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Writing the Cozy Mystery

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  546 ratings  ·  120 reviews
Do you want to write a cozy mystery but don't have a clue where to start? Or maybe you've begun a story but are stuck on the plot? Perhaps you're already writing a series, and you need tips on keeping your material fresh? Writing the Cozy Mystery will help you develop your characters, establish the setting, plot the story, add suspense, plant clues and sustain your series. ...more
Paperback, Expanded Second Edition, 130 pages
Published November 12th 2018 by Orange Grove Press
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Lisa Ks Book Reviews
Author Nancy J. Cohen has done what I have wanted to do for a long time. Using words I could never find (She is a wonderful writer after all), she explains what a true cozy mystery should be. This one sentence says it perfectly. “These stories contain no explicit sex, violence, or bad language.” She also goes on to mention “. . . they are clean books that can be read by all ages.”

WRITING THE COZY MYSTERY goes beyond explaining what a cozy mystery is and/or should be. Ms. Cohen lays the ground w
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have ever thought about writing a cozy mystery, you need to read this book. Everything you need to know about the genre is in these pages. The author gives you a wonderful definition of the cozy mystery genre. There is definitely a difference between a cozy and a traditional mystery. This is the place to learn about it.

Nancy J. Cohen has a true knack for providing aspiring authors with the tools they need to accomplish their goal of writing their own cozy mystery books. It felt as if she
Tammy Goldthorpe
Nancy J. Cohen wrote a MARVELLOUS 'Guide to Murder' when she wrote Writing the Cozy Mystery. It is well organized, making it extremely easy to follow. She really puts herself into this book, as she uses her own personal writing as examples in regards to what makes for good writing/reading. I look forward to following her advice when I write my own cozy mystery series. Thank you Nancy.
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Succinct and informative

I learned of this "How-to" book from a close friend of mine, and I'm so glad I downloaded Writing the Cozy Mystery by Nancy J. Cohen. I was in the midst of creating my very own "Cozy" when this appeared on my kindle. I have always been a huge fan of murder mysteries, but was not entirely sure how to attack my own series. WtCM helped gather my scattered thoughts and put them into order. This book, while only 50 pages or so, uses its brief word count to its fullest potentia
Dawn Hamilton
Overall, I thought this book contained good basic tips all in one place. Also, links to writers clubs and meetings, etc at the end of the book are a bonus. The only problem I had with the book is that I would have liked to see more examples of her advice. For example, several times in the book she says "Show, don't tell" and "Add conflict to every scene". How do you mean you show, don't tell? And add conflict to every scene? Really? Every one? Maybe a second edition is warranted to add some of t ...more
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: non-fiction
This is my book. The first edition of Writing the Cozy Mystery Writing the Cozy Mystery by Nancy J. Cohen has over 190 reviews with a 4.5 average rating. This Second Edition contains more examples; additional writing exercises; expanded sections; and seven new chapters including The Muddle in the Middle, Romance and Murder, Special Considerations for Cozy Writers, Keeping a Series Fresh, Writing the Smart Synopsis, Mystery Movies, and Marketing Tips. You'll find everything you need to know in an easy-to-read, clear manner to write yo ...more
Alyssa Maxwell
Feb 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A must for aspiring and published mystery writers alike! This guide covers each step of plotting a cozy mystery from start to finish, including developing characters, setting, clues, motives, red herrings, etc., in a way that's clear and easy to follow. There are also tips on organizational tools for keeping track of your progress so that no thread is left hanging. Takes the mystery out of writing mysteries!
Vonnie Kennedy
Feb 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a useful little reference book to keep close by if you're writing a mystery. Nancy Cohen provides all the tools needed for writing a best selling Whodunit. I'll be rereading the easy-to-follow examples as I write. Thanks, Nancy!
Richard Cardenas
Apr 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really informative and it helped me so much!!! It's 44 pages long but it got through everything very neatly. It's only a dollar for Kindle so if you need something like this go get it. :)
Joyce Sweeney
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've been teaching writing craft for over 25 years and I love recommending books that I know will really help writers. Nancy J. Cohen is an experienced writer of cozies (Bad Hair Day series) and she has packed this book with information on virtually every aspect of writing a cozy. She defines the genre clearly, explaining its conventions, she covers everything from plot to character to marketing and much, much more. She also delves into how to create a series and keep it fresh. I will recommend ...more
The title of this book is pretty self-explanatory. The author, who has written many (totally awesome, IMHO) cozy mysteries herself (as well as books in other genres) shares tips for how to write a cozy mystery. Within recent years, I have read several books on writing and have honestly found this to be the most useful and meaningful resource in terms of the actual writing process to me thus far. I really appreciated how Ms. Cohen took some of the intimidation out of the process by sharing many u ...more
Oct 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Until last night, I didn't even realize that cozies were a sub-genre of the mystery genre. Between this little book (quite short, I read it in half an hour) and some additional online research, I feel equipped to tackle my very first mystery story (for NaNoWriMo). Cohen did a nice job of pointing out the kinds of writing tools that are critical to nailing this particular genre, especially cozies, which require a deft touch with the usual mystery suspects of murder, sex, and violence. She provide ...more
Mar 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-ebooks
Writing the Cozy Mystery is quick and concise, but packed with information. None of the "this is how you write" nonsense, Nancy Cohen gets straight to the point and outlines precisely what goes into writing a good cozy mystery. (She even defines the genre itself, which is marvelous.) I especially enjoyed her tips and examples of outlining and keeping character information in one place. I try to be an organized writer, but struggle with ways to outline and organize effectively. I'm going to give ...more
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great primer for the beginning writer and a great reminder for those of us in the business. Cohen takes you through the framework of a cozy, defining the genre and the amateur sleuth. She delves into characterization and community, into setting to establish mood, and into the value of a good secret for each suspect, among other aspects.

