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Writing a Book? Resources for Students

Writing a book, but not sure where to start?

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You've got a great idea for a book, and you think about it all the time. Just one problem, though: you're not sure how to get it on paper (or, rather, the computer screen!) Coming up with an idea for a book can be difficult, but organizing it into a real book is even more difficult. Luckily, there are various methods you can use for developing and organizing your book! In fact, over 431,626 people participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) a year, and more than 40,000 "win" by writing 50,000 words in a month. Source. This usually constitutes the first draft of a book, although some may be longer.


This LibGuide will present you with proven methods and tools for organizing a book, as well as with tips and advice from authors. This guide is designed to help you prepare for NaNoWriMo and with novels in mind rather than nonfiction, but it can be used by any potential authors.

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Books on Writing in Our Catalog

Winning NaNoWriMo Novels on the Bestsellers List

Looking to read a published NaNoWriMo winning novel before you start your own? Here's a list of the bestsellers to get you started!


  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern - Written over the course of three WriMo's, The Night Circus tells the story of two rival magicians who participate in a wandering, magical night circus in Victorian London. It is soon apparent, however, that this circus serves a darker purpose and that the magicians' proteges are in danger. Find The Night Circus at a library near you.

  • Cinder, Scarlet, and Cress by Marissa Meyer - Marissa Meyer wrote three books during a single NaNoWriMo, for a total of 150,011 words. Part of a YA Science Fiction series called The Lunar Chronicles, these books place a science fiction twist on a well-known fairy tale. Each story takes place in a futuristic universe where "earthens," cyborgs, androids, and moon colonists coexist. Find The Lunar Chronicles at a library near you.

  • Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen - Possibly the most famous book on this list, Water for Elephants is a historical, 20th-century romance novel. The plot centers around Jacob, a 23-year-old Polish American veterinary student at Cornell University who runs away and joins the circus following the death of this parents in a car accident, and Marlena, the wife of August, an abusive man who serves as the circus' equestrian director. Find Water for Elephants at a library near you.

  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell - Cath is struggling to adjust to life at her school, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, as she watches her identical twin sister, Wren, succeed socially and make new friends and get invited to parties. Cath has other interests, though: following and writing about the fictional series Simon Snow. Retreating into a fictional world cannot solve all the issues she is struggling with, however. Cath needs to get out and make new friends and figure out what she wants to do, however she can. Find Fangirl at a library near you.

  • Wool by Hugh Howey - This self-published, dystopian science fiction novel helped put self-publishing on the map by becoming a best-seller fast! Set in a post-apocalyptic future, Wool shows us a world in which humanity has been forced into living at the Silo, a subterranean city extending one hundred forty-four stories beneath the surface of the earth. Humans have been told that the outside air is poisonous, and anyone who requests to go outside is sent to clean the Silo's external sensors, and do not return. The first book in the Silo series, Wool follows Holston, who serves as the Silo's sheriff, as he seeks answers to questions about his missing wife, who left to clean the sensors after becoming convinced that the IT department was lying about the poisonous surface. Find Wool at a library near you.

  • Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy - Murphy's debut  YA novel, Side Effects May Vary features sixteen-year-old Alice, who has just been diagnosed with leukemia, and told she may not have long to live. Alice decides to cope with this horrific news by doing everything she's always wanted to, both the good, and the bad. With the help fo her friend Harvey, she not only accomplishes the good things she's always wanted but also seeks to get revenge on those who have wronged her throughout her young life. When she finds out she's in remission, however, she must deal with the consequences... Find Side Effects May Vary at a library near you.


Want to have a book mailed to you? Simply click this link to fill out an InterLibrary Loan request.