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No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  6,630 ratings  ·  882 reviews
You've always wanted to write, but . . . just haven't gotten around to it. No Plot? No Problem! is the kick in the pants you've been waiting for.

Let Chris Baty, founder of the rockin' literary marathon National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo), guide you through four exciting weeks of hard-core noveling. Baty's pep talks and essential survival strategies cover the in
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Paperback, 176 pages
Published September 9th 2004 by Chronicle Books (first published September 1st 2004)
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Average rating 3.84  · 
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 ·  6,630 ratings  ·  882 reviews


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Start your review of No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days
Jason Koivu
Jul 13, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: writing
No plot?...Yes, that is a problem! Free-flow writing is like having the shits. You feel tremendous relief, but it really stinks.

In essence, what you get if you follow Baty's program and do the Nanowrimo challenge is a microcosm or truncation of the usual novel first draft: a laying down of the bare-bones of your intended book as fast as you possibly can regardless of how embarrassingly awful the outcome. Chances are you'll be left with a lot of words on the page and very little structure, an am
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Kim
Oct 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
"The biggest thing separating people from their artistic ambitions is not a lack of talent. It's the lack of a deadline."
-Chris Baty, No Plot? No Problem!

I read this book several years ago and loved it. I had participated in NaNoWriMo several times and found it a thrill, even when I only managed to get 4500 words down on paper instead of the targeted 50,000.

I think some of the negative reviews of this book come from people who wanted or expected something something different. So let me begin by
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Manuel Antão
Mar 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.



50K or bust! : "No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days" by Chris Baty  



“Anyway, whenever people express their reluctance to invest time in something that won’t have proven results, I ask them what they do for fun on weekends. Invariably, the time they spend running around on basketball courts, rearranging Scrabble tiles, or slaying video-game monsters is not done in an effort to make millio
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Jokoloyo
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
After reading Richard's review, then I remember I borrowed and read this book years ago. I remember this book has good message for persisting in writing a novel, and mental-related techniques in writing a novel.

The NaNoWriMo is an event that some of my friends really do. Maybe this book is not for me, but I have seen it works for my friends (OK, this book slap me, if I cannot write a novel, it could be due to my lack of willpower. But that's another story).
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Richard
Aug 19, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: writing

This book is the companion monkey, printed tour guide, and pocket personal adviser on how to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days, written by no less than the founding father of the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) himself.


The official NaNoWriMo is November. But you can choose any month you'd like and follow the advice in this guide. However, it's bound to be more fun when you know there are tens of thousands of other people all over the country—the world even—doing the same thing. You

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Lea
This book is a nice pep talk for nanowrimo. It's not a guide for writing as such. And that's fine, because nanowrimo (national novel writing month) isn't like normal writing. It's the insane thing where you write 50.000 words in a month and then either look at the draft and think "what the hell, this is soooo bad" or you spend a whole year re-writing the thing.

So why do I do it? Why will I try it again this year after having won the last two years? Last november I wrote a novel so dumb, no one
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Charlie
Oct 15, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: To all Nanowrimos everywhere!
I laughed so hard I cried when I read this book last year. I even photo-copies the Novelist Agreement, signed it, and taped it to my desk to remind myself of the commitment. Chris Baty's humorous writing pulls you along for the crazy ride that is the month of November with numerous pep talks and advice. Filled with stories from Nano's over the years it was simply joy to read.
Richard Derus
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rating: 5* of five

This technique broke my years-long writer's block. It was a huge gift to me to make this discovery. I can't recommend it highly enough to anyone looking for a sledgehammer to crack the icy seas inside.
Pierre
Oct 28, 2007 rated it it was ok
How to write a novel in 30 days. Poorly. Not terribly impressed with the author's writing style or ideas. Too bad I got distracted about 10,000 words into my horrendous novel. The problem with the book is that it is all peptalk, and no substance. Blech.
Suzanne
I am reluctant to give this a star rating. This approach definitely wouldn’t work for me, but it could have value to someone else.

The problem I have with it is two-fold.

