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Writing the Cozy Mystery Paperback – February 17, 2014
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"A useful guide and ready reference, this book offers a good set of tools to demystify the making of a mystery." Roy T. James, Readers' Favorite
"This book is well organized and cuts right to the chase. Throughout are exercises to help you create the cast of characters and make decisions about the clues and setting. When I'm ready to write my cozy, this will be a terrific tool set to use." Ronda Del Boccio, Write on Purpose
"Easy to read and chock full of useful information." Muddy Rose Reviews
"With Writing the Cozy Mystery, Nancy presents an easy-to-follow and engaging framework to developing your own cozy mystery, stand-alone or series. Her expertise in the area lends credence to the useful tips throughout the book." DL Fernandez, DLF Writing
"Writing the Cozy Mystery is one of the most helpful books on writing I have ever read. This will be one reference book that will keep you coming back again and again. If you are a new author looking to try your hand at writing a cozy, or if you've already written a cozy and need help to polish it up, Writing the Cozy Mystery is a must." 5 Out of 5 Spy Glasses! Crazy Cozy Stories
About the Author
Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Shore. Titles in this series have made the IMBA bestseller list, been selected by Suspense Magazine as best cozy mystery, won a Readers' Favorite Gold Medal, and earned third place in the Arizona Literary Awards. Nancy is also the author of the instructional guide, Writing the Cozy Mystery. Her imaginative romances have proven popular with fans as well. Her first book in this genre won the HOLT Medallion Award. A featured speaker at libraries, conferences, and community events, Nancy is listed in Contemporary Authors, Poets & Writers,and Who's Who in U.S. Writers, Editors, & Poets.
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Top customer reviews
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The author doesn't spend much time discussing cozy mystery tropes other than the very broad strokes of not usually including graphic sex, violence, or language. She suggests that it might be simplest if you write in the genre that you enjoy reading and becoming familiar with the expected tropes of your chosen area that way. But she gives some nice examples of how she accomplished certain tasks or fulfilled reader expectations through her own cozy series about a South Florida hair stylist.
There are several very comprehensive lists of things to think about, as well as concepts to cover in a story bible and character development tools that could prove invaluable for the first-time novelist. I've done similar things, but it's always ingesting to see how other writers use similar tools or go about making sure they've caught and skipped all dangling story threads. I enjoyed reading all the lists and thinking how to use and adapt them further in relation to the special case (see what I did there? *wink wink*) of a mystery. I loved the clear and direct approach to advice, the short length, and the price! Worth much more than the dollar cost. I'll be revising this one again.
1. Could I write a Cozy?
2. Is it hard work?
3. Is there some kind of formula?
The answers are yes, yes and yes. Cohen’s book does not disappoint. I feel as if I've been gifted with a precise step by step road map to writing a good first draft. I'm actually cutting and pasting some lists and hints into a word document to give me direction in outlining my first ever foray into Cozy writing. NOTE: To cut and paste, you'll need Kindle for PC (it's free).
Some information in the book will be just a refresher for most writers, but I found the lists and hints helpful to have in front of me, so I could answer the questions for each character. It's important to know your characters as intimately as you know good friends: their likes and dislikes, environment, job, dreams, fears, friends, a past. Most of this won't go into the book, but informs the actions, reactions, and interactions of your characters and makes them come alive for the reader.
Cohen uses a 3 ring notebook and a storyboard.
1. On the notebook she says:
“The Plotting Notebook is another means by which you can keep track of all the elements. You’ll need a notebook for each separate title with colored tab dividers.”
2. On the Storyboard she says:
"For a quick visual reference, I use a Storyboard or plotting chart. Divide a large white poster board into twenty blocks, or however many chapters will appear in your novel. Then write down all the story incidents or plot points that come to mind on sticky notes. Put these around the board in some sort of order. This gives you a general guideline for writing the synopsis."
There is a software program that is similar to Cohen's block system, but I'd rather work with a notebook, poster board and post-its as she suggests. That way it's in front of me while I write. Kudos to Nancy for sharing her experience. This is by far one simplest yet comprehensive how to books I've read in a while and I've already begun using it.
Most recent customer reviews
It is a very thin book and
basically tells you nothing
you didn't think of yourself.