Posted by: Kerry Gans | April 22, 2021

Top Picks Thursday! For Writers & Readers 04-22-2021

Welcome to this week’s Top Picks Thursday! Spring is here (and so are allergies), but these links are nothing to sneeze at.

Since it’s poetry month, Matthew Daddona discusses tension in poetry: the hidden art of line-writing.

Julia Skinner examines libraries and pandemics, past and present.

Many people don’t understand what a sensitivity reader does, so Mya Nunnally reveals the secret life of a sensitivity reader.

Over at Writer Beware, Victoria Strauss has a publisher warning about trouble at Diversion Books.


Looking to ghostwrite? Roz Morris talks about ghostwriting, writer’s block, researching a novel, and training a horse.

If you are a short story writer, Rayne Hall reveals how to win short story contests.

For the memoirists out there, Linda Ruggeri gathers advice from other memoir writers on how to get started in memoir writing.

Many writers think about reviewing books, but sometimes it’s hard to figure out just how you want to review. Danika Ellis has 25+ book review templates and ideas to organize your thoughts.

Crime stories are known for their detectives, their clues, and often their fight scenes. M.E. Hilliard explains why librarians are natural born detectives, Kris Calvin demystifies planting clues and red herrings successfully, Katharine Grubb shares tips for writing memorable fight scenes, and Piper Bayard lists 10 common kitchen objects to use as weapons.

Writers build their stories from the ground up. Sharon Oard Warner wonders which comes first, character or plot?; and Jan O’Hara gives us a display hack for your story’s outline.

The opening of your book is crucial. Dana Isaacson asks: should your book have a prologue?; while Zoe M. McCarthy examines elements to include in a novel’s first 5 pages.

Once the reader starts, how do you keep them turning the pages? Kristen Lamb reminds us that change creates a gripping story, C.S. Lakin advises writing scenes with a purpose, and Janice Hardy tells us a lousy way to create conflict in your novel.

Engaging characters also keep readers reading. Anne R. Allen lists 10 pitfalls to avoid when naming fictional characters, Kathleen McCleary shows how regrets reveal and forge character, and K.M. Weiland continues her series by examining the Queen’s shadow archetypes.

Writing done, editing commences. Jim Dempsy reveals how to cut the cost of a professional editor, and Dario Ciriello explains why self-editing your novel doesn’t really work.

Inspiration comes from many channels. Jeremy DeSilva writes on the link between great thinking and obsessive walking, and Laura Drake walks us through building a writing routine that works for you.


Porter Anderson takes a look at Amazon’s Wattpad-style “Kindle Vella” platform and goes a little deeper in suiting up for serialization, while Monica Leonelle asks: is going exclusive with serialization worth it?

If you are self-publishing, Jane Friedman walks us through how to turn a Microsoft Word document into an ebook, and Stephanee Killen examines what to consider when self-publishing poetry books.

Thinking of freelancing? Carol Tice tells us how to get freelance writing clients at conferences on the cheap, and Breanne Rushing shares 11 tips to improve writing skills as a freelancer.

When it comes to selling, you need marketing, message, and media. Penny Sansevieri has 11 book marketing myths you should not believe and how a makeover can help sell your books, Sandra Beckwith assists with message development: knowing what you want to say and how to say it; and Becca Puglisi brings tips for landing a guest post gig.


The Quarantine Tapes with Paul Holdengraber hosts Paul Muldoon on writing poetry from a place of innocence and ignorance.

The Reading Women podcast with Kendra Winchester has Quan Barry on the possibilities of magical realism.

Brad Listi’s Otherppl podcast features Shannon McLeod on letting go of saving the cat.

On the First Draft podcast with Mitzi Rapkin, Chang-Lee talks on writing as a bodily experience.

Joanna Penn and Mark Leslie Lefebvre discuss global, wide self-publishing on The Creative Penn podcast.


Writers can have trouble processing great events of their times. Mark Edmundson explores how the American Civil War gave Walt Whitman a call to action.

While we struggle with creating ebooks, Ross King describes the laborious process of bookmaking in the 15th century.

Valerie Stivers has fun cooking with Herman Melville.

Examining the evolution and appropriation of language, Joshua Jelly-Shapiro investigates how New York was named.

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

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