Hi All,

I'm gathering information for a presentation about hobby-oriented cozy mysteries. I have information and some questions posted at Killer Hobbies (Friday's post):

I would so appreciate any input/opinions/perspectives you might have about hobby-oriented cozy mysteries. What you like about them? Don't like? Experiences writing? Room for improvements? Marketing/packaging issues? You can email me offline (keslilley@yahoo.com), or post here, or at Killer Hobbies, or on my Crimespace page. Whew! So many options! Thanks so much! Best, Kathryn

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One of my writer-models is a screenwriter named Rockne S. O'Bannon. At the start of any project, he writes a mission statement. He lines out the producer's objectives. He sets his parameters; sheer escapism, entertainment and social commentary, real life choices, and so forth. He identifies his audience.

If our goal in writing is to entertain and interest a specific niche, we'll write a different book than we would if we're writing about what we believe about Real Life. If we are skillful and honest, we may choose to do either. It's a matter of purpose to the work, of who we want to buy our work.

When it comes to hobby cozies, we serve our audience best if we can write with knowledge and affection for the hobby (and don't write about what we really dislike - it will show).

And in doing that job, we serve our own interests best if we keep from getting the story so involuted that no 'outsider' can enjoy it.
On the serial killing barber, there is one - Douglas Lindsay's Barney Thompson - definitely not a cosy! I really don't care for hobby cosies at all. It may be because I don't have a hobby :o) I also don't like recipes. There you are, just getting to the bit where the killer has lured the heroine down into the basement with a well timed phone call, you can hear the killer down there sharpening his knives and suddenly you get a recipe for baked beans on toast.

I love shoes, but wouldn't want to read a book where the focus is on them rather than the crime. Even cosies about shoes make me come out in hives. I read crime fiction because I enjoy crime fiction - if I wanted to read a book about knitting or stamp collecting or aardvaark rearing I would read one. It's one thing having your character have an interest in something but when it takes over it's just annoying. To me, I hasten to add.
Barney Thompson, you say? I was thinking of SWEENEY TODD, THE DEMON BARBER OF FLEET STREET. True crime, Sondheim, big time, etc.
Oh, thanks for that laugh. You write great funny stuff. I love that image of the killer sharpening his knives in the basement while the heroine is planning baked beans on toast -- an effort which will surely take her down to the basement where she stocks her canned goods.
You're right. That's the wrong place fo a recipe for beans on toast! BUT I would add that when the hobby is used to give you insight into the character's worldview, how she/he sees the world, it becomes a metaphor that runs throughout and makes the character three-dimensional. Everyone has to have some passion, some lens through which reality is filtered, and a hobby can be that lens if (like anything else) it's done well.


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