Wednesday, June 30, 2010

No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days by Chris Baty

Chris Baty is the founder of the literary world's infamous National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) every November. Every year I have my 6th graders participate in the Young Writers version of the program, but have never actually participated in it myself.

The adult version of NaNoWriMo proposes that you write a 50,000 word novel in one month's time. (The Young Writer's version allows the kids to choose their own word count.)

I always enjoy reading "how to write" books because it helps me hone my craft as a writer and a teacher. But No Plot? No Problem! stands out among the others because of its humor and its ability to make you want to get up and write a really crappy novel RIGHT NOW. The case that Baty makes for writing a novel in thirty days is simply this: so many of us (myself included) say, "Someday I'm going to write a book - when I have the time, and when I'm older and wiser." Baty is telling us to STOP WAITING! The novel you could write today is just as valid and plausible as the one you could write thirty years from now.

Writing a novel in such a short time frame forces you to turn off your inner editor and just "git r done" which is what so many writers lay claim to when people ask them where they get their inspiration. Oftentimes, inspiration comes from just sitting down and writing a lot of crap, only later turning it into a literary masterpiece during the long and tedious revision process.

Not only is this book the motivational speech most of us need to sit down at the computer and start writing (and to keep writing when all hope seems lost) but it also has a lot of great writing exercises to get you through the difficult patches that are sure to come about during your 30 days chained to the computer. I highly recommend this book for anyone who's wanted to write a novel but procrastinated it into oblivion. Chris Baty will make you want to start writing before you even finish the first chapter.

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