NaNoWriMo Day #1

Hi Everybody, and welcome to NaNoWriMo Day 1! As promised, here we are with a bit of daily noveling inspiration: *
"It is our attitude at the beginning of a difficult task which, more than anything else, will affect its successful outcome." ~ William James
Huh. Attitude. Not a problem here, right? As a bonus, the lovely Claire Cook, author of Must Love Dogs, has a page full of information for writers that she wanted to share with us. Thanks Claire! Each day, we'll also be posting a "challenge word" for you to sneak into your writing. (Words come from here.) Today's word is: crush (As in "to have a crush" or "to crush" or "to be crushed.") Feel free to post your favorite lines, words of wisdom / encouragement,  your word count, or other NaNo related news in the comments! Good luck everybody! :-) P.S. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter.

Apps With ‘Tude #3

The NaNoWriMo Kickoff Edition!

~ By Melina Kantor Hello Everyone, and TGIF! As we discussed last week, it's almost time for NaNoWriMo! Yay! :-) Don't let that scare you! We're here to help. With apps, of course. As a bonus, we're even throwing in a few extra resources. (If you're not participating in NaNo, the just consider this a list of fun writing treats.) 1. Word Count Apps WriteChain allows you to set a writing goal, and then keep track of your writing progress. If you keep up, you create a chain. If you don't, you break it. WriMoDemon is a word count app targeted to NaNoWriMo participants. It keeps track of your goals, words, and the number of days left in the challenge.

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2. Keep track of your story ideas and notes with the Evernote app.

Never forget a story idea again! Panters and plotters alike will appreciate this amazing organization tool. You can write and organize notes, record voice memos, take and / or organize photos, and much, much more.

Behold:

(Plotters, you should also take a look at this free sticky note app. I haven't downloaded it yet, but I'm swooning already.) 3. Noveling Apps We've discussed these already, but here are a few apps that will allow to you partake in noveling madness even when you're on the go:

There's Scrivener too, which is so absolutely incredible I've decided it deserves its own post. Sadly, it can only be used on actual computers and iPads. I swear, it's worth it for the index cards alone. 3. Write or Die! Have writer's block? Not in the mood to write? Need a kick in the pants? If so, this site is perfect for you. You set a goal, and let's just say the site holds you to it.

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3. Will Write For Wine If you want to learn more about NaNo, you simply must listen to this episode of Will Write for Wine. It's extra special, because Lani Diane Rich shares the story of how her first NaNo book, Time Off For Good Behavior, was published. And the genre? Chick lit! Get this: Lani was the first previously unpublished author to have a NaNo book published. Talk about a Chick Lit claim to fame! If your muses need a bit more inspiration, check out some other apps we chick lit writers love.

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And there you have it! If you've got any NaNo resources, be sure to leave a comment and let us know! We'll be back soon with more NaNo inspiration, and lots more apps to get you through November.

Happy Noveling!

(Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl.com.)

Melina writes contemporary women’s fiction with a pinch of oregano and a dash of chutzpah. By day, she is a computer teacher, hence the affinity for apps. You can learn more about her experiences with NaNoWriMo here.

‘Tude-torial #4

For today’s Chick Lit “It’s all about the attitude” ‘Tude-torial, I’m revealing one of my favorite tools in my Muse Arsenal. Why? Because let’s face it... Sometimes as we write the books from our hearts we feel like shouting “This Book Is Fabulous” “I Am A Brilliant Writer”! Other days, it’s more like this:

Or this:

