Book Review

Book Review: No Plot? No Problem! By Chris Baty

Rating: Four out of five stars

nanoIt is no mystery that I am obsessed with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and its summer counterpart, Camp NaNoWriMo. After having discovered Camp NaNoWriMo in early summer 2012, I have become entangled in the world of writing a project in a month.  I think this project is a great way to get people writing.

Personally, I prefer writing novellas during the camp sessions, and novels during the fall NaNoWriMo. After having won NaNoWriMo 2014 with an incomplete story that reached the word count goal, I picked up this book as a way to prepare me for this November.

The creator of NaNoWriMo, Chris Baty, wrote No Plot? No Problem! as a guide to the tumultuous month in which one attempts to write a book-length manuscript. It can be done, and this book provides helpful insights to achieving this goal. This is the second edition, as the first had been published in 2004, and had become very outdated.

Baty writes about all of the aspects of writing a book in a month, from the introductions to a week-by-week outline of how to conquer the challenge. Extras include quotes from past NaNoWriMo winners and pep talks from published NaNo authors – including Marissa Meyer, one of my favorite authors!

I could tell by the title, however, that this book wasn’t completely for me. I outline every project before I jump into it. I like to know the beginning, middle, end, and all of the nuances in between. I know my characters, their stories, and where they fit into the plot. NaNoWriMo writers fall into one of two categories: Plotters (those who plot their novel) and Pantsers (those who write by the seat of their pants!) I am a Plotter, and this book was written for a Pantser. But I read it anyway, because I wanted to gather as much advice as I could about not just writing a book in thirty days, but writing a book in general.

Some of the tips listed in this book made me a bit uneasy; such tips included printing out the completed manuscript at the office and telling children to lie to their parents so they could skip out of Thanksgiving dinner to write their novels. These tips did not sit right with my conscience, which is why I docked one star from the rating.

This book was a quick read; I read through most of it in a day. This book definitely motivated me to pick up my NaNoWriMo 2014 novel with the goal of finishing it before this upcoming November. Even with its flaws, I highly recommend it to any writer interested in embarking on this challenge.

This review can also be found on Goodreads.

Picture from Goodreads.


4 thoughts on “Book Review: No Plot? No Problem! By Chris Baty

  1. I ordered this book from the library. I’ll be very interested to see what it has to say. Thanks for mentioning it here, I’d never have heard of it otherwise! I have been a planner but am becoming a pantser – I think the latter is more my true way of doing things, at least as far as art and writing. So this may be of use!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I will let you know. I have written one self-published mystery novel a long time ago (2000) and I did it because I wanted to be an author after decades of dedicated reading of everything I could get my hands on. Now I’m poetry lady and I like that so much. The challenge idea intrigues me (I do it with poetry) and yet I am “plotless” so this book might help me find the key to things here.

        Nothing too serious about my ambitions, I don’t expect something great to emerge, but – it does sound like fun to do!

        Liked by 1 person

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