10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Good fun but be warned!
, 30 Oct. 2009
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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