Would-be Portland novelists, take note: National Novel Writing Month is here

November is National Novel Writing Month. Sharpen those pencils. Your New York Times Bestseller may be on the charts soon.

Author Amy Butcher does a talk in front of an audience at Powell's Books

Who knows? Someday, you might read what you wrote at Powell’s.

Photo by Aebutche

Maybe there’s a Jane Austen scribbling away right now in Parkrose, a Toni Morrison in Multnomah Village, or a John Steinbeck in Woodstock. Perhaps it’s you, or you’ve always had thoughts that it could be you.

This month, you can make those thoughts a reality. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and we’re here to tell you that you can do it. Just take some of these ideas and come December, you can say you’re a novelist.

Act 1 - The Set Up

NaNoWriMo is a nonprofit organization that promotes creative writing around the world. Its flagship program encourages bibliophiles to attempt to write a 50,000-word manuscript during the month of November.

A few NaNoWriMo books you may recognize:

  • Sara Gruen’s “Water for Elephants”
  • Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus”
  • Hugh Howey’s “Wool”

How do you go about writing a novel? Literary agents have some ideas. You can also pick up Stephen King’s “On Writing” and Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird.

Act 2 - Confrontation

Now, there’s rising action. There’s confrontation. Where do you go to write this novel of yours and how do you keep yourself motivated to finish it?

  • Multnomah County Library | Libraries like writers. Visit one of the library’s locations, find yourself a cozy spot, check out some of their writing resources, and start cracking on your tome.
  • Literary Arts | This nonprofit offers classes ranging in topics and duration to fellow writers in the Portland community. Get some encouragement, attend an event, and keep writing!
  • Meetup | There are others like you out there. Join the Portland Writer’s Workshop group, which meets twice a month.

Act 3 - Resolution

Now, there’s a climax. There’s the denouement (a book nerdy word for resolution).

You’ve finished the Great American Novel. Get yourself a pint at Rose City Book Pub and browse the bookshelves knowing that, perhaps, your work will be there sometime soon.

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