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No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days Paperback – September 16, 2004


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; First Printing edition (September 16, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811845052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811845052
  • Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (178 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #66,142 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Every November, tens of thousands of people sign up for National Novel Writing Month and attempt to write a 50,000-word novel. Baty, the brains behind this competition, has produced an uproariously funny motivational manifesto so readers can get a leg-up in his race or in the larger publishing game. The key is to lower your expectations "from 'best-seller' to 'would not make someone vomit,' " says Baty, who maintains that stress and a deadline are important parts of writing. Aimed at the nonserious, with an emphasis on summoning creativity and having a life-changing experience, this original approach will appeal to anyone up for a challenge. -Library Journal

About the Author

Chris Baty is a freelance writer and writing coach whose work has appeared in such publications as the Washington Post, the SF Weekly, and Lonely Planet guidebooks. He lives in Oakland, California.

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Customer Reviews

Great book to get you started and keep you writing.
Laurie M.
The bottom line is that whether the writing is good or bad, you still have to get words written down before you can do anything else.
Amazon Customer
Easy to read, written in a very funny and laid back style, very witty!
Notwitty

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

250 of 263 people found the following review helpful By Debra Hamel VINE VOICE on October 28, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Chris Baty, the author of No Plot? No Problem, is the founder of National Novel Writing Month, a bizarre, web-based movement, now in its sixth year, in which would-be novelists are invited to unleash their inner muses, register (for free) at the NaNoWriMo website (NaNoWriMo.org), and crank out the rough draft of a novel during the month of November. Incredibly, more than 25,000 people attempted to do just that in November of 2003, with some 3500 of them crossing the finishing line. (Anyone who writes 50,000 words in the allotted time is declared a winner.) No Plot? No Problem is Baty's brief (about 50,000 words) and breezy companion volume to the literary marathon.

In the first part of his book Baty offers readers mostly playful advice. Those undertaking the month-long novel-writing challenge are advised to turn their loved ones into effective agents of guilt, for example. Writers, too, are urged to procure a "wearable, writing-enhancing object" such as a baseball cap, the better both to put themselves in the mood to write and to signal to family members "that you've slipped away into the shadowy Realm of the Novel, and that you are not to be disturbed unless they--or one of the more likable of the family pets--are on fire." Baty also provides practical advice about carving out time in one's schedule for writing. (One past NaNoWriMo winner, a woman from Indiana, reports escaping from her children to find writing time on the toilet. This may be the way things are done in the Midwest, but I'm afraid a bathroom door is insufficient to stop the determined young of New England.
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111 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Erik1988 TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 16, 2005
Format: Paperback
MY STORY: National Novel Writing Month 2004 started on Nov 1st of that year. It was Nov. 2nd when I remembered the event had started, so I grabbed a pre-existing novel idea/outline and jumped into the unknown. Nine days later and only 7,000 new words and I was done. I felt guilt for not being commited and shame for thinking I jumped into this unprepared...not to mention starting late.

I chatted with a couple of people who said they spent two weeks prior doing story outlines and character drafts and that helped them finish, which only made me feel worse about my "unpreparedness". Thus I was able to justify my failure, forget it and move on within an hour of quiting and enjoy some chocolate chip cookies, guilt-free.

After reading this book, I felt I could have and should have stuck with it regardless of how far behind I was by day 9. This book made me laugh, made me cry and made me feel inspired to take this challenge tonight and not wait till Nov. I read the book in a day, which is fast for me, and I left with more things to think about than things forgotten.

Too often writing books talk about starting with the notecards, then storyboarding then moving into characters, etc. This entire approach of just writing it and then "fixing" and figuring out all that other stuff after the fact is mind blowing and backwards to all the other writing advice books out there. BUT the more you examine the process (and see the thousands who have completed it) belief takes root that this is possible for everyone to write a novel. I'm not saying a good novel, but a novel nonetheless.

The book contains great advice for surviving the four weeks and so many other tips that I don't want to give you a spoiler like a bad movie trailer.
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135 of 144 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer VINE VOICE on September 23, 2004
Format: Paperback
Whether you're a new writer or experienced, I can already think of a few reasons for owning this book. Key word: ATTITUDE. This book is amazing for "butt-in-chair, words-on-page" writing. The bottom line is that whether the writing is good or bad, you still have to get words written down before you can do anything else.

I also like the format and layout. It's fun and unique, like a 'field guide' more than a writing book.

Like a field guide, the first half of the book is all about the preliminaries, gearing up to do the job, just as if you were going rock-climbing or cross-country skiing: the equipment, the mindset, the little things (like good coffee).

The second half is a four-week 'game plan' for the National Novel Wriring Month challenge. The nice thing is that this is a book you can use any time of year, not just for November.

A great source of inspiration!

(A fellow writer said to me, "I could never finish something like that." I persuaded her to sign up anyway, saying "Even if you don't finish, it'll still be more words on the page than you would have had otherwise, right?")
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63 of 67 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 7, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book isn't a great book, but it isn't bad. The author's writing style is pleasant and fun. He carries you along through an entire book even when there isn't much to say. But the most important thing isn't the book, or the depth of the book. The important thing is the message.

Let's face it, this book is mostly a cheerleading book. It tells you that you CAN write a book in 30 days. Then it gives you a few good pointers and helpful ideas. There is nothing totally new or earthshaking here, but there are a lot of basic points that are of tremendous value.

I guess I was wishing for something a little more profound, but what is here is very accessible. Most importantly, if you follow the techniques that it recommends, you will find yourself doing things as a writer that you never imagined.

If writers can get the main message of the book, that it is possible to write a book in 30 days and follow through on the techniques, then this book just might change their lives.
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