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No Plot? No Problem! Revised and Expanded Edition: A Low-stress, High-velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days

No Plot? No Problem! Revised and Expanded Edition: A Low-stress, High-velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days

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No Plot? No Problem! Revised and Expanded Edition: A Low-stress, High-velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days

3/5 (401 evaluări)
318 pagini
3 ore
16 sept. 2014


Chris Baty, founder of the wildly successful literary marathon known as National Novel Writing Month, has completely revised and expanded his definitive handbook for extreme noveling. Chris pulls from over 15 years of results-oriented writing experience to pack this compendium with new tips and tricks, ranging from week-by-week quick reference guides to encouraging advice from authors, and much more. His motivating mix of fearless optimism and practical solutions to common excuses gives both first-time novelists and results-oriented writers the kick-start they need to embark on an exhilarating creative adventure.
16 sept. 2014

Despre autor

Chris Baty founded National Novel Writing Month in 1999. His work has appeared in such publications as the Washington Post, The Believer, and AFAR. He lives in Berkeley, California, where he works as a teacher, speaker, and writer.

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No Plot? No Problem! Revised and Expanded Edition - Chris Baty



So much has changed since No Plot? No Problem! first rolled off the presses in 2004. Ebooks and print-on-demand technologies have opened publishing to thousands of new voices. Social media has dramatically expanded the writer’s tool kit, allowing anyone with a great idea to get distracted by cat videos and high school friends’ vacation photos at any hour of the day.

And National Novel Writing Month—the literary marathon I was shoestringing out of my living room ten years ago—has grown into a year-round nonprofit with a staff, an office, and 450,000 participants annually. The flagship autumn event has been joined by a virtual novel-writing camp in summer (www.campnanowrimo.org) and a classroom-based Young Writers Program that is now taught in over 1,000 schools.

It’s been a wonderful, crazy decade. In that time, I’ve stumbled upon a host of new strategies to help you fit a book into the middle of your busy life. In this Revised, Updated, and Expanded Edition of No Plot? No Problem!, you’ll find fresh advice on everything from taming digital distractions to mixing authorhood with parenthood to revising your novel without losing your mind. I’ve added weekly recaps and nearly a hundred fantastic new tips from NaNoWriMo winners. I’ve also commissioned several creativity-boosting, stress-reducing pep talks from some of the authors who have taken their books from the NaNoWriMo finish line to the New York Times bestseller list.

This Revised, Updated, and Expanded Edition also gives me the chance to correct a few, uh, misstatements that appeared in the original version of No Plot? No Problem! It was wrong of me, for example, to suggest that writers who use the second-person point-of view will be driven from their homes by pitchfork-wielding mobs. The biggest error in the 2004 edition, though, was my naïve claim that everyone has a novel in them. With an additional decade of NaNoWriMo under my belt, I can safely say that everyone does not have a novel in them.

Everyone has dozens of novels in them. And getting one of those stories written is even more fun and life-changing than I had originally realized. Even after so many years, I still look forward to NaNoWriMo with an embarrassing amount of excitement. Whether you’re about to write your first or your fifteenth novel, I hope this Revised, Updated, and Expanded Edition of No Plot? No Problem! serves as a trusty companion for an unforgettable month of literary abandon.


The era, in retrospect, was very kind to dumb ideas.

The year was 1999, and I was working as a writer in the San Francisco Bay Area, drinking way too much coffee and watching the dot-com boom rewrite the rules of life around me.

Back then, it seemed entirely possible that my friends and I would spend three years in the workforce—throwing Nerf balls at each other and staging office-chair races—and then cash in our hard-earned stock options, buy a small island somewhere, and helicopter off into blissful retirement.

It was a delicious, surreal moment, and in the middle of it all I decided that what I really needed to do was write a novel in a month. Not because I had a great idea for a book. On the contrary, I had no ideas for a book.

All of this made perfect sense in 1999.

