Tag Archives: cozy mystery

Writing the Cozy Mystery–Points to Consider

By Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraigfile6851297891836

This is the last post in my series on cozy writing. (Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  6.) Today I thought I’d wrap up a few things that are, mostly, specific to cozies (where some of the earlier posts could have been applied to other subgenres of mysteries.)

Murder method.  If the method is gory, the state of the victim’s body isn’t explained in great detail. There isn’t a focus on forensics in cozies.  If you’re using guns, be accurate but move away from a lot of forensic detail…keeping it simple.  In a cozy, the focus is on the puzzle itself.

There tends to be a lot of blunt force trauma, suffocation, strangulation, stabbing, poisoning, and victims being pushed down staircases. Continue reading Writing the Cozy Mystery–Points to Consider

Writing the Cozy Mystery–Whodunit?

By Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraigquestion mark

One of the most important aspects of the cozy mystery is the puzzle itself.  Aside from character development, the puzzle is the most important part of the mystery.  Mystery readers tend to be avid readers who are practiced at looking for clues to the killer.  Here are some thoughts about how to make sure the readers don’t solve our puzzle before we want them to.

Red herrings: To keep readers guessing, we need to provide some false leads for our sleuth. These leads frequently come from other suspects, but they can come from some of the physical (usually not forensic in a cozy) evidence surrounding the crime (something out of place, something missing, something there that shouldn’t be there). Continue reading Writing the Cozy Mystery–Whodunit?

Writing the Cozy Mystery: The Suspects

By Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraigfile000557708328

This is the second in my cozy mystery writing series.  Last week I focused on writing better sleuths. Today, I thought I’d take a look at another vital element for a solid mystery: good suspects.

How many suspects?  Fewer suspects can be easier for readers to keep up with, but can also mean that the murderer’s identity isn’t as much of a surprise.  If you have more suspects, you can more easily maintain the element of surprise at the end, but you have to be careful not to confuse the reader.  I usually prefer 5 suspects, killing one of them during the course of the book.  If you choose to have a lot of suspects, you can reduce confusion by making sure their names are very distinct or by giving them a casual reintroduction when they appear “onstage” again in the story. Continue reading Writing the Cozy Mystery: The Suspects

Writing the Cozy Mystery—the Sleuth

By Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraigfile000946809180

I’ve had a few people emailing me asking questions about starting a cozy mystery (or, really, any type of mystery involving an amateur sleuth).  I promised to write a post on the topic… and then I didn’t deliver!  So here, belatedly, is the first post in a crash course on cozy mystery writing.

I thought it might be easier for someone starting out to think about potential questions to answer.  This helps us flesh out our sleuth and story.  It’s also, in my view, a heck of a lot easier than just launching into a brand new mystery.

Who is my sleuth and why is she getting involved in this case?  Readers tend to be able to suspend disbelief a bit in cozies, but it can be nice in the first book of the series to make the sleuth’s involvement more of a result of a direct action.  Is our sleuth a suspect?  Is the sleuth’s friend a suspect?  Was the victim a friend of the sleuth’s?  Did the crime occur at a place the sleuth works?  Did the sleuth discover the body?  There are many different directions to go with this. Continue reading Writing the Cozy Mystery—the Sleuth