NaNoWriMo Day 1

The Words: 2593 words total for the day.

I went into this NaNo not terribly prepared. I haven’t had a writing habit of any kind for much of this year, for a mixture of different reasons, not the least of which is the difficulty I’m having revising the next book in my series. I allowed life to get in the way of my writing because it was easier than pushing through. I’m not happy about it, but that’s in the past now. My head so so far from any kind of writing place that I questioned whether or not I’d even do NaNo this year, compounded by the concern that I would have a new draft to write. As October wore on, though, I knew I needed to do this. NaNoWriMo has served me well as a catapult to get back into writing during a slump in the past, so I’m hoping that will happen again.

As is my tradition, I started writing right at midnight to get a jump start on the month. Last year, my daughter, then 10 years old, decided to start writing with me part way through the month. This year, she’s starting from the beginning and even wanted to stay up until midnight to get a few sprints in, so we did two 10-minute sprints together, and then she went to bed. I did one more 15-minute sprint myself and ended the midnight sprint with 1786 words. Then this evening, another 15-minute sprint got me to my day 1 total.

I often set my daily goal higher than the normal minimum, because it’s important to me that I finish the draft of the novel before the motivation of the month disappears. I’m making a very uncertain guess that this draft will be around 75k words, so my daily goal is 2500 words. It’s a delicate balance, trying to come to the end of the draft right at the end of the month, but I’ll re-evaluate halfway through the month or so and raise or lower the word count if/as necessary.

The Story: This is the first year in a while that I haven’t had a brand new story to draft for my series. I’ve already got the first drafts done for the next 6 books in the series and am nowhere near prepared to try to write anything that comes after that. However, after writing most of the first draft for book #5 in November 2015, I later tore the outline apart and rebuilt it, making that first draft almost completely obsolete. So with that new outline already done and being different enough from the first draft that I feel confident rewriting it, instead of revising it, I decided to write that this month. It’s technically rebelling, because it’s not a brand new work of fiction, but I can live with that.

One of the biggest changes I’m making is to change which character is the main character. It was always intended to be Jonathan, a blade smith who was introduced in the first book in the series, Pithea, but who took a back seat when I accidentally let the first book’s MC, Missy, take over. I’m looking forward to spending more time with Jonathan, though, who is a character I love, but hasn’t gotten much “screen time” so far in the completed books.

Total word count: 2577

For almost as long as I’ve been blogging about how NaNo is going all through the month of November, I’ve been sharing each day’s NaNoToon. Though there are no longer new NaNoToons, rather than give up that tradition, I’m going back through them, starting last year with the first year there was a storyline through the month. So for today, if you want to join me, check out the NaNoToon from November 1, 2011! (Though the story for that year actually started over 2 weeks before November, so if you want the full effect, start here.)
And in honor of November 1st, because it is absolutely not NaNoWriMo without the NaNoMusical, here is episode 1!

Book Review: The Cat Who Played Post Office

The Cat Who Played Post Office
Book #6
by Lilian Jackson Braun

My rating: 5 / 5
Genre: Cozy mystery

Now that he’s inherited more money than he could possibly spend, former crime reporter Jim Qwilleran sets to work figuring out how not to let it ruin his life. As he settles into the mansion full of antiques and hires some staff to make his life easier, he begins to uncover some secrets about a former employee of the manor. Is the maid missing, or did something more sinister happen to her? Could it be a coincidence that other people connected to her are starting to die?

Another great installment of the series, this book is a good example of how this series doesn’t necessarily follow the mystery format of: crime happens, investigation happens. You can get through a good amount of the book before really understanding that Qwill has been investigating a possible crime the whole time. While he’s settling in to his new home, meeting his lawyers and the local interior designer, and learning how the local diner crowd provides a lot of (mostly useless) gossip, he’s bringing to light a mystery that had been swept under the rug. Of course, this ruffles some feathers and causes some problems by the time it’s clear whether or not he’s really uncovered something important.

I loved the way the cats would play with the mail pouring through the slot, hiding some and bringing some directly to Qwill. Other antics of Koko’s were fun to see come into play too. I’m still really enjoying this series and would recommend this book for fans of the classic whodunit & cozy mystery genres.

Find out more about The Cat Who Played Post Office

See what I’m reading next.

If you’ve read this book, or read it in the future, feel free to let me know what you think!