The Year in Five Minutes: 2014 Wrap-Up

Hey, hey, hey!  The new year is upon us, as you may have noticed.  I don't know about you, but I partied pretty hard.  (I missed about ninety of those parties.  Don't judge.)  But how can a single night encompass an entire year of past awesomeness, plus the potential for all sorts of new heroics to come?  Short answer: it can't.

Not until we have our wrap-up post, that is.  I, Captain America, am here to wrap up not only last month, not only last year, but THE WORLD.  Okay, maybe not.  But we'll still have fun.

2014 IN REVIEW: January

The link above is to the archived posts.  You'll see me there (with another alter-ego, however, so don't be confused), as well as Thor, Hawkeye, and Iron Man.  They speak of plotting and pantsing, of sticking with a project to the end, and the everlasting question of why you write.  Motivation!  New Year's resolutions!  It looked like a fun month.


This month, we got a double helping of Asgard.  Loki posted about revising a plot and working on characters.  Thor wrote about the risks of writing and changing gears between projects.  Between those four posts, Iron Man, Hawkeye, and the Hulk (under another alter-ego) wrote about rewards, premises, and wordcount guides for different-sized works.  Wherever you are in a novel, you can find wisdom and inspiration there.


This was Iron Man's double month.  Just before Camp NaNoWriMo, he posted about planning a novel and how to be a good presence on the internet.  Thor and Loki tied for a close second, posting one and a half times each.  How do you post half a time?  Share it, of course.  Thor and Loki have email correspondence proving-- yes, proving-- that they can use computers.  They talk about social media and strengthen Iron Man's argument.  Thor also posted about world building cultures, and Loki about what readers want from a book.  Hulk and Hawkeye spoke about making a fantasy stand out, and making everything worth it.  A big month for everyone.


How about a contest?  Thor ran a flash fiction competition, chose the winner, and still managed to write a how-to post on waiting for the result of a query.  In fact, the entire month seemed to focus on queries.  Hulk gave a step-by-step process on writing queries, and Iron Man talked about procrastinating.  Which is, of course, 50% of any query, although it's kind of a secret.  You can do without.


Hulk smashed this month, if you'll pardon the pun.  Two posts came from his flying green fingers, one a poll on the most anticipated YA book release, and the other about commonly used words that might weigh you down.  Thor talks about creativity whiplash, flying from a creative high to a crushing low.  Iron Man weighs in on humor with examples from Hamlet, which automatically makes it awesome.


Once again, Iron Man rules.  Two amazing posts this month, one that still inspires me-- why writers should learn languages, and how to fail better every time.  Hulk pulls George Orwell in for a couple bits of wisdom, and Thor talks about steps to publication.  (First and foremost, read our blog.  Well... no.  But it's nice if you do.)


The link above is to July's wrap-up post, because Big News!  This was the month I rejoined the team, along with a new Hulk alter-ego, Black Widow, and Agent Coulson.  Thor became top poster for this month with his announcements, but also with his advice to take writing slowly.  The entire month, in honor of the year's second Camp NaNoWriMo, talked about writing a first draft.  Plotting vs. pantsing, struggling through or going too quickly, how to get unstuck, and balancing writing with life-- everyone had something to say.


This month was character month.  Types of characters!  Names and questionnaires!  Side characters and back story!  A lot of moral ambiguity!  Everyone posted.  Everyone was awesome.


Happy pre-writing month!  Incorporating mood and theme into a story, from Loki and Iron Man.  Genre and point of view, from Black Widow, Coulson, and I.  Pre-writing decisions and plotting in clusters, from Thor and Hulk.  The month was full.


NaNoWriMo fast approaches, and you can tell.  We talk about plotting, worldbuilding, plotting, pressure, plotting, and oh, did I mention plotting?  Everyone has a different method, and we talk about as many as we know.  Because we all know what next month is...


Have a pep talk.  Have another pep talk.  We want you to live, so read another pep talk.  This month was meant for all the pressure-beaten people participating in NaNoWriMo.  Keeping things practical, utilizing writing sprints, and making sure writer's block doesn't kill you-- that's our job.  You do yours and write words.


Ah, our newly departed month.  The topic?  Revision and recovery.  The posts?  Epic as ever.  We end the year with a bang.  Thor makes up a drinking game for NaNo-recovery.  I talk about the importance of reading as a cure-all for NaNo-related ills.  Dr. Banner takes a break from his green half, and encourages you to do the same before tackling revision.  Cheerful as ever, Tony Stark describes the process of pulling useful materials from the wreckage of your novel and beginning to make sense of them.  Coulson explains why and how to assemble a team for assessing your work.  Loki, the perfectionist, wants you to rule your scene and make it the best it can be.

Take a deep breath.  You just walked through an entire year in a matter of minutes-- if that isn't a superpower, it's still something to be proud of.  You're already beginning the new year with efficiency, writerly awesomeness, and time travel.  Congratulations.

This year is going to be amazing.  It begins with January (obviously), which is Genre month for us.  We'll break down genre distinctions, conventions, and how to slip between genres when necessary.  With the new year comes new awe-inspiring words, both from us and from you.  Especially from you, in fact.  Without you, none of this matters, so thank you.  We're in your debt.


P.S.  Thor and I participated in a short story challenge this New Year's Eve.  Check out his alter-ego's story here, and mine here.  Thanks again.

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