In a more grounded age, my novel-in-a-month concept would have been reality-checked right out of existence. Instead, the very first National Novel Writing Month set sail two weeks later, with almost everyone I knew in the Bay Area on board.

That the twenty-one of us who signed up for the escapade were undertalented goofballs who had no business flailing around at the serious endeavor of novel writing was pretty clear. We hadn’t taken any creative writing courses in college, or read any how-to books on story or craft. And our combined post-elementary-school fiction output would have fit comfortably on a Post-it note.

My only explanation for our cheeky ambition is this: Being surrounded by pet-supply websites worth more than Apple had a way of getting your sense of what was possible all out of whack. The old millennium was dying; a better one was on its way. We were in our mid-twenties, and we had no idea what we were doing. But we knew we loved books. And so we set out to write them.

Bookish Hooligans

That love of books, I think, was the saving grace of the whole enterprise. However unseriously we had agreed to take the writing process, we had an absolute reverence for novels themselves, the papery bricks of goodness that, once pried apart, unleashed the most amazing visions in their owners. In books, we’d found magical portals and steadfast companions, witnessed acts of true love and gaped at absolute evil. Books, as much as our friends and parents, had been our early educators, allowing us our first glimpses into life beyond the gates of childhood.

If we loved books, we were equally awestruck by their creators. Novelists were clearly a different branch of Homo sapiens; an enlightened subspecies endowed with an overdeveloped understanding of the human condition and the supernatural ability to spell words properly.

Novelists, we knew, had it made. They got fawned over in bookstores, and were forever being pestered for insights on their genius. They had license to dress horribly, wear decades-out-of-date hairstyles, and had their shortcomings interpreted as charming quirks and idiosyncrasies rather than social dysfunctions.

Best of all, novel writing was, for them, a lifetime sport—one of the few branches of the entertainment industry where you are allowed to have a career long after you’ve stopped looking good in hot pants.

In short, we adored novels and glorified writers, and thought that if, after a month’s labors, we could claim even the thinnest of alliances with that world, something mysterious and transformational would happen to us. The possibility of starting the month with nada and ending it with a book we’d written—no matter how bad that book might be—was irresistible. And, though we never admitted it to one another, there was also the hope that maybe, just maybe, we’d yank an undeniable work of genius from the depths of our imagination. A masterpiece-in-the-rough that would forever change the literary landscape. The Accidental American Novel. Just think of the acclaim! The feelings of satisfaction! The vastly increased dating opportunities!

The power this last point held over us, sadly, is not to be under-estimated. As a music nerd, I knew it could happen. The annals of rock ’n’ roll are filled with self-taught musicians who recorded albums first and learned how to play their instruments much later. The Sex Pistols, the Ramones, Beat Happening—they were all inspirational examples of unpolished, untrained people who went from nobodies to kings and queens of their oeuvre through sheer exuberance.

If fantasies of screaming, headbanging fans forming mosh pits at our book signings were flitting through our minds in 1999, though, we weren’t admitting it to anyone. Officially, this whole whirlwind novel-writing thing was to be an exercise in slapdash mediocrity. The more you wrote and the less you pretended to care, the better your standing in the field.

So at the dawn of the first National Novel Writing Month we laughed and toasted one another’s complete lack of preparation and dismal chances of success with gusto. Much like novice sailors making good on a drunken dare, we were sailing out to sea on an already-sinking ship.

And that, on July 1, 1999, was how National Novel Writing Month began: twenty-one of us waving merrily to well-wishers gathered on shore, blowing kisses at our friends and family as we secretly cast nervous glances around the deck for life rafts.

We had no idea at the time how soon we’d end up needing them.

A Month at Sea

Writer and championship figure skater Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, In skating over thin ice, our safety is in our speed. As we hurled ourselves toward our likely literary demise, we were nothing if not quick about it.

The opening week of NaNoWriMo (as we were all soon calling it) was an overcaffeinated typing frenzy. For the sake of clarity, we had all agreed to define a novel as 50,000 words of fiction. With that lofty goal in sight, quantity quickly took precedence over quality, and we met in coffee shops after work each night to add another couple thousand words to our literary creations.