The project’s goal is to just get 50,000 words –any words -- onto paper within a month, and that will supposedly create a basis for a novel , and quality doesn’t matter at all, because you can “fix it” later. For me, however, the act of writing involves some pride and pleasure in choosing the right words. In a first draft, they
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Richard
Aug 21, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was the most useful book on writing I have ever read. Most of such books are chocked full of enough second-guessing tactics to completely immobilize any writer. This book was a very freeing, encouraging excercise in lowering your standards just enough to remove the fear from sitting down and working. It helped me realize that creating a less than perfect rough draft of a complete story is infinitely better than agonizing over an emacculate first chapter of a book that will never be com ...more
Karen
Aug 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
The first time I started reading this book -- several years ago and before I had ever heard of this thing called NaNoWriMo -- I was disappointed to find that it was actually a guidebook to surviving this crazy annual event that Baty had started, in which writers commit to writing a novel of 50,000 words in one month.

What was this? I was not going to attempt something so ridiculous as writing a complete novel in 30 days. I was a serious writer.

Now, years later, I still haven't written a novel, a
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Laura Leaney
Jul 12, 2011 rated it liked it
This was an amusing, somewhat motivating, book to read. I want to be able to think I could write a novel in 30 days, but frankly I know I'm not capable of doing so. . . . unless I was put in prison. Hmmmm. Future crime spree?

The only quality I didn't much care for is the tone affected by the author. Most of the book is written in the manner of the "Dummies" books, lightly ironic with a come-on-you-can-do-this-madcap-zany-writing thing.

It seems clear, as mentioned by Chris Baty himself, you MAY
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Deborah O'Carroll
Nov 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars

A fairly quick, light read, sometimes amusing with a few helpful ideas, in general of interest to those who have or would like to participate in NaNoWriMo or otherwise write a novel in a month, and about writing in general. There's some language, and the humor is of a particular type you need to be in the mood for, so it's not for everybody, and has stuff/advice that hopefully nobody takes seriously, because it's intended to be tongue in cheek. XD But otherwise it was enjoyable and a ni
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Klinta
Nov 10, 2019 rated it liked it
When I picked up this book, I didn't know it has anything to do with the NaNoWriMo. I have never participated in it (and probably never will as I have a talent to go on holiday in November every year).

But despite the fact that I'm not very well versed in NaNoWriMo and don't have the memories many other have, I enjoyed the book and couldn't help but wonder if this also was a NaNoWriMo project for the author. Why? Because I felt like at some points he started to blab away and forgot to cut unnece
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C.J. Prince
Feb 07, 2009 rated it liked it
I did NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) for four years. I didn't discover Chris Baty's book until the last year. Any book on writing will offer something. I find I can get distracted by reading about writing rather than writing. Or distracted by remembering what I've read and playing around on this site.
Chris
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction, 2018, done, writing
This book was absolutely perfect for me to start reading a week or so before starting my very first NaNoWriMo - it had a great balance of reassurance, reality checks, and humor. I read each section of the book at the time recommended in the book and found that to be really helpful - it prepared me for each week without overwhelming me any more than I was already. And hey - I hit my 50k on 25 Nov 2018!
Coleman
Dec 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
Fair or not, this is a review for the entire NaNoWriMo experience, not just the book about it. Chris Baty is after all the architect of this insane month that demands you type like there is no tomorrow and finish a novel in 30 days. Well I finished the challenge and all I can say is National Novel Writing Month is... pretty good.

Let me get the negative out of the way first, which ironically may be the most positive aspect of this whole endeavor. NaNoWriMo is just a little too cheery for me. Yeah
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Alaina
May 08, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lighthearted Novel-Writing Advice

Having participated in National Novel Writing Month for about 10 years now, I get like I needed to read this book by the founder. It was a fun, lighthearted, and enjoyable take on the novel-writing process. I enjoyed reading Chris's anecdotes of his experiences, like writing some lousy first drafts or how the event first came to be. It was an easy read, broken down into checklists and quotes at times, and something I could pick up easily whenever I had a few extr
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Yzabel Ginsberg
Oct 26, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who'd like to write a novel
Shelves: writing
I haven’t left a review on this book yet, and I wonder why, because I’ve had it for ages, and I basically read it once a year (usually in November, how surprising).

Both title and theme hadn’t convinced me at first. What, writing a novel in 30 days? Just like that? But but but! Writing is serious business!
...Except that it was such serious business that I never got down to actually write more than a few chapters, no matter the story.