In the above example, we’re the birds mating for life with our writing careers.  Flying into a window instead of battling brutal publishing industry winds isn’t far off base at all...is it? If you’re like me, it doesn’t even take an entire day to drop from the highs to the lows.  I fly between extremes within a couple hours.  Okay.  Who am I kidding?  Let’s get real.  I can go from top to bottom in mere minutes. Sounds like a writer’s life to me. And a lifestyle that, despite its unhealthy propensities, many people aspire to try. Check this out. According to The New York Times, 80% of our population “wants” to write a book.  The U.S. Census reports that the United States’ population is now at 306 million people.  So that’s 245 million wanna-be novelists. Lucky for us then, we’re not the only birds in the crazy tree.  Apparently, there are flocks of crazies trying to nest in our writing life maples...or oaks...or pines...you choose...it’s your life...your fabulous, but crazy tree. So how do we handle these higher-than-high moments plus the devil-deep lows of our writing careers? And how do we handle these issues with ‘Tude? ***Hint: Here’s where I reveal my Muse Arsenal tool*** I use the Bitchy Signs and Sayings like those I found in “A Writer’s Thought” Flip Chart by authors Ella James and Delilah Devlin. I picked up this sweet gem at an RWA National Conference’s Moonlight Madness Bazaar.  (*Note:  The Bazaar itself is a treasure trove of fun and fabulous treats to pamper your muses and makes for a terrific MUSE THERAPY Trip!) Here’s a peek at the mood-inspiring pages in the flip chart:

For more quirky fun writer’s life stuff and bitchy signs too, go to http://www.rosescoloredglasses.com! Accumulate and absorb these one-of-a-kind treats then trick your muses to put that kind of fabulous ‘Tude on your pages! Sexy Sassy Smart Chick Lit “It’s All About the Attitude” Wishes --- D. D. Scott P.S.  What are some of your favorite Bitchy Signs and Sayings...those that help you get-on with your BITCHOK groove (Butt In The Chair Hands On Keyboard)? D. D. Scott is a romantic comedy debut author and a Writer’s Go-To-Gal for Muse Therapy, plus the #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of MUSE THERAPY: UNLEASHING YOUR INNER SYBIL.  You can get all the scoop on her, her books and her Muse Therapy Online Classes and Live Workshops at http://www.DDScott.com.

Finding Chick Lit

~ By Chris Bailey Last Sunday, I settled into a deck chair overlooking a blue lagoon to read a middleweight newspaper, with no interruptions except for the occasional squonk of a territorial heron. I didn’t expect to find a huge bonus—but tucked inside the Baldwin (County, Ala.) Register, I found the local answer to the New York Times Sunday Book Review. Forty pages of News and Views, filled with author interviews, a calendar of signings and other store events, and book reviews by category. [caption id="attachment_1000" align="alignright" width="144" caption="Photo by Dan Therrell, http://beautifulfairhope.com"][/caption] When I spotted the Chic Lit section, I contacted Karin Wilson. The president of Page and Palette, a third-generation independent bookstore located in the utopia of Fairhope, graciously answered my questions about the oft-reported death of Chick Lit. Q. We’ve been told that a manuscript should be labeled anything but Chick Lit—because Chick Lit is impossible to sell. What are sales like in your Chic Lit section? A. I personally buy Chic Lit for my store because my customers buy them. But this genre has really become more literary in the last five years. Women want light fun reads but they also want a well-written story. Because of this, this category has grown for us. Q. You also have a section of reviews called, “Great for Book Clubs.” What distinguishes Anita Shreve’s Rescue: A Novel,” from Karen White’s Chic Lit-reviewed novel “Falling Home”? A. This kind of goes back to chic lit becoming more literary. Karen White is a strong seller for us because she writes well. Book Clubs especially want books that are fun to read and also have meat to talk about. Q. What are the key story elements that signal Chic Lit to you? A. Believe it or not, the covers distinguish this for the most part! I don't think it necessarily has to be a story element as much as much as a story we can relate to. Q. Do you shelve books as Chic Lit, or do those titles mingle with other books? A. Mingle with other books. We do displays sometimes, especially in the summer for beach reads. Q. We write Chick, you write chic. Is the difference style or substance? A. I write chicktion! But in our newsletter and other references I guess we choose Chic because it goes better with Lit.

