Jason Koivu's Reviews > No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days

No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty
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Jul 13, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: writing
Read from July 13 to 23, 2010

No plot?...Yes, that is a problem! Free-flow writing is like having the shits: You feel tremendous relief, but it really stinks.

Don't get me wrong, it's not a bad concept - forcing yourself to write a rough draft within 30 days - which is especially good for new writers, who are often timid procrastinators too anxious or lazy to even begin.

In essence, what you get if you follow Baty's program is a microcosm or truncation of the usual novel beginning, 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 amoeba novel if you will.

No Plot?... is not the best book for the new writer. Not even close! It is, however, the best book for a writer looking to play the "finish a novel in 30 days" game that Baty originated. But that's about it. I'd suggest looking elsewhere for proper writing advice.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Nandakishore (new)

Nandakishore Varma I tried NaNoWriMo for three years... then left. Throwing up half-cooked words on the page, then trying to make something tasty out of it: not for me.


Jason Koivu Nandakishore wrote: "I tried NaNoWriMo for three years... then left. Throwing up half-cooked words on the page, then trying to make something tasty out of it: not for me."

I haven't tried it yet. On the one hand I think it would be fun and on the other I think it would be a waste of time. Frankly, I've gotten to the point in my life where I don't need this kind of motivation.


Mark Rice I agree with your sentiments, Jason. Good novels take a long time to write and even longer to edit/polish. I bought this book about six years ago, just to check out its content. While one of my friends - a journalist - was visiting, he noticed the book on a shelf and cracked up laughing. Once he'd calmed down, he said, "No plot, no problem? No plot, HUGE problem!"


Jason Koivu Mark wrote: "I agree with your sentiments, Jason. Good novels take a long time to write and even longer to edit/polish. I bought this book about six years ago, just to check out its content. While one of my fri..."

It does have the redeeming quality of getting the people that buy into it up off their ass and writing. I know that's something I could've used when I was a kid. But after that you're on your own and this book doesn't help in the least. What concerns me is that people are "completing" these books and then self publishing them thinking they're a-okay and good-to-go when actually a whole lot more work needs to be done.


Mark Rice Jason wrote: "It does have the redeeming quality of getting the people that buy into it up off their ass and writing. I know that's something I could've used when I was a kid. But after that you're on your own and this book doesn't help in the least. What concerns me is that people are "completing" these books and then self publishing them thinking they're a-okay and good-to-go when actually a whole lot more work needs to be done."

Exactly. Publishing a first draft is a terrible idea; they're never anywhere near ready. I think the book is useful in a few ways, not least that it promotes writing a target amount of words each day, seven days a week. That's a good habit for any writer to adopt. You're right that the overall premise is focused on quantity, with very little attention given to quality.


message 6: by JonSnow (new) - added it

JonSnow While I agree with the review, the book is specifically written with NaNoWriMo in mind and nothing else, so its target isn't necessarily new writers, but those competing in NaNoWriMo. It's silly to hate on something for being exactly what it advertises I think. If you want a book on writing outside of NaNoWriMo, this isn't for you, and that much is very obvious, so it seems you have unreasonable expectations of what this book should be, when in reality it is exactly what it says it is and nothing more.


Jason Koivu JonSnow wrote: "While I agree with the review, the book is specifically written with NaNoWriMo in mind and nothing else, so its target isn't necessarily new writers, but those competing in NaNoWriMo. It's silly to..."

You know nothing, JonSnow...


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