This book isn’t for everyone, just like the event it concerns (N
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Suzanne
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'm such a huge fan of Chris Baty's, I'm surprised I'd never picked this up before.

I did NaNoWriMo for the first time in 2002 and had my first (and only) win in 2003 during the days when Baty was still at the helm. Nowadays, the pep talks are done by successful authors, some of whom first drafted their bestsellers during NaNo. But, back then, all the pep talks were done by Baty himself. They were encouraging, funny, clever, and caring, and for me they were one of the highlights of the NaNo expe
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Stephanie
Aug 08, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: people who write SOLEY as a hobby; maybe not even then
Shelves: general-nf, ugh
The basic gist of the book is quantity over quality. If you're looking for a book that gives you tips on how to write a novel WELL, stay FAR away. The main focus of the book is making yourself write a novel as soon as possible so you don't keep putting it off. It's more of a "Go YOU!" cheerleader book than anything else; which is nice for encouragement, but when used alone doesn't make for a good self-help book on writing books.

Something else that irritated me about the book was all of the unnec
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Debbie Petersen Wolven
Oct 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: aspiring novelists
I wonder why the month of November is the chosen month for NaNoWriMo? Don't the authors have the upcoming holidays and such to take away writing time? The ideal time for me would be January, when it is too cold to go out and both of my jobs slow down for 30 days or so. Such is life, I failed to hit 50,000 words, but did get a lot of writing in before days of having to work and days of endless distraction made me fall too far behind and I felt overwhelmed. There's always next year...
Moa
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
Really really helpful and inspiring! I can't wait for November's NaNoWriMo, or just to start writing right now!

I read this as an E-book, but I had to order it as a paperback!
Angela Blount
Dec 02, 2016 rated it liked it
To be honest, I’m kind of on the fence about the value of this work as a craft book. It’s interesting, I’ll give it that. Despite having attempted to participate several times, I didn’t know much of anything about the ambitious (delusional?) beginnings of the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) movement. Here we have the brain-parent himself to explain its idealist college student origins.

And explain Baty does—with humorous enthusiasm and a great exuberance for adjectives.

The point of NaNo
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James
This one is fun, although the title is more than a touch misleading - it's about the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) event that takes place every November (although, of course, anyone is free to attempt it in any other month they choose.)

I say it's misleading, first, because it's not low-stress, as all the advice on coping with the stress suggests. NaNoWriMo is fun stress, but it's a fair dose of it. The second reason I call it misleading is that it would be more accurate to subtitle it
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Charlie
Oct 14, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dissappointment
This is not a well written book nor is this a good guide to writing a novel of your own. This is an over inflated introduction to NaNoWriMo, and nothing more.

I am not against NaNoWriMo, in fact, I participated last year and 'won', however, this does nothing more than explain what NaNo is and how to 'prepare' for it. And by Prepare, I mean, waste time doing things that are not writing to prepare yourself to write.

Do you like spending time thinking about what food you eat, and how to shirk respons
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Kait
Jun 10, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting and engaging book packed with writing tips and advice on how to “win” NaNoWriMo. According to their website, NaNoWriMo is “National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 PM on November 30.” I would definitely recommend to those trying to write a novel for the first time.

The author mostly talks about “pantsing” and there’s not a lot o
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Leippya
Oct 18, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: open-minded writers, writers up to a challenge
Shelves: writing
An alternative view to writing, very fun to read. If you tend to see writing as sacred, you probably should not read it. The idea behind the book is to write a first draft very fast, in thirty days, then spend a lot of time revising. Because this book is short and the author quite funny, it makes for a relaxing read.

On another point, if you're thinking of doing NaNoWriMo, the event that's behind the book, this is a good companion to have with you. The first half is about NaNoWriMo, writing and p
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Kerri Anne
Dec 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who is curious about Nanowrimo, or just wants to write 50,000 words in thirty days or less.
Recommended to Kerri Anne by: Cousin Frances!
Baty is a clever and entertaining writer, and he seems to genuinely stand behind the premise that anyone can write at least 50,000 words in thirty days or less. I actually genuinely believe him, but I'm not sure I'm a fan of his philosophy that junk writing is still worthwhile writing, mostly because I'm pretty sure I would turn a unique shade of insane if I reached my monthly word goals and had nothing usable sitting in front of me.
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