Posted by: Kerry Gans | August 29, 2019

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 08-29-2019

Welcome to the last Top Picks Thursday of August! Enjoy your Labor Day holiday and be safe.

This week, Paule Marshall, novelist of the Afro-Caribbean diaspora, died at age 90.

It used to be literary critics were the main literary tastemakers, but today that influence has moved beyond their rarefied sphere. Adam Blades wonders if the new literary tastemakers can be trusted, while Kayla Kibbe comments on the growing influence of Barak Obama on the US literary scene.

English class is full of dead authors, but Nick Ripatrazone reminds us of the benefits of classrooms studying living, breathing poets.

Protect yourself: Victoria Strauss breaks down the latest book-to-movie scams.

Looking for a contest to enter? Arthur Klepchukov has fiction writing contests worth your time in fall 2019.

Grant opportunity: SCBWI has a new grant for authors of Middle Grade Fantasy and Science Fiction.


J.M. G. Le Clezio ponders the expansive, immersive quality of great poetry.

Define this: Zoe M. McCarthy explains the differences between the terms anthology, collection, omnibus, compilation, box set, derivative works, and compendium.

As YA books increasingly celebrates diversity and characters who embrace their cultures, Sonia Patel warns that there is a whole group of kids YA has left behind.

For those who wonder if listening to audiobooks is really reading, wonder no more! Jennifer Walter says our brains can’t tell the difference between audiobooks and reading. But our brains will explode if we break the most bizarre grammar rule you probably never heard of.

Structure carries our stories a long way. Paul D. Marks examines great opening lines, Jami Gold looks at “leap of faith” moments, H.J. Ramsay explains why surprise endings ultimately frighten us, and September C. Fawkes gives us 4 keys to a powerful denouement.

Chris Eboch suggests circling your writing with bookends, Janice Hardy both defines a scene and shows how to write scenes, Stavros Halzatzis discusses how to reveal your reveals, and Ruth Harris has 7 rules of cliffhangers.

Character is the driving force in our writing. Julie Munroe Martin asks: what makes you love your main character?; C.S. Lakin has 3 ways to show emotion in your character, Victoria Mixon offers a different approach to character arc, K.M. Weiland shares her “truth chart” method to figure out character arc, Heather Webb lists tips for a great love story, Kristen Lamb dives into deep POV, and Janice Hardy advises us to make sure our antagonists’ motivations are plausible.

Polishing the manuscript can be a slog, but it is vitally important. Laurie Tomlinson explains how to ensure readers won’t throw your book across the room, and Rachelle Gardner has 5 things to do before hiring a freelance editor.

We all want to write more, in less time. But it can be overwhelming, and sometimes our Muse lets us down. Mathina Calliope tells us how to get out of the writing doldrums, Augustina Van Hoven lays out how to break down overwhelming tasks, C. Kevin Thompson explores the digital distraction disease known as Writing Deficiency Disorder, and Shannon Moore Redmon explains how to start a writer’s sprint group.

We are lucky to live in a time where advice is so freely shared. Heather Webb and Hazel Gaynor share 10 tips on collaborative writing success, Robert Lee Brewer has 10 Dorothy Parker quotes for writers and about writing, Erika Liodice dicusses how to write while not writing, and Lainey Caneron advises a 3-tier backup for writers.


Bradley Metrock looks at the issue of Audible Captions vs. the publishing industry

Piracy is an ongoing issue for authors. Hugh Stephens discusses tightening the screws on pirate websites through dynamic website blocking injunctions.

If you are printing your book, Teri Tan makes a case for digital print enhancements.

Utilize your subrights—Tim Hawken tells how to turn your novel into a TV series.

If you are a copy editor, you may sometimes wonder how much to charge. Carol Saller explains how a copy editor decides what to charge.

Most of us want to write more than one book, so James Scott Bell discusses how to build a long-term writing career.

You need to pitch your book in many forums, but the most prominent one is when you are looking for an agent or traditional publisher. Kristen Lamb dissects the pitch, Christopher Oldcorn tells us how to win your first book deal, and Susan Dennard shares 7 realities of traditional publishing.

Marketing as a whole is often difficult. Jessica Cotten discusses poetry marketing on a budget, John Peragine gives us 4 tips for indie authors on planning a successful book tour, and Sandra Beckwith has 5 ways to make your book relevant to the media.

Online connections with readers are important. Cristian Mihai explains how to keep your blog content fresh, and Nate Hoffelder lists 6 goals for your newsletter welcome emails.


World literature opens up cultures and countries we might never otherwise meet. L.T. Kampala gives an overview of writers breathing fresh life into Ugandan literature.

Boze Harrington explores the life of Hans Christen Andersen, original literary softboi.

Like crime stories? Hank Phillippi Ryan lists the 7 most suspenseful jury verdicts in literature and film.

Dorothy Parker explores the art of her old pal James Thurber.

Neil Nyren takes a look at the life and work of mystery writer Rex Stout.

Emily Temple rounds up the 50 greatest coming-of-age novels.

Dictators are always afraid books will spread dangerous ideas of liberty. But there was a time when the public feared that library books could spread deadly diseases.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! We will see you in September!


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: