Plano Reads: Writers on Writing
6 mins read

Plano Reads: Writers on Writing

In recognition of November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), we offer these books on writing and the writing process. “National Novel Writing Month began in 1999 as a daunting but straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words of a novel in thirty days. Now, each year on November 1, hundreds of thousands of people around the world begin to write, determined to end the month with a first draft.” Perhaps they will inspire you to start a novel of your own, whether you write or read it.

Nonfiction Writing Guides

Dialogue: The Art of Verbal Action for Page, Stage, Screen by Robert McKee – Robert McKee’s popular writing workshops have earned him an international reputation. Dialogue is the long-awaited follow-up to the perennially bestselling writers’ guide Story. While Story has defined how we talk about the art of story creation, Dialogue offers the same in-depth analysis for how characters speak on the screen, on the stage, and on the page in believable and engaging ways. Dialogue applies a framework of incisive thinking to instruct the prospective writer on how to craft artful, impactful speech. Print |eBook 

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 superb volume is a revealing and practical view of the writer’s craft, comprising the basic tools of the trade every writer must have. King’s advice is grounded in his vivid memories from childhood through his emergence as a writer, from his struggling early career to his widely reported, near-fatal accident in 1999—and how the inextricable link between writing and living spurred his recovery.  Print |eBook |Audiobook  

One Writer’s Beginnings by Eudora Welty – In “a continuous thread of revelation,” the renowned Mississippi novelist sketches her autobiography and tells us how her family and her surroundings contributed to the shaping not only of her personality but of her writing. Readers are in her debt for undertaking a task that could not have been easy, for the distillation of experience she offers us is a rare pleasure, as wonderful as reading her fiction.  Print 

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing, Reading, and Life by George Saunders – Booker Prize–winning author of Lincoln in the Bardo George Saunders usually teaches about the art of the Russian short story to his MFA students at Syracuse University, but in A Swim in a Pond in the Rain, Saunders shares some of those teachings with readers. Saunders focuses his essays on the short stories of Chekhov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Gogol.  Print |eBook |Audiobook  

Writer’s Market edited by Robert Lee Brewer – Writer’s Market is an essential reference book that guides writers through the process of getting paid to write with thousands of publishing opportunities, including listings for book publishers, consumer and trade magazines, contests and awards, and literary agents, as well as new playwriting and screenwriting sections. These listings feature contact and submission information to help writers get their work published. Discover the secrets to ten-minute marketing, how to make money covering live events, and steps to increase your writing income. Writer’s Market is updated annually, with the 2021 iteration its 100th edition. Print 

Novels by Novelists

Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano – This is the first book in a witty, fast-paced mystery series, following struggling suspense novelist and single mom Finlay Donovan, whose fiction treads dangerously close to the truth as she becomes tangled in real-life murder investigations. Quickly she discovers that true crime is a lot more difficult than its fictional counterpart. You can continue Finlay’s adventures in books two and three in the series, if you like this one. Print |eBook | eAudiobook

The Hours by Michael Cunningham – Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, this remarkable book connects the lives of novelist Virginia Woolf as she writes Mrs Dalloway in the 1920s, and Laura and Clarissa, two American women in California in the 1950s and New York in the 1990s. A brilliantly written exploration of loneliness, desperation, and mortality itself, it was made into a feature film in 2002 starring Meryl Streep, Julianne Moore, and Nicole Kidman. Ms. Kidman won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as Virginia Woolf. Print |DVD

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – “Reader, I married him,” writes Jane Eyre, the titular character of Charlotte Bronte’s novel about the passionate love between a young girl alone in the world and the rich, brilliant, domineering Rochester—Jane’s employer with a terrible secret. Ever since its publication in 1847, this timeless classic has enthralled every kind of reader, from the most critical and cultivated to the youngest and most unabashedly romantic. It lives as one of the great triumphs of storytelling and as a moving affirmation of the prerogatives of the heart in the face of disappointment and misfortune.  Print |eBook |Audiobook |CD/Play |GN 

The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz – A “washed-up novelist finds bestselling success with a story [with an astonishing plot] purloined from an arrogant student. What could possibly go wrong? Pretty much everything in Korelitz’s satisfyingly twisty thriller. Only the shrewdest readers will anticipate the jaw-dropping final revelation which ends this gripping and unsettling book,” an exploration of the world of writing and publishing – Kirkus Reviews 

Yellowface by R. F. Kuang – Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars. But Athena’s a literary darling and June is literally nobody. So when June witnesses Athena’s death, she acts on impulse, stealing Athena’s just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the contributions of Chinese laborers during World War I. So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? So what if she lets her new publisher rebrand her as Juniper Song—complete with an ambiguously ethnic author photo? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? How far will June go to protect herself, and get all that she thinks she deserves? This one is told in June’s unforgettable voice, and is shocking in every way. Print |eBook |Audiobook |Playaway |Large Print 

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