By Christopher Cuttone
Hollywood Library assistant
Everyone knows the library is a terrific place for readers, but it’s also an amazing place for writers. Multnomah County Library has support and resources for writers of all ages and persuasions, and for every part of the writing process – from researching your novel to structuring your plot, from marketing yourself to submitting your manuscript, from using quiet spaces and computers to finding endless inspiration.
But wait, there’s more! A new initiative called the Library Writers Project gives library cardholders the chance to submit their novels for the Multnomah County Library e-book collection. Previously unpublished works of adult fiction will be reviewed by a judging committee, and titles that are selected for the collection will become available to the voracious community of readers in Multnomah County. Submissions will be accepted through December 31, and all the details are on the library’s website.
Writing workshops and resources
To help folks along the way, we’re offering a variety of writing classes and related programs at multiple library locations in November and early December. For a complete list, go to multcolib.org.
Still not convinced? November is National Novel Writing Month, an annual push to encourage aspiring writers to complete a 50,000-word novel. You can meet fellow writers online and in person to trade tips, get pep talks and crush deadlines. Learn more on the web at nanowrimo.org.
Whenever or wherever you decide to write, whether it’s a novel or a memoir, poetry or nonfiction, dig into the library catalog for books to guide your endeavors. Begin your search with some of these keywords: authorship, creative writing, manuscripts, editing, publishers and publishing, English language rhetoric, English language style, and style manuals.
For the nuts and bolts of grammar, nothing beats “The Elements of Style,” the classic guide by William Strunk and E.B. White, and Stanley Fish’s 2011 book “How to Write a Sentence: And How to Read One” takes it to the next level.
Writer’s Digest Books publishes several directories of publishers for assorted genres, as well as a general guide to getting published and books on many topics related to the art of storytelling.
Encompassing all aspects of narrative writing, the revised and updated “Steering the Craft: A Twenty-First Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of Story” by Portland’s own Ursula K. Le Guin addresses everything from the sound of language to point of view with useful examples, commentary and exercises. Especially for young people but helpful for anyone, “Just Write: Here’s How” by Walter Dean Myers offers similar techniques and advice from the perspective of another prolific and respected author.
At the library, we know that readers need writers – so get writing!