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Writing Resources for NaNoWriMo


Every November, all across the globe, writers ranging from amateur to expert try to meet ambitious word-count goals as part of National Novel Writing Month. Here at HCPL, we offer a wide variety of resources, programs, and work spaces to support your creative endeavors through NaNoWriMo and beyond.

For the wisdom and encouragement of established writers, try:

Ursula K. LeGuin: Conversations on Writing by Ursula K. Le Guin – In a series of interviews conducted by David Naimon, acclaimed science fiction writer Le Guin describes the elements of sound writing for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry.

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee – Over the course of an essay collection tracing the development of his identity as a person and a writer, Chee blends craft advice, demonstration of his storytelling prowess, and careful consideration of the world around him.

The “Art Of” series from Graywolf Press – Each book in this series is written by a different author, relating what they know about how to address difficult themes that recur in their own work. HCPL currently offers The Art of Intimacy by Stacey D’Erasmo, The Art of Death by Edwidge Danticat, The Art of Time in Memoir by Sven Birkert, and The Art of Description by Mark Doty.

Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative by Jane Alison – Alison considers the shapes a story can take in an effort to help writers see alternatives to traditional plot structures, both by reinterpreting the work of past authors and by encouraging readers to approach their own work with a sense of possibility. This is a powerful, practical reminder that a single story can be told in innumerable ways.

Daemon Voices: on Stories and Storytelling by Phillip Pullman – Fantasy authors hoping to reach readers of all ages might be particularly drawn to these essays from the creator of the His Dark Materials trilogy.

The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults by Cheryl B. Klein – Exercises and advice provide support for authors specifically seeking to reach young readers.

Elements of Fiction by Walter Mosley – Mosley lays out what it takes to develop a distinctive voice, build an immersive story, and move through stages of the writing process with those ultimate goals in mind.

Thrill Me: Essays on Fiction by Benjamin Percy – Percy collapses distinctions between “genre fiction” and “literary fiction” to present what he sees as the components of a good story, well told.

For tips on project management, try:

Finishing School: The Happy Ending to that Writing Project You Can’t Seem to Get Done by Cary Tennis and Danielle Morton – Writers offer tried and true tips for identifying and working through creative blocks so you can transform ideas into word count and see a project through.

For guidance about the business side of writing, try:

Scratch: Writers, Money, and the Art of Making a Living ed. by Manjula Martin – Essays by multiple authors tackle the realities of writing and publishing, discussing how they make money and how they make art.

Children’s Writers and Illustrators Market ed. by Cris Freese and Robert Lee Brewer – This annual comprehensive guide to the children’s publishing industry offers information on trends, agents, publishers, and how contemporary children’s writers got where they are.

The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide to Staying Out of the Rejection Pile by Noah Lukeman – Lukeman catalogs publishing pitfalls and offers exercises to help writers avoid them.

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