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  • Writer's pictureNora Curry

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

Have a story that's just itching to get out, but you don't know where to start? Not quite ready to go it alone? The time for you is now, then, because November is National Novel Writing Month! Known for short as NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month has been celebrated each November since 1999 as a way of lighting the fire under writers of all ages to get a novel of any shade or stripe written (in some shape or form) in thirty days and to bring together the support of a writing community for collective inspiration. The official goal is to write 50,000 words toward that novel, but writing of any kind and to any extent can be embraced during these thirty days. It can be daunting to feel a creative energy burning but not have the focus, time, or energy to devote to a masterpiece, but fear not! Did you know that Erin Morgenstern's beloved debut The Night Circus was written as a draft one year for NaNoWriMo? Or Rainbow Rowell's young adult success Fangirl? While many libraries and bookstores often host write-ins during this month, a lot of communities have also become virtual over the years, especially during the pandemic, making them accessible to many. If you're looking for inspiration, though, we have it in abundance. Check out the reading list below for writing resources (including guides, tips, and handbooks), writers writing on their craft, novels about novelists, and successful novels written during NaNoWriMo. Then see where the writing spirit moves you! The shelves of libraries don't get filled without people trying their pen to the page. If you're feeling the weight of writer's block or just feeling timid, get reading (and writing!) below. Click on links to request or read more about each book in our catalog.

Novels Written (or begun) During NaNoWriMo

With the Fire on High, Elizabeth Acevedo

Water for Elephants, Sarah Gruen

The Wedding Date, Jasmine Guillory

Evvie Drake Starts Over, Linda Holmes

Wool, High Howey

Cinder, Marissa Meyer

The Night Circus, Erin Morgenstern

Side Effects May Vary, Julie Murphy

Trail of Lightning, Rebecca Roanhorse

Fangirl, Rainbow Rowell

Novels Featuring Novelists (who are trying to write the darn things)

Little Women, Louisa May Alcott

No Words, Meg Cabot

Once Upon a Wardrobe, Patti Callahan

Bar Harbor Retirement Home for Famous Writers (and Their Muses), Terri Lynne DeFino

Beach Read, Emily Henry

The Night She Disappeared, Lisa Jewell

Dear Mr. M, Herman Koch

Misery, Stephen King

The Plot, Jean Hanff Korelitz

10:04, Ben Lerner

The Thirteenth Tale, Diane Setterfield

Blinding Light, Paul Theroux

Writing Resources (and writers on their craft)

The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts: easy exercises to get you writing, Martha Alderson

Negotiating with the Dead: a writer on writing, Margaret Atwood

Barking with the Big Dogs: on writing and reading books for children, Natalie Babbitt

No Plot? No Problem!: a low-stress, high-velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days, Chris Baty

Ready, set, novel!: plan and plot your upcoming masterpiece, Chris Baty

Writing and Selling Your Novel, Jack M. Bickham

Why I Write: thoughts on the craft of fiction, ed. Will Blythe

Save the Cat! Writes a Novel: the last book on novel writing you’ll ever need, Jessica Brody

Bryson’s Dictionary for Writers and Editors, Bill Bryson

From Where You Dream: the process of writing fiction, Robert Olen Butler

Characters and Viewpoint, Orson Scott Card

The Art of X-Ray Reading: how the secrets of 25 great works of literature will improve your writing, Roy Peter Clark

Wired for Story, Lisa Cron

The Merry Heart: reflections on reading, writing, and the world of books, Robertson Davies

The Writing Life, Annie Dillard

Pep Talks for Writers: 52 insights and actions to boost your creative mojo, Grant Faulkner

Write Away: one novelist’s approach to fiction and the writing life, Elizabeth George

Worlds of Wonder: how to write science fiction & fantasy, David Gerrold

Writing Down the Bones: freeing the writer within, Natalie Goldberg

The Storytelling Animal: how stories make us human, Jonathan Gottschall

Plotting and Writing Suspense Fiction, Patricia Highsmith

On Writing: a memoir of the craft, Stephen King

Bird By Bird: some instructions on writing and life, Anne Lamott

The Poets & Writers Complete Guide to Being a Writer: everything you need to know to about craft, inspiration, agents, editors, publishing and the business of building a sustainable writing career, Kevin Larimer & Mary Gannon

Conversations on Writing, Ursula K. LeGuin

Book Publishing 101, Martha Maeda

The Kite and the String: how to write with spontaneity and controland live to tell the tale, Alice Mattison

Before and After the Book Deal: a writer’s guide to finishing, publishing, promoting, and surviving your first book, Courtney Maum

Letters to a Young Writer: some practical and philosophical advice, Colum McCann

What About the Baby?: some thoughts on the art of fiction, Alice McDermott

Light the Dark: writers on creativity, inspiration, and the artistic process, ed. Doug McLean

Draft No. 4: on the writing process, John McPhee

The Story Cure: a book doctor’s pain-free guide to finishing your novel or memoir, Dinty W. Moore

Between the Lines: master the subtle elements of fiction writing, Jessica Page Morrell

Elements of Fiction, Walter Mosley

This Year You Write Your Novel, Walter Mosley

Consider This: moments in my writing life after which everything was different, Chuck Palahniuk

Daemon Voices: on stories and storytelling, Philip Pullman

The Storytellers: straight talk from the world’s most acclaimed suspense and thriller authors, Mark Rubenstein

The Last Draft: a novelist’s guide to revision, Sandra Jean Scofield

13 Ways of Looking at the Novel, Jane Smiley

Writing Without Rules, Jeff Somers

Curious Attractions: essays on writing, Debra Spark

Bleaker House: chasing my novel to the end of the world, Nell Stevens

The Pocket Muse: ideas & inspirations for writing, Monica Wood

The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, Writer’s Digest

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