Like many writers, I choose to write in the genre that I like to read - that of cozy mysteries. Sex is played down (referred to, but not seen or heard), and there is little to no violence. The environment for the stories often carries a small town vibe, even if the action takes place in a big city. Those doing the detecting are most often amateurs, and most often women. The people executing the crime, be it murder or something else, are usually members in good standing in the community.
So, how do we go about writing this type of story? The first thing that I do is define my protagonist - who they are, where they live, what their goals are, who their friends are. Then I define the setting - city, small town, seaside - wherever I think the action will play out in a natural manner. Now comes the issue/event being investigated. Remember, in cozy mysteries the protagonist usually has a small group of friends or family that help them solve crimes. The characters in these books know each other well, and usually have lived in the area for a long time. The crimes often originate from issues going generations back.
We want to make both our characters and our setting distinctive. Use descriptive words that will leave an impression. Be detailed, and specific. Regional and local differences should be played up big. Pick your victim, and pick your crime. Both need to be believable! Then develop a list of suspects - some obvious, some not so obvious.
Create a sense of suspense that fits with both the characters and the setting. I love delving into the past - this is where our present grew its feet, and is a definite link to both the present and the future. Think the "seven generations" concept here.
Have fun, and allow your mind to go where it wants to go to be creative. Then accept that your characters will have minds of their own!
(c) October Bonnie Cehovet
Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the author.