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A NaNoWriMo Writing Guide for Different Genres

by | November 12

All right, we’re well into NaNoWriMo, and it’s possible that your novels/writing projects might have gone off the rails. You might have started writing a romance and now it’s somehow become a thriller, or your literary masterpiece has dissolved into experimental chaos. That’s all right. It’s the beauty of NaNo that your projects can twist and change through the writing process and you can discover something completely different than what you intended.That doesn’t have to be a bad thing! But I know, it can also be a bit terrifying. When you’re halfway through a project and everything has to change, sometimes grabbing a new book in that genre can be really helpful to guide you through the transition.

I hope these recommendations help! And good luck with your NaNo novels!

All the Light We Cannot See

All the Light We Cannot See

by Anthony Doerr

If you find yourself writing a historical novel, definitely pick up the new classic All the Light We Cannot See, by Anthony Doerr. The structure is great and makes the story highly readable, and can give you insight into creating very lifelike characters who are going through tragedy and trying to come out the other side.

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House of Leaves

House of Leaves

by Mark Z. Danielewski

If you’re suddenly staring at a horror novel, or something just experimental in format or tone, I would absolutely get into House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski. It’s creepy and strange and written unlike any other book I’ve read before, and the writing in blurry lines across the page that crisscross or repeat over and over is a GREAT way to get to your word count if you’re really struggling!

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To All the Boys I've Loved Before (Media Tie-In Edition)

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (Media Tie-In Edition)

by Jenny Han

For those of you who discover a romance novel in your pages, I have to recommend To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han. It’s a new take on a perfect trope of a fake relationship that creates some real feelings, and it’s executed flawlessly. There’s a lot to learn from how Han orchestrates this super sweet story.

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One of the Boys

One of the Boys

by Daniel Magariel

Lastly, if you want some help writing your new literary novel, I would pick up One of the Boys by Daniel Magariel. Told in the ‘we’ tense, you immediately get drawn in and captured by its powerful and intense voice, because you’re part of the narrative that way. There’s a lot you can do with an innovative voice or tense, and I definitely recommend testing your boundaries.

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Cara Nesi is a sales rep at Simon & Schuster who sells to independent bookstores in the Midwest. She grew up in the suburbs of New York and attended the University of Pittsburgh before returning to start her career in publishing. She enjoys reading literary fiction, especially absurdist authors like George Saunders, but she also reads A LOT of fantasy, science fiction and young adult books. Occasionally, she writes some fiction and non-fiction too. You can find her on twitter at @caranesi.