That’s right, friends, NaNoWriMo or the National Novel Writing Month, is here again. Every November, aspiring writers from around the country sharpen their pencils, charge their laptops, and get ready to write the Great American Novel in a month.
Sound hard? It is.
So I’d like to share a couple of books that I think might help anyone attempting this colossal feat.
I don’t know about you, but I like my stories to be funny, and Kaplan’s book is a goldmine of ways to accomplish hilarity. When you think about it – what do most stand-up comedians do? That’s right – tell stories. (If you said tell dumb jokes, there might be a pie in your face in the near future. Just let me check The Three Stooges Rule Book...) This book was so good, I managed to polish it off in two days. Kaplan provides great examples culled from real life pop culture. His movie tastes might not have completely aligned with mine, but I was familiar enough to get where he was going. If you’re trying to write anything that is the least bit funny, this book will be a huge help.
But Amanda? How can I even come up with an idea for a novel? Well, I’m glad you asked.
This book delineates 10 improv secrets to help novelists come up with story ideas. Did you ever watch Who’s Line is It Anyway? or SCTV? Those games they play/skits they do? This book is like that, but for writers. Improv actor and children’s television writer, Marie shows us how we can generate creative ideas by using the tools she learned in improv school. I must admit that the book is not super fun to just read straight through. It’s almost more like a workbook. But if you need help coming up with ideas, building plots, or developing characters, then you need to check this book out.
How about one more that’s not specifically about writing?
The subtitle for this one is “Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity.” I’d put it somewhere between the two I just mentioned. It has great exercises to do (some involve coloring – please photocopy those pages before you participate with a library book), but her writing is sound as well. Can I just say I love Felicia Day? The Guild. Dr. Horrible. Chick is funny. And smart too. In the book, she claims to be seduced by math formulas. Thinks they are fun. Who does that? (besides my CPA brother). Even though it’s not specifically about writing, I think this book would open up your creative brain to all kinds of new ideas that would make your masterpiece totally rock. I say dig in!
If you’ve already started your masterpiece, make sure you connect with your new tribe over at NaNoWriMo.org. You can log in and keep track of your word count, earn writing badges, and chat with folks who know exactly what you’re going through because they are doing it too. Also, check out the library’s webpage to see what NaNo events are happening locally.
Ok, now get back to work. You’ve got a daily word count to meet.