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Chick Lit fans, what do you think? Do you expect certain characteristics in a Chick Lit read? NEXT UP: Page and Palette’s Karin Wilson returns with more on independent booksellers. ~ Chris Bailey’s writing for hire has appeared online, in numerous U.S. newspapers and in mailboxes across the U.S. and Canada.

Ready, Set: NaNoWriMo!

Er. . . NaNo, uh what?!?

~ By Melina Kantor Hey! It's almost here! There's only about a week to go before thousands of fearless writers down multiple gallons of coffee, strap themselves to their computers or writing implements of choice and attempt the impossible. I'm so excited about it I can barely sit still long enough to type this. What am I talking about? Why, National Writing Month (commonly known as "NaNoWriMo," or "NaNo" for short) of course. And I'm here to answer all of your questions about it. Here it goes! Q: Uh, I keep hearing about this thing called NaNoWriMo. Everyone on Twitter and Facebook is blathering on about it. Would you mind explaining what it is? A. Certainly! National Novel Writing Month is a 30 day writing challenge that takes place during the month of November. The goal is to write fifty thousand words by November 30th. This noveling extravaganza is organized by the Office of Letters and Light, located in the beautiful San Francisco Bay Area (which I'm mentioning because I was born in Berkeley). They also sponsor a Young Writers Program and an event called Script Frenzy. By the way, it's free! (Although donations are welcome.) Q: Wait, so there's actually an organization dedicated to this? Couldn't any month be NaNoWriMo? Can't anyone just decide to sit down and write 50 thousand words in a month? A: Um. No. Fine, so technically I guess a person could do that, and thanks to deadlines, I'm sure some writers have. But think about how isolating and torturous that must be. Remember what a mess Joan Wilder is in the opening of Romancing the Stone? Before my first NaNoWriMo, I didn't have one single writer friend. Probably because at that point, I wasn't a writer yet. But NaNoWriMo changed all of that. The NaNo site has a huge online community, including a chick lit forum, and in person get togethers called write-ins. They have sprints, videos and author pep talks too! For me, the challenge would be absolutely impossible without the support. Q: What's the point of writing a novel in 30 days? A: Where do I start? NaNoWriMo takes discipline, and the peer pressure is priceless. As is the energy you get from other Wrimos (NaNoWriMo participants). But what helps the most for me is spending a month living and breathing my story. Believe me, after 30 days, you'll know your characters better than you know the back of your hand. Even if you write crap, at least you've written. As Nora Roberts says, "You can fix anything but a blank page." Q: Do you actually have to finish your novel? A: Not necessarily. Most novels are 75,000 to 100.000 words. But 50K is quite a start! Q: Can you work on a novel you've already started? A: Technically, you're supposed to start a novel from scratch on November 1st, no editing or plotting allowed. Nobody's checking though. Abide by your process and do what'll benefit your writing experience / career the most. Q: What happens if you win? A: Ooh, ooh! You get a certificate! And Web badges for your blog! And there are t-shirts you can buy! That may not sound like much, but believe me, after 30 days of living among dust bunnies and subsisting on caffeine and Cheerios straight out of the box, that certificate will bring tears to your eyes and you'll want to walk down the street proudly holding it above your head. There's nothing like that moment when the word counter on your profile page turns purple and you're immediately directed to the Winner's Circle. I get goosebumps just thinking about it. Q: How do you prove you've won? A: There's a word count validator on the site that counts your words (but don't worry, the site retains no information about your novel). You can also enter your word count manually. Q: What if I lose? A: Nothing. Really, nothing. You just finish the month with however many words you managed to write, and you should be proud of those words. In my opinion, if you've written anything, it's impossible to lose. Q: Have you actually managed to win this thing? A: Yep! Three years in a row, baby! ;-) Q: Okay, fine, I'm in. But don't expect me to actually be speaking to you come December. What do I have to do to sign up? A: Just go to http://www.nanowrimo.org/ and create a profile.

(Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl.com.)
So. Who's in?
If you're doing NaNo, pop on over to my profile page and friend me! :-) And then leave your NaNo name in the comments so we chick lit writers can friend each other! During the month of November, we'll be providing you with tons of NaNo inspiration, both here and on our Twitter feed. To succeed at NaNo, you need some serious attitude. And here at the blog, we've got plenty of that! I'll leave you with this attitude boosting video, to get you in the NaNo spirit: If you've got any NaNo related questions, stories, or advice, leave a comment and let us know!

Happy Noveling!

Melina writes contemporary women’s fiction with a pinch of oregano and a dash of chutzpah. You can learn more about her experiences with NaNoWriMo here.

‘Tude-torial #3

Saying here at Chick Lit Writers that “It’s all about the attitude” came with all new meaning for me in the past two days and here’s why... Monday at around 2:30 pm Central Time my latest release hit #1 on two Amazon Bestseller Lists plus a #2 spot as well!!! Yesss!!! Yesterday, it also hit as the #1 Hot New Release for Amazon's entire collection of writing books!!! (And the book has only been out since Friday 10/15!!!) But here’s the thing... If I hadn’t focused on my own attitude the nine years it’s taken me to get to this achievement – focused as in keeping my attitude positive plus dismissing the naysayers with Chick Lit-style sexy, sassy smart ‘tude – I’d never have made it to Publishing Oz. Part of the reason I was able to achieve my Amazon Bestseller Goal was because not only has it always been “all about the attitude” to me, also, it’s always been “all about and in ‘the stars’” for me as well. Here’s the scoop: Several years ago I met the beyond fabulous writing instructor Margie Lawson of http://www.MargieLawson.com .  After taking several of her online classes as well as participating in two of her live workshops, I learned a fabulous tool for continuing to rein in and reign over my creative divas. In her live workshops as well as in the Goody Rooms of all the conferences she attends, Margie gives away these fabulous, little colored stars with beyond wonderful motivational quotes printed on each one. For the last couple years, I’ve collected these stars and have them all over my office.  Then, when I’m down, down deeper than the bottom rung on my next ladder to success, I hone-in on those puppies and often say the words aloud...almost in mantra form. So to kick-off today’s ‘Tude-torial, I’m sharing a few of the stars and brilliant gems of wisdom Margie has given me to help me always continue reaching for both my personal and career aspirations.

In following my “stars” then...here’s the secret to my success...

I haven’t let myself get run over by the doubt demons simply because I’ve always kept moving on my career track.  And I’ve done that by adjusting my sails after every wind-packed storm of rejection.  I’ve done all the things and then some that I thought I couldn’t do.  I’ve tried again.  Failed again.  But failed better.  I’ve learned that easy reading is beyond, damn-hard writing.  But above all, as if I were my very own IRON MAN suiting-up for the next world-class battle, I’ve taken to heart that:

And just when I think I can’t go any further, I always fall back on this little gem: “Reach for the Moon.  If you fall short you may land on a Star.” --- Les Brown

And now we know that among the stars is indeed a fabulous place to be! Sexy Sassy Smart Chick Lit “It’s All About the Attitude” & “It’s All in the Stars” Wishes --- D. D. Scott P.S.  Don’t forget too that we’d luuuvvv to hear your favorite Chick Lit Attitude Quotes and Anecdotes!  So leave ‘em for us in our Comments Section.  We just might feature your Attitudes in a future ‘Tude-torial post!!! D. D. Scott is a romantic comedy debut author and a Writer's Go-To-Gal for Muse Therapy, plus the #1 Amazon Bestselling Author of MUSE THERAPY: UNLEASHING YOUR INNER SYBIL.  You can get all the scoop on her, her books and her Muse Therapy Online Classes and Live Workshops at http://www.DDScott.com .

Hold the Bimbos, Please!

The ditzy lead character formula might be wearing thin, even for some die hard fans.

