NaNoWriMo

  • NaNoWriMo

    There are two kinds of bookish people in the world. Those who read a novel and think “Hey, I should write my own novel!” and those who finish a book and think “wow, I am so glad that someone else wrote that book for me to read!” 

    Those in the first camp look forward to NaNoWriMo every year, or National Novel Writing Month which challenges authors to write an entire novel during the month of November. For those of you trying to complete your own NaNoWriMo this year, our adult reference librarians have planned virtual write-ins throughout the month to help get your word count up and keep you on track. Meanwhile, for those of us more interested in reading finished products while we watch authors hard-at-work – here are some of the best novels that started as WriMo projects. 

    11.9 FangirlFANGIRL
    By Rainbow Rowell
    (2013) 

    Cath is starting college on un-easy footing. Her twin sister, Wren, has decided they need to live in separate dorms, leaving Cath trapped with only an exceptionally acerbic roommate and the comfort of her favorite book series (and the hugely popular fanfic site she runs) to keep her company. And then of course there’s her roommate’s ex – the floppy-haired Levi, who insists on pushing Cath out of her comfort zone. If 2020 has you wanting to read something light, I cannot recommend FANGIRL enough. This is rom-com turned coming-of-age story with chapters of Cath’s fanfic scattered throughout. This is one of those books that sounds like it won’t work, but all the different elements come together beautifully. 

     

    11.9 The Night CircusTHE NIGHT CIRCUS
    By Erin Morgenstern
    (2011) 

    In a 20th-century circus, which mysteriously arrives and disappears by night, a girl named Celia, the magician’s daughter, is caught in a magical battle against the apprentice of a rival magician. As Celia and the boy, Marco, sharpen their magical skills over the years, they are propelled towards two inevitable results – their epic battle of magic will kill one of them, and they will surely fall in love. As a reader who is usually adverse to fantasy, I was caught up in the world of this novel from the very first page. THE NIGHT CIRCUS is an enchanting and rapture-filled historical setting for a dramatic fantasy to take place. Perhaps one of the most famous NaNoWriMo books, THE NIGHT CIRCUS is an obvious first-read for someone wanting to get caught up in a dramatic setting.   

     

    11.9 Anna and the French KissANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS
    By Stephanie Perkins
    (2010) 

    Were you, like so many, disappointed by EMILY IN PARIS? The remedy comes in the form of ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS. 17-year-old Anna Oliphant has big plans for her senior year until her romance novelist father ships her off to boarding school in Paris, France. Though she is at first unhappy about spending her senior year abroad, she quickly becomes enchanted with Parisienne life and with a boy named St. Clair – the only problem? St. Clair has a girlfriend. This is a perfect escapist novel for when you want some romance, a happy ending, and a reminder that home is people, not a place. 

     

    11.9 With Fire on HighWITH THE FIRE ON HIGH
    By Elizabeth Acevedo
    (2019) 

    Emoni Santiago has a lot on her plate. She’s a senior in high school, a single mother to a two-year-old daughter, works part-time, and still manages to carve out time to do what she loves most – making near-magical dishes in the kitchen that transport her diners. With high school drawing to a close, Emoni signs up for an elective culinary arts class her senior year that will bring her one step closer to the path she wants to be on, but makes her uncertain how she will continue to care for her daughter. This is an introspective and touching novel from an author who won a Printz medal and National Book Award for her debut novel. Though this book is anything but light reading, it is a stunning and steadfast look at growing up and figuring out life.

     
  •  Writing

    The best writers are, first and foremost, readers. Books inspire their readers to walk away with some new idea that morphs their way of thinking. In some cases, those ideas lead to the desire to write your own tale. But where do you start? 

    You can spend your days pouring over all the New York Times Bestsellers that you can get your hands on, but at a certain point, a new writer needs to focus on the principles of writing. It takes practice to perfect your plot, dialogue and character development. These books will help you get started and learn a few lessons about how to take your next steps as a writer. 

    3.27 Reading Like a WriterREADING LIKE A WRITER: A GUIDE FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE BOOKS AND FOR THOSE WHO WANT TO WRITE THEM
    By Francine Prose
    (2006)

    This book looks at well-known authors and analyzes their writing styles and devices. Prose discusses the elements of style of writers including Flannery O’Conner, Jane Austen, and John Le Carre. Rather than teaching how to write, this book focuses more on developing the writer mindset—to look at books critically and to consider how an author shapes their book. Read this book to practice your observation skills and take that first step towards your creating your own content. 