As we wrote, we gave ourselves word quotas and created elaborate challenges and races. Anyone who hadn’t reached their writing goal wasn’t allowed to get drink refills or go to the bathroom until they hit the mark. It was ridiculous, screaming fun, and the levity of those early sessions infused what would have normally been a terrifying endeavor—writing a book in an absurdly short amount of time—into a raucous field trip to Novel-land.

The rambunctious mood of those first few days was further buoyed by the fact that the writing campaign started off well for all of us. In short order, we had settings, main characters, and a few chapters under our belts. The hardest part was over, it seemed, and we settled into our novels confident that our muses would guide us through whatever unfamiliar terrain lay ahead.

Our muses, it turned out, had other plans.


By the seven-day mark, the initial excitement had worn off, and it revealed a sad and ugly truth: Our novels were bad. Maybe even horrible. As Week One slipped away, the intoxicating speed of the escapade ground to a halt, and we began poking at our novels with the dismay of a third-grader whose slice of cake has been swapped for a plate of vegetables.

When we broached the subject of our flagging enthusiasm during one of our writing sessions, it became clear that most of us were having the same problem: Starting had been easy. Continuing was hard. Perhaps flinging a random assortment of characters at a Word document, we admitted, was not the soundest approach to book building. And maybe trying to cram something as large as novel writing into an already busy schedule doomed both life and literature.

Our lives certainly had taken on the feel of cursed things: Giving over every free moment to our novels meant no sleeping in on weekends, no TV, and no meals with friends. Instead, we spent our downtime prodding at lifeless characters and wondering how long a human body could subsist on a diet of ramen and Coke before liver function ceased entirely.

By the middle of Week Two, we were ready to mutiny. Half of the participants dropped out. Unfortunately, some of us had bragged so widely about our heroic novel-writing quest that we were too ashamed to quit before the month ended. So we slogged on, continuing to meet for less-than-joyous writing sessions. We were no longer in it to win it; our plan at that point was just to run out the clock.

Week Two came and went. And then some strange things started happening.

The aimless, anemic characters we’d invented in the first fourteen days began to perk up and do things. Quirky, unexpected, readable things. They sold their SUVs and started commuting to work in golf carts. They joined polka bands and got kidnapped by woodland creatures and found themselves organizing jewel-heist capers with their next-door neighbors from the nursing home.

It was as if our protagonists, tired of waiting for competent stage direction from us, simply took control of the show. Thankfully, they turned out to be far better storytellers than we ever were.

The listlessness of Week Two lifted, and the flat lines of our novels began to resemble the trajectories of honest-to-God story arcs. We were still tired, sure. But our books had gone from being albatrosses around our necks to welcoming ports in the storm of everyday life. Rather than dreading the nightly drudgery of writing, we began fantasizing about what directions the story would take. We called our answering machines to dictate plot breakthroughs we’d hatched on our morning commutes, and scribbled out ever-lengthening backstories on napkins, receipts, coworkers—anything we could get our hands on to capture some of the ideas that were pouring out of our brains.

To be fair, the novels emerging on our hard drives were far from the works of genius we’d secretly hoped for. They were stiff and awkward creatures, riddled with plot holes. But they were beautiful in their own way. And absolutely breathtaking in their potential.

If You Build It, Kevin Costner Will Come

Needless to say, at this point we were freaked out of our minds. It felt like we’d stumbled through a portal into a giddy netherworld, a Narnia for grown-ups where hours passed like seconds and the most outrageous and wonderful things you could imagine became real.

It was one of the best, most fulfilling experiences of my life, and, sadly, the only thing I can compare it to is the movie Field of Dreams—where Kevin Costner, playing an Iowa farmer, begins hearing voices that tell him: "If you build it, they will come."

