Posted by on Jul 22, 2019 in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), On Writing: Craft and Commiseration | 0 comments

There’s a new NaNoWriMo guide coming out on August 27th specifically geared towards young writers. It’s called Brave the Page by Rebecca Stern and National Novel Writing Month Executive Director Grant Faulkner and I was lucky enough to score an advanced copy. Regular readers know that I am a great lover of National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo and parent to a young writer so this is doubly relevant to my interests!

So, what did I think of Brave the Page?

Brave the Page Review

Honestly? This book makes me mad.

Mad because where was this when I was a young reader? When I was sitting there in grade school with writing aspirations but no internet, no community and certainly no NaNoWriMo to help me guide my creative impulses in a productive direction, I would have LOVED this book! Back then, adults were always encouraging me to write with nothing more than vague hand waving and I was dying for someone to just explain LITERALLY HOW one does that exactly like this book does. I spent decades bumbling around trying to figure out this whole writing thing on my own when a young writer today can just pick up this friendly little guide and be started on the right path RIGHT NOW.

And, frankly, I’m jealous.

Which is why I’m gifting this to every creative kid in my life from now on. From finding ideas and planning a writing project to goal setting and tracking through the actual first draft all the way to editing and beyond, Brave the Page is a simple, easy to read overview of everything a young writer needs to start building up a writing habit and to actually finish the story of their heart. It takes that dream of being a writer and turns it into a plan you don’t have to wait until you’re grown to get started on.

Brave the Page itself is a quick and easy read divided into four sections each consisting of instruction, pep talks and writing prompts. The first talks about finding and nurturing ideas. The second is about planning for a major writing project. The third is probably the meatiest as it guides you through your first draft, taking you week by week through the process with strategies for setting realistic goals and deadlines, dealing with plot issues and blocks, flagging motivation and more. Then the fourth section touches on revision, editing and turning writing into a lifelong habit.

While the book is designed to be a companion piece to the NaNoWriMo Young Writers Program (, one of its greatest strengths is that the authors made it universal enough that you’d get a ton of value out of it even if you have never even heard of or participated in the annual NaNoWriMo events. Brave the Page is flexible and encourages writing and planning out a project of whatever kind calls to you with any word count goal or deadline that work for you, not just the typical NaNoWriMo recipe of a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It’s a small difference but it makes the book much more widely accessible and easier to recommend to just about any young writer.

So rather than be mad that I didn’t have this book as a kid, instead I’m really excited for all the young writers who DO have access to it and the worlds of words it will help them create! Whether you are yourself a young writer or you have one in your life, you won’t regret giving this a read.  

As a parent and lifelong fan of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), the publisher provided me with an advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Pull quote from Hillary DePiano's review of Brave the Page
Sharable image for all your social media needs!

Brave the Page is an official NaNoWriMo publication and is currently available for pre-order. It comes out on Aug 27, 2019 in hardcover, eBook and audiobook wherever books are sold.

Pre-order from IndieBound
Pre-order from everywhere else (Universal Link)

Here’s the information the publisher provided about this book:

Brave the Page book cover image

About Brave the Page

The official NaNoWriMo handbook that inspires young people to tackle audacious goals and complete their creative projects.

Partly a how-to guide on the nitty-gritty of writing, partly a collection of inspiration to set (and meet) ambitious goals, Brave the Page is the go-to resource for middle-grade writers. Narrated in a fun, refreshingly kid-friendly voice, it champions NaNoWriMo’s central mission that everyone‘s stories deserve to be told. The volume includes chapters on character, plot, setting, and the like; motivating essays from popular authors; advice on how to commit to your goals; a detailed plan for writing a novel or story in a month; and more!

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that believes in the transformational power of creativity. They provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds–on and off the page. With its first event in 1999, the organization’s programs now include National Novel Writing Month in November, Camp NaNoWriMo, the Young Writers Program, Come Write In, and the “Now What?” Months.

Product Details

  • Published by Viking Books for Young Readers
  • Aug 27, 2019
  • 304 Pages
  • Middle Grade (10 and up)
  • ISBN 9780451480293

About the Authors

Grant Faulkner is the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month and the co-founder of the online literary journal 100 Word Story and the Flash Fiction Collective. His stories and essays have appeared in dozens of publications, including The New York Times, Writer’s Digest, and Poets & Writers. He is the author of Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo.

Rebecca Stern has experienced NaNoWriMo from every angle: she had her fifth- and sixth-grade students participate in the Young Writers Program when she was a teacher, did a victory dance in the 50K winner’s circle in 2014, served on the Associate Board, was their Director of Programs, and is now their Young Writers Program and Development Consultant. She lives in San Francisco.

Note: While the authors of this book are listed as Grant Faulkner and Rebecca Stern on the actual cover, the author is also simply listed as “National Novel Writing Month” at several retailers. This can make searching for it confusing so I just wanted to give you a heads up.