~ By Melissa De Silva Today, unlike some of the hapless dames in Mad Men, women don’t have to pretend to have the IQ of an ornamental goldfish to get ahead in life. So why on earth would we want to read about a lead character who has cotton candy for brains? We pitched the question below to 3 smart, sassy, chick lit readers:

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Q: What do you think of a heroine who's independent, smart and focused more on her career and other personal pursuits than on men? (she is interested in romance but it’s just not the main obsession of her life)
Says Anjeli Narandran, an NGO worker: YES PLEASE. That said, I have seen this attempted in some books and these characteristics are often portrayed like, ‘Megan was beautiful and smart and had lovely legs and eyes but she had no time for guys as she was a high-flying, jet-setting Executive Director of a private investment firm. Then she met Javier, a street musician with nothing to his name except an easy smile and a formidable talent with the ukelele. Will he be the flame to thaw our Ice Princess' frozen heart?’ A strong female lead like that needs to be portrayed as whole, functioning, well-balanced individual and not someone who's broken. Marianne Wee, a beauty editor, says:

You know, I actually prefer chick lit where romance/men are not the main focus of the protagonist. I find those very tedious and the protaganists tend to be rather air-headed and one-dimensional. That’s quite insulting to me as an intelligent reader!

Finally, fashion event organizer Grace Tay, a voracious chick lit reader, weighs in: I think a lead like that is maybe a good reflection of reality? [laughs] I would imagine such books are written by authors who've had real life experience as working women. I personally hate it when protagonists are dumbed down, and I get really annoyed by pea brain logic. I'm not the world's biggest feminist but I think it's an insult to women that the only formula for a book to be funny is to roll out the bimbo.

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What do you think of a lead whose main aim in life isn’t men and happily-ever after romance? And is the chick lit genre turning smart readers off with dumbed down protagonists with the IQ of catatonic lab mice? …watch out for the final post of the Chick Lit Gets Conscious series: Chocolate Cake for the Soul Melissa De Silva is a freelance magazine journalist based in Singapore. She is currently working on a luxe-adventure chick lit novel set in Asia with an international cast of characters. When she isn’t writing for work or play, she paints like a child and takes long walks in tropical parks, squirrel-spotting while trying to avoid evil, thuggish monkeys.

Apps With ‘Tude #2

The First Date Edition!

~ By Melina Kantor Hello! And TGIF! I hope you’ve all had a great week! The weekend’s almost here, and for many that means getting ready to dive into some serious writing. Which means that some of us need to wake up our muses. Luckily, like I said last week, there are apps for that! Here are this week’s muse-pleasing apps with ‘tude. * Drumroll please! * Question of the Day -- Your Character Building App: Has this ever happened to you? You’ve thought up a perfect protagonist, with a cute flippy haircut, an adorable sidekick in canine or feline form, and a group of quirky friends. You’re in the middle of writing this fantastic scene where your protagonist's love interest has finally, finally noticed her and has even started to flirt. But then your heart sinks because, well, you realize you don’t know your protagonist as well as you thought you did, and it seems she doesn’t have much to say. The scene comes to a screeching halt. Not to worry! Question of the Day is an app full of thought provoking questions we can "ask" our characters. The questions range from “light” to “heavy” and some of the questions have attached video clips of people’s actual answers. So give your protagonist a cup of tea (or something, ahem, stronger, if necessary) and ask away! Soon, Mr. Love Interest (and your readers) will be mesmerized by all her witty anecdotes and opinions. First Date Advice -- Your Romance App: Now that you’ve questioned her, you've gotten to know your protagonist, and she’s been pleasantly chatting away with Mr. Love Interest for several chapters now. Any chick lit writer worth her salt knows that this just can’t continue! Characters are created to be tortured. And few things are more torturous for a chick lit protagonist than a first date. Enter the First Date Advice app. It’s full of good advice about everything from what to wear to whether or not to kiss on the first date. But rules are more fun when they’re broken. Take a rule the app gives you, like “don’t discuss your ex on the first date” or (gasp!) "be honest" and make one of your characters break it. Thanks to the Question of the Day app, you already know what makes your characters tick. Get ready for some delicious conflict! Now step back and admire the tangled web you’ve woven. My Writing Nook -- Your Writing Tool: Away from your computer? Maybe you’re on your lunch break, or on a train, or just too comfortable to get off of the couch. But that’s no excuse not to write. Especially since you and your muses have just cooked up the best scenario for a first date scene. Strike while the iron's hot! Pull out your phone or iPad and open My Writing Nook, a writing app so handy it even allows you to organize your scenes into chapters. It also has a built-in dictionary. And there you have it. With these tools, your next first date scene is sure to become a classic. Then again, sometimes, thanks to real life, you may not need to rely on apps for inspiration:

