Nancy's Notes From Florida

Author Nancy J. Cohen discusses the writing process and life as a Florida resident.

  • Subscribe

  • Newsletter

    Sign up for my Newsletter

    Sign up for my Newsletter and get a FREE Book

  • Hair Brained

    Hair Brained, a Bad Hair Day Mystery by Nancy J. Cohen

    Pre-Order Now

  • Facials Can Be Fatal

    Facials Can Be Fatal

    A Bad Hair Day Mystery

  • Haunted Hair Nights

    Haunted Hair Nights

    Cozy Mystery Novella

  • Writing the Cozy Mystery

    Writing the Cozy Mystery

    Writing Guide

  • Permed to Death

    Permed to Death

    Bad Hair Day Mystery #1

  • Murder by Manicure

    Murder by Manicure Audiobook

    Audiobook

  • Hair Raiser

    Hair Raiser Audiobook

    Audiobook

  • Archives

  • Categories

Setting within a Setting

Posted by Nancy J. Cohen on September 22, 2016

As mystery writers, we are trained to place our sleuths within a distinctive milieu that becomes a character in itself. Whether it’s a small town, a neighborhood in a big city, or a regional locale, this setting imbues our stories with a unique flavor. Then we assign an occupation to our sleuth that further extends this world.

Recently, I realized that for each story, we add another circle. Think of concentric circles each enclosing the other with the sleuth in the center.

Circles

In watching traditional mysteries on TV, I’ve noticed how each show focuses on a narrow group of people, same as we do in a cozy mystery novel. It’s easy when we pick a setting with built-in suspects. Here are some ideas in no particular order:

Bookstore
Craft Emporium, Gift Shop
County Fair, Crafts Fair
Classes—Cooking, Crafts, Dance, Yoga, Acting, Quilting
Charity Organization, Fundraisers
Competition—Art Show, Bake-Off, Sports Tournament
Health Care—Clinic, Doctor’s office, Dentist, Hospital
Food—Catering, Cookie Store, Coffee Shop, Restaurant, Chefs, Winery, Farm
Library
Museum or Historical Site
Theatrical Performance, Circus, Carnival, Concert, Live Stage Show
Holiday Event, Parade, Christmas Sale, Fourth of July Committee
Trade Show
School or College
Sports Team
Party, Wedding, Celebration
Bank, Financial Center, Insurance Agency
Transportation—Car Dealership, Bus Trip, Train, Road Trip
Tour Group
Cruise Ship, Private Charter Yacht
Hotel or Resort
Beauty Care—Salon, Day Spa, Wellness Clinic
Book Club, Knitting Club, Gourmet Club, Bridge Club
Conference or Convention

Anyway, you get the gist. Tell us where you’ve set your latest novel or where you might like to see one take place.

CLICK TO TWEET

 

Save

Save

Advertisements

10 Responses to “Setting within a Setting”

  1. My current series is set on a cattle ranch in Colorado, but it doesn’t take long to realize you have to get your characters to other places when there’s not much more than cows and grass to deal with.

  2. marilynlevinson said

    Hi Nancy,
    Wonderful list of sites for setting cozies. My latest, which my agent will be sending out soon, has many scenes in a library.

  3. Lois Crockett said

    The Tough Luck Lane series is set in a bar by the ocean & The Compound, a quirky Key West-style grouping of bungalows and apartments. My heroine, Stacey Jennifer Longacre, is a drunk wrangler more than a flash bartender. She gets to the bottom of situations and people’s secrets with her Tough Luck attitude and desire to do the next right thing.

  4. The circles were an interesting observation. I have a tendency to place my characters in foreign countries. The list helps to narrow down some of the inner circles for the location.

  5. sherri said

    Reblogged this on Sherri L Hollister and commented:
    I love Nancy Cohen, I’ve followed her for years. Her writing tips are easy, interesting and smart.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: