Friday, October 16, 2009

No Plot? No Problem!

Friday, October 16, 2009
In preparation for National Novel Writing Month, which begins in a little over two weeks, I am reading Chris Baty's book "No Plot? No Problem!" Chris Baty is the founder of NaNoWriMo and his book was intended to be the bible for WriMo's all over the world who set out on the crazy adventure of writing a 50,000 word novel in one month.  I first participated in NaNoWriMo back in 2006, and have participated every year since. Sadly, I have never gotten very far in previous years. But this year is going to be different. I am determined to win!

I picked up Baty's book a couple months back. I am reading it through a second time and it is just as refreshing and enlightening as the first time. I wish I had this book back when I first attempted NaNo, it would have saved me a lot of blood, sweat, and tears... well, maybe just tears.  One of the greatest things it has taught me is to not take novel writing lightly, but more importantly, don't take it too seriously.

My favorite term from the book (I'm not sure if Baty just made it up or what, but he's a genius if he did) is Exuberant Imperfection; which, basically, is the attitude you are to have if you ever want to succeed at writing a book in a month and still retain your sanity.  The gist of it is that you must acknowledge the fact that your first draft will NEVER be perfect, it will probably actually be very messy and not resemble much more then a pile of roting vegetable, but it is always fixable. We must rejoice in these imperfections and just have fun with it. Throw caution to the wind, do what doesn't make sense, have fun playing hopscotch over your novel's many pot holes. Just get your story out and don't care what it looks like until after you write "The End," then go back and fix it.  If you try to make things perfect, it will never work out.

Of course, Baty explains all this much better than I ever could. I highly encourage anyone who wants to attempt NaNoWriMo to pick up a copy of this book. It is full of yummy tips and is a real hoot to read.  Even if you don't every plan to attempt writing a book in a month, it is a great tool to help you hammer out a rough draft with the most amount of fun and the least amount of stress.  What good is writing a novel if you don't enjoy it and you end up pulling all your hair out before you finish? Buy it today, you will be glad you did.

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

Peace and Joy,

Miranda Joy


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