How to Write a Novel
Melanie Sumner

Book cover image

Narrated By: Katie Schorr

Duration: 7 hours and 43 minutes

What to expect

Aristotle “Aris” Thibodeau is twelve-and-a-half years old and destined for greatness. Ever since her father’s death, however, she’s been stuck in the small town of Kanuga, Georgia, where she has to manage her mother Diane’s floundering love life and dubious commitment to her job as an English professor, not to mention coparenting a little brother who hogs all the therapy money.

Luckily, Aris has a plan. Following the advice laid out in Write a Novel in Thirty Days!, she sets out to pen a bestseller using her charmingly dysfunctional family as material. If the mom character, Diane, would ditch online dating and accept that the perfect man is clearly the handyman/nanny character, Penn MacGuffin, Aris would have the essential romance for her plot (and a father in her real life). But when a random accident uncovers a dark part of Thibodeau family history, Aris is forced to confront the fact that sometimes in life—as in great literature—things might not work out exactly as planned.

How to Write a Novel is a brilliant satire of the modern family, at once endearing, hilarious, and bittersweet.


Humorous fiction, Family life fiction, Satirical fiction and parodies, Narrative theme: Coming of age

Listen to a sample

“Sumner brings a knowing, tongue-in-cheek sparkle to discussions of writing workshop chestnuts…never losing sight of the humanity of her characters and the unpredictable nature of reality.”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

“In the vein of Graeme Simsion’s The Rosie Project, Sumner’s quirky story about an unconventional family is charming and precocious, like Aris herself.”

Library Journal

“A beautiful and accomplished novel by an extraordinarily gifted talent.”

Jill McCorkle, author of Life after Life

“How a kid can help her broke, widowed, overwhelmed mom: write a novel!…Sweet, clever, and fun.”