Book Review: No Plot? No Problem?

Full Title: No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel In 30 Days
Author: Chris Baty
Publisher: Chronicle Books
ISBN-13: 978-0-8118-45052

Are you up for the challenge offered by National Novel Writing Month? Although NaNoWriMo (pronounced “NAN-no WRY-Mo”), as it’s affectionately called, traditionally takes place each November since 1999, you can take the NaNoWriMo challenge any month you like.

In No Plot? No Problem!, Chris Baty — NaNoWriMo founder — walks you through exactly why you should take the challenge and how to live through it to be the high-velocity, novel-writing champion that you can be. In 172 pages, Baty’s chummy and conversational style revs you up, coaches you through the cramps, and cheers you to the finish line.

If this is all beginning to sound a bit like the trappings of a marathon, consider yourself very perceptive. That’s exactly what it’s like. The difference is that this marathon is accomplished over the course of 50,000 words, and your fingers carry you and your imagination across that threshold of achievement.

The Introduction describes the origins and history of NaNoWriMo, laying the groundwork and philosophy for subscribing to what some might call noveling madness. Section One, Gearing Up For Your Writing Adventure, prepares you — gives you the mental training and establishes the mindset — for your word marathon. Here you learn strategies for dealing with the realities of time constraints and garnering support from friends and family. Consideration of places to write, things to write with, and magical milestone incentives are presented.

Section Two, Write Here! Write Now!, gives a week-by-week overview of what Baty calls “bashing out your book.” In each of four chapters — one for each week of the 30-day month — Baty accompanies you on that particular phase of the journey. He’s been there; he knows intimately of the highs and the lows, the care-freedom and the straight-jacket insanity. But have no fear; Baty and millions like him have gone before you and have many tales to show for it. You will live through this too, and you will have your own novel tale to show for it in the end.

There’s no dawdling here. If you are ready to write that novel you’ve always said you would — even if you haven’t the slightest idea what you might write about — this is the book you’ve been waiting for. Challenge yourself to write 50,000 words in 30 days. There’s nothing else like it to get that writing done. And there is no other book that can get you through it like No Plot? No Problem!

First published by Inkwell Newswatch (IN)
Under the nom de plume Penelope Jensen

© Julie Pierce and Julie’s Writing Portfolio, 2005-2011.

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