Suspense

I’m working on a new cozy mystery right now. For cozies, I write in third person, limited POