Friday, February 8, 2013

Book Review: No Plot? No Problem by Chris Baty

Having participated in NaNoWriMo and really enjoyed it, when I stumbled across No Plot? No Problem! I was definitely intrigued. I'm usually not big on reading "writing guides", but NaNo opened so many doors for me that I figured I had to give this one a try :)


One of the major complaints in the Amazon reviews for this book is that it's less of a writing guide and more of a pep talk, with all too much push push push about participating in NaNoWriMo. To an extent, I have to agree with these reviews...but at the same time I get the feeling that these people picked up No Plot? No Problem! without having any idea who Chris Baty is or what NaNoWriMo is. I think that if you go into this guide knowing that it's about NaNo, the constant mentions of it and the peppiness won't be so bothersome ;)

Honestly, this 50,000-ish word pep talk by Baty definitely made me more anxious to pick my NaNo novel back up and finish/edit it...and some of the advice given in No Plot really is decent advice, especially if you're reading it before participating in NaNoWriMo or simply setting off on your own 30-day writing spree some other month of the year. Sometimes it's not a bad idea to lock up your inner editor, to get out of the house to write, to force yourself to disconnect from the internet so that you're not distracted, and above all, to give yourself a deadline.

That said...I still have to disagree with some of the advice given in No Plot, even as it pertains to writing a novel in 30 days. Locking up your inner editor is one thing; quoting songs or writing absolute nonsense just to meet word count goals is quite another. I give it 2 stars as a writing guide and 4 stars as a motivational book, which of course averages out to a flat 3/5 stars...with the added caveat that it's best to utilize it only if you plan on writing a novel in 30 days/participating in NaNoWriMo.

"Give someone an enormous task, a supportive community, and a friendly yet firm due date, and miracles will happen."

"Every period in one's life, I saw, bustles with novel worthy passions, dilemmas, and energies specific to that age...With each passing era, a new novel is possible. And a potentially great book you could have written slips away into noveling oblivion."

"...noveling in the midst of a chaotic life makes 'book time' a treat rather than an obligation."

" one ever writes a brilliant first draft."

"Yes, there is something a little defeatist about accepting one's slacking ways rather than trying to fix them. That's a worry, though, for another month. The healthiest, most productive approach to writing is to acknowledge your weak spots early on, and build a writing plan that plays to your strengths and works around your liabilities." Pin It

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