Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits with Kari: Featuring Cozy Mysteries

Ever wonder what a cozy mystery really is?

I know so many people who "think" they know what a cozy mystery is, but they really don't. Ever thought about writing one? If you have, then you need to do your homework.

Google is a wonderful thing.

There are so many types of mysteries out there. A lot of sub-genres within the genres. But my personal favorite is the cozy mystery. Think of the TV show Murder She Wrote, and you'll start to get the picture.

A cozy mystery usually revolves around a small town, or at the very least a select group of people like in a theatre or hotel or something where a sense of community is established. The murder takes place off screen, and the focus of the story revolves around an amateur sleuth type of hero solving the crime, with plenty of clues and red herrings along the way. There is no swearing (or little), no blood and gore, no sex, etc. All of that happens off screen, hence the word cozy. You can still have a romance in the story, just make sure the main focus remains on solving the mystery.

Whereas a hard boiled mystery usually takes place in a big city with more of a seasoned detective solving the crime, and just about anything goes.

Another huge aspect of the cozy mystery is in its cast of secondary characters. The community and its colorful, charming cast of characters are what appeal most to a lot of cozy fans. The more unique and quirky you can make them, the better. And don't forget the tone. A cozy, even a humorous one, should have that "cozy" tone as in, "It was a dark and stormy night," type of feel.

Finally, a cozy series usually revolves around a certain theme. A career or hobby or interest of the main character. So if you're considering writing a cozy, try to come up with something you haven't seen done before.

Here are some great cozy mystery yahoo groups filled with both writers and just readers who love cozy mysteries. They give reviews as well as tons of recommendations and discussions on new as well as already established cozy mystery series.





Good luck to you! Happy writing and reading :-)



Liz Lipperman said...

Great explanation, Kari. Since cozies are hot right now, I suspect a lot of people will give it a shot. Your advice is right on. The only other thing I might suggest is that anyone who is thinking about trying this should read a bunch of cozies to get the feel. Two good ones are TEMPEST IN THE TEA LEAVES (yours) HOLLYWOOD HOO DOO (Rochelle's) and LIVER LET DIE (mine).

Oh, what a shameful plug!!

Liz Lipperman said...

Thank God I'm not a mathematician. I wrote the comment, then remembered Rochelle's story was coming out, too. Make that THREE good ones.

Lindsay said...

Thanks for helping me understand what a cozy is. Guess you can rule out my stories as cozies. Lots of on screen murders.

Mary Martinez said...

I agree with Liz, Kari, that was a wonderful explanation on Cozies. Now I want to go out and buy one.

And yours, Rochelle's and Liz's are the top of my list!

Kari Lee Townsend said...

LOL Liz...you crack me up. I can't wait to read yours and Rochelle's :-)

And thanks Mary and Lindsay. There's nothing like curing up with a great mystery....especially when it's as cold as it is today!