Prewriting a Historical Mystery

As I’ve reimagined my cozy, I realized that I just wasn’t loving it. I didn’t much care about my POV character. The community was a little too like my own and I was having troubles making it quirky. Nothing seemed genuine.

So I decided to shake things up by revisioning it. Now it is both a cozy and historical. This means that I’ve got twice as much prewriting work to accomplish.

Among the things I have to do are:

Research Aerospace

My character doesn’t work in the aerospace industry but her husband does. The backdrop to the whole book is the moon landing in 1969. This means that I have to know what was going on and how people were reacting to it. I’m still in the early stages in this part of the research.

Research Cultural History

Food and music, movies and clothes. I need to nail all of the little details so that my setting and story feel reel. I’ve been doing some research but still have a long way to go. What I’ve done so far has been a lot of fun!

Create a Town Map

A newly developed suburban area in the 1960s is going to look a lot different from the suburbs today. I need to create a town map. Fortunately, my church celebrated its 75th anniversary last weekend. As I was taking someone on a tour through the building, I spotted a huge map right there on the way. I need to get back and take some photos. Fortunately, the person in charge of displays is a friend. This map will be a great reference tool.

Pinpoint Victim One and Victim Two

That’s what I need to do for the history and, as you can surely tell, I still have quite a way to go. But that’s okay. Because I’ve made progress on the mystery. I know who the first murder victim is and I know why he was killed. I know who murdered him and I know who the second victim is. That murder actually fails which is going to make solving the crime more difficult. Was it attempted murder or the accident it seemed to be?

Red Herrings

Because I know who my various suspects are, I have a good idea what the red herrings are going to be. After all, the red herrings are what lead my detective to look into these various people.


This is something I’m just starting to play with and I want to do some reading on how to effectively foreshadow. I don’t want to be heavy handed, but I don’t want my readers to miss it either!

No Really. Make that Map

As my character gets to know her community and investigates the crimes, she will be navigating a suburban city. I want it to feel real which means that I need to make that map already.

But all of this will be worthwhile as it helps me create a realistic setting for a story that could take at no other time. I’m really having fun with this!