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November is for Novelists

Bathing the cat seems easy when the alternative is sitting down and starting a novel. Even when we have a story in our head demanding to be told, getting it out of your head and onto the page feels daunting for the sheer number of choices you face. 

One very good reason to take part in National Novel Writing Month is that it’s an excellent cure for the paralysis of perfectionism. It's okay and even traditional to write terrible first drafts--that's how they're supposed to be. The exhilaration of a wild verbal dash to the finish can free up the flow of words between your head and fingers when nothing else works. Once you start, don’t stop. Time enough to revise and refine later.

And once November is over? Below is a list of writing books to help you turn your literary wild child into a civilized adult book.

  • elements of style bookcover

The Elements of Style
William Strunk
808.042 STRUNK 2017

Do you have sentences so out of control that not even you understand what you meant to say? Strunk and White's  clear stylistic advice will never steer you wrong. 


  • bird by bird bookcover

Bird by Bird
Anne Lamott

808.02 LAMOTT

A sometimes cynical, frequently hilarious guide on writing fiction. Lamott stresses three things: There is no substitute for writing daily, write terrible first drafts, and even big projects are written in small increments.  

(You don't think that Tolstoy just sat down one day and whipped out War and Peace, do you?)


  • fiction-writing modes bookcover

Fiction-Writing Modes
Mike Klaasen
808.3 KLASSE

Helps beginning novelists build solid writing skills, while helping experienced writers to become better ones.



  • writing down the bones bookcover

Writing Down the Bones
Natalie Goldberg
808.02 GOLDBER 2016

Goldberg’s now classic book’s biggest contribution are all the suggested exercises that make you want to write. Like Anne Lamott, Natalie Goldberg stresses the importance of writing daily.



    you are a writer bookcover

You Are A Writer (So Start Acting Like One)
Jeff Goins
808.02 GOINS

Jeff Goins claimed the title of writer for himself, and urges his readers to do the same thing. The book is a no-nonsense guide for writers concerning overcoming self-doubt and what it takes to be a writer in the 21st century.


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