Of Stagecoaches and NaNo Stats

Cowtown stagecoach, Wichita, Kansas
Cowtown stagecoach, Wichita, Kansas

Okay, so it’s not the Old West, but this picture of a stagecoach taken at Wichita’s Cowtown is the best I have.

Question: “What do stagecoaches have to do with NaNoWriMo word statistics?

Answer: I did what NaNo writers are advised not to do. Research.

While zipping toward my word count last week, I became obsessed with the size of Old West stagecoaches and what they would hold. Cordelia, one of my main characters, is heading to Denver on the Pikes Peak Express in 1859, and she has some annoying travel companions. How many? More than I had originally planned. You see, based on the western movies I have watched, I thought stage coaches had two seats. It turns out they had three. Each seat held three passengers, so the coach could hold nine. Also, up to three passengers could ride on top with the driver and shotgun guard. The amount of mail and other freight packed into and on top of the coach often left passengers scrunched against each other, making Cordelia’s approximate twelve-day ride from eastern Kansas to Denver uncomfortable to say the least. If you are interested in learning more about stagecoaches and what it was like to ride in one, check out History of the Stagecoach and Stagecoach Service in the 1860s. As a bonus, check out this map of nineteenth century Kansas trails, which includes the Express route through Kansas Territory in 1859-1860.

Question: So what about your NaNo statistics?

Answer: I’m proud to say that I’m keeping up with the daily word count. I’m actually a little ahead with 20,523 words as of this morning.

Question: Weren’t you taking two online courses at the same time? What about those?

Answer: I’m keeping up with the fiction MOOC, refining scenes from my NaNo novel for my assignments. When it comes to Blogging 201, I’m still at the starting gate. However, I am down to the last lesson in the MOOC, so I’m planning to spend the end of this week making blog improvements.

What? You say it’s about time?

I think so, too.

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