No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days - Chris Baty Confession: I avoided this book for years due to an overwhelming aversion to the title and all the stupidity it implies. (No Plot? No Problem! Really? Way to reduce a creative endeavor into something minor, without worth, and to a level so low even imbeciles might try their hand at it, as if there isn't enough bad writing flying around as it is.) I couldn't stomach it, so I always rolled my eyes and left it on the shelf, perfectly content in my elitist ways.

Further confession: I was, thankfully, so very, very wrong, and I'm glad another GoodReads member ventured the recommendation.

So the title does the book no favors, but the book itself is well worth a read. It's quick, it's funny, and above all, it will motivate you.

This is a companion volume to the epic NaNoWriMo efforts of the internet and the world beyond, presented with a great sense of humor and an eye on the goal of simply surviving the month with your sanity and word count intact. Baty breaks it down to the whys and hows, even going so far as to flag each week of the endeavor by just how broken your brain is going to feel. (My words, not his, but it's implied. And having taken a stab at NaNoWriMo myself, I remember the feeling well.) He has hit on the one thing that keeps so many talented writers from ever making any progress: the idea that the first attempt has to be genius. That's what editing is for, that's when the genius comes in, and a writer can't edit/publish what he never managed to get down on paper in the first place.

"Stop being so hard on yourself." I, along with many of my friends who write, would do well to remember this. We've preached it at each other for years, to no avail, but in NaNoWriMo--and thus in this volume--Baty hands any writer the key to at least getting the words on paper.

It doesn't have to be good, it just has to get done. Editing is for December.

Highly recommended for any writer, especially those who participate or are considering participating in NaNoWriMo. You won't learn any grand writing strateges or skills from these pages beyond "JUST WRITE, FOR GOD'S SAKE!" But sometimes, in the beginning at least, that's all you need to know.

(Although yes, the title cost this book a star. I still wince when I look at the front cover.)