Cat cozy analysis

As I embark upon reading my very first cat cozy, I realized, I want to take it apart as I read it. Want to join me?

I’ve heard of cat cozies before (cozy mysteries that somehow involve a cat) but for some reason, never read one. As I was at a bookstore with my son who wanted more manga, I found myself at the cat cozy section, giggling at the titles. What a travesty, I thought, that I still haven’t read any. And so for Christmas I gifted myself Lending a Paw, the first installment in the Bookmobile series, and now I finally have a moment to read it.

CHAPTER ONE REACTIONS.

Starts with a cold open - one page of a discovery of a body, then goes on to a casual intro to the character and her cat. As of page 11, nothing exciting has happened yet.

This reminds me of the conversation we had recently, the industry’s requirement to have “the day everything changed” and riveting conflict happen within the first five minutes of reading.

https://forum.wackywriters.com/t/first-chapter-vs-inciting-incident/11219?u=kamiccola

The only conflict I’ve encountered so far is that the MC was initially against the cat but then allowed herself to be adopted by the cat - the lightest conflict if there ever was any since she gave in immediately. Does adopting a pet count as an inciting incident? (it’s introduced in a form of a flashback, btw)
It doesn’t feel like an inciting incident.

I don’t consider the cold open at all since without any context, it made me feel nothing. I actually rolled my eyes at it. I don’t think it’s needed. I wonder if it was the publisher’s idea to start with a body. I mean, it’s a cat cozy. Of course, there will be some crime to be solved. I don’t need to know that the crime will involve a body. It doesn’t help me get into the story at all.

Despite breaking the five minute rule, I’m still reading. I want to know what will happen to this boring though optimistic librarian and her cat.

The five minute rule is debunked.

Update: finished chapter one. And the inciting incident finally came. It wasn’t a crime or anything exciting to others but it was exciting to the MC which I wouldn’t know if the first five minutes weren’t spent on the unexciting introduction.

I like this approach. It’s not the inciting incident of the global story (most likely, I haven’t read it yet after all), just a step in the character’s personal journey, what matters to her. By the end of the chapter I learned her goal (hint: to be a better librarian, lol). It also ended on a slight cliffhanger which I think will introduce another cat-related conflict in chapter two. We’re about to find out.

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I have a cat character, and knowing him, he’d be the killer in the end.

Granted, he’s not a normal cat, but still.

I hope it picks up. Too often I see books with slow pacing for no reason.

I get it’s a cozy but it shouldn’t put you to sleep.

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It’s as exciting as a librarian MC is expected to be.

But hey, she’s going to be a cool librarian. She has a Bookmobile!

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My mom works in a library. It’s like being surrounded by a million Aprils from Parks and Rec.

Maybe she’s more realistic than them.

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CHAPTER TWO starts off strong.

Right off the bat, our MC encounters three progressive complications in a row. Oh, doozie. We’ve got stakes! She might lose her chance to be a cool librarian!

The rest of the chapter was our MC trying to reign in the chaos with comical result. I’m liking this book more and more.

CHAPTER THREE

And now, we have the real inciting incident, the body.

I’m now even more convinced that the cold open wasn’t needed, was actually bad, because as my MC was getting further away from where she should be, I already knew that she was about to find the body and surprise, she did. And now I’m annoyed. I don’t like knowing too much. I don’t like being able to guess plot twists.

Boo.
I officially don’t like cold opens.

But the story is good and I’ll keep reading.

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Only one I can remember is a Mercedez Lackey one that is more fantasy than not.

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I think you’re discovering why even if this might be the industry’s standard (and some people would debate even that), this isn’t the standard metric literary critics use to evaluate work. Or, clearly, some publishers who trust in their stories’ overall merits and prefer to stick to their guns than rely on generic rules of thumb.

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Preach.
It’s worth noting that this is a short book (more like a novella) so you’d think everything would be even more condensed. And yet, the real game-changing inciting incident came by the end of chapter 3. And even more importantly, IT READS ABSOLUTELY FINE. I was not bored just because I didn’t know right off the bat where the story was going. The pacing was quite perfect. Intro, a bit of fun, then bam - the meat we came for. I think this book would do well even on an online platform where attention spans are said to rival a toddler’s. (I’m quite inspired to write a cozy now, who knows)

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on the one hand, i’m surprised this is a genre.
on the other…of course this is a genre :rofl:

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People love cozies, people love cats.

It’s like chocolate and peanut butter, but the two of them together and people will love it!

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They have awesome titles as well. It’s the ultimate Pun Town.

Claws for Concern.
Paws and Punishment.
Cat Me if You Can.
Careless Whiskers.

Judging from what I’m reading, it’s just a cozy mystery in which there’s a cat in every chapter. And that’s all.

I’m seeing a big advantage to it. The MC can have a lot of inner dialogue as a regular one-sided dialogue… with the cat. And that helps the mystery because we can get into the investigative mindset more naturally.
Cats go with mysteries.

Sure, you could use a dog, but it’s different because dogs want to please their owners. Cats want to be pleased. You’re more likely to argue with a cat than a dog. So a conversation with a dog would involve a lot of agreement while a cat will challenge you, force you to think outside the box.

And that’s just what an amateur sleuth needs.

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Time for a cat cozy update.

CHAPTER 6.

After the inciting crime (the body), the story follows a predictable mystery pattern. But where a thriller would have created a series of tense moments, a cozy gives us a good insight into our MC, what the crime means to her. Complications are slightly adding up. Clues are dropped, I predict that a lot of them are red herrings. And of course, I’m starting to wonder which one of the side characters could be the killer. It’s kinda cool to look around the cast and try to figure out who could’ve done it. It’s the fun part of the mystery.

Cat is a bit less involved, mostly exists for the MC to run ideas by. I’m curious how else the cat will be involved later.

For some reason, this book reminds me of Scooby Doo. :sweat_smile:
Was Scooby Doo a cozy mystery series?

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Cozy? Not quite. But it is fast food mystery (predictable, fast, fills the time but isn’t “nutritiously dense”, similar enough outcome of being comfortable, but that’s it.

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The cat reading George Martin! I love that!

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slides in here being late Did you end up finishing any other chapters? :eyes: :sweat_smile:

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Just dropping in to say, no, not yet.

I have this problem where I pick up a book to read and immediately get inspiration for my own writing and… yeah. I got sidetracked.

I’ll try to finish this one up in the next week or so to finish this experiment.

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Don’t die yet! I’ll be back.

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