(Almost) Spring and (almost) time for Story A Day May

At the end of April, it should be spring. But this year (in Ottawa), we have what can only be described as mixed signals.

Today, it will go up to 9C (they say) and that’s a lot warmer than it has been over the last few days. It’s all very chilly and more like early October or March. The migratory birds are back, though, — our local heron, who hangs out in the Canal, has returned — even if they seem a bit put out by the unexpected temperatures.

But thankfully there are spring things that happen according to the calendar, independent of the temperature.

FirstAvebooksThis weekend is the weekend on an annual book sale at a nearby public school. It is impressive in its scope (they run it from Thursday to Sunday and there are so very many books to go through). I restrained myself and seem to have ended up with (only) twenty-one books added to the to be read shelf (actually more like shelves or, more strictly speaking, approaching a to be read bookcase).

My haul is about half mysteries — some by authors I’ve previously read (Colin Bateman, M.C. Beaton, Ann Granger) and others new to me, largely randomly chosen based on back-of-book blurbs (Karen Dudley, Erika Chase). I also picked up a few old Trixie Beldens, along with some other ‘classic’ children’s mysteries. And I was particularly pleased to find a copy of The Eyre Affair, which I read from the library when it came out.

And we are quickly approaching Story A Day May. In previous years, I have largely either followed the posted prompts or used other prompt generator sites. (And this has been quite successful. In fact, one of those rough drafts, that I wrote in 2012, Field Trip, was published last year in 5×5 Literary Mag.)

But this year I am trying something different. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve been working on a novel-length mystery. A cozy-ish book with a (slightly) quirky main character that is intended as a first in series. So far, so good. I’ve been trying to focus on the as yet untitled book exclusively, but Story A Day is always so tempting… Then it occurred to me that it might be a very good opportunity to focus on developing  some pieces for the book/series. I quickly came up with a list — anecdotes to illustrate backstory for the characters, short but complete summaries of possible plots for future novels and/or short stories with the same main character — that should cover the entire month. My plan is to, largely, follow the posted prompts, incorporating them into the context I’ve set up for the book/series. We’ll see how that works out! But I’m looking forward to it and I think that it will be helpful in developing some of the characters more thoroughly, whether what I come up with is material I can incorporate in the book or not.

I can’t wait for Friday.

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