No Plot? No Problem! Revised and Expanded Edition
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No Plot? No Problem! Revised and Expanded Edition

A Low-stress, High-velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days

Chris Baty

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  1. 200 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (adapté aux mobiles)
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eBook - ePub

No Plot? No Problem! Revised and Expanded Edition

A Low-stress, High-velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days

Chris Baty

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Chris Baty, founder of the wildly successful literary marathon known as National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), has completely revised and expanded his definitive handbook for extreme noveling. Chris pulls from over 15 years of results-oriented writing experience to pack this compendium with new tips and tricks, ranging from week-by-week quick reference guides to encouraging advice from authors, and much more. His motivating mix of fearless optimism and practical solutions to common excuses gives both first-time novelists and results-oriented writers the kick-start they need to embark on an exhilarating creative adventure.

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A Frantic, Fantastic Week-by-Week Overview to Bashing Out Your Book
* For maximum effect, read each of the following four chapters at the beginning of their corresponding weeks. No skipping ahead! Peeking at Week Two’s pep talk while you’re still exploring the exciting terrain of Week One will cause strange and disquieting rifts in the temporal fabric of the universe, and may needlessly jeopardize the lives of everyone on this planet. Be a responsible global citizen and take the chapters one week at a time.


Dear Writer,
Here it is: Day One. We’re standing together on the precipice that overlooks the vast, uncharted territory of your novel. It’s quite a view.
Every author you’ve ever admired started out at this same point, gazed out with the same mix of wonder and trepidation at that small, verdant speck on the horizon called The End. You are ready, poised. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, and there’s an unmistakable smell of victory in the air.
There’s also an unmistakable smell of hot dogs wafting over from the Noveling Viewing Platform Snack Shop in the main parking lot.
Mmmm . . . victory and hot dogs. Does life get any sweeter?
It just might.
For, in a matter of minutes, you’ll be setting out on your great noveling adventure. As unbelievable as it may seem, in just one month’s time you will have written a book the size of the one you are now holding. On the path to noveldom, you’ll ford rushing rivers of adversity, and repel countless attacks by television shows, status updates, and other bewitching distractions as you hack tirelessly through brambly questions of character, plot, and setting.
At the end of it all, you’ll stand on that faraway, majestic peak, your sore arms raised in a gesture of total literary triumph.
The lessons you take from your travels across Novel-land this month will serve you well throughout the rest of your life. You will walk away from the four-week escapade with a mischievous sense of boldness and an increased confidence in your creative abilities. You will read differently, and write differently, and for better or worse, you will begin seeing the world with the ever-hungry eyes of a novelist.
And before you set off on your valiant and overcaffeinated mission, there’s one thing I’ll need to take from you.
I’ll need to confiscate your Inner Editor.
That’s right, the Inner Editor. The doubting, self-critical voice that we all inherited around puberty as an unfortunate door prize for surviving childhood. The Inner Editor is a busybody and perfectionist, happiest when it’s tsk-tsking our shortcomings and weaving our past blunders into a rich tapestry of personal failure.
For reasons not entirely clear to anyone, we invite this fun-spoiling tyrant along with us on all our artistic endeavors. And from painting to music-making to writing, our endeavors have paid the price of this killjoy’s presence. Thanks to the Inner Editor’s merciless second-guessing, most of our artistic output ends up tentative and truncated, doomed to be abandoned at the first sign that the results are anything short of brilliant.
The fear of doing things imperfectly turns what should be fun, creative endeavors into worrisome tasks. With the Inner Editor on board, completing any extracurricular activity you haven’t already mastered is like trying to ride a bicycle uphill while towing a rhinoceros in a wagon behind you.
This month, we lose the rhino.
Because this month, you’ll leave your Inner Editor here with me at the fully licensed, board-certified No Plot? No Problem! Inner Editor Kennel—where it can spend its days carping with other Inner Editors, happily pointing out typos on blogs and complaining about the numerous plot holes on daytime television.
It will be very, very happy here.
And you can have the beastie back in a month’s time, after you’ve written your book. Your Inner Editor, despite its incompatibility with rough drafts, is the perfect companion for the rewrite process. Because at that point, you will be giving it enough big-picture work to do that it won’t have the time or energy to exhaust you with nitpicky comments about every comma and contraction.
So here’s the deal I’m proposing: I’ll take that heavy, anxious Inner Editor off your hands for four weeks. No charge. And in exchange, you promise to write your novel in a high-velocity, take-no-prisoners, anything-goes style that would absolutely horrify it.
All you need to do is touch the “Take My Inner Editor” button below, and a small, invisible team of humane, editor-removal specialists will be dispatched from the spine of this book to collect the thing for the kennel.
Since your Inner Editor will be led away within a few seconds of you pressing the button, don’t touch it until you’re ready. Take a few moments if you need to. Once your Inner Editor is safely in our kennels (and well out of earshot), we’ll run through the last few things you need to know before setting out on your trip.
Okay, with that behind us, let’s get ready to go. I have just three final requests before we get started.
1. Please take this challenge very seriously. ‱ You’ve signed the Month-Long Novelist Agreement and Statement of Understanding. Now see it through. Set regular writing goals, and stick to them. Your brain may be telling you it’s time to turn off the computer and go to bed. But the human brain, if left to its own devices, would spend its entire adult life napping in front of the television. Ignore your brain. Toughen up. Keep your butt in that chair until you’ve bagged the day’s quota. It’s the only way you’ll ever survive to see the finish line.
2. Do not take any of this very seriously. ‱ Writing a novel in a month is utterly ridiculous, an undertaking for fools and those who don’t know any better. Thankfully, we belong to the latter camp, which makes us dangerously powerful writers. Liberated from the constraints of constructing a pretty and proper novel, we are free to run, naked and whooping, through the valleys of our imaginations.
This month, your story will achieve an at-times frightening force and velocity. Go with it. Write wildly, joyfully, in huge and bounding strokes. Was that last page the worst thing you’ve ever written? Maybe. Does it matter? Nope. All words are good words this month. Follow tangents. Change directions at will. Stay loose. Make messes. Laugh at it all. You are doing something weird and wonderful here, and none of it will go on your permanent record.
3. Know that you have done all of this before. ‱ If there’s one thing humans excel at, it’s telling tales. Our narrative voices have been honed through years of conversation and gossipy emails. We know how to string audiences along, slowly deploying just enough of the juicy bits to keep t...

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