At the advice of the creepy voices, Kevin distances himself from his nay-saying wife and does what any self-respecting man would do: He wrecks his cornfield and builds a baseball diamond next to his farmhouse. He’s clearly berserk. Possessed. Crazy as a loon.

Those of us heading toward the fourth week of NaNoWriMo could relate.

In the movie, Costner’s labors are rewarded with the appearance of ghostly baseball greats from bygone eras, who play exhibition games and inspire epiphanies in James Earl Jones. For us, the rewards were similarly bountiful. After two weeks of tilling the meager soil of our imaginations, the stories we’d been tending bloomed riotously. In Week Three, we harvested bumper crops of plot twists and fascinating characters, all of them eager to have their star turns on the sets we’d created.

Though undeniably lousy baseball players, they were good at other things. My characters, for example, were good at sleeping with people they weren’t supposed to. Another person’s characters were good at taking road trips. And someone else’s were good at inventing fonts that, when viewed, made people’s brains explode.

To each their own. Whatever varied directions our stories were moving in, they were definitely moving. And they were dragging us, happy and wide-eyed, in their wake.

On Day 29, the first participant crossed the 50,000-word finish line. Another followed. Then another. July came to a close, and as exhilarating as it had been to spend thirty-one days exploring the outer reaches of our imaginations, we were all ready to return to real life. So we wrapped up our stories, put our characters to bed, and turned out the lights one by one in the worlds we’d created.

Of the twenty-one people who participated, only six of us made it across the 50,000-word finish line that first year, with the rest falling short by anywhere from 500 to 49,000 words. Everyone who participated in the escapade, though, came away from the experience changed by it.

Some participants, to be honest, realized that they never wanted to write another book again. Others were ready to apply the next day to MFA programs in creative writing. For me, the revelation I couldn’t shake was this: The biggest thing separating people from their artistic ambitions is not a lack of talent. It’s the lack of a deadline. Give someone an enormous task, a supportive community, and a friendly-yet-firm due date, and miracles will happen every time.

Thanks to the go-go-go structure of the event, the pressure to write brilliant prose

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Ce părere au oamenii despre No Plot? No Problem! Revised and Expanded Edition

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  • (4/5)
    This was a fun, fast read that gave me plenty of inspiration and motivation to complete NaNoWriMo this year.
  • (4/5)
    A good book describing some techniques to get past writer's block and win the NaNoWriMo (Nation Novel Writing Month) challenge. It's been a while since I read it, but I remember it being both entertaining and well written. I dock it a star only because I have mixed feelings about NaNoWriMo. It's a good exercise, but I'm not convinced weighing your novel by word count is a good approach.50,000 words that were written is such haste that they should be scrapped and rewritten isn't much progress towards writing a novel... unless of course it helps get you over some kind of fear factor or other writing inhibition.The world is saturated with reading material at the moment. It doesn't need your novel. Everyone could stop writing today, and we'd still have more literature than anyone could possibly read in a lifetime. The world doesn't need more books. Which doesn't mean I don't think good books aren't important or valuable. But I'd rather see someone take five years to craft a true masterpiece than slap out something in a month and try to hoist on an unsuspecting public. If you can write good stories that fast, more power to you, but you are a rare person.On the other hand people writing for the joy and challenge of it is a cool thing. NaNoWriMo has helped breed a community of writers who compete with, support, and challenge each other.I'd like to see more emphasis on quality and stronger participation in the follow up Editing challenge. Because while you may not need to start out with a fully formed plot, you do need to end up with one, or all you've accomplished is a high word count.
  • (4/5)
    A case can be made both for and against writing a novel in a month, just for the hell of it, but in case you decide you want to participate in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), this is THE book to read. Chris Baty is the man who created NaNoWriMo and inspired a movement in 1999. In 2004, he published this book, which is a good guide for finishing a novel in a month, with lots of practical advice and inspiration and encouragement to keep you going. He is also very funny and will keep you entertained and turning the pages. But DON'T! Don't read ahead. This book is best used as prescribed, reading it in order throughout the month of November, at each stage of the NaNoWriMo game. If you want to read ahead, don't do it in November as you're participating in NaNoWriMo; it will only mess you up. If you must read it ahead of time, do it earlier in the year, when NaNoWriMo is a mere blip on the distant horizon. Then go back and read it again, as the author directs, in November, while you're writing your novel. That way you will derive the most benefit from the author's instruction.
  • (5/5)
    Chris Baty presents to you the world of Nanowrimo, a yearly writing event in which you write your own novel in only 30 days. This book is like a guidebook for Nanowrimo, but you don't need to read it to participate. In this book, Baty gives you tips and pointers about how to write your novel, how to edit it and what to watch out for. If you're new to novel writing and unsure about a thing or two, this might help you. All in all it's an amusing guidebook and also contains stories about Baty's own writing experiences. I especially like his method of what to do when you get stuck: get yoursef a reference novel (any novel at all) and whenever you're stuck with your plot, open it at any page and read the first complete sentence. Some might not understand what this is good for: to take your mind off of your own plot for a second. This can help you sometimes to spark an idea on how to continue with your own story. Might not work for everyone, though.
  • (5/5)
    A very helpful book on how to write a book. Solid advice!
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Not necessarily the best book of practical, usable advice on writing, unless that practical advice is "stop reading and start writing". I loved it for that. It was not only very funny, but it was the first book I read (after many) that finally gave me the courage to "just do it".

