My newest story Princess is available now in The Big Book of Submission!

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My winner!

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Rainbow Reviews Blog Hop! I thought there were some thought provoking and fun posts out there.

The winner of my little giveaway, as chosen by the all powerful, is shawnyj of this most delightful website: They’ve won me over by saying I could come on and talk about knitting.

Anyway I’ll contact her by email, and thanks again to everyone! I had a great time reading all the comments :D

Writerly People on Twitter

I am kind of a Twitter nut. It works as a networking tool, a feed reader, a news aggregator and also just a fun thing to do. I thought I’d mention some of my favorite Twitter feeds here in case you’re looking for someone interesting or helpful to follow!

@joe_hill: Author who often tweets about process as well as other interesting things like Doctor Who and Skyrim.

@scalzi: bacon cat.

@angelajames: Carina Press editor and runs the Before You Hit Send self-editing class. Good class. My favorite thing she does is #editreport–tweeting tidbits from rejections and acceptances for wannabe writers.

@laurabradford: agent with agently things to say.

@saramegibow: another agent with lots of really good advice.

@chuckwendig: indie author and blogger at Terrible Minds. Frequently hilarious. Also he posted a recipe for a fall pasta dish that I LOVE.

Some great and wise writers I’ve chatted with and really enjoy talking to? @amaliaTd, @surlymuse, @aliviaanders, @rebeccaenzor, @siri_paulson, @BellaLeone, @MargueriteLabbe, @Megan_Hart (srsly, buy her books. You are missing out if you haven’t, big time.),

Lastly, check out the #amwriting and #amwritingsff hashtags. Lots of great people there doing what it is we do. During NaNoWriMo, I also suggest using #nanowrimo for lots of great writerly talk.

I’m @ameliajune on twitter, meself. If you have any suggestions for writerly types I should be following, drop me a DM :D


The NaNo Blog Chain Fate

Now that November has passed, what will happen to the NaNo Blog Chain?

I plan to leave it up all year, and as long as I can going forward. Feel free to remove your blog from the list if it was a 2011-only deal, but I hope to stay in touch with the authors I met and check up on them all year long. I am thrilled to get to know some writer buddies.

So, I’m leaving everything there. Feel free to add your blog at any time, also. If you do NaNoWriMo, even if you join in July, you’re welcome!

And we’re off!

NaNoWriMo has begun! I’m a bit of a cheater, working on a story that I’ve written on already. However, I promise I’m only counting new words so I don’t think I’m that bad. I had a great first 1000 words, then stalled out because I ended a chapter and began another. But I solidered on, and managed 2000 words for the midnight dash! Whee!

It’s a writer’s narcissism at work, posting tidbits of the fiction-in-progress. That does not stop me from doing it.

“Good morning new person!” A man who could only be Priest smiled at her. He stood in a pair of polar bear pajama bottoms and a white wife beater shirt. He was probably sixty, but his eyes glittered like he was much younger, and happy to see her. He looked like Santa Claus would look if he wasn’t wearing the usual red suit and had maybe lost a few pounds. His shock white hair and beard were disheveled, like he’d just crawled out of bed. But Caroline couldn’t figure where he had slept, since all the beds were full of teenagers.

Starting a sentence with But? Really, me? Really? I realize this is what edits are for, but man my fingers are itching to go back and fix things already. BAD INNER EDITOR, BAD.

Why not fix it? The point of a first draft is simply to get everything out. I certainly do the best work in the moment, but the first draft is far more about story, pacing, characters and basic “putting things on paper” than it is about the perfect phrasing. That I can do in edits. Many novels never leave the first page because we keep going back over them, polishing and fixing sentences and phrasing. That’s the beauty of NaNoWriMo–no time to fix things. No time to edit, just time to dive in the pool and write write fraking write.

At the end of the month, you have  a lot of sentences that start with “but,” and a lot of repeat words. But you also have a story where one didn’t exist before. That is pure magic.

