Writing the Cozy Mystery: Writing What You Don’t Know: My Good Choice

Write what you know.

I write to get away from the boredom of my life. There’s no incentive for me to write about a woman with three cats who spends her time writing mystery novels, knitting afghans for charity, and feeding stray cats and kittens at her back door.

I suppose a series could be made from them. The first would be entitled, The Dirty Deed: Death in a Litter Box, the second, A Size 11 Needle through the Heart, and the third, Who’s that Lying in my Backyard with his Face in the Water Bowl?

Maybe I would read books with those titles, but I don’t want to write them.

So I looked for something that I wanted to know more about. On impulse, I chose a glass museum for my setting. There’s one just two blocks from my home and I had an idea for a hilarious (I hope) final scene, which you will hear about when I write it. Immediately, I became a volunteer there. This wasn’t an entirely new subject for me, my friend, Chip Turner, is a glass blower. Go to the link below and you can see a picture of him. I knew nothing about glass history, however.

As a volunteer at the West Virginia Museum of American Glass (link below), I put little numbers on glass acquisitions. As I sit in the quiet of the large rooms, I keep a notebook next to me and jot down what people say, the sounds and other minutiae of the setting, and any plot ideas that occur to me.

This has proven to be a good choice of subject matter. The new knowledge is coming to me easily and on a level that will help me to help my readers. Because my character is also a new volunteer, I can keep her rather ignorant and make her learning process reflect mine….

My next decision, however, landed me in difficulties.




About thebooksonmyshelf

Welcome to my blog. There's always a revolution going on in my home -- between art, writing, thinking, and three boy cats, there's rarely a moment without something hopping. I have lived in three major cities and now am in a small wonderful rural town. The proud author of the world's longest first-draft cowboy novel, I am now plowing into the realm of the cozy mystery. Come along and see how my journey through the woods of inexperience turns out.
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2 Responses to Writing the Cozy Mystery: Writing What You Don’t Know: My Good Choice

  1. Leanne says:

    I’ve written about this too! I feel exactly the same – I think it should be “write what you want to know”. If you don’t know about something you can always find out, and if you’re really interested in it you’ll have much more fun writing it.

    • Thank you for your comment. In my next post, you’ll see how I now see that I made a good and a bad decision in working on subjects that I don’t know. I think comparing them could be helpful to other writeres. It’s great that you have writing blog, too. I’m going to go see what I can learn!

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