Thursday, September 18, 2008

No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty

No Plot? No Problem! By Chris Baty is an irreverent look at the writing process as experienced through the NaNoWriMo challenge. Anyone expecting a serious look at how to write a novel, including the subtle points of creating characters, plot development, etc. will be disappointed. But let’s face it, the NaNoWriMo challenge does not take writing seriously and, given that this book is a sort of survival guide for anyone who wants to take up the challenge of writing 50,000 words in 30 days, it is clearly not Baty’s intention to write a thorough “how to write a novel” handbook. Instead, he sprinkles his text with anecdotes, advice, and strange allusions to monkeys and zombies. For anyone who has done NaNoWriMo several times, there really isn’t anything new here or even necessarily much useful. I wish this book had been published when I first did NaNoWriMo but it wasn’t. Oh well. There is some advice on how to revise the finished nanovel. I can’t say it is very useful advice because I haven’t tried it. The advice offered is broad and useful to ensure the pacing of the novel is consistent, that no extraneous characters are included, and that superfluous scenes are cut completely. However, for the nit picking line by line grammar and spelling checks, there is no advice. Nor is there any for how to recognize passive voice or inconsistent tense. Makes sense. There are many books out there that cover these things and Baty is offering advice to support his NaNoWriMo followers and not necessarily for the more serious novelist. I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is new to the NaNoWriMo experience.

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