Karen'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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's review
Aug 29, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: books-about-writing

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, and National Novel Writing Month -- or NaNoWriMo, as it's more commonly known -- has become a worldwide phenomenon. Even my cousin's wife brags about her NaNoWriMo "wins" in her bizarre Christmas newsletters. Never mind that her books are about gerbil detectives. Why was I not doing this?

Baty's book walks you through the entire NaNoWriMo process and lets you know exactly what to expect. The idea is, by challenging yourself to turn out an insane number of words in a month, you will be forced to turn off your internal editor, and to let your imagination and intuition free to unleash ideas that you wouldn't be able to tap into under normal writing circumstances. You will give yourself permission to write, as Anne Lamott succinctly describes it, the shitty first draft.

It's a valid theory and a noble goal. Some NaNoWriMo winners have gone on to rewrite their novels and actually publish them. Many others are self-published. Others don't write their books with publication as the ultimate goal, but simply enjoy the creative challenge. I plan on making my first attempt this November -- the month when NaNoWriMo officially occurs, although participants are welcome to stage their own NaNoWriMo "Camp" during any month of the year.

If you've ever wanted to write a novel but don't know where to begin, or if you're just curious about his whole NaNoWriMo extravaganza, I recommend Baty's guidebook.
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Reading Progress

August 29, 2012 – Started Reading
August 29, 2012 – Shelved
September 11, 2012 – Finished Reading
September 28, 2017 – Shelved as: books-about-writing

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