Friday, October 27, 2017

Writing the Cozy Mystery - Part 3 the Main Components

by Elva Cobb Martin

You can review Part 1 and Part 2  of this series by clicking on my archives. We covered the differences between Mystery, Suspense and Horror novels in Part 1.
In Part 2 we defined what a Cozy Mystery is.

Today let's talk about the Main Components of a cozy we will need to plan.

The Amateur Sleuth
Unlike regular mysteries (detective stories, police procedures) a cozy has an amateur sleuth protagonist working to solve the mystery, although there may be trained law officers also working on the case. Think of Father Brown on Netflix, who solves the case right under the angry inspector's nose who tries to keep Father Brown out of the picture. Think of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple and Poirot. I love these amateur sleuths. And I love Sherlock Holmes, but can't class him as amateur. He's too much a brain.

One reason I like Father Brown and Agatha Christies' series is the English village setting. Don't you love the stately old manors, churches, modes of travel, and the dress? I'm probably going to need to consider writing an historical cozy since I love historical stuff.

The Murder Victim and Crime
Eddie Jones, CEO of Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, says in his Cozy Mystery Workshop that the body must appear very soon in the story, definitely by the end of Chapter one or sooner. The crime must capture the reader's imagination and give enough information about the victim to make the reader care that justice will prevail.

Great Plotting
Like any other type story, we have to have a well-thought out plot. Plot usually has three main stages:

1) Beginning - getting to know the protagonist and set up for the conflict/crime
2) Conflict/Problem/Journey
3) Resolution

These are broken down into many parts. For a mystery it must also include clues, red herrings, and many twists until the very end. The end does not have to be happy but it must be satisfying.

Are you thinking about writing a mystery? Do you have a question? I look forward to your comments and please do share this on your social media by clicking on the below small icons.

Elva Cobb Martin
Link to all my books on Amazon:

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Launch of The Emotional Wound Thesaurus & Five Steps to Overcome Writing Rejection

By Elva Cobb Martin
Hi everyone! Today I have a special post as part of the Writers Persevere event that authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi are running for the next few days to celebrate their newest book, The Emotional Wound Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Psychological Trauma. This book looks at the difficult experiences embedded in our character’s backstory which will shape their motivation and behavior afterward. I love their books!

You can find out more about this book and all the links to purchase it and others here:

To help them celebrate this release, many of us are posting stories about some of the obstacles we’ve overcome as writers. As we all know, this isn’t an easy path. Writing is hard and as writers we tend to struggle with doubt. Sometimes too, we don’t always get the support we need to follow our passion, or we have added challenges that make writing more difficult. Because people are sharing their stories this week about how they worked through these challenges to keep writing, I wanted to post about it too. Here's my story!

I wrote the first draft of my first novel, Summer of Deception, a romantic suspense, thirty years ago. It was rejected 26 times before I finally landed a contract. Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas released Summer of Deception in May, 2017, and it's spent time on Amazon's 100 Best Sellers List for Women's Religious Fiction. Earlier, I've written a 9-part blog series on "My Long Journey to a Book Contract - Five Vital Steps"  Click here to start Part 1

However, here are the Five Vital Steps in brief. I know you will love me for giving them here! To get much more detail and craft information check out the series in my archives. Maybe what was holding my contract up is holding yours.

Step 1) NEVER GIVE UP! Check out Philippians 1:6 and be confident God will complete a good work in you.

Step 2) Keep Honing Your Craft -with every rejection I learned something. I     studied plotting, deep POV, and Goals, Motivation and Conflict, and                      most important, how to show/not tell. Study craft books and writer blogs.

Step 3) Attend Writing Conferences. Join a writing group and look for critique                      partners. Good critique partners are a blessing.

Step 4) Help Other Writers. Four years ago I helped found the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers and have served as president. This great group has been instrumental in helping my writing craft and perseverance keep moving forward. I enjoy helping other writers on their way. Sowing good seed helping others, brings needed help to you. That's a Bible principle. Here's a link to our S.C. ACFW Chapter's latest blog by Edie Melson, our VP:  Check out the top list of pages for more info. We meet the 4th Saturdays at 2:00 PM in Anderson, SC. Oct. 28 our speaker is a law officer who will share investigative procedures and weapons info for writers.

Step 5) Learn How to Submit to Agents and Editors - How critical it is to READ and FOLLOW Guidelines posted on their sites! 

Do you have a story to share, or some advice for others? You can join Becca and Angela at Writers Helping Writers from October 25-27th, where we are celebrating writers and their stories of perseverance. Stop in, and tell them about a challenge or struggle your faced, or if you like, write a post on your own blog and share it using the hashtag #writerspersevere.  Let’s fill social media with your strength and let other writers know that it’s okay to question and have doubts but we shouldn’t let that stop us.

There’s a prize vault filled with items that can give your writing career a boost at
I would love for one of you to win something that will help you get closer to your goal!
The giveaway is only from October 25-27th, so enter asap. And don’t forget to share this using the #writerspersevere hashtag so more prizes will be awarded!

So glad you stopped by. Do leave a comment and share this post on your social media by clicking on the small icons

Elva Cobb Martin
Elva Cobb Martin is president of the South Carolina Chapter of American Christian Fiction Writers (2014-2017). She is a former school teacher and a graduate of Anderson University and Erskine College. She has two inspirational novels contracted with Lighthouse Publishers of the Carolinas. Summer of Deception, a contemporary romantic suspense, and an historical romance, In a Pirate’s Debt. Both are spending time on Amazon’s 100 Best Sellers List for Women’s Religious Fiction. Decision, Charisma, and Home Life have carried Elva's articles. Jim Hart of Hartline Literary represents her. She and her husband Dwayne are semi-retired ministers. A mother and grandmother, Elva lives in Anderson, South Carolina. Connect with her on her web site, her blog, on Twitter; Facebook;  and Pinterest
Link to my romance novels and non-fiction works on Amazon: