Thursday, November 23, 2017

Writing the Cozy Mystery - Part 3 the Main Components

by Elva Cobb Martin

 In Part 1 we covered the differences between Mystery, Suspense and Horror novels. To read that click here 
In Part 2 we defined what a Cozy Mystery is. Click .

Today let's talk about the Main Components of a cozy we will need to plan.

The Amateur Sleuth
Unlike regular mysteries (detective stories, police procedures) a cozy has an amateur sleuth protagonist working to solve the mystery, although there may be trained law officers also working on the case. Think of Father Brown on Netflix, who solves the case right under the angry inspector's nose who tries to keep Father Brown out of the picture. Think of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and Poirot. I love these amateur sleuths. And I love Sherlock Holmes, but can't class him as amateur. He's too much a brain.

One reason I like Father Brown and Agatha Christies' series is the English village setting. Don't you love the stately old manors, churches, modes of travel, and the dress? I'm probably going to need to consider writing an historical cozy since I love historical stuff.

The Murder Victim and Crime
Eddie Jones, CEO of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, says in his Cozy Mystery Workshop that the body must appear very soon in the story, definitely by the end of Chapter one or sooner. The crime must capture the reader's imagination and give enough information about the victim to make the reader care that justice will prevail.

Great Plotting
Like any other type story, we have to have a well-thought out plot. Plot usually has three main stages:

1) Beginning - getting to know the protagonist and set up for the conflict/crime
2) Conflict/Problem/Journey
3) Resolution

These are broken down into many parts. For a mystery it must also include clues, red herrings, and many twists until the very end. The end does not have to be happy but it must be satisfying.

Are you thinking about writing a mystery? Do you have a question? I look forward to your comments and please do share this on your social media by clicking on the below small icons.

Elva Cobb Martin

Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels contracted with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both are spending time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in Anderson, South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site, her blog, on Twitter; Facebook;  and Pinterest
Link to her romance novels and non-fiction works on Amazon:

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