2007-07-04

(Used with permission from Debbie Ridpath Ohi at Inkygirl.com.)

As always, let us know if you try these apps! And do tell us if you’ve got any apps to recommend. Have a fabulous, writing filled weekend! Next Time: Apps With ‘Tude – The NaNoWriMo Edition! See ya! Melina writes contemporary women’s fiction with a pinch of oregano and a dash of chutzpah. By day, she is an elementary school computer teacher (hence the affinity for apps). You can visit her at http://melinakantor.com.

‘Tude-torial #2

~ By D.D. Scott Here at Chick Lit Writers “It’s all about the attitude”... So what better way to showcase the Chick Lit genre than to “show” some of that attitude?! Starting with last Wednesday’s post and continuing today, that’s exactly what we’re doing! To kick-off today’s ‘Tude-torial, take a look at this fabulous quote by award-winning journalist and multi-published author Jennifer Coburn:
“...I find the attack on chick-lit more than a bit disheartening.  Is this where we are – one group of women writers mocking another, deeming its work irrelevant?  Are women really criticizing each other about what they read?!  An author recently commented that the term chick-lit sounds as if the writing is about, for and by women, nothing more.  Nothing more?!  Why isn’t that enough?!...” --- Jennifer Coburn, “Two Literary Chicks”, THIS IS CHICK-LIT
When I first read Coburn’s take, and every time I’ve read it since, I just want to stand up and shout ‘Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!  You go, Girl!’ I look at it like Advice Columnist E. Jean Carroll once said:
“If Joan of Arc could turn the tide of an entire war before her eighteenth birthday, you can get out of bed.”
Yeah, as in get outta bed and read whatever the Hell you want, right?!  Kind of puts it all into perspective...just sayin’... Now once you’re out of bed, take a look out your nearest window at the gorgeous Autumn splendor coloring our world.

And remember this little gem...
“Every great oak tree was once a nut that stood its ground” --- Author Unknown
So “be a nut” and read and write whatever makes you and your muses dance like nobody’s watching. I mean, really!  Who the Hell cares what other people think?! Sexy Sassy Smart Chick Lit “It’s All About the Attitude” Wishes --- D. D. Scott P.S.  Don’t forget too that we’d luuuvvv to hear your favorite Chick Lit Attitude Quotes and Anecdotes!  So leave ‘em for us in our Comments Section.  We just might feature your Attitudes in a future ‘Tude-torial post!!! D. D. Scott is a romantic comedy debut author plus a Writer’s Go-To-Gal For Muse Therapy.  You can get all the scoop on her, her books and her Muse Therapy Online Classes and Live Workshops at http://www.DDScott.com .

Pink Carnation Follow-Up

Happy Tuesday! Yesterday, we talked about Lauren Willig's novel The Secret History of the Pink Carnation, a "genre-bending" novel with a distinct chick lit voice. Today, we thought we'd share a video of Lauren reading from her book so you can hear the chick lit voice for yourself. The video was taken last spring at Lady Jane's Salon in New York City.

So? What do you think? Do you hear a chick lit voice? Is this chick lit?

Please share your thoughts in the comments!