     

    3.27 On WritingON WRITING
    By Stephen King
    (2000)

    Stephen King is one of the most prolific modern writers. You could say he has writing down to a science. One method he uses to create good content is to write every single day, even if it’s garbage, even on Christmas or vacation. In this book about his experiences and advice on the writing process, King does not hold back from telling us exactly what he thinks every writer must do. He offers readers nothing less than tough love. That being said, before you dive into this book, you should be aware that his language isn’t exactly clean. If you aren’t comfortable with the strong words he uses in his fiction, this book may not be for you. 

     

    3.27 The War of ArtTHE WAR OF ART: BREAK THROUGH THE BLOCKS & WIN YOUR INNER CREATIVE BATTLES
    By Steven Pressfield
    (2012)

    Though similar, this book is not to be confused with Sun Tzu’s famous book, THE ART OF WAR. Pressfield teaches method to combat the resistance in your mind that stops you from creating. We all have our own internal road blocks that stop us from writing content freely and honestly. Reading this book will give you definitive tools to beat down the enemies keeping you from your craft. 

     

    3.27 Story GeniusSTORY GENIUS: HOW TO USE BRAIN SCIENCE TO GO BEYOND OUTLING AND WRITE A RIVETING NOVEL
    By Lisa Cron
    (2016)

    It’s not often the first reaction of creatives to look at writing next to scientific research, but Cron does so in an easy-to-understand way. She provides blueprints and tells us what really works, based off her experience as a Creative Writing teacher and the science behind why people are drawn to stories. This book is a system that walks you through the process of creating a character-driven story.

     
  • Writing 

    I have wanted to be a writer since I was a little girl and was constantly making up stories inside my head before I even knew how to speak. It all started before I even picked up a book or had a general idea what the concept of “writing” really was. The craft of story was constantly calling out to me, even if I didn’t understand it back then.

    I’m sure many of you may sympathize with this. Perhaps you fell in love with a certain book so much you’d love to make a masterpiece like that for yourself. Maybe you find sentences lovely or certain adjectives exciting. To non-writers this may seem odd, but don’t worry, you’re safe to be odd here. I’ll be the first to admit I am a complete word-nerd.

    But the trouble is I’m also a student, which means writing has this odd dichotomy inside of me as an activity of complete enjoyment and also that boring assignment due next week. Sometimes, as I stare at my screen, I get overwhelmed with how much I don’t know or how much there is left to do. Writing is hard and, more than often, I need inspiration to pick up a pen and feel like I am truly working towards something.

    So here, as my gift to you, are books from writers to writers that will again renew inside of you that spark. 

    11.08 On WritingON WRITING: A MEMIOR OF THE CRAFT
    By Stephen King
    (2000)

    This is the first writing book I ever read, back in high school when I was fearful of the advice the book may contain because it was by Stephen King. Surely the man woke up with the genius to write his famous works. Yet, when I began to read, I found that King presented himself as any other human. There were his struggles, his disappointments, and also his highlights. This living legend is actually just a human with loads of ambition. He covers aspect of his life and also goes deeply into what he has learned are successful tools for any writer.

     

    11.08 Bird by BirdBIRD BY BIRD: SOME INSTRUCTIONS ON WRITING AND LIFE
    By Anne Lamott
    (1994)

    The advice begins with a story of Lamott’s father, also a writer, and gives the book its name. She writes, “Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, ‘Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.’” If you are overwhelmed by writing, pick up Bird by Bird for some inspiration on how to pace yourself.

     

    11.08 Of Other WorldsOF OTHER WORLDS: ESSAYS AND STORIES
    By C. S. Lewis
    (1994)

    C.S. Lewis, another of the greats, takes a different approach in this book than many others. Rather than explaining what the tools of a great writer are, he focuses on the importance wonder within a story, which was largely critiqued when he was writing. Speculative fiction writers should take notice of this volume as Lewis writes about his favorite stories and why readers particularly like them. On top of all of this, he adds stories of his own, including insights from his most famous works. This collection is truly a celebration of fantasy.

     

    11.08 Dear AllyDEAR ALLY, HOW DO YOU WRITE A BOOK?
    By Ally Carter
    (2019)

    After receiving numerous emails from teens, YA writer Ally Carter discovered that not only do teens have great questions about writing, they are also extremely passionate about the craft. Carter admits “how to write books” helped her when she was first starting out and felt she needed to send out a call to all teens to email their major writing questions. This book is a collection of those questions and Carter’s answers in an attempt to help writers, especially teen writers. Queries and answers range from, “how do I begin a story?” to, “what do I do now that I’ve finished?” and everything in between.