NaNoWriMo–my tips

I’ve read a lot of great articles on getting ready for NaNoWriMo, all about writing and plotting and planning and whatnot. Great tips, certainly. Well shoot, I thought to myself, I am a NaNo veteran at this point. I have five winning NaNos (and one 20K loser)  under my belt. I have things to share that could make NaNo easier. I have pearls of pearly wisdom. I must share them with the newbs! So here are my NaNo tips:

1. Buy discount Halloween candy on November 1st. Trust me, the sugar rush is good for at least an extra 500 words. As a bonus, by the time December rolls around you won’t crave the holiday goodies because you’ll be sugared out.

2. Clean your house now. Or, alternately, let it get really messy so you have a way to plot and procrastinate during November. My house gets really clean when I’m stuck on a scene.

3. Either plan meals for the month and shop early, or get really comfortable eating food you can eat with one hand that comes from a drive thru. Either way is acceptable.

4. Stock up the coffee. You do NOT want to be stuck at midnight with no coffee.

5. If you have housemates, children or spouse(s), be sure they know they are officially alone. Come November, all they will hear from you is either dialogue or frantic mumbling.

6. Pie is a great motivator.

7. IHOP is the perfect place to go out. I know you’re thinking a coffee shop, but you’re wrong. At IHOP the waitstaff BRINGS you coffee. Not to mention pancakes.

8. Certain… favors… make happier NaNo widows and widowers. Your call.

9. Use a daily word count calendar as your desktop. I’ve used one every year, and they are great for quick checking what you need and also guilting you into working instead of playing Warcraft. Or maybe that’s just me. (Check the forums or deviantart if you’re not an artist yourself.)

10. Contractions are one word that could be two. Chapters can have awesome titles and also numbers and also quotes at the top. Any word on either side of an em dash–like this–will be subtracted unless you add a space. Real Writers(tm) do not stoop to this level of course, but sometimes we just need a little ego boost round about week two. This is a way to get it. In exact opposite advice, editing a NaNoWriMo novel is made much harder if you use these tricks. Much. Harder.

11. Speaking of week two, it is like you were flying and then you crashed into a swamp with man eating crocodiles and you have to drink your own pee to survive. Just try to get through it and pretend it never happened. I swear to you things will get better again. I’d love to see stats on how many people quit during this hell week. (This year, I’m starting NaNo with a novel entering week 2 word count. I’m a masochist.)

Okay, really:

–Take advantage of the first night boost. Stay up until midnight on November 1st and do your first day’s word count then (1667). Then when  you wake up November 1st, do another day’s count. That buffer has saved me more than once.

–Try out your local meet ups. Writing sprints have been historically good for my word count. I often get double count at write ins. Plus, I met a few of my dearest friends through NaNo.

–Your word processor WILL have a different word count than the offical NaNo counter. Be sure to test it out before the big validation, so you don’t find yourself at 11:59 on November 30th needing 500 more words. That sucks. I find Word is usually somewhere between 200 and 500 words ahead of the NaNo bot.

–Back up your shit. Seriously. Do it.

–Have fun. Do not take this crap too seriously. Haters like to hate on NaNo which–unless you’re an agent/editor getting shitty queries–I don’t get. NaNo is fun. Have fun with it. Don’t worry about people who want to shit on fun–they probably don’t like rainbows or Disneyland either. Whatever.

I hope these tips help you have a happy, successful and sugar-rushed novel writing experience :) If you want to be writer buddies, I’d love to friend you on the NaNo site. User name Janon (er, assuming all stays the same with the new site launch, anyway.)

Can’t Brain

I spent all day looking over a manuscript that has been sitting on a shelf getting dusty, helping my kid edit his summer homework, and a good couple hours writing the new story, so my brain is done with words.

If you are a real person leaving a comment, please indicate this to me somehow! I have a lot of spam comments so far, and I need a quick way to differentiate. Say something like “bowties are cool.” That will tell me you are not only real, but awesome ;)

3 or so more days to 10K in the new novel! Woot!