To help out all of our budding author’s this National Novel Writing Month, we asked all of our librarians across the city for some of their best recommendations of books, online resources and more:
Paul and Zoe recommend Bird by bird : some instructions on writing and life / Anne Lamott.
“If you have ever wondered what it takes to be a writer, what it means to be a writer, what the contents of your school lunches said about what your parents were really like, this books for you. From faith, love, and grace to pain, jealousy, and fear, Lamott insists that you keep your eves open, and then shows you how to survive. And always, from the life of the artist she turns to the art of life.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)
Both Fiona and Debbie suggested The exercise book : creative writing exercises from Victoria University’s Institute of Modern Letters / edited by Bill Manhire … [et al.].
“Writers of all skill levels can give their minds a work-out with this extensive book of writing prompts and exercises. Brimming with stimulating trigger ideas, the exercises help readers explore the nuts and bolts of the craft, from poetry and short fiction to scriptwriting, while helping to find inspiration everywhere.” (Syndetics summary) So obviously this one must be good!
Monty’s suggested you check out On writing / Charles Bukowski ; edited by Abel Debritto.
“Sharp and moving reflections and ruminations on the artistry and craft of writing from one of our most iconoclastic, riveting, and celebrated masters. In this collection of correspondence, letters to publishers, editors, friends, and fellow writers-the writer shares his insights on the art of creation. On Writing reveals an artist brutally frank about the drudgery of work and canny and uncompromising about the absurdities of life, and of art.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)
Jess & Celeste, both Stephen King fans suggested On writing : a memoir of the craft / by Stephen King
“Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, Stephen King’s critically lauded, classic bestseller shares the experiences, habits, and convictions that have shaped him and his work. Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have.” (Adapted Syndetics summary)
Celeste also rated the Goodreads list ‘Best Books on Writing’ which (suprise suprise) has Stephen King’s memoir as number 1!
If you’re like Jess and eBooks are your thing, make sure you check out the collection of Writings on Writings that she put together for you. Just download the Libby App or visit the Overdrive webpage to get started.
Paul had a bunch of suggestions for you, take a look at:
The writer’s journey : mythic structure for writers / Christopher Vogler.
“The updated and revised third edition provides new insights and observations from Vogler’s ongoing work on mythology’s influence on stories, movies, and man himself. The previous two editons of this book have sold over 180,000 units, making this book a ‘classic’ for screenwriters, writers, and novelists.” (Syndetics summary)
And Zen in the art of writing / Ray Bradbury.
“Bradbury, all charged up, drunk on life, joyous with writing, puts together nine past essays on writing and creativity and discharges every ounce of zest and gusto in him.” — Kirkus Reviews. “Zen and the Art of Writing is purely and simply Bradbury’s love song to his craft.” — Los Angeles Times” (Syndetics summary)
And The Paris review : interviews, I / with an introduction by Philip Gourevitch.
“How do great writers it? The Paris Review has elicited some of the most revelatory and revealing thoughts from the literary masters of our age. For more than half a century, the magazine has spoken with most of our leading novelists, poets, and playwrights, and the interviews themselves have come to be recognized as classic works of literature, an essential and definitive record of the writing life.” (Syndetics summary)
And Tim, a former NaNoWriMo survivor swears by writemonkey.com. It’s a minimalist text editor which goes full screen so you don’t have any distractions. He used it for all his incredible poetry and clever short stories. His other recommendation for would be to throw one’s phone down the back of the couch.