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#NaNoWriMo Prep: Write What You Seek by Rochelle Melander

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month


Write the book you want to read, the one you cannot find. —Carol Shields


About a year ago, Louise Penny came to Boswell Book Company to launch her mystery, How the Light Gets Inthe ninth book in her wildly successful Inspector Armand Gamache series. She told us that after facing five years of writer’s block, she decided to write the books she’d love to read. Penny created a village that she’d love to live in, people she’d want to hang out with and Gamache, a man she’d want to marry. I often wonder if Louise Penny’s books are so successful because of her approach: create something she adored.

In November, many of you will once again take on the crazy, wild National Novel Writing Month challenge. Some of you will write a novel, while others will take the opportunity to finish that memoir or scribble your next self-help book. Whatever your goal, this month is a good time to plan your NaNoWriMo book or your next writing project. And here’s your first assignment:

Make a list of your 5-10 favorite books in the genre you plan to write in. Then, consider these questions:

+If these books are novels, what do you love about the:




*setting and time period

*writing style

*point of view


+If these books are nonfiction, what do you love about:

*the genre (self-help, essays, biography, etc.)

*the topic

*the structure

*the features (e.g., callouts, stories, questions for reflection, etc.)

*the voice

When I do this assignment before I work on a new book, it helps me plan a project I’m going to enjoy writing. I hope it’ll help you plan your NaNoWriMo project—or whatever sort of book you plan to write next.

Your turn: what helps you decide what kind of book to write next?

























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