Tag Archive for: izzywalshmystery

Setting a Perfect Mystery!

 By Lynn McPherson

Summer has finally arrived and I’m here for it. The long, hot days have brought with them a flurry of activity in my yard because I’m getting a pool (hooray!). Watching the big machines and busy workers under the bright sunny skies has reminded me about the importance of setting in a story. Have you thought about the surroundings of each scene in your manuscript? If not, you should. Let’s talk about why.

Mood can make or break a story whether writing a psychological thriller or a cozy mystery. The right atmosphere is needed to bring your reader into a matching mindset. Is it dark or light? Hot or cold? Are your characters sitting in a busy cafe or standing on an isolated ledge? Each factor can contribute to how a reader visualizes the scene before them and is brought into the heart of the story.

Setting can also help establish the character of your protagonist. If your amateur sleuth lives in a small town in a modest house with a friendly pet, it will also evoke a different image than if they are centered in a modern condo in the middle of Manhattan.

Time is another factor the setting should take into account. If it’s 1952, a robin blue kitchen might be the cutting edge but considered a pre-reno nightmare in 1995. And what about the cars being driven or the styles being worn? Subtle clues used to describe when the action takes place helps the reader create a strong mental image. What might you use to make sure you establish accurate details that draw your reader in?

Setting is an important element in writing that we sometimes forget. Make sure you take time to create the world your characters exist in so your readers aren’t left with blank spaces or blurry details.

What are some of your favorite ways to establish setting?

Lynn McPherson has worked for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, ran a small business, and taught English across the globe. She has travelled the world solo where her daring spirit has led her to jump out of airplanes, dive with sharks, and learn she would never master a surfboard. She now channels her lifelong love of adventure and history into her writing, where she is free to go anywhere, anytime. Her cozy series has three books out: The Girls’ Weekend Murder and The Girls Whispered Murder, and The Girls Dressed For Murder.