July was an exciting month.
To begin with, the first three weeks held unbearable suspense as to the new identities of myself, Dr. Banner, Miss Romanov, and Agent Coulson. At this point, no decision had been made, so we'll get to all that later.
In honor of Camp NaNoWriMo, July was first draft month for us. Thor started us out with an excellent comparison of the speeds of writing, the pros and cons of each. Personally, however, I think the month was off to a great start once Thor posted this self-portrait on the Twitter feed:
I have no idea why he did that, since I assume he wasn't talking about first drafts. Nevertheless, I enjoy the sight of Norse gods seeking suicide for a stuffed animal's sake. If only we could induce a certain green-clad one. Anyway.
Next, Hawkeye glorified the plotting style of writing a first draft. He gives hard-hitting questions to get to the root of a story before you begin, potentially saving you hours on the editing side. I strongly encourage at least trying to outline a few times, even if you're a die-hard pantser; the experience is worth it.
Our knight in missile-launching armor chose this time to speak up, stressing the importance of momentum in a fragile first draft. I thoroughly enjoyed his post and suggest it for anyone stuck in a perpetual rewrite. Don't tell Stark, but I already used his [XX] advice. It's a useful post, worth even a reread. (Stark thinks so too.)
Loki gave five pretty awesome tips on simplifying the task of writing. He reiterates the need for momentum as well as the appeal of plotting, but the best point he made, in my opinion, was number four on his list: give yourself permission to fail. It happens once in a while.
AND THEN it was time. The chosen ones had been... well... chosen. Miss Romanov, Dr. Banner, Agent Coulson, and I all got personality facelifts. Howard Tayler even weighed in on the choices:
He may have been speaking of some other developments, however. (Despite his words, Howard Tayler is one of my favorite cartoonists. I wish I had a comic.)
Take a deep breath. With four new minds on the team, things get pretty crazy over the rest of the month. Ready? Let's go.
I posted first! I had a lot of fun with my post, on the importance-- even considering momentum in a first draft-- of taking creative leave once in a while. Never stop writing, but sometimes writing can take too much out of you. I gave five steps (with illustrational moving-picture-thingies) to give you an idea of what to do.
Agent Coulson weighed in with a brilliant take on balancing writing with the activities of everyday life. He made a lot of good points. You can't write and fight at the same time. Unless you used your laptop as a weapon... I'll have to try that. I'll talk to Coulson about it.
And in complete Black Widow style, Miss Romanov posted the exact opposite of Hawkeye: the joys of pantsing, discovery writing, gardening, or whatever you want to call it. (Writing without an outline works too.) As a longtime pantser myself, but having recently tried plotting to great success, I can see both sides of the issue and again encourage you to try both avenues. The experience is worth it.
To round out the month in smashing style, Dr. Banner has five tips on regaining lost momentum in a first draft. Trust me, he knows exactly how difficult it is to get up in the morning and force yourself to work. (Laying waste to a couple major cities can make you awfully lethargic.) Take his advice and don't stay down for long.
And with that, the month ended. I enjoyed my July, even though I was in another country for July 4th. (Come on, Fury... None of the others get a holiday. Why should I miss out?) With all the excitement of this month, I can't wait for August's posts to begin. Our topic this month is Characters and Character Development. All of us will post at some time or another, so keep your eyes peeled. I already know it's going to be amazing.
Have fun continuing your summer! Write words, read words, and then write more words. We're counting on you.