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BOOK REVIEW: No Plot? No Problem!

Author: Chris Baty
Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
Publication Date: July 1, 2010
Genre: Education, reference

“Give someone an enormous task, a supportive community, and a friendly-yet-firm due date, and miracles will happen.”

In 1999, Chris Baty and 20 of his friends challenged themselves to each write a complete novel in the span of 30 days. This challenge, now known as National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo), has expanded to more than 300,000 writers and takes place every November.

Writing a novel from start to finish in merely a month can be very stressful, so Baty wrote “No Plot? No Problem!” to assist NaNoWriMo writers in their journeys.

I first learned of “No Plot? No Problem!” while reading Gretchen Rubin’s “The Happiness Project.” Since she had always wanted to write a novel, Rubin used Baty’s book as a guide for one of her month-long Happiness goals. Now, I’ve dreamed of being a writer since I was a child, so this idea definitely piqued my interest.

Expecting a boring procedural book, I started reading “No Plot? No Problem!” To my pleasant surprise, Baty has written a very informative and incredibly entertaining book! With the use of colorful language and imaginative imagery, he walks you through the pre-work for writing your novel, as well as the common issues and roadblocks of the 30-day challenge.

He provides week-by-week tips and exercises to help you overcome those issues and even provides advice at the end to help you with editing and finding an agent if you decide to move forward with publishing your book. In each chapter, Baty also includes commentary and advice from past NaNoWriMo winners.

I was so captivated by this book that, if it weren’t for work, I probably would have read it in a single day. I have riddled my copy of “No Plot? No Problem!” with highlights and bookmarks and I am indescribably excited for my first attempt at novel-writing in April (no, I can’t wait for November!).

I highly recommend this book to anyone who has even the slightest interest in writing and novel and welcome you to join me in my April challenge or in the official NaNoWriMo in November.

Stefanie Paquin is an avid reader of books about psychology and sex education, a “gearhead,” a self-taught photographer and bicycling enthusiast. She is also a blogger, which you can follow her at closednomore.wordpress.com. Originally from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, she now resides in St. Clair Shores.
Reviewed by Stefanie Paquin on 03 March 2014

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