LinkedIn0 By Elizabeth S. Craig, elizabethscraig This is the last post in my series on cozy writing. In a cozy, the focus is on the puzzle itself.
Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets! Guest Column July 22, When you think of mystery novels today, you might think of stories filled with in-depth police procedure and cringe-inducing violence.
But you might be surprised to learn that the bestselling mystery novelist of all time is still Agatha Christie—and her timeless mysteries are quaint stories that leave all those gory details to the imagination.
Protagonists are typically amateur and usually female sleuths solving small-town crimes with old-fashioned detective work rather than forensics. These unlikely heroes are often small-business owners who find themselves drawn into detection by crimes impacting their work; sometimes their investigative efforts are aided by a significant other with police connections.
It took two years of writing and rejection before she signed with Berkley Prime Crime to create the Decoupage Mystery series. The first book was published inbut after three books with lackluster sales, the series was cancelled. By then, though, McKinlay had learned a lot about what makes cozies work—and moved on to a new series with Prime Crime starring the owners of an Arizona cupcake shop: The Cupcake Bakery Mysteries.
She followed that with three new series: In all, Prime Crime has published 16 of her cozy novels—seven of which have landed on The New York Times bestseller list. Sheila Connolly, TheNew York Times bestselling author of three cozy series including The Orchard Mysteries, says that while Christie and Dorothy Sayers inspired her and most of her colleagues to write in the genre, the pacing of cozies has changed over the years.
While detection is still at the heart of the story, that plot must move along with more driving action than the genre used to demand. McKinlay jokes that writing the part well can give readers the wrong impression. Series are the way to go.
Virtually all cozy mysteries published today are part of a series with recurring characters some publishers even offer deals based on one complete novel and a proposal for a full series. Sales are steady, but moderate. Of course, breakout titles have seen bigger numbers on both sides of that fence.
Genre-specific support is available.
All authors can benefit from the support of fellow scribes, and a great way to find that help is through a writing group. Sisters in Crime sistersincrime. For more great writing advice, click here. Follow Brian on Twitter: WD Newsletter You might also like:So, what makes a good cozy mystery hook?
It appeals to the demographic. Cozy mystery readers are overwhelmingly female and upwards of 40 years old. Tactile crafts are popular (knitting, quilting, etc.). The more abstract the craft, the harder the sell. Wet felting, . If you're new to mystery writing, this book will give you the basic components necessary to write a cozy.
There's no new information here and the method is formulaic,so if you're looking for in depth advice, this isn't the book for you. The cozy mystery usually takes place in a small town or village. The small size of the setting makes it believable that all the suspects know each other.
The amateur sleuth is usually a very likeable person who is able to get the community members to talk freely about each other. Writer Elizabeth Spann Craig offers a free outline template and tips for anyone interested in outlining and writing a cozy mystery. Elizabeth Spann Craig She is the cozy mystery author of the Myrtle Clover Cozy Mystery Series, the Southern Quilting Cozy Mystery Series, and the Memphis Barbeque Cozy Mystery Series.
Get 9 amazing mystery writing resources for a heavily discounted price with the Writing Thrillers & Mysteries Kit. Order Now! 1. Cozies have evolved. For those of you who have been following this series about writing cozy mysteries, we’ve already discussed the hook, protagonist, and urbanagricultureinitiative.com, we’re getting to the gory stuff.