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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good fun but be warned!, 30 Oct. 2009
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This review is from: No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days: A High-velocity, Low-stress Way to Write a Novel in 30 Days (Paperback)
This is a fun book, amusingly written and I generally just like dipping in and out of it.

However, be warned: the title is a little disingenuous. If there are any complete novice writers out there who have never successfully put a story or a plot together and think that this book will help them churn out a good novel in 30 days, think again. Baty sets out with the premise that you don't need a ready-made plot, but then later in the book he starts recommending that you take a week (no more) before starting the month's writing and, guess what, do some planning (!) There is then only the most cursory of guides to plot construction and how to create believable characters. Nothing at all on scene ordering or creating a rhythm between scenes. It kind of feels like he's lured you in under false pretences - telling you that he's going to show you a way of writing a book without building a plot first, and then sneaking up on you and strongly implying that it would best if you did that after all.

Of course, the truth of the matter is, you CANNOT write a good, well structured novel in one month, unless you are a genius. Baty accepts this and his whole philosophy is based on the idea that banging out a rough draft, even a terrible rough draft, is still better than having an empty page. While this is true to an extent, what I found when I came to write my novel-in-a-month (trying to tackle an idea that I'd had for years but had never had the guts to write), was that when I got to the end, I knew that at least two thirds of the book were terrible beyond redemption. If I had felt inclined to move forward into the editing process (which Baty accepts can take years), I would have literally have had to jettison nearly every word and start again from a blank page. Yep, the thing I was trying to avoid in the first place.

My advice for any beginniner writers wanting to use this book is go on a creative writing course first, and read/absorb some really detailed, in-depth books on how to construct plots and stories. Make sure you're already a reasonably active writer who can churn out material without too much pulling of hair. Get a rough storyline and a plot together. Then buy No plot? No problem and use Baty's fun, motivaional coaching to have a crack at a scrappy, one-month first draft. If you go in totally blind and believing, chances are you will end up doing exactly what I did and just produce irredeemable garbage at an unbelievable rate.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Mar 2011 20:55:32 GMT
Last edited by the author on 29 Jan 2013 14:42:03 GMT
Thank you for this great comment. Of course, you need to be a genius to write creatively like Mozart did.
But never mind, some of us - like me- need this kick to sart off. I have ideas, I have put some of them in almost complete book form, but not totally!
Let me be kicked into writing and perhaps the achievement of one garbage book may motivate me tocontinue. I hope it does it to you to.Sincerely and with hope, Michael

Update in January 2013.
I've used the Baty system and taken part into his "50 000 words in a month" The rush of adrenaline pushed me into writing week after week, It was hilarious, breathtaking, time burning the seat of my pants! I think I wrote a reasonable story. At least one friend read it! it may not be very good; I quite agree with Griffiths, for publication, it would need re-writing. But at least, I got my idea out. I was very pressed for time, but I achieved this. That's the point.
Looking back, I'm glad I did it. It was an exhilarating one months.
You know, I would've liked to do this again, but I cannot find the time again. Also, my thoughts are gone into other things! It's worth doing it! it gives yourself the confidence that you can actually write a book. Brilliant.

Posted on 28 Jan 2013 19:27:48 GMT
I'm curious, how did you know "at least two thirds of the book were terrible beyond redemption"?

In reply to an earlier post on 28 Jan 2013 21:34:05 GMT
Are we clear about which book we're talking about here? I meant the one I wrote, not the one being reviewed. I thought that the majority of it was terrible beyond redemption in the sense that I had no idea whatsoever how to approach making it even slightly better. That's the drawback with the "No Plot No Problem' approach - it gives you the confidence to write a first draft very quickly, but what you write might be so flawed and unworkable that after the month is up you're right back to the drawing board with it. Although, looked on more positively, at least you've discovered what categorically DOESN'T work, which in theory should set you up on the road to improvement.
Just not in my case, in this instance. As a matter of fact, I tried again the year after and experienced another literary car-crash. Some of us are just not meant to be novelists!

If you're wondering about whether or not to buy the book under review, I would say go for it - you've nothing to lose.
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