Craft-Writing, NaNoWriMo, Reviews

No Plot? No Problem! (Review)

noplotnoproblemI don’t like reading fiction while I’m dwelling on a stretch of my own writing. But I do enjoy non-fiction (perhaps it requires a different part of my brain to process the information?). Anyway, I picked up No Plot? No Problem! by one of the founders of NaNoWriMo. While it’s a long way from November, I thought Baty might have some interesting advice to dispense even if I wasn’t planning on hunkering down in a bunker somewhere with a typewriter for thirty days to complete a first draft.

If you’ve never sat down to finish a manuscript, by all means read the first 2/3 of the book. There’s some great advice in there. But for those who have finished a manuscript, it’s a bit repetitive. The last third, though, was Baty’s strongest part. Here he breaks it down into the four week writing process and what to expect. Even if you’ve not done a book in a month, eventually every novel fits into these stages at some point or another.

First Week

  • Shut off inner editor
  • Don’t agonize over the first sentence
  • Ride the momentum
  • Italicize not delete
  • Keep the story to yourself

Second Week

  • Don’t Get it right, get it written
  • Take care of yourself / no sick
  • Check in / 500 words or less

Third Week

  • Appraising your progress
  • Support network attacks
  • Try to crank out 12,000 words over a two day weekend by dividing the time into small workable chunks

Week Four

  • Love your body
  • Look for forgotten ideas
  • Cross early and keep writing
  • When it happens, tell everyone you know

Baty in week one through four hits the nail on the head with the momentum of any manuscript. One thing he repeated is you gotta get it down. Even if it’s crap or doesn’t make sense. Write it down. Type it. Do it long hand. Use any method you can to get it from your mind to a computer or a piece of paper.  As he so keenly said: “Don’t get it right. Get it written.”

Good advice.

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