I’ve never written a book review on here before.
And I’m not going to.
I will say that this book is made of awesome.
I’m late to the party. I should have posted about No Plot? No Problem! in October before all you nutty NaNos took on the completely insane challenge of finishing a book in thirty days.
But I’m here now. Because I am having a problem. A writing problem. (I’ll post more about that later.)
So I was searching my bookshelves for some inspiration when what to my wondering eyes should appear but a marvelous book sat unread for two years! And in November, to boot. Before I write another word, let me say I have never participated in NaNoWriMo. And. Yet.
This is a stupendously marvelous writing book. Yup. It’s all that and a bag of chips.
Oh, no! Not (another) book about writing.
Well, technically, it is. Sort of. But not really. In other words, it’s not a “this is how you are supposed to write” book. It’s a cheerleader (with more clothes). A guide. A tiny, written friend with advice and support. Also, just enough writing tips and anecdotes for me to call it a writing book but not enough to drive you crazy or contradict all the other books you’ve read about how to write. It even offers to take your “Inner Editor” so you can write a shitty first draft that would “absolutely horrify it”.
The entire first part of the book contains tidbits of remarkable wisdom like “don’t write within view of a bed”, sections like “Eating Your Way to 50,000 Words” & “The Happy Side Effects of Limited Planning” (which appeals to me very much), along with tips like how to host a writing day:
Ask all attendees to turn off the ringers on their cell phones, and set a timer so everyone knows exactly when each session ends and the glorious break time begins. Should anyone continue to type after the alarm marking the end of the session sounds, chop off their fingers. Don’t be afraid to be a tyrant. (53)
And the excellent “law of exuberant imperfection”:
The first law of exuberant imperfection is essentially this: The quickest, easiest way to produce something beautiful and lasting is to risk making something horribly crappy.
the older we get, the more scared we are to try new things. . . . what do we do when we have free time? The tried-and-true activities we’ve already perfected. Like talking on the phone. Or walking up and down stairs. Or getting drunk. . . . Exuberant imperfection allows you to circumvent those limiting feelings entirely. (32-33)
And this charming truth:
The universe loves novelists. During the novel-prep and book-writing period, you’ll watch, delighted, as the cosmos parts to reveal a rich vein of pilferable, copyright-free material explicitly for your noveling use. A couple will sit down next to you on the bus and proceed to have an argument. . . (72)
Right? Oh, man, I love when that happens. *sigh*
The second part is dedicated specifically to NaNo participants—broken down by weeks. Very helpful if you’re into that sort of thing. And more power to you. (Really. Love and respect to my fellow writers during this hectic Novembery time.)
Reading through this again made me realize two things. Three, actually. 1. Chris is funny. He is. 2. I’m not trying to crank out 50,000 words in a month and this book is still wonderful. 3. My husband has always supported my writing.
You can get a copy here, if you so desire. But it’s different from mine because I have an old copy, as you can see from the inscription here, and Chris has made all sorts of shiny, new words for you.