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How many of us have “write a novel” on our bucket lists but can never seem to find the time? This year can be different. That’s because November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and there’s an entire organization dedicated to helping you write 50,000 words before the end of November. NaNoWriMo has author pep talks, progress trackers, tools for managing characters, and even a space dedicated to young writers.

We’ve compiled 15 books from the Fort Worth Public Library’s collection to inspire your writing, give guidance, and help you through those inevitable periods of writer’s block. Click the links below to check out electronic or physical copies of each book. 

We don’t need to wait until January and a list of New Year’s Resolutions to start working towards our goals. Get inspired and start writing your story today! 

 

Stephen King's book On Writing


Stephen King,
On Writing 

One of the most prolific writers of our time shares his thoughts on the craft of writing, as well as his process for turning ideas into stories. Deeply engaging, this book feels like sitting down to coffee with a world-renowned author. 

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Anne Lamott's book Bird By Bird


Anne Lamott,
Bird by Bird 

Funny, empathetic, and insightful, Anne Lamott remembers what it was like to be a young, idealistic—and broke—writer. She shares her advice for other writers in this approachable memoir. 

Checkout Now:   Overdrive eBooks     On the Shelf 

 

 

Trish Hall's book Writing to Persuade


Trish Hall,
Writing to Persuade 

The former editor of the New York Times Op-Ed page shares what she learned from years of wading through other people’s writing. Even if you aren’t writing an opinion piece, the step-by-step guides she includes are infinitely helpful to any NaNoWriMo writer. 

Checkout Now:   Overdrive eBooks     On the Shelf 

 

 

Dan Gutman's book My Weird Writing Tips can help young NaNoWriMo writers.


Dan Gutman,
My Weird Writing Tips 

This guide is geared towards writers in grades 2-5 and helps kids master writing in a fun way. The author of the My Weird School series uses his wacky humor to engage young writers and teach storytelling basics.

Checkout Now:   Overdrive eBooks     On the Shelf

 

 

John McPhee's book Draft No. 4


John McPhee,
Draft No. 4

A Princeton writing professor and longtime essayist for The New Yorker shares his guidance for structure, tone, and word choice. Draft No. 4 uses a series of McPhee’s essays to explore examples of writing that works (and doesn’t). 

Checkout Now:   Overdrive eBooks  

 

 

  Many NaNoWriMo writers swear by Jessica Brody's book Save the Cat! Writes a Novel
Jessica Brody, Save the Cat! Writes a Novel 

This book is geared towards first-time novel writers and reveals the 15 plot points all successful novels have. Many NaNoWriMo writers swear by this book’s ability to help them structure and improve their novels. 

Checkout Now:   Overdrive eBooks     On the Shelf  

 

 

Storyville, an Illustrated Guide to Writing Fiction


John Dufresne,
Storyville! An Illustrated Guide to Writing Fiction 

When you’re tired of reading and writing, this illustrated guide might help. Its prompts, exercises, and humor will help guide new writers through the strenuous process of writing fiction. 

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Jane Cleland, Mastering Suspense, Structure & Plot

A craft book on how to build suspense into any book. Even if you’re not writing a mystery, the author’s Plot Map is a useful tool for writers to plan out their story and add plot elements. 

Checkout Now:    On the Shelf

 

 

 


Randy Ingermanson & Peter Economy,
Writing Fiction for Dummies 

Don’t let the title throw you off. Unlike some of the “for Dummies” series, this book is truly useful for new and experienced writers alike. The authors offer four different approaches to writing a novel, allowing you to pick which one works the best for you. 

Checkout Now  On the Shelf 

 

 

 

Denise Jaden is a twice-successful NaNoWriMo writer and shares her tips in her book Fast Fiction.


Denise Jaden,
Fast Fiction 

Written by a fellow NaNoWriMo participant, Jaden details how she actually wrote a 50,000-word draft in a month—not once, but twice! She shares advice for getting words on the page, editing later, and determining how good your draft is. 

Checkout Now:    On the Shelf 

 

 

 

Janet Burroway, Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft 

A classic in the genre and one of the most-used writing textbooks in America. The book provides specific examples, fun prompts, and intriguing writing exercises, along with complete short stories to illustrate the techniques discussed in each chapter. 

Checkout Now:    On the Shelf 

 

 

 


John Truby,
The Anatomy of Story: 22 Steps to Becoming a Master Storyteller 

Truby is a screenwriter-director-teacher whose students have gone on to write Hollywood hits like Shrek and Sleepless in Seattle. He shares 22 key elements of any story and the crucial relationship between plot and structure, all of which are easily adaptable to any writing.

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Courtney Maum,
Before and After the Book Deal

A funny, candid, truly useful guide for new writers who want to get published. From dealing with imposter syndrome to not annoying your editor, this book answers the questions we’re too afraid to ask. You’ll find yourself returning to this book again and again throughout your career. 

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Lisa Cron,
Story Genius

Using neuroscience, this book outlines how humans are hardwired for stories and shares useful tips for how writers can create realistic characters readers relate to.

Checkout Now:   Audiobook

 

 

 


Dani Shapiro,
Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life 

If you want someone to commiserate with about the hardships and amazing beauty of being a writer, this book is for you. Part memoir, part advice, Shapiro elegantly shares the lessons she’s learned over 20 years of writing. 

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