roz Morris has tips to write a brilliant novel by asking the right questions, J.J. Hanna suggests letting your antagonist drive the plot in the saggy middle, K.M. Weiland untangles the relationship between plot and theme, and Janice Hardy explains why the word “conflict” frustrates so many writers.

Worldbuilding is a huge part of keeping readers intrigued. Donald Maass discusses how soon to introduce and how little to tell about the extraordinary world, and Jami Gold walks us through worldbuilding 101.

Characters are the bedrock of most stories. But how do you handle having a large cast? And how do you know you have the right POV telling the story? So many character questions to get right! Sarah McGuire shares 5 ways to create a memorable and distinguishable cast of characters, Jordan Dane uses 12 archetypes as a framework for creating a memorable cast, Debbie Burke explores using the Myers-Briggs personality types to build character conflict, James R. Preston runs us through Points Of View, and Janice Hardy tackles the age-old question of how to show your character’s age smoothly.

Just when we’ve reached “the end”…the editing begins. Melissa Donovan schools us on how to use a semi-colon, and Sara L. Foust explains how to cut useless scenes.

Want to get productive? Maria Popova delves into the psychology of writing and the cognitive science of the perfect daily routine, Emily Temple shares writing advice from Saul Bellow, and Nancy Johnson takes us on a quest for the Muse.

Some writers have philosophical questions about writing. Michael Gallant extols the literary merits of not showing off, and Mary Laura Philpott asks: why, exactly, do we have subtitles on books?

There is a huge emotional component to writing. Tamar Sloan examines the emotionally intelligent writer, while Colleen M. Story advises that the best writing decisions are made using all three brains (yes, that says three).


Anne Armistead looks at the pros and cons of joining a professional writers organization.

Jim Milliot and Claire Kirch give us the heads up on fast-growing independent publishers in 2019.

Many writers have multiple books on the go at once. Rachelle Gardner discusses how to decide which book should be the next you try to publish. And whichever you choose, you will need a strong elevator pitch, so Beth Barany has tips to write a great one.

We’ve written a great book and gotten it out there, but how do we move units? Marketing. David Gaughran explores the many avenues to selling books in 2019, Stephanie Chandler shows how to buy your way into a larger author platform and bigger book sales, Laura Benedict talks swag, and Jessica Kaye has 5 ways to market audiobooks without ads.

We mostly connect with readers online. Pat Stoltey tells us how to enjoy using Twitter, Cristian Mihai discusses interlinking blog posts and 5 simple steps to editing your blog posts, and Rachel McCollin walks us through how to set up automated emails for reader magnets.


We all know writing can be therapeutic, but CM Hamilton explains how to use writing as a meditation technique.

There are some authors that you read everything they wrote. But how about everything they’ve read? Alan Gribben has spent 45 years reading Mark Twain’s entire library.

Salvador Dali had a side gig—illustrating books, including the Bible.

The Broadway version of To Kill A Mockingbird went after community theaters doing a different version of the play, and that did not go over well. Kyle Jayner explores how the Mockingbird spat shows the benefits of a light touch on copyrights.

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


  1. Many thanks for all the blog love, Kerry!


  2. Thanks for sharing about my blog post on how to use an Elevator Pitch as a story planning tool! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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