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    This was a fun book to read, since I'm thinking about taking part in NaNoWriMo this year. It seems like a fair amount of the book is "pep talk," which is a good thing when one is thinking about taking on the project of writing a novel draft in a month! I also enjoyed reading the advice, especially from previous NaNoWriMo participants.
  • (4/5)
    Not a reference book for everyone, but definitely had some great tips for completing NaNoWriMo.

    Also written in a way that had me giggling out loud a lot.
  • (5/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    No Plot? No Problem!: a Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days is the most fun book on writing I've yet to read, and it is full of good advice. I am someone who has been trying to write a novel for years and forever getting stuck, unable to finish anything, abandoning projects and ideas left, right and centre and feeling overwhelmed and frustrated at myself - I found Chris Baty's advice really insightful. I've always said that I didn't possibly have time to participate in NaNoWriMo because with a full time job I didn't have enough time to write 1700 words a night...but Baty argues that being really busy is actually a boon to getting your writing done, that by cramming as high a word count into as tiny time frame as possible is a trick to get your "inner editor" to shut up - and the "inner editor" plague is something that I suffer from a lot. Baty makes the excellent point that first drafts are always bad, whether you write them in a month or spend years on them, so why be afraid to make mistakes? Just write everything, and let it be as bad and messy as it needs to be to get written. This little book has given me a whole new approach to writing. And reading this book is inspirational! I picked it up on the advice of a friend thinking I would never seriously try to write a novel in a thirty days when I couldn't even finish a short story in that amount of time...but after reading it I am just itching to try! Maybe next month, and maybe not, but definitely some time in the future I will try this crazy, insane and wonderful approach to writing.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (3/5)
    If you've done NaNoWriMo before, this book will make you laugh. Wryly. Recognising yourself in the words. If you haven't, it won't prepare you in the slightest for the ordeal you face once you commit yourself to it. It's still recommended reading, but maybe once you've done one year of it, for better or worse, so you really understand.
  • (5/5)
    This book was not what I expected at first. When I bought this book I thought it was going to be talking about story plots, the different kinds of plots, and writing in general. This is how I found out about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Chris Baty, who is founder of NaNoWriMo and this book, wrote the book in a very simple and understanding way. I love that this tells about the challenge of NanWriMo, and even have a chart on page 50 of him breaking down how many words per day you to reach your 50K word goal by the end of the month. I find this since I have read this book and actually participated int NaNoWriMo for a couple of years now that I enjoy doing it. This is how I get my stories going each year when I come up with an idea. (Of course I come up with more than one a year.) But the point is that this books really helped me see that I can do it. I can write 50K words in a month with the outlined daily word count, and I can write more each day if I feel the desire to. The Book also takes you through each week of NaNoWriMo, the struggles and the lack of motivation and each tells you about week which ones are the hardest to stay motivated and ways to get through it. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is a writer and may be having trouble with their writing, and anyone who is having trouble getting started.
  • (4/5)
    It's definitely possible to do NaNoWriMo without this book--especially if you waste your precious noveling hours at the nanowrimo.org website--but this book is reassurance, encouragement, and a kick in the pants all at once. I picked it up again before setting off into this year's novel, and I finished it with a better idea of what I'm going to write...and more realistic expectations for the final product.The only thing that irritates me is that the sidebar articles are written in black on dark grey. I'm 25; I should not be getting eyestrain yet!
