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

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Chronicle Books, Jul 1, 2010 - Language Arts & Disciplines - 176 pages
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Chris Baty, motivator extraordinaire and instigator of a wildly successful writing revolution, spells out the secrets of writing—and finishing—a novel. Every fall, thousands of people sign up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which Baty founded, determined to (a) write that novel or (b) finish that novel in—kid you not—30 days. Now Baty puts pen to paper himself to share the secrets of success. With week-specific overviews, pep "talks," and essential survival tips for today's word warriors, this results-oriented, quick-fix strategy is perfect for people who want to nurture their inner artist and then hit print! Anecdotes and success stories from NaNoWriMo winners will inspire writers from the heralding you-can-do-it trumpet blasts of day one to the champagne toasts of day thirty. Whether it's a resource for those taking part in the official NaNo WriMo event, or a stand-alone handbook for writing to come, No Plot? No Problem! is the ultimate guide for would-be writers (or those with writer's block) to cultivate their creative selves.

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This is a humorous Nanowrimo guide for writing a fifty-thousand word novel. That is an average of 1667 words per day. The deadline energizes the effort. Writing is a prioritized activity. Don’t take more than two nights off in a row. A writer can pick any month for this. November is the official group writing event, but there always may be support from other writers. This has many quotes from participants. There are lists of various rewards and locations. Some are isolated and others provide material from the public. The author enjoys coffee, music and food. He recommends a dedicated item of clothing. Do planning in seven days. Write down what makes a good book. Make another list of what you don’t like in novels. Brilliant concepts may be saved for later if they deserve slower treatment. The second half has daily prompts. There is a list of questions about character details, and some time-tested plots. Settings that require a lot of creativity will use up time. “You are not allowed to use second-person perspective…” Same for the Inner Editor. Use a working title until a better one shows up after a couple of weeks. Highlight things that no longer seem to fit for possible reuse. Also keep a novel notes file for things to use later. Avoid the urge to reread, at least until after the day’s quota is filled. Week one has the most energy. On day twelve, the previous novel often seems like a lost cause. Build on its strengths since it will start to zoom on day fifteen. If fully absorbed, the writer can throw in a couple of six-thousand word days. On day nineteen, find something in the novel to break, then assume that it will never be read, and destroy everything. Try to write about something in minute detail for a while. Make a map of the fictional world. Write about incidental persons, places or things that are around in real life. Use a reference novel, opened at random, to make decisions about plot difficulties. Write some in longhand. Refer to the results as “my most recent novel”. Wait a little while before reading it. Rewriting increases the size from twenty percent to double, and may take another year. Figure out the story arc and then edit. Do chapter analyses and a story outline that can be reorganized. Develop characters. Fix the pacing; this may involve shuffling the scenes and then putting them into a good order. Redo the manuscript.  


Write Here Write Now A Frantic Fantastic WeekbyWeek Overview to Bashing out Your Book

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About the author (2010)

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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