Tag Archives: Writing the Cozy Mystery

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