Monday, January 29, 2007

No Plot? No Problem

I picked up the book No Plot, No Problem by Chris Baty at the bookstore on Saturday. I didn't realize at the time he was the guy that started NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). I had read a quick blurb on the Chapters website, but hadn't paid close attention to the author bio. It just sounded like a good book.

I started reading the book on Saturday when I got home and quickly realized it was a guide to the NaNoWriMo. And it was hilarious. I found myself laughing out loud. At one point I had to put the book down because the snorting was making me tear up. The guy is a riot. And he describes the writing process in a way anyone who has ever written or wanted to write can easily relate to. I couldn't put the book down. I called Maxx and told her she had to go buy this book now and come November we had to take part in NaNoWriMo.

I had really wanted to do NaNoWriMo last year, but I was near the end of revisions on The Outlaw Bride and wanted to finish things up once and for all so I could start marketing the book to agents and editors. Next year, I told myself. Next year I would definitely do it.

So this year in setting my goals, I arranged to have my two manuscripts (Finding Home and Desire & Brimstone) finished by October 31st. In time for entry into the Golden Heart and also out of the way in time for NaNoWriMo.

I had no idea what I would work on for NaNoWriMo. I wanted it to be something brand spanking new. An idea I hadn't already fleshed out in my head. But I had until November, so there wasn't a time crunch on that one. I'd come up with something. Finding ideas has never been a problem. Finding the time to write them all, that's the problem. Of course, if I could whip off a rough first draft in 30 days...

As I'm reading the book, Chris Baty mentions summer camp in a passage. All of a sudden an idea sparks. Characters jump into my head, secondary characters, motivation, conflict, backstory. It's all swimming around the creative whirlpool of my brain. I scribble it down. Two pages later, I have the rough outline of an idea for my NaNoWriMo. I put the page away, refusing to give it any more time. I want to go into NaNoWriMo fresh, without the idea being fleshed out and outlined in great detail. I want to take the rough outline and run with it like mad to see where it takes me.

I can't wait for November.

6 comments:

Christine said...

I loved NaNo and had great success at it this year. Last year, not so much. I've seen his book advertised on the NaNo site and thought about buying it. Maybe I'll make it one of my five craft books to buy this year.

Maxx said...

I can hardly wait for this either. I'm gonna do it. Of course I'll have to get that lap top I keep alluding to...

Rene said...

NaNoWriMo saved my butt this year. I hadn't heard much about his book, I'll have to put that on my to-buy list.

Tess said...

I've always wondered about that book - now if I see it, I might pick it up :-) When I have more room for books, that is *g*.

Glad you have a NaNo idea already - I found it very useful for jumpstarting my contemp story idea.

Melissa Marsh said...

NaNo always comes at the worst possible time for me. November is so hectic. Now January or February would be better for me! Holidays are over and the long, cold winter stretches out in front of me.

I'll have to thumb through this book - I've seen it at Barnes and Noble but never looked through it.

MaryF said...

I have that book, and it IS funny! I loved Nano last year - it was the only book I finished last year. I'm saving the book I was going to write last Nano for this one.