This book was written by the founder of NaNoWriMo. What’s NaNoWriMo, you ask? It’s shorthand for National Novel Writing Month, which is an event that occurs every November that has writers all over the globe attempting to complete a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. The novel doesn’t have to be good; the words just have to be there. The idea is to get writers writing, and there’s no better community full of amazing support than NaNoWriMo. Okay, enough gushing about the event and on to the book.
No Plot? No Problem! is equal parts inspiration and advice. Baty does an excellent job drumming up enthusiasm for the Herculean task of writing a novel in thirty days. The entire beginning of the book is dedicated to getting you ready to start actually writing. It’s full of wise advice for preparing your life, your environment, and even your friends and family for your great novel writing adventure.
The second half of the book is a week-by-week guide for getting you through the madness that is NaNoWriMo. Each chapter covers a week with advice, comments from past participants, as well as exercises to keep you going. My favorite chapter covers Week Three when Baty coaches us on how to calm our frustrated support network and shares the secret to the 6,000-word “Jetpack.”
The very last chapter makes sure to cover the importance of editing and revising after you churn out 50,000 words in thirty days. I like that Baty doesn’t sugarcoat the fact that we are likely to put out a fair amount of drivel that will definitely need polishing, or even cutting. The last chapter does a fine job of laying out some editing and plotting techniques and wisely advises that you take a good year to clean up your work before you even think about sending a query.
I read the book cover-to-cover for review purposes, but you could easily read the intro and then read each week as it comes to get motivated. The writing is quick and funny and the advice is wise. I really enjoyed the sections with quotes from writers who have been through this process. It really does help to know that you’re not alone and that this is actually a very possible endeavor.
If you’ve ever wanted to write a novel and just aren’t sure how to get started, pick up this clever book, sign up for NaNoWriMo, and enjoy!