Posted by: J. Thomas Ross | April 18, 2019

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 04-18-2019

The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, spring flowers


Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We hope you’re enjoying the warming weather and spring flowers.

April is National Poetry Month—or, as R. J. Crayton says, NaPoWriMo. Yesterday was National Haiku Poetry Day and today is National Poem in Your Pocket Day. If you’re thinking about trying your hand at writing a poem—and why not?—Melissa Donovan delves into reading, writing, and reviewing good poems.

This sounds like it might be fun: next Tuesday, April 23, is National Talk Like Shakespeare Day. Let us know if you give it a try.

Nate Hoffelder writes that screenwriters are firing their agents at the request of their union. In addition, for those reading or writing ebooks, if you’ve heard about (or were part of) the disappearing ebooks on Amazon, Nate explains what happened.

For readers who preorder books, Janet Reid answers a question about picking up the book at a bookstore before the proclaimed release date.

Lee Wind shares the American Library Association’s top 11 challenged books of 2018.

Kudos to: the 2019 Pulitzer Prize winners—Richard Powers (fiction), David W. Blight (history), and Jeffrey C. Stewart (biography), Forrest Gander (poetry), Eliza Griswold (general nonfiction), and Carlos Lozada (non-fiction book critic) [reported in Publisher’s Weekly‘s by Calvin Reid].

In memoriam: reports on the passing of science fiction and fantasy author Gene Wolfe at age 87, and The Washington Post writes about the death of novelist Warren Adler at age 91.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, late afternoon clouds, inspiration



To set the record straight, Carrie V. Mullins examines the myth of the consistently great writer. Julie Glover shares 10 things learned from 10 years of writing, and Eugenia Lovett West, age 96, avers that it’s never too late to create and publish.

If you’re embarking on your writing journey, Sarah Callender reminisces about learning the writing craft.

For those experiencing difficulty writing, Cristian Mihai warns writers about 10 things that might be blocking their creativity, and Laurence MacNaughton offers tips to never suffer writer’s block again.

E. J. Runyon recommends using what you know rather than writing what you know, and Jami Gold examines the pros and cons of trying something new.

How fast do you write? Kristen Lamb considers how writing faster can improve your storytelling, while Martine Fournier advocates slow writing.

If you write nonfiction, Mariah Fredericks addresses writing the historical novel, and Stephanie Chandler clarifies how to cite sources in your non-fiction manuscript. For novelists and narrative nonfiction writers, here are a few tips on writing chapters.

Beginning the first draft of your novel? K. M. Weiland tells us how to use your outline when writing your first draft, and Becca Puglisi takes a look at first pages and character emotions.

Conflict generates the action in a story. Janice Hardy examines the four classic conflict types and elaborates on why conflict is so hard to create in romance.

For storytellers creating their characters, Savannah Cordova shares 5 character tools you need to know about, Melissa Donovan investigates what makes iconic characters unforgettable, Jim Dempsey writes about discovering your character’s goals, and Diana Hurwitz explores crafting the con man.

Creating a believable setting can take a lot of work. Jami Gold considers worldbuilding in a series when writing without a plan.

Ready to revise? James Scott Bell suggests you smell your story, and B. D. McClay writes a defense of the thesaurus.

New ideas come to writers all the time. Debbie Young takes a look at how many books you should write at once.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, pencil and notebook, writing, craft

Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash



For those following the traditional path to publication, Rachelle Gardner discusses writing a one-sentence summary, Janet Reid zeroes in on how to properly query multiple manuscripts and clarifies an author’s rights when selling the first chapter of a book as a short story, and Steve Laube reminds us that even the best get rejected.

Loriann Oberlin recommends pursuing small projects for profit spikes in short bursts of time.

Ready to launch your book? Scott Semegren offers self-publishers a book launch guide, and Pauline Wiles lays out how to promote with your posse.

Lee Foster adds more information on book marketing in 2019 with part 2.

Some writers find social media overwhelming. Charity Bradford ponders whether juggling two author platforms is worth it, and Roni Loren decides to reclaim and respect time—hers and yours.

Timothy Lewis explains how to run a Twitter chat. And for authors who aren’t fans of Twitter, Daniel Berkowitz says it’s okay to say no to Twitter.

Frances Caballo suggests writers get to know these Instagram apps.

For those who have author blogs, Cristian Mihai offers tips on using blog categories and tags, while Sandra Beckwith advocates selling more books with guest blogging.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, person writing with cup in background, business

Photo by Green Chameleon on Unsplash



Jason Boog reports that Netflix is on a book-buying spree to acquire content for its growing subscriber base.

In the School Library Journal, Carrie Russell writes about tackling copyright concerns when taking storytime online.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, bird in tree with sunset clouds in background, inspiration


That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday. Have a great weekend, and join us next week for another roundup of writerly links.


The Author Chronicles, J. Thomas Ross, golden setting moon through tree branches, inspiration


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