Posted by: Kerry Gans | September 12, 2019

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 09-12-2019

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Saturday is National Live Creative Day. I’m not exactly sure what that means but…be creative!

Awards and grants abound! Former UP poet laureate Rita Dove is honored with the 2019 Wallace Stevens Award, James Patterson announces grants to 4500 teachers for classroom libraries, and Rajiv Mohabir wins the Restless Books 2019 New Immigrant Writing Prize for his memoir.

Fifteen publishing pros discuss how We Need Diverse Books changed the literary world.

Jennifer Nalewicki shares her experience spending the night at a library in Wales.

Writers love entering writing contests. Savannah Cordova debunks the 5 most common misconceptions about writing contests.


For our memoir writers: Tanja Pajevic explains how to build a narrative arc in memoir, and Dawn Field shows how a series of moments can lead to your big message.

A.B. Jewell reveals that great noir lives—and dies—on dialogue.

If you are a poet, Melissa Donovan extols the personal benefits of writing poetry.

Sophie Masson looks into writing graphic novels for kids.

We hear about two-person collaborations a lot, but Ceridwen Dovey explores the question can you write a novel as a group?

Trying to get started? Roz Morris has outlining methods for everyone, Angelica Hartgers explores using backward design to plan your story, and Janice Hardy discusses writing the opening scene.

We want everything we write to hook our readers. Christopher Oldcorn explains how to hook the reader every time, and Kristen Lamb has 3 ways to hook readers to a series.

Emotion is key to hooking the reader. Janice Hardy discusses how to add more emotion to your scenes, and C.S. Lakin says to slow your story to move readers emotionally.

We’ve got to make all the components of our craft work together for best results. Kris Kennedy continues her exploration of backstory, James Scott Bell wonders how realistic your action scenes should be, and Laura Benedict advises that good lists make great stories.

Character carries the emotion of your story. Nathan Bransford has 7 reasons your characters feel flat, Joe Fassler examines how a single image can sum up a character’s identity, Walter Mosley discusses discovering who your book’s characters really are, Benjamin Markovits compares a good conversation to a good tennis match, Donald Maass reveals the anti-arc, and Therese Walsh looks beyond two-dimensional character building.

When we edit, we need to look at the big AND little issues in our writing. Zoe M. McCarthy gives us a 10-item manuscript checklist when you’re under a deadline, and Sue Coletta agonizes over which word is correct: coffin or casket?

Bill Kirton examines writing rhythm, Rebecca E. Neely shares how she writes faster, and Dario Ciriello discusses the Budrys rule: 3 writerly sins.

We all need inspiration from time to time. Anne Neugebauer has advice to writers who are in it, Robert Lee Brewer gathers 12 Agatha Christie quotes and 10 Kazuo Ishiguro quotes, and Julie Glover has a pessimist’s collection of (inspiring) writing quotes.


In the self-publishing world: Lee Foster discusses how publishing your book is changing on Amazon Kindle, Nick Ripatrazone examines the pros and (mostly) cons of self-publishing poetry, Andrew Ervin looks at why the best sci-fi and fantasy defy easy genre categorization, and Sara Voorhis shares what authors need to know about book cover design.

Deborah Underwood talks the reality of author money, while Melissa Bowersock delves into the business of pirating books.

BookExpo announces a shorter trade show for 2020 in New York City.

Danika Ellis wonders why interactive ebooks never caught on.

If you are thinking of expanding your content into the gaming world, you will need to understand the relationship between game developers and publishers.

Going traditional? Janet Reid says to please avoid too many characters in your query and for Pete’s sake don’t pay someone else to query for you, while Linda Maye Adams tells us how not to screw up an agent pitch session. Since rejections are part of the query process, Rachelle Gardner explains why you’re getting rejections and Debbie Burke comments on the phenomenon of rave rejections.

After the book deal comes the marketing. Brian Jud shares the 4 pillars of successful book marketing, Boni Wagner-Stafford lays out how to get editorial reviews for self-published books, and Jessica Faust reveals why preorders matter.

Online, Crisitan Mihai explores the art of writing an amazing blog post, Dorit Sasson explains how to market your non-fiction book on your author website with relevant content articles, and Jillian Boehme has survival tips for writers who would rather hide.


Chandler Bolt walks us through book cover trends through the decades.

Japan has a rich literary tradition. Anna Sherman guides us through the many literary landscapes of Tokyo, and Julia Shiota urges people to delve deeper into contemporary Japanese literature, past Haruki Murakami.

Dylan Jones explains why “Witchita Lineman” contains the greatest musical couplet ever written.

Words obviously hold meaning, but Alexander Stern discusses why meaning is more sunken into words than we realize.

Danika Ellis explores why books are the shape they are.

Want a light read? Ann Parker has suggestions for readers looking for humorous books.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Join us next week for more writerly links.

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