I am writing a cozy mystery. I have never had the desire to write a cozy mystery, but I am writing one. I hope to have sequels to it, also. I didn’t realize how much I would learn writing this mystery.
I am what people call a “seat of my pants” writer. I sit down and write, then the story comes. I get to know the people as I write. I started writing this story and was well into it when I realized I needed something I didn’t have – clues. That’s when I started doing the research to find out how to do the clues. I found more than that. I found out how to write a mystery.
I learned that my story had major problems. It was set up as something other than a mystery. You can’t just write a story and then have the murder solved at the end. You need to make it a mystery. You need to have the police investigate the murder. You need to have your main character involved in solving it. I hadn’t done that.
I, the writer, am supposed to know the characters better than anyone else. I didn’t. In fact, I changed the person that was murdered. I involved a group that everyone would question. I changed the place the victim was found to be able to involve the main character in solving the murder.
Next comes the hard part. You have to know who killed someone in order to have the clues in the right places. You need to have clues suggesting the actual killer, but you also need to have clues indicating someone else killed your victim. Then, you need clues that don’t go anywhere. There is no way you can just sit down and write a murder mystery without having some sort of plan.
Having rewritten it once, I thought I was headed in the right direction only to find that I needed more suspects. It wouldn’t work to have just one or two suspects. It would be a very short, dull book. So that’s what I’m working on now. Getting more suspects, then new clues that make it look like any of them could have committed the murder. Of course, those suspects aren’t the killer. The killer is —–.
I’ll let you learn who the killer is when the book is published. But, I have to get it written first.