Plano Writes: Giant Footsteps
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Plano Writes: Giant Footsteps

November is National Novel Writing Month! Take advantage of Plano Public Library’s programs and resources to take your novel to the next level.

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 20, 2021, library staff will present on the topic of Characters in Conflict.

Upcoming classes:

  • 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. The lessons learned by those who have come before us can only make us stronger as writers, storytellers, and artists. How have famous creatives survived the process of bringing their art into the world? What can you gain from their insight into life, the world, and the craft? See a selection of resources below.

Pity the Reader: On Writing with Style by Kurt Vonnegut

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Here is an entirely new side of Kurt Vonnegut, Vonnegut as a teacher of writing. Of course he’s given us glimpses before, with aphorisms and short essays and articles and in his speeches. But never before has an entire book been devoted to Kurt Vonnegut the teacher. Here is pretty much everything Vonnegut ever said or wrote having to do with the writing art and craft, altogether a healing, a nourishing expedition. McConnell has outfitted us for the journey, and in these 37 chapters covers the waterfront of how one American writer brought himself to the pinnacle of the writing art, and we can all benefit as a result.

Swallowed by a Whale: How to Survive the Writing Life, edited by Huw Lewis-Jones

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In this specially-commissioned anthology, sixty accomplished authors share secrets and insights into their writing lives: on their inspirations, methods, wild ideas and daily routines; on the pleasure and the pain in achieving their literary goals; on how they started out and how they hope to continue. They outline some golden rules for staying on track and talk candidly about what goes wrong as well as right. We hear from novelists, poets, biographers, and children’s writers; illustrators, campaigners, teachers, mothers, husbands, an entrepreneur turned surfboard shaper, a quantum physicist, an opera librettist, and a Laureate who loves dragons. All writers.

The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison

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America’s foremost novelist reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work and increasingly dominate national and world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, the desire for belonging. What is race and why does it matter? What motivates the human tendency to construct Others? Why does the presence of Others make us so afraid? Drawing on her Norton Lectures, Toni Morrison takes up these and other vital questions bearing on identity in The Origin of Others. In her search for answers, the novelist considers her own memories as well as history, politics, and especially literature.

Consider This: Moments in My Writing Life After Which Everything was Different by Chuck Palahniuk

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In this spellbinding blend of memoir and insight, bestselling author Chuck Palahniuk shares stories and generous advice on what makes writing powerful and what makes for powerful writing. With advice grounded in years of careful study and a keenly observed life, Palahniuk combines practical advice and concrete examples from beloved classics, his own books, and a “kitchen-table MFA” culled from an evolving circle of beloved authors and artists, with anecdotes, postcards from the road, and much more. Clear-eyed, sensitive, illuminating, and knowledgeable, Consider This is Palahniuk’s love letter to stories and storytellers, booksellers and books themselves.

The Storytellers: Straight Talk from the World’s Most Acclaimed Suspense and Thriller Authors, edited by Mark Rubinstein

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Have you ever read a suspense novel so good you had to stop and think to yourself, “How did the author come up with this idea? Their characters? Is some of this story real?” For over five years, Mark Rubinstein, physician, psychiatrist, and mystery and thriller writer, had the chance to ask the most well-known authors in the field just these kinds of questions in interviews for the Huffington Post. Collected here are interviews with forty-seven accomplished authors. These are their personal stories in their own words, much of the material never before published. How do these writers’ life experiences color their art? Find out their thoughts, their inspirations, their candid opinions. Learn more about your favorite authors, how they work and who they truly are.

Daemon Voices: On Stories and Storytelling by Philip Pullman

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One of the most highly acclaimed and best-selling authors of our time now gives us a book that charts the history of his own enchantment with story–from his own books to those of Blake, Milton, Dickens, and the Brothers Grimm, among others–and delves into the role of story in education, religion, and science. At once personal and wide-ranging, Daemon Voices is both a revelation of the writing mind and the methods of a great contemporary master, and a fascinating exploration of storytelling itself.

Words Are My Matter: Writings about Life and Books by Ursula Le Guin

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Words Are My Matter collects talks, essays, introductions to beloved books, and book reviews by Ursula K. Le Guin, one of our fore- most public literary intellectuals. Words Are My Matter is essential reading. It is a manual for investigating the depth and breadth of con- temporary fiction — and, through the lens of deep considerations of contemporary writing, a way of exploring the world we are all living in.

Light the Dark: Writers on Creativity, Inspiration, and the Artistic Process, edited by Joe Fassler

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What inspires you? That’s the simple, but profound question more than forty renowned authors answer in LIGHT THE DARK. Each author picks a favorite passage–from a novel, a song, a poem–to reveal what gets them started and keeps them going doing the creative work they love. From there, incredible stories of life changing encounters with art emerge, like how sneaking a volume of Stephen King stories into his job as a night security guard helped Khaled Hosseini learn that nothing he creates will ever be truly finished. Or how discovering Toni Morrison’s Beloved in college taught Junot Diaz how art can create communities of shared experience. Here is a stunning guide to creative living and writing in the vein of Bird by Bird, Big Magic, and Daily Rituals for anyone who wants to learn how great writers find inspiration and how to find some of your own.

Art Matters by Neil Gaiman

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Drawn from Gaiman’s trove of published speeches, poems, and creative manifestos, Art Matters is an embodiment of this remarkable multi-media artist’s vision–an exploration of how reading, imagining, and creating can transform the world and our lives.

Only as Good as Your Word by Susan Shapiro

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In this funny, moving, and revealing book, Susan Shapiro recounts her obsessive quest for success as a professional writer and the beloved mentors who saved her life–and career–along the way.

Growing up in the Midwest, Susan Shapiro knew at a young age that all she wanted in life was to become a writer. And so, as soon as she graduated from college, she headed straight to New York City, determined to break into the biz. A few hard knocks later, she learned that it takes more than being a good writer to make a living at it–the most successful professional writers, she discovered, have great mentors to support, promote, advise, admonish, inform, infuriate, and sometimes give them a good kick in the pants along the way.

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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