Cozy Mystery Writing Basics

Victims, villains, sleuths, suspects, clues, and red herrings. Today mystery writer Cynthia Surrisi brings us an introduction to crafting a cozy mystery.

Join us to learn how to imagine a unique crime and an ironic ending. 

She’ll cover:
*the three essential qualities of a well-crafted mystery
*plotting vs pantsing when it comes to mystery writing
*the elements of a cozy mystery
*templates for mystery writing
*some things to look out for if you plan to write a mystery for children
*from learning about the crime to sniffing out suspects, learn all about your sleuth, their path, and what makes them special and likable
*how to use the backstory to send the sleuth (and the reader) after a red herring
*choosing your suspects and villains
*pacing the discovery of whodunit
*motives, victims, and more!

This is a jam-packed class, perfect for anyone who’s intimidated (but interested!) in writing a mystery novel, or any writer who might be writing one but is stuck figuring out how to put it all together.


Cynthia writes as C. M. Surrisi. She has a BFA and a JD, as well as an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in writing for children and young adults. Her third Quinnie Boyd mystery, A Side of Sabotage, was a 2019 finalist for the Agatha Award.

Along with her husband and two dogs she lives in St. Paul, MN. She is represented by Kelly Dyksterhouse of Raven Quill Literary. She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, SCBWI, Women’s National Book Association, National League of American Pen Women, and the Author’s Guild. She is also a contributor to the new How To Write a Mystery by Mystery Writers of America.

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Course Includes

  • 2 Lessons