Finding your muse with Google Book Search

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 12:28 PM

If you’ve ever slogged through a boring novel and thought, “Hey, I could write something better than that,” now’s your chance. November is National Novel Writing Month, and while writing a whole novel in 30 days can seem pretty scary, you can get some help from NanoWriMo and Google Book Search.

NaNoWriMo is a writing program dedicated to “everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.” During November, the program encourages fledgling writers all over the world to take the plunge and write 50,000 words by midnight on November 30th. If you succeed in completing your novel, you’ll be gloriously inducted into the Winner’s Page and finally be able to dub yourself a novelist.

The idea is to compel yourself to write freely and profusely, without feeling the pressure of having to write something “good.” If you’re nervous about jumping right in, there are a number of books you can find through Book Search that can help you get started. Even if you have no plot, no characters, no theme – it’s No Problem!

You can take inspiration from this guide to writing novels, written by James N. Frey (not the James Frey of A Million Little Pieces). I also managed to dig up a novel-writing guide from 1901, written in a particularly charming style. Frank McCourt’s well-loved memoir, Angela’s Ashes, is another title that might spark your literary instincts. Remember - it’s all about having fun, taking risks, and getting the words out of your brain and onto the page!


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