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November is National Novel Writers Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. 

The annual celebration began in 1999 with a challenge to all aspiring writers: to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days. Now, each year in November, people around the world write with a determination to end the month with a first draft. 

NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.

Whether you need the courage to get started or you’re struggling with a writing project, here are some of the best books on how to become a better writer or how to get unstuck when you’re in a rut. They address the process and craft of writing including finding your voice, developing characters, structuring a plot, and the art of revision.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life

by Anne Lamott

For a quarter century, more than a million readers—scribes and scribblers of all ages and abilities—have been inspired by Anne Lamott’s hilarious, big-hearted, homespun advice.

On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction

by William Zinsser

Whether you want to write about people or places, science and technology, business, sports, the arts or about yourself in the increasingly popular memoir genre, On Writing Well offers you fundamental principles as well as the insights of a distinguished writer and teacher.

Elements of Fiction

by Walter Mosley

In a series of conversational and instructive chapters, Walter Mosley breaks down the art of fiction to its most essential elements: character and character development, plot and story, voice and narrative, context and description.

Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel

by Lisa Cron

This writing guide reveals how to use cognitive storytelling strategies to build a scene-by-scene blueprint for a riveting story.

On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft

by Stephen King

Part memoir, part master class by one of the bestselling authors of all time, this volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have.

The Writing Life: Ideas and Inspiration for Anyone Who Wants To Write

by Natalie Goldberg and Julia Cameron

Join these two creative giants open the door to the writer’s world for everybody. Goldberg and Cameron take us inside their personal lives as committed writers and spiritual seekers The Writing Life is an invitation to a life-transforming act that requires no more than a pen, some paper, and the will to get started.

Several Short Sentences About Writing

by Verlyn Klinkenborg

An indispensable and distinctive book that will help anyone who wants to write, write better, or have a clearer understanding of what it means for them to be writing, from widely admired writer and teacher Verlyn Klinkenborg.

Refuse to Be Done: How to Write and Rewrite a Novel in Three Drafts

by Matt Bell

An encouraging and intensely practical guide, focusing on specific rewriting tasks, techniques, and activities to guide you through the first page of the first draft of your novel through to the finished book.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within

by Natalie Goldberg

With insight, humor, and practicality, Natalie Goldberg offers suggestions, encouragement, and solid advice on many aspects of the writer’s craft: on writing, on listening, on using verbs, on overcoming doubts, and more.

Good Prose: The Art of Nonfiction

by Tracy Kidder and Richard Todd

The authors share stories from their literary friendship and respective careers, offering insight into writing principles and mechanics that they have identified as elementary to quality prose.

Mastering the Process: From Idea to Novel

by Elizabeth George

 Elizabeth George takes us behind the scenes and into each step of her writing process, revealing exactly what it takes to craft a novel.

Write a Must-Read: Craft a Book That Changes Lives, Including Your Own

by AJ Harper

When you learn how to put your reader first at every stage of book development, writing, and editing, you can create the connection and trust required to transform their lives. In these pages, Harper reveals the proven methods and frameworks to write and edit perennial bestsellers. 

The Art of Memoir

by Mary Karr

The best-selling author and Syracuse University professor builds on her memoirs and literary anecdotes to outline her personal writing process while identifying the elements of a successful memoir. 

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