Posted by: Kerry Gans | October 24, 2019

Top Pick Thursday! For Writers & Readers 10-24-2019

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Fall has finally arrived here, and it’s perfect weather to curl up by the fire and read some literary links.

Looking for new books to read? Check out SCBWI’s Bookstop for books published in 2019.

Ethan Ellenberg discusses intellectual property for authors.

Sometimes teaming up is better than competing. Two Minnesota bookstores partnered up, and business is booming.

National Novel Writing Month is soon upon us. Reedsy explains NaNoWriMo and gives tips to win it in 2019, Jenny Hansen has 10 tips to rock NaNoWriMo, and Janice Hardy has NaNoWriMo prep for planning your novel’s middle and planning your novel’s end.


Sometimes advice is very specific to format or genre. Michael McGinnis has 6 ways to write a better script, Boni Wagner-Stafford offers a step-by-step guide for authors on how to write a nonfiction book, and Iris Origo explores the impossibility of capturing truth in a biography.

Julie Glover gives us more on plotting, pantsing, and personality type, Laurisa White Reyes tells us how to write a real page turner, and Janice Hardy warns us against nice writer syndrome.

Getting a handle on the big craft elements will help ground your story. NY Book Editors explain the difference between perspective and point of view, Jordan Dane shows how to enhance your writing by layering your scenes and plot, and D.M. Pulley shares 5 tips for building a house or setting that comes alive for readers.

Nailing the small craft elements will make your book stand out from the cowd. Hugh O. Smith has how to write a fight scene, Kathy Steinemann lists 85 alternatives for the phrase “clenched fists”, Shannon Moore Redmon gives us 5 things to consider when writing medical scenes, and Zoe McCarthy reminds us that adding sounds to scenes is a sound practice.

Characters keep the readers coming back for more, and can influence the way they think. Brian Andrews offers a villain checklist to create a “great and terrible” villain, and Becca Puglisi tells us how to use your secondary characters to sway the reader.

Editing makes our work the best it can be. Tiffany Yates Martin explains how to train your editor brain, Jami Gold warns to watch for redundancy in our story, and Stavros Halvatzis discusses repetition vs. repetitiveness in stories.

Many writers fight with writer’s block from time to time. The Guardian gathers advice on beating writer’s block from Australia’s top authors, Nick Wisseman tells us how to hurdle your writer’s block, and Christopher Oldcorn advises shaking things up by finding unique places to write.

Even if we don’t have writer’s block, we often struggle with productivity. Anne R. Allen looks at unexamined beliefs that may keep us from writing success, Sandra Beckwith shares 3 ways to get past what’s holding your back, Rosalie Morales Kearns has 7 non-literary ways to get into the flow, and Sarah LaBrie demystifies the writer’s fear of failure.

Inspiration can come from many directions. Janet Reid helps an author understand how to know what you are meant to write, Dave DeCoursey shows how to use your journal to overcome life’s obstacles, Dawn Field asks if you keep a short fiction journal, and Debbie Burke discusses reaching out to new writers.

We can learn a lot from other writers. Savannah Cardova explains what the best metaphors in literature teach us about writing, John Banville interviews John le Carre, Amy Jones has 8 Elizabeth Strout quotes about writing, and Robert Lee Brewer lists 33 lamentable words coined by Shakespeare.

Dave King discusses the need for gatekeepers, while Livia Gershon wonders: who decides which books are “great”?


Jane Friedman examines the current trends in book publishing for fiction, nonfiction, and young adult.

Interested in doing an audiobook? Bill Ferris has the hack’s guide to narrating audiobooks.

If poetry is your sweet spot, BlueInk Review tells us how to promote poetry on social media.

Some of us are still in the hunt for a literary agent. Jessica Faust explains that a logline is not a hook, Rachelle Gardner reveals an episode of botched communication, Janet Reid defines target audience as agents mean it and advises what to do when you leave your agent, and Ruoxi Chen asks: am I allowed to break up with my book agent?

Marketing online and platform-building can be overwhelming. Dan Blank provides us with the introvert’s guide to book marketing and author platform, Rochelle Melander shows how to develop your author social media strategy, and Rachel McCollin explains content marketing for fiction and nonfiction.

Networking is a marketing skill we all need. Joanna Penn discusses why authors should learn to speak in public, Sarah McGuire gives us an introvert’s guide to writer’s conferences, and Joan Stewart shares the 9 most common mistakes in author’s press releases.

Online, Judith Briles says it’s time to do a Facebook settings checkup, and Cristian Mihai reveals the truth about blog post length.


D.J. Taylor examines George Orwell’s notes on 1984 and maps the inspiration of a modern classic.

Researchers analyzed millions of books to find out if humans have gotten any happier over 200 years.

Conservator Chloe Vassot explains the little-known “slow fire” that’s destroying all our books.

Danika Ellis takes a deep dive into the history of deckle edges in books.

We love librarians—even fictional ones! Emily Temple ranks 50 fictional librarians.

Letters between Flannery O’Connor and Katherin Anne Porter trace their friendship.

Would you like to buy John Steinbeck’s silver bucket? A cache of Steinbeck objects are being auctioned off.

Rebecca Onion looks into the sexist reception of Willa Cather’s World War I novel.

Where writers write often fascinates people. ConservatoryLand examines some famous writers and their writing spaces, while Stephen King is turning his house into a writers’ retreat.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! See you next week for some spook-tacular literary links.

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