Diary of a Network Geek

The trials and tribulations of a Certified Novell Engineer who's been stranded in Houston, Texas.


Review: No Plot? No Problem!

Filed under: Criticism, Marginalia, and Notes,Fun,Life, the Universe, and Everything,News and Current Events,Personal,Review,Things to Read — Posted by the Network Geek during the Hour of the Rooster which is in the early evening or 6:49 pm for you boring, normal people.
The moon is a Third Quarter Moon

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

It was good, though certainly not the usual writing book. The author, Chris Baty, is a motiviational writing pro who inspires people to attempt writing a novel every year. He’s the founder of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. You might have noticed that I’ve been “counting down” to that event on my sidebar and that’s why I read this book. I hope, all things being equal, to attempt NaNoWriMo this year. That is, if I can keep my characters from writing themselves now.

No Plot? No Problem! is first and foremost a motivational writing book. It’s fairly light on any real technique, other than those things that get you writing and keep you writing, but, as long as you keep that in mind, it’s a very good book. I don’t know about other potential writers out there, but one of my major problems has always been motivation and actually making myself write on a regular, consistent basis. I love writing, but it doesn’t pay the bills and likely won’t for quite some time, if ever, so doing my job comes first. After that, and the regular duties of life, if I have time and energy left, I might have something to write about. Maybe, if I’m lucky. So, after reading literally dozens of books on writing, I don’t need more about plot structure or scene description or anything else, but I do need motivation. This book has that in spades.

Mr. Baty bills the book as the “official handbook of NaNoWriMo”, so it might be helpful to know what those parameters are as they’re also the parameters the book uses to motiveate you. The goal of both is to write a 50,000 word novel in one month, not worrying about quality of either prose or story, just get 50,000 words cranked out by a 30/31 day deadline. Why 50,000 words? Well, according to Mr. Baty, because Brave New World by Aldous Huxley was 50,000 words and the first short novel he picked up when they started all this wonderful craziness. So, there it is. Fairly arbitrary, but a goal that is attainable. And, every year, people participate and attain that goal. Not everyone, but enough people that the thought of doing it motivates me and that’s what I need.

We’ll see how well I do and how much advice I follow from the book!
Oh, and at lunch today, I started The Sociopath Next Door. So far, it’s fairly good and giving me ideas for that book!

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