Posted by: Kerry Gans | May 14, 2020

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 05-14-2020

Welcome to the mid-month Top Picks Thursday! A bit hard to believe we are already halfway through May, but we are.

In a time where literally every aspect of our lives has moved into our homes, Meg LaTorre discusses how to juggle writing and parenting.

Hillel Italie explores why Octavia Butler’s prescient sci-fi resonates years after her death.

Katie Yee takes a look at the winners of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes.

Michael McClure, famed Beat poet who helped launch the San Francisco Renaissance, died at age 87.

For poetry lovers, Gabriella Smith lists free and cheap live poetry events you can watch online.


Sometimes knowing what genre you are writing in is difficult. S.L. Huang delves into what makes a book more thriller than sci-fi?

If  you are looking to build a freelance career, Kristy Stevenson shares 8 freelancing writing tips for regional publications.

We all have our own writing process, and Susan DeFreitas discusses developing your writing process by making it captivating.

Once we’re writing, there’s lots of craft elements we need to master. Melodie Campbell shows us how to survive the chaos point in your manuscript, Jami Gold tells us how to improve our story with action beats, and Katherine Grubb has 8 ways you may be bungling dialogue.

In addition, Julie Carrick Dalton dissects the earned plot twist, Fae Rowan describes how small decisions can have a huge story impact, and Janice Hardy has a two-fer with 5 ways to kick your writing up a notch, and the difference between painting a scene vs. dramatizing a scene.

Characters draw readers into the story, but they also do so much more. Nathan Bransford says to give your protagonist a mini-quest before the main plot kicks off, Tiffany Yates Martin reminds us to give our characters agency, Melissa Bowersock talks choosing a character name, Stavros Halvatzis examines great character description in stories, and Sara Letourneau explores how a protagonist’s motivations influence story themes.

After we write, we edit. Roz Morris explains how to prepare for comments on your book manuscript, Ann H. Gabhart shows us how to edit your word count after spewing words in early drafts, and Terry Odell lays out how to track your story.

Furthermore, Joanna Penn shares her technique for the first round of self-edits, Julie Glover writes in defense of editing as you go, and Jennie Nash says the secret to more efficient revision is pattern recognition.

Writers are influenced by everything in this world. Jessica Strawser shares 5 key lessons writers can learn from other artists, and Donald Maass reflects on the meaning of meaning.


Looking to self-publish? Apple Books for Author launches with a PC version, and David Gaughran discusses what that means, Rafal Reyzer explains how font choices affects the minds of readers, and the AskALLi Team shows how to sell books on your author website.

Laurisa White Reyes says successful self-publishing starts with a great book, Lisa Tener discusses how to proceed and succeed in the future of publishing, and Melinda VanLone explores how much a book cover should cost.

Corrine Segal reports that the pandemic is giving rise to a new movement to organize labor in publishing, while Ruth Comerford tells us that small presses in the UK and Ireland fear being “wiped out” by autumn.

Kathey Meis examines how reading habits have changed during the quarantine—and how you can turn that into an opportunity.

Agent Janet Reid explores when it’s time to cut off exclusives to agents and spread your work more widely, while Joyce Sweeney gives advice from an author turned agent.

Marketing is online now more than it ever was. K.B. Jensen lays out how to throw a virtual book launch using Facebook Live, Sandra Beckwith shares 4 features that give you more control,  Nick Stephens lists 5 types of email you should send to your subscribers (and why), and Cristian Mihai reminds us that our words matter, and gives us 5 tips to help you write like yourself.


Writers are shaped by the times the live in. Abigail Santamaria examines how a pandemic and nuclear threats shaped Madeline L’Engle’s writing and worldview.

Heloise Wood looks to history to see what kind of books will thrive in this pandemic era.

Reading is vital to many people for many reasons. Livia Gershon shows how reading got farm women through the Great Depression, Aaron Robertson shares the reading habits of major 20th century authors, and Emily Temple has compiled the 50 best contemporary novels under 200 pages for those who have little time to read.

Crime novels have all sorts of awful marriages in them, so Kimberly McCreight went in search of the elusive “good marriage” in crime fiction.

Wondering if your favorite museum will survive the pandemic? James Gardner discusses how the Louvre has survived wars, uprising, and yes, a plague.

In “A Letter from Officer Clemmons,” Francois Clemmons writes a letter to Mr. Rogers on friendship, the neighborhood, and gratitude.

That’s all for this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Stay healthy, and we’ll see you next week for more writerly links.

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