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Posts by accordingtohoyt

Letting the Wokescolds Win

There are things organizations (and corporations) do when being screamed at that make you wonder exactly what is wrong with them.

Or perhaps makes you want to tell them “You’re like the guy who bit off a piece of the true cross one Saturday night in Jerusalem, and this is why we can’t have nice things.”

This is the case, for instance, with the RWA deciding to cancel the RITA awards:

As a controversy over bias and a lack of transparency at the Romance Writers of America continues to roil the country’s foremost writers association for romance writers, the RWA has announced that it will postpone the 2020 RITA Contest until next year. The RITA Award is the U.S.’s top prize for romance fiction.

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Welcome to the Year of Go Big or Go Home

This is where I confess I’m a wussy. I’ve spent most of the last year (not all of it because there were significant medical issues, including a near-fatal drug side effect to deal with) hesitating on the edge of the sea of indie publishing, unable to motivate myself to write.

Given that traditional is done with me, this was the equivalent of considering giving up on my career of twenty years, and the only skill I’ve worked on seriously in my adult life.

There were reasons. The reasons just might have been completely wrong. And one of those reasons is important for the rest of you to know.

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Eschew Claytons Diversity A Blast from the past by Kate Paulk from July 19, 2018

Okay, first I need to explain that title to all the non-Aussies out there. Some number of years ago, there was a saturation-level advertising campaign for a brand of soft drink packaged and sold as “the drink you have when you’re not having a drink” – and the brand name was Claytons. It took approximately 5 nanoseconds for the term “Claytons” to be used as shorthand for something that claimed to be a thing but was actually something else, usually something inferior. Jokes got made about Claytons budgets (the budget you have when you’re not having a budget), Claytons recessions (the recession you have when you’re not having a recession) and so on.
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Let There Be Light

I think I’ve spoken in the past, if not here elsewhere on how starved of light I was as a kid. Partly because of technology and partly because of absolute wealth, the use of electricity was sparing and irregular and any lights in public were rare and … not very impressive.

Which is why — particularly this time of year — I can’t get enough of lights.  The year is at its darkest, and almost any seasonal festival is about lights.

Because in the dark we need something to guide us, something to aim for, something to soothe the soul. Which brings us to writing and reading.

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How To Structure a Cozy Mystery

I’m going to give you a basic outline for a cozy mystery.

But before I do so, because I know that writers can be like ducks: they come out of the egg, they see something moving, and they blindly follow — I resemble that model myself, sometimes — let me tell you that you can pull this thing apart, twist it, fold it, spin it, and mutilate it and still come out all right.

Say you want to start with the second murder?  Go for it. I’ve seen it done.  Or you want to have the murder be the narrator? Well, read The Murder of Roger Akroyd, and if you can do it that well, be my guest.

This is just a map if you are lost. It doesn’t replace the terrain. It only gives you major cities. If you follow only it, you’ll get somewhere predictable, but that’s better than being nowhere at all. Read more

Nefarious Plots

Mysteries are, by definition about nefarious plots: creating them, writing them, and yeah, your characters both creating them and solving them.

How much importance you give to the puzzle itself varies, according to the type of cozy mystery you’re writing.

Even given that most cozy mysteries aren’t terribly realistic as to the details of the crime (usually but not always a death) there are still degrees of hardness. Read more

Meet Interesting Strangers


Meet Interesting Strangers – Part two of the How to write a cozy series.  Part one is here (And I just realized I don’t have links on the books at the bottom, which I will fix. Sorry, I’ve been battling a bug.)

Okay, the first thing you must realize is that the most important part of a cozy mystery are the “fascinating people” you meet while solving the mystery. This means you must create your characters with certain things in mind. Read more