Staff Picks

So, You Wanna Be a Writer?

Maybe you'd like to create a sensational graphic novel. Or craft scripts for TV and film. Or write the next "Great American Novel." Or turn your own life story into a riveting memoir. No matter what your preferred format and focus, writing is undoubtedly hard work. Here are some books filled with both expert tips of the trade and fun and thoughtful writing prompts to help jumpstart your writer's mind. Now get writing!

Compiled by Emily S.

Chris H.
Draw Out the Story: Ten Secrets to Creating Your Own Comics     Draw Out the Story: Ten Secrets to Creating Your Own Comics    
Brian McLachlan
    J 741.51 Mcl

Offers advice for effective storytelling in comic book format, covering such topics as color, placement, pacing, visually representing ideas, and other techniques for short gag strips as well as graphic novels and other more involved storylines.

Guy-Write: What Every Guy Writer Needs to Know     Guy-Write: What Every Guy Writer Needs to Know    
Ralph Fletcher
    J 808.068

Ralph Fletcher, a guy writer himself and the author of forty-one books, discusses every tip needed to find the sweet spot in writing: the place where everything except the words stands still. With advice from favorite authors like Jon Scieszka, Jarrett Krosoczka, and Robert Lipsyte, this hands-on book will make a writer out of any guy.

How to Make a Journal of Your Life     How to Make a Journal of Your Life    
D. Price
    808.06692 Pr

Artist and zine-writer Dan Price teaches readers how to tap into those pent-up creative juices and collect their life experiences on paper.

Just Write: Here's How     Just Write: Here's How    
Walter Dean Myers
    808.02 Mye

The award-winning author of young adult literature guides readers through the writing process, and includes examples from his own works, outlines for writing fiction and nonfiction, and excerpted pages from the author's writing notebooks.

Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels     Making Comics: Storytelling Secrets of Comics, Manga and Graphic Novels    
Scott McCloud
    741.5 Mcc

McCloud shows his reader how to master the human condition through word and image in a brilliantly minimalistic way. Comic book devotees as well as the most uninitiated will marvel at this journey into a once–underappreciated art form.

Now Write! Screenwriting: Exercises by Today's Best Writers and Teachers     Now Write! Screenwriting: Exercises by Today's Best Writers and Teachers    
Sherry Ellis
    808.23 Ell

This lively and easy-to-read guide will motivate both aspiring and experienced screenwriters. No other screenwriting book offers advice and exercises from this many writers of successful, iconic films.

Rip the Page!: Adventures in Creative Writing     Rip the Page!: Adventures in Creative Writing    
Karen Benke
    808.042 Ben

Presents exercises and wordplay experiments teaching amateur writers how to enjoy writing creatively, and includes tips for finding inspiration, returning to old ideas with fresh perspectives, and retaining confidence in writing.

Seize the Story: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write     Seize the Story: A Handbook for Teens Who Like to Write    
Victoria Hanley
    808.0208 Han

Featuring interviews with successful authors of teen literature--including T. A. Barron, Jona Bauer, Chris Crutcher, and Lauren Myracle, among others--this book presents the elements of fiction, from creating believable dialogue to executing an exciting plot, through real story excerpts. Packed with tips, tricks, and writing exercises from an award-winning author of teen fiction, the guide encourages teen writers to write creatively and explore all the elements and responsibilities of fiction. With the book's goal of building competent, satisfied young authors, young people are emboldened to write the stories that are theirs alone to tell.

This Is Not a Writing Manual: Note for the Young Writer in the Real World     This Is Not a Writing Manual: Note for the Young Writer in the Real World    
Kerri Majors
    808.3 Maj

Don't have enough time to write? Learn how to plan your days to fit it all in. Not sure how your guilty pleasures and bad habits translate into literature? Kerri explains how soap operas and eavesdropping can actually help your writing. Need a reader for your first novel? Find a writing buddy or a writing group that will support you. This Is Not a Writing Manual is the writing memoir for young writers who want to use their talents in the real world.

Unjournaling: Daily Writing Challenges That Are Not Introspective, Not Personal, Not Boring     Unjournaling: Daily Writing Challenges That Are Not Introspective, Not Personal, Not Boring    
Dawn DiPrince
    808.042 Dip

Provides over 200 impersonal creative writing prompts for writers of middle-school age and higher, along with sample responses.

What It Is     What It Is    
Lynda Barry
    Barry

Barry's graphic novel demonstrates a tried-and-true creative method that is playful, powerful, and accessible to anyone with an inquisitive wish to write or to remember.

Write Horror Fiction in 5 Simple Steps     Write Horror Fiction in 5 Simple Steps    
Laura Baskes Litwin
    J 808.3873 Lit

Divides the creative writing process into five steps, from inspiration to publishable story, and includes in-depth treatment of the horror fiction genre with writing prompts.

Write Science Fiction in 5 Simple Steps     Write Science Fiction in 5 Simple Steps    
Michael Schuman
    J 808.3876 Sch

Divides the creative writing process into five steps, from inspiration to publishable story, and includes in-depth treatment of the science fiction genre with writing prompts.

You Can Do a Graphic Novel     You Can Do a Graphic Novel    
Barbara Slate
    741.51 Sla

Get that story out of your head and onto paper! Barbara Slate guides aspiring graphic novelists through the same process she learned in her early days working for Marvel and DC Comics. Written in the form of a graphic novel itself, the book covers all the components and shows readers how to: Find their own drawing style regardless of ability; Create memorable characters, compelling plots and subplots, and engaging dialog; Traverse the graphic novel business.