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Books by the Blogger:

THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
A TRUE CRIME STORY
FROM ANCIENT ATHENS
By Debra Hamel


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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
By Debra Hamel


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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
By Debra Hamel


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TRYING NEAIRA:
THE TRUE STORY OF A COURTESAN'S SCANDALOUS LIFE IN ANCIENT GREECE
By Debra Hamel


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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
By Debra Hamel


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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
By Debra Hamel


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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
THE LIBERATION OF THEBES AND OTHER ACTS OF HEROIC TRANSVESTISM
By Debra Hamel


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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
By Debra Hamel


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I've decided to stop accepting review copies. The downside of getting buried in free books is that reading increasingly becomes an obligatory act. After some seven years of blogging books, it's time for me to return to the simple pleasure of reading only the books I want to read, when I want to read them.



  
From a random review:

  

« Auster, Paul: Oracle Night | Main | Clayton, Paul: Carl Melcher Goes to Vietnam »

Baty, Chris: No Plot? No Problem

  

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Chronicle Books © 2004, 176 pages [amazon]
4 stars

Chris Baty, the author of No Plot? No Problem, is the founder of National Novel Writing Month, a bizarre, web-based movement, now in its sixth year, in which would-be novelists are invited to unleash their inner muses, register (for free) at the NaNoWriMo website (NaNoWriMo.org), and crank out the rough draft of a novel during the month of November. Incredibly, more than 25,000 people attempted to do just that in November of 2003, with some 3500 of them crossing the finishing line. (Anyone who writes 50,000 words in the allotted time is declared a winner.) No Plot? No Problem is Baty's brief (about 50,000 words) and breezy companion volume to the literary marathon.

Chris Baty, the author of No Plot? No Problem, is the founder of National Novel Writing Month, a bizarre, web-based movement, now in its sixth year, in which would-be novelists are invited to unleash their inner muses, register (for free) at the NaNoWriMo website (NaNoWriMo.org), and crank out the rough draft of a novel during the month of November.In the first part of his book Baty offers readers mostly playful advice. Those undertaking the month-long novel-writing challenge are advised to turn their loved ones into effective agents of guilt, for example. Writers, too, are urged to procure a "wearable, writing-enhancing object" such as a baseball cap, the better both to put themselves in the mood to write and to signal to family members "that you've slipped away into the shadowy Realm of the Novel, and that you are not to be disturbed unless they--or one of the more likable of the family pets--are on fire." Baty also provides practical advice about carving out time in one's schedule for writing. (One past NaNoWriMo winner, a woman from Indiana, reports escaping from her children to find writing time on the toilet. This may be the way things are done in the Midwest, but I'm afraid a bathroom door is insufficient to stop the determined young of New England.)

In the second, more meaty part of his book Baty provides a week-by-week guide (intended to be read at the appropriate points in the novel-writing month) to the writing process, with week-appropriate pep talks, exercises, and tips. (For example, the tips provided for week one "center on leveraging the adrenaline rush of the first few days, avoiding the pernicious desire to self-edit as you write, creating a convenient home for your castaway thoughts, and maintaining the momentum by keeping your story a mystery to those around you.") These four week-specific chapters are followed by a helpful section on the rewrite, the more exacting business of turning one's raw, hastily-scribbled prose into a passable novel once your novel-writing month is over.

No Plot? No Problem probably does not provide any advice about writing that readers would not be able to find elsewhere. But Baty is a very good, funny writer, and his enthusiasm for this insane project is infectious. Having begun his fetching* little book a skeptic, you'll finish thinking that writing a novel in a month is not so daft an enterprise after all. It may be that Baty's argument for casting aside one's inhibitions and striving for quantity of words over quality will be just the inspiration you need to sit down and produce a viable first draft.

* I love the book's subtly-textured, colorful cover, but the dark gray background of the book's inset notes makes for difficult reading.

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Book-blog.com reviews by Debra Hamel are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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About the blogger: Debra is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece, including Trying Neaira: The True Story of a Courtesan's Scandalous Life in Ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.

  
  
  
  
  
  
  
  






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Book-blog.com by Debra Hamel is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution - Noncommercial - No Derivative Works 3.0 License.