Plano Writes: Finding Your Voice

November is National Novel Writing Month! Embark on a literary journey of self-discovery with Plano Public Library.

Join us at Schimelpfenig Library for The Write Workshop on Saturdays throughout November 2021 for ideas and inspiration. Presented by a published author, these four workshops will help you improve your story by creating well-rounded characters and putting them in engaging conflicts. Whether or not you’re taking the NaNoWriMo challenge, explore new ways of approaching your writing.

On November 6, 2021, library staff will present on the topic of Wants versus Needs. Learn about a character’s internal and external motivations, bring their internal needs to the forefront, and place wants and needs in opposition to each other.

Upcoming classes:

  • Wants versus Needs || Saturday, November 6, 2021 | 10am | Schimelpfenig Library
  • Active Hero || Saturday, November 13, 2021 | 10am | Schimelpfenig Library
  • Characters in Conflict || Saturday, November 20, 2021 | 10am | Schimelpfenig Library
  • Finishing the Arc || Saturday, November 27, 2021 | 10am | Schimelpfenig Library

View all of our Fall 2021 programs online.


We’re highlighting library materials to help you on your writing journey throughout the month. As you embark into your 2021 NaNoWriMo novel, you are engaging in the timeless tradition of storytelling. Whether narrated aloud, drawn or written in a book, stories have existed since the beginning of humanity itself. Expand the scope of your narration with some suggested resources from the Plano Public Library Collection.


The Way of the Writer: Reflections on the Art and Craft of Storytelling by Charles Johnson

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Organized into six accessible, easy-to-navigate sections, The Way of the Writer is both a literary reflection on the creative impulse and a utilitarian guide to the writing process. Johnson shares his lessons and exercises from the classroom, starting with word choice, sentence structure, and narrative voice, and delving into the mechanics of scene, dialogue, plot and storytelling before exploring the larger questions at stake for the serious writer. What separates literature from industrial fiction? What lies at the heart of the creative impulse? How does one navigate the literary world? And how are philosophy and fiction concomitant?


Meander, Spiral, Explode: Design and Pattern in Narrative by Jane Alison

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Forward momentum can be created by way of pattern, rather than the traditional arc– or, in nature, wave. Meander, Spiral, Explode is a singular and brilliant elucidation of literary strategies that also brings high spirits and wit to its original conclusions. It is a liberating manifesto that says, Let’s leave the outdated modes behind and, in thinking of new modes, bring feeling back to experimentation. It will appeal to serious readers and writers alike.


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

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Following on the heels of Lisa Cron’s breakout first book, Wired for Story, this writing guide reveals how to use cognitive storytelling strategies to build a scene-by-scene blueprint for a riveting story. It’s every novelist’s greatest fear: pouring their blood, sweat, and tears into writing hundreds of pages only to realize that their story has no sense of urgency, no internal logic, and so is a page one rewrite. In Story Genuis Cron takes you, step-by-step, through the creation of a novel from the first glimmer of an idea, to a complete multilayered blueprint–including fully realized scenes–that evolves into a first draft with the authority, richness, and command of a riveting sixth or seventh draft.


The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler

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Writers are storytellers. The best of them have utilized the principles of myth to create masterful stories that are dramatic, entertaining and psychologically true. Based on the work of Joseph Campbell, this edition provides an insider’s look at how writers (both fiction and non-fiction) can utilize mythic structure to create powerful narratives. Writers will discover step by step guidelines for structuring plots and creating realistic characters. This new 4th edition adds 30% new material.


The Science of Storytelling: Why Stories Make Us Human and How to Tell Them Better by Will Storr

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Who would we be without stories? Stories mold who we are, from our character to our cultural identity. They drive us to act out our dreams and ambitions, and shape our politics and beliefs. We use them to construct our relationships, to keep order in our law courts, to interpret events in our newspapers and social media. Storytelling is an essential part of what makes us human. There have been many attempts to understand what makes a good story from Joseph Campbell’s well-worn theories about myth and archetype to recent attempts to crack the ‘Bestseller Code’. But few have used a scientific approach. This is curious, for if we are to truly understand storytelling in its grandest sense, we must first come to understand the ultimate storyteller: the human brain.


Memoir Your Way: Tell Your Story through Writing, Recipes, Quilts, Graphic Novels, and More by Memoir Roundtable

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A new approach to family and personal memoirs that includes many creative formats. Memoir Your Way inspires family storykeepers to create a memoir using a craft you already know or are inspired to learn to create a personal, polished memoir your family will treasure. Accessible and with broad appeal, this first-of-its-kind book extends the written memoir form to cookbooks, scrapbooks, quilts, and other forms of storytelling.


Neon Words: 10 Brilliant Ways to Light Up Your Writing by Marge Pellegrino

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Neon Words is a book that will illuminate the writer in you. By using the tools and activities here, you’ll connect the word-organising part of your brain with your free-ranging imagination-and you’ll love what you’ve captured on the page! It’s an exciting, confidence-boosting, and deeply satisfying experience. Whether you want to be a writer, or just want to explore what it’s like to create with language, you’ll discover that playing with words can help you be more present in your life and, best of all, it’s lots of fun. Who knew writing could be so enlightening?


Writing for Bliss: A Seven-Step Plan for Telling Your Story and Transforming Your Life by Diana Raab

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Writing for Bliss is most fundamentally about reflection, truth, and freedom. With techniques and prompts for both the seasoned and novice writer, it will lead you to tap into your creativity through storytelling and poetry, examine how life-changing experiences can inspire writing, pursue self-examination and self-discovery through the written word, and, understand how published writers have been transformed by writing.


27 Essential Principles of Story: Master the Secrets of Great Storytelling, from Shakespeare to South Park by Daniel Joshua Rubin

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A master class of 27 lessons, drawn from 27 diverse narratives, for novelists, storytellers, filmmakers, graphic designers, and more. Author Daniel Joshua Rubin unlocks the secrets of what makes a story work, and then shows how to understand and use these principles in your own writing. Write characters to the top of their intelligence, from the Eminem song “Stan.” Earn transformations, from Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. Attack your theme, from The Brothers Karamazov. Insightful, encouraging, filled with attitude, and, as Booklist puts it, “perfect for any writer looking to ensure their stories operate and resonate at the top of their potential,” this book gives contemporary storytellers of all kinds a lifeline of inspiration and relatable instruction.


Storyville!: An Illustrated Guide to Writing Fiction by John Dufresne

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A smart and funny guide to writing fiction, with engaging infographics that bring storytelling techniques to life. Whether you are daunted by a blinking cursor or frustrated trying to get the people in your head onto the page, writing stories can be intimidating. It takes passion, tenacity, patience, and a knowledge of and faith in the often-digressive writing process. A do-it-yourself manual for the apprentice fiction writer, Storyville! demystifies that process; its bold graphics take you inside the writer’s comfortingly chaotic mind and show you how stories are made.


Browse our full collection in the Plano Public Library catalog. Want to explore further? See all of our NaNoWriMo-related blog posts within the tag.

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