I just finished writing my cozy last week. I didn't know I was writing a cozy. Sorry, not up on the hip and happening language of the mystery sub-genre. All I knew was I wanted to write a mystery. I did just that.
Perhaps instinct guided me. Perhaps it was something else. I don't have a clue. All I know is I wrote what I did and it - amazingly - turned out to be, well, a cozy.
First - some basics about cozies: set in a benign environment, little violence, few gory details, amateur sleuth, and mystery solved.
Okay, that's very basic. For a bit more in-depth discussion go here. Now, anything from this point forward references back to this site.
Elements of the Cozy Mystery:
- no explicit sex
- no gore or violence
- no graphic language
- amateur sleuth
- centers around a puzzle or whodunnit
- local setting
Now, in my normal fashion, I'm going to discuss each point in relation to my recently finished (woo-hoo) rough draft.
No Explicit Sex - my characters aren't romping around in the bedroom. Okay, one of them is, but . . . I don't provide any explicit details. I just let you - the reader - know that the character is doing the big nasty.
No Gore or Violence - in Cozies, the gore or violence takes place off the page. Such is - somewhat - the case with my mystery. Not totally, but close.
No Graphic Language - okay, this point doesn't get checked off. My story takes place in the here/now, not some quaint, English village in the 1920s when people didn't cuss like there was no tomorrow. This is one rule I'm bending. I'm allowed to bend a rule here and there. It's my delusional little world after all.
Amateur Sleuth - I have two of those. Woo-hoo.
Centers Around a Puzzle or Whodunnit - there is a murder, after all.
Local Setting - yep, I have that based covered as well.
Did I mention I did this without having a clue how to write (or that I was writing) a cozy mystery? Seriously, no clue at all. I just wrote, the words flowing in a torrent, and then on Friday I researched word-counts for mystery novels (btw, cozies come in between 60 - 70K, and my rough is complete at 60K - coincidence? I think not) and came across the term cozy, which I then researched. Again, I find it very odd that, pretty much, without having a clue, I wrote this rough draft in the first place.
Back to the setting - many cozy mysteries are set in a small town or small section of a larger city. Uh, yeah, big check mark for that one. In addition, the story may center around a tea shop. Uh, give me another big check mark for that one. Yes, there is a tea shop in my novel. This happened a little over half way through the novel. There were no plans for a tea pot when I started this project. None. At. All.
Coincidence? I think not. Instinct? I don't have a clue. I'm not about to question why I was able to insert the majority of elements of a cozy without knowing such elements were a requirement.
Perhaps my years of watching all the British mysteries instilled these concepts into my subconscious. I don't know.
I'm just finding it a bit odd that I have the required elements and the word count. Very. Odd. Indeed.