It only comes but once a year. Every November people all around the world buckle down and take to heart that sage advice from author Jane Yolen on how to write. Put simply: “Butt + chair.” Yes, November is National Novel Writing Month or, for short, NaNoWriMo (which, let us be perfectly frank, is far more fun to say). Admit it. There’s been a novel roiling around inside of you for quite some time. Why not let it out and introduce it to the world?
To help you jump into the fray (so to speak) why not consider some of the useful writing guides the library has to offer? If nothing else, they’ll inspire you to get started at long last. What do you have to lose?
Stellar Writing Advice Guides
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott – I know we all have our favorite writing guides, but is there anything out there that quite compares to Lamott’s 1994 classic? I dare you to read two chapters of this and not then run screaming to your computer to get your thoughts down on a Word document, stat.
The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults by Cheryl Klein – What if the book you want to write isn’t for adults at all, but is for children? Editor Cheryl Klein is one of the sharpest brains in the kidlit biz, and with this guide she’ll lead you around all the pitfalls you might trip into as you make your book for the youngest of readers.
On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King – I’ll be the first to admit that it sounds funny to get writing advice from a guy best known for putting clowns in sewers and blood on elevators. Yet of all the guides out there, King’s often comes across as the most readable (and possibly enjoyable). Plus as crazy as it sounds, he has really good advice! Fun Fact: The man can write.
The Secrets of Story by Matt Bird – Full disclosure, I’m kind of married to this guy. That said, Matt’s book is full of sage advice for anyone writing a novel, a screenplay, a television pilot, or a play. I like to describe it as Save the Cat meets Joseph Campbell. Rather than tell you what you should or should not do, Matt explains how you can connect with your audience as a writer (something a lot of other guides tend to forget).
The Story Cure: A Book Doctor’s Pain-Free Guide to Finishing Your Novel or Memoir by Dinty Moore – Maybe you’ve been writing your book for a while but now you feel completely stuck. Moore to the rescue! Consider this an authoritative guide to curing the issues that truly plague writers at all levels.