National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is just around the corner, and it’s time to make sure that you’re ready to hit the ground running once November starts. If you enjoy writing books in the Harry Potter genre, whether it be children’s literature or fantasy, check out these planning books to help you get started.
1. The A-Zs of Worldbuilding: Building a Fictional World From Scratch by Rebekah Loper
Worldbuilding is a vital part of creating a believable fantasy novel, and it’s helpful to know your world back to front before you start writing. This encyclopedia asks you in-depth questions about everything in your world from architecture to wedding ceremonies, giving you space in the book to take notes about all of your ideas and breakthroughs. It will make you wonder about things you had never even considered important before and push you to be more creative in your brainstorming and inventing. By the time you finish this workbook, you’ll feel like you live in your fantasy world.
2. The Magic Words: Writing Great Books for Children and Young Adults by Cheryl B. Klein
This book is a practical, hands-on guide to every aspect of writing for children. It covers every step of the writing process from developing a story concept to sentence-level editing. Although many of the tips and tricks in this book are relevant for any writer, this book is particularly helpful for people writing children’s literature because it helps you figure out what type of content and voice is applicable for each age group. It also has a chapter specifically for those writing speculative fiction. This book is useful if you have a story idea already in mind because there are questions and exercises along the way that will guide you through the process.
3. Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel (Before You Waste Three Years Writing 327 Pages That Go Nowhere) by Lisa Cron
This book, although not specifically for children’s or fantasy literature, completely revolutionized the way I approach novel writing. I would recommend coming to this book with a novel idea in mind and going step by step through all the exercises it gives you. When I did that with my own novel, all the parts that I had previously been struggling with became clear to me. This book gave me a comprehensive system for outlining each scene that I wrote, allowing me to figure out exactly how it helped move along both my plot and my character’s emotional journey. I was able to dig into the very root of the emotional issue my character was struggling with throughout the novel and decide exactly how to bring that dilemma to its natural climax. Children’s literature depends a lot on clear character and plot development, so this book will certainly be a huge help to anyone writing in that genre.
4. The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers by Christopher Vogler
The Hero’s Journey is a common theme in novels for children, especially fantasy novels. This book helps you think through the different stages of the Hero’s Journey in your own novel, using helpful examples from popular movies to consider these ideas in context. I found this particularly helpful for mapping out turning points, and it’s also fun to think about how the Hero’s Journey maps onto the Harry Potter series as well.
Are there any books that you have found helpful for writing? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.