I found this short book to be easy to read and chock full of useful information.
This is a wonderful, concise, detailed book on the elements of crafting a good cozy mystery. Not a lto of new information. Meaning once you've read several how to write books the same information is in all of them, but this one was tailored to details in cozy mysteries and was well written. Well worth the price.
Mar 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic Resource! Many of us have aspirations of writing a book, and may even have the loose elements of a story rattling around in our head, but this is a great book to answer the question, "How do I get started?" The resources are timely and relevant, and the author's advice to other authors and aspiring to write in this genre is very practical and useful.
Dallas Gorham
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the second time I 'vs read this book and it won't be the last

I've written six hard-boiled Private Eye mystery thrillers and I recommend Nancy Cohen's book to any writer of any skill level. I am about one quarter of the way through the first draft of my seventh novel and this book gave me an idea to improve the plot. Well done, Nancy! Thank you for writing this book.☺
Cat Tutt
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a very helpful, clearly written manual. She pointed out a number of things that I didn't realize were ever-present characteristics of cozies until she said it, but then I said "Oh, that's true!" and realized I needed to find ways to work them into my own writing. The book was short, but well done and full of great information!

*5 Stars
Story guide on writing cozy mysteries

This short book is packed full of information on someone who wants to write a cozy (or even traditional) murder mystery. It is very easy to follow and covers a lot of the basics.
Ms. Mystery
Oct 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed reading this how-to book on writing cozy mysteries. It's concise and to the point - no fluff. Perfect resource for anyone thinking about writing a cozy mystery!
Tara L.
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you want to learn how to write a cozy mystery, this book is for you. Nancy provides outstanding instructions and examples to illustrate key points in writing for this genre!
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! Very helpful and concise. Need to pull this out every time I start a new project.
R.C. Matthews
Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is short but included a lot of practical tips and examples for writing a cozy mystery. It also gives writers resources.
Feb 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some common sense but well organized and to the point.
Rebecca J. Koehn
Great book for beginners!

This is a wonderful primer on how to get started writing a mystery. It was easy to read and understand. Very straightforward. I also loved how ideas kept sparking as o worked through it. I have a solid start on my first mystery.
Feb 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whether you're a novice or a seasoned writer, you can learn something from Writing the Cozy Mystery. This book covers it all--from defining the genre to writing resources--and is told with succinct aplomb. If you're just starting out in the cozy mystery genre, let this book be your guide. Published writers will learn new tips and techniques to enhance their own work. Highly recommended.
Tara L.
Aug 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If you ever want to learn how to write a cozy mystery, search no more. Get this book now!
Dian Burns
Oct 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read.

Lots of tips and suggestions that a new cozy writer should consider. Many of the tips would work for experienced writers as well. The links to several websites were a great addition and this works for both indie and traditional publishing paths. Really recommend you try it.
Macaire Hill
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Whether you are an aspiring writer who doesn’t know where to start, or an author with a draft in need of tuning up, this book provides the building blocks to create a solid cozy mystery. The first ten chapters address the different elements of a good story, such as setting, sleuth and suspense. Examples are included. The balance touches on everything from organizational tools to marketing tips. I found the chapters on the “Muddle in the Middle” and “Writing the Smart Synopsis” very helpful. It e ...more
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quick Read with Organization and Structure Tips

This is an excellent structural overview of the cozy mystery genre. While the focus is on mystery, it is also a fairly comprehensive guide to structuring a genre novel of any kind. The basic ideas behind hooks, character development, side characters, and story movement are covered clearly and concisely. It's an enjoyable and quick read. I personally like her suggestions for character mind maps, focusing on questions and/or considerations. I've used
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Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have been named Best Cozy Mystery by Suspense Magazine, won a Readers' Favorite Gold Medal and a RONE Award, earned first place in the Chanticleer International Book Awards and third place in the Arizona Literary Awards. Nancy's instructional guide, "Writing the Cozy Mystery," was ...more

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