It is a week where you will discover more about your manuscript and your writing than you would otherwise learn all year.
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:Get 9 amazing mystery writing resources for a heavily discounted price with the Writing Thrillers & Mysteries Kit.
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