  • (4/5)
    I've done NaNoWriMo several times now. The first was a novel called "Arts Pentathlon". It was fun and exhilarating, and I really didn't expect to kill one of my main characters off so quickly. But it worked out. The second time I tried, nothing jelled and and I didn't finish. The third time, same deal. The fourth time, I used it as a means of writing the first draft of a non-fiction book. I made it, but have not gone back to edit it yet. I had decided that this year, instead of writing a new novel, I would use the month to edit my existing non-fiction book (NaBoEdMo). But reading this book has me fired up again. It would be good to write another novel. This book talks about the genesis of the NaNoWriMo Challenge, and the pitfalls. It walks you through the process, and the problems. But it does not give you a plot. It gives you a mental attitude of excitement and charging up your creativity. November starts next week. I have some half-formed characters and attitudes swirling in my head.... after reading this, I'm thinking I should go for it. Recommended.
  • (5/5)
    I bought this book last year, when my husband and I decided to participate in Nanowrimo on October 31st, the day before it started. I re-read the introductory chapters in preparation for another installment this year. I enjoyed it just as much the second time. The length of the book is pretty close to the 50,000 word target for National Novel Writing Month. It is funny and inspiring.
  • (2/5)
    This book doesn't contain much helpful writing advice, but it might be what you need to get started pumping out that first draft during NANOWRIMO (national novel writing month). The book is encouraging but your time is better spent writing rather than reading.
  • (5/5)
    Chris Baty, founder of National Novel Writing Month teaches you everything you need to know about writing a novel whose only benchmark for success is daily word count. He is fantastically practical and encouraging in this book and there's no question in my mind that i am writing a novel in November - seriously. If you have any aspirations towards writing fiction at all, you will get this book IMMEDIATELY. Ask me - I'll send you my copy!
  • (4/5)
    Written by the guy that started National Novel Writing Month, this book is about that journey and how to get yourself through to that 50,000 word goal. Interesting perspective, fun to read.
  • (4/5)
    The idea behind this book is identical to that of the internet phenomenon also founded by Baty: National Novel Writing Month, that is, writing 50,000 words of a novel in the span of a single month. There are no quality standards, and indeed you are discouraged from editing, rereading, or anything else besides increasing your wordcount. This book would more accurately be called The Joy of Writing. It's not exactly a how-to book, but rather an embrace-the-fun book, full of light-hearted encouragement and amusing asides. I will say that I never would have picked up this book had I never participated in NaNoWriMo. Its very subtitle sounds like a scam: "A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days." The thing is, this book is not about writing a polished, ready-for-publication novel in 30 days (though there are a few pages at the end on revising and rewriting after the month is over). It's about writing with wild abandon and how much fun it is. You won't learn much about writing in general, but you will learn a lot about what works and what doesn't in terms of your own writing habits. If you're fairly new to the writing scene and have always wanted to try your hand at a novel just for fun, pick this one up. On the other hand, if you are a serious writer who is looking for serious writing advice, you probably won't find much of use in here.
  • (5/5)
    I love reading this the week before NaNoWriMo starts. I don't use many of the writing tips, or follow the weekly motivations. I just know after I read it, my mind will catch on and I'll start coming up with ideas that I can't wait to write about.
  • (5/5)
    A writing guide for those of us who wrote 50,000 words in a month (National Novel Writing Month). Includes tips on location, setting, character development, plot ideas, etc, and also has a bit about editing and getting published.
  • (3/5)
