Monday, September 30, 2013

No Plot? No Problem! Introduction

Cover of "No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Str...
Cover via Amazon
Welcome to my read-along of No Plot? No Problem! A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days.

If you're here for I Don't Know What I Want, But I Know It's Not This, well, you were warned, but no worries; it'll be back in December.

So, without further ado:

No Plot? No Problem!

By Chris Baty


Baty begins by telling the story of how NaNoWriMo came to be. Back in 1999, Baty decided, on a whim, to write a novel in a month. He had no story ideas.  He and his friends, book-lovers all, decided to hell with it: they were going to write (probably spectacularly bad) novels over the course of July, 1999. They agreed to define a novel as 50,000 words, and took off with gusto.

Then reality hit: novels written quickly suck. And sucking is bad for motivation. Some people dropped out, but those who pushed through picked up a second wind. And in the end, six people won that first NaNoWriMo.

Baty headed NaNoWriMo for years after that, only stepping down in January of 2012 to become a full-time writer, so you see? It works. Or it can. And in his years of running NaNoWriMo, he had four revelations he shares in the introduction:
  1. Enlightenment Is Overrated: waiting until you're brilliant and wise won't get your novel written.
  2. Being Busy Is Good for Your Writing: you fill the time you have, so the more time you have, the more time-wasting you'll do.  I can attest to this; I have a hard time focusing on my writing at home, for one thing.
  3. Plot Happens: have a couple good characters and push through, and plot will work itself out.
  4. Writing for Its Own Sake Has Surprising Rewards: getting into the zone is awesome, you appreciate your favorite novels more, and you get better at writing in general.
After that first year, NaNoWriMo was moved to November, and word spread. There are actual best-selling novels out there that started as NaNoWriMo projects -- Water for Elephants and The Night Circus, for example.

Baty wraps up the introduction by explaining the format of the book, and ends with his good luck wishes.

So... I just came up with a story idea, but I'm willing to be swayed.  How about you? Are you doing NaNoWriMo?

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