Are you ready to WRIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITE? It's almost time for NaNoWriMo. Let's do this thing!
NaNoWriMo begins on November 1. For those of you who don’t know, that stands for National Novel Writing Month, and everyone is encouraged to take the “30 days has November” and write the great – or at least readable – American novel. In order to provide love and support and guidance during the upcoming adventure, I offer you my Top Five Favorite Books about Writing by Famous Writing People.
#5: Martin is the founder of Scratch magazine and this book is a collection of essays by big name authors like Austin Kleon (Newspaper Blackout), Cheryl Strayed (Wild), and Jennifer Weiner (Good in Bed). Honestly, this is kind of a wake-up call for anyone wanting to be a writer of any kind. To sum it up in one sentence, I would say: “Don’t quit your day job.” Once you get past this scariness, the book was very honest and helpful about what to expect in the publishing world. Consider this one a good dose of reality medicine.
#4: I’ve been a big fan of Weiner ever since I read her first book, Good in Bed. I think it’s because she writes about real-sized women who eat more than carrots and lettuce. Now, if you’re expecting Hungry Heart to be like her fiction books, then maybe you should skip this one. Weiner is a self-proclaimed liberal feminist and she is anything but quiet about it. This book also digs into her troubled relationship with her father and how that inspired her writing. Her politics and mine don’t necessarily mesh, but I still think this is a valuable book about writing. (PS Her essay in #5, Scratch draws heavily on this material.)
#3: I first read Scalzi’s Red Shirts back when we were still doing the Popmatic Podcast, and I really enjoyed his style. Plus you have to admit that’s a great title. This book was basically awesome. Scalzi has this snarky, honest voice that you can tell comes from a land of vast experience. He doesn’t pull any punches, which is super helpful to know now before you get too deep into the world of writing. Not a lot of actionable points about how to be a better writer, but loads of information on what to expect if you are crazy enough to try. Definitely don’t skip this one.
#2: This book is probably one of the most referenced when talking about writing books by writers. I’m not the biggest fan of Mr. King’s fiction writing, but I do appreciate his wit and wisdom. As usual, Uncle Stevie delivers here. His book is more insightful than actionable, but that’s a good thing. King is the highest selling author on this list, and he makes good points for those of us just starting off. Here’s an example: “You learn the best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.” Even if you don’t read horror books, read this one and respect the craft.
#1: It’s been a few years since I read this one, but even so I still remember how much I enjoyed reading it. My first exposure to L’Engle was in fifth grade, when our class was banned from reading her A Wrinkle in Time. So of course, I read it (with my dad’s permission). I can’t say I loved it – in fact just thinking about the big brain scenes makes me feel claustrophobic to this day. But this one is very different from Wrinkle and it is very well written. If you are a creative type – writing, art, music, whatever - and haven’t read this book yet, stop what you are doing and come check out our copy. Your writing will thank me.
Check out all the NaNoWriMo events at NPL and then tune in next time for my "Top Five Books on How to Write Good" and we'll discuss the craft of writing.
Happy getting ready to write… :) Amanda