NaNoWriMo#2: The Craft

Welcome to Part #2 of my NaNoWriMo series. We are now nine days into NaNoWriMo, and at roughly 2,000 words a day, you should have written about 18,000 words. Are you keeping pace? Need help?

Then have no fear, I have my Top Five Books on How to Write Good* for your reading/ learning pleasure.

5. Ok, I can hear you thinking, “Hey this isn’t about writing!” but stay with me. What do improv artists do? Create characters, right? And put them in different situations? What do writers do? Hmm…sounds like the same thing to me. This book will help you flesh out your characters development and deepen your scenes. Granted, it may be not be the best book to reference if you are writing a history of slavery or concentration camps, but it should still work in most other genres. Plus, it’s just fun to read. Go ahead - think outside the box with me.

4. Maass is a long time literary agent who has read his share of manuscripts. The biggest problem he’s seen is that many manuscripts are flat and emotionless. The plot is good, but nothing about it makes the reader connect and care. This book is designed to help writers fix this issue. Each chapter targets a specific aspect of emotion, from Telling vs. Showing, to the Character Arc, to the Reader’s Journey. Maass also provides exercises so that you can target your characters directly. I thought this one was very helpful.

3. Rejection is a part of life. If you are, or are trying to be, a writer it’s going to be a large part. Morrell is a developmental editor who spends her life reading manuscripts, and she offers insight as to why she might reject something. Each chapter covers a different topic like conflict or language use and each section features Deal Breakers. How helpful is that? This gives writers a chance to adjust their manuscripts and correct these errors before submitting their work. This book is also awesome because Morrell provides lots of other resource books. It is worth reading just for that.

2. The beginning of your novel is very important. Whether you’re trying to pitch your book to agents/ publishers or just trying to convince someone to read it, you have to get them interested early and keep them entertained throughout. Jeff teaches several workshops across the country each year that focus on writing gripping fiction. He also has a title called Write Your Novel in a Month, which I think would be most helpful here. We have this ebook on Overdrive, or you can request a print copy of both books through Interlibrary Loan. I didn’t always agree with his advice, but overall Gerke is a good teacher.

1. This guy is a little crazy and this book is the best one I’ve read on writing so far. This guy is an ex-con (and very open about his past) who now teaches writing. After reading, I started following his tweets and he’s edgy and hilarious. Here’s an example: “When a woman says, ‘Do what you want’ – seriously dude, don’t do what you want. Stand still as a statue. No blinking. Play dead.” Edgerton also writes fiction books, so he knows what he’s talking about. If you only read one book in all of the writing books I’m recommending in this series, this is the one to read. Your writing will thank me.

Happy writing… :) Amanda *Yes, I know this is not grammatically correct. I made an artistic choice.

PS If you are participating in NaNoWriMo, check out their website for more details and to chat with folks who are writing with you. You can also check out all the events still to come during NPL's celebration of NaNoWriMo.

If you missed it, my here's my previous, incredibly inspiring NaNoWriMo post. Stay tuned for one final 2017 NaNoWriMo post from me that talks about what to do once your masterpiece is finished...

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