    I picked up No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty when I signed up for the 2008 NaNoWriMo that Baty cofounded. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month in which one attempts to write 50,000 words in 30 days usually in November. As Baty explains in No Plot, 50,000 words is about the length of The Great Gatsby or Of Mice and Men. The whole idea of the project is to write without editing. No Plot walks you through the month week by week, offering pep talks and tips for success. Baty sprinkles wit throughout the book and it’s an enjoyable read. Will it make you a better writer? Not on its own. Some of the tips will be helpful to some people, while other tips will be helpful to others. The whole book is not going to resonate with you. In fact, you may think some of his ideas are completely wrong for how you approach writing. Still, I found reading each week’s section as I progressed through NaNoWriMo to be a welcome distraction from meeting that week’s word count.
  • (4/5)
    I am not so sure that there's as much as one piece of advice in this work I could point to as some sort of epiphany. However, Baty's enthusiasm is obvious on every page, and manages to be infectious without ever becoming obnoxious. Trite as it sounds, sometimes simply restating the obvious can be helpful, even if some of the particulars in his plan rather left me scratching my head.
  • (5/5)
    I did NaNoWriMo for the first time this year, and this book helped me tremendously. I don't think I would have been able to finish my novel without all the tips, ideas, and encouragement I got from this book. Highly recommended.
  • (4/5)
    Baty's friendly and engaging style attempts to make the task of writing a 50,000 word novel in 40 days seem exhilerating and fun. Anecdotes from former Nanwrimo winners punctuate the text, along with a plethora of tips to keep going.
  • (5/5)
    Not for the faint hearted! Chris Baty brings you along on his whirlwind adventure of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which can happen every November (nationally by the site) or any month you want with No Plot? No Problem! Any writer wanting to do a first draft without any concern for quality -just to get ideas on paper- needs to read this combination of humor and inspiration!
  • (4/5)
    Baty has a quick, light-hearted writing style, which is important considering the task this book promises to teach you. "Heavier" writing books (i.e., John Gardner's _The Art of Fiction_) call out for much thinking through your process. But if you're going to turn out a novel in 30 days, we have no time for that! So Baty's book moves along at a fast clip, which means you can get back to writing your masterpiece faster. I knocked out over 56,000 words in my month, and though the first draft has yet to be finished, there is no way I would have gotten THAT far without Baty encouraging me to get my inner editor out of the way and simply pound out my story.
  • (4/5)
    I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time in 2007. I didn't make it to 50K, but it was an amazing experience. I read this book with almost 2 months' distance from it and I wish I had read it in October. I came to many of the same conclusions that Chris had made but through the hard way of personal experience. What I valued the most of this book was the normalization of the process, outlined week by week...the energy, the doubts, the hopelessness. But, he also gently offers ways to deal with those challenges that inspire the novelist. A lot of writing books offer good advice. But this book condenses to what is necessary for the NaNoWrimo-er. See you in November!
  • (5/5)
    I love love LOVE this book. I bought it after NaNo last year and may not use it for an actual guide to NaNo, but the thought processes and the inspiration/motivation in this book is wonderful.
  • (4/5)
    NaNoWriMo is an awesome idea. The book is a great companion for it, with its week-by-week guide for the whole month (or any month, for that matter). The NaNoWriMo Spirit is all about killing that inner editor, and this is a great guide for creating, maintaining and working with that headlong rush to keep writing whatever rises to mind for 30 days -- and beyond.
  • (3/5)
    Quick read by the creator of NaNoWriMo on how NaNo works. Interesting thoughts and really helpful if you're a NaNo participant, or thinking of participating. Follows through pretty acurately what to expect in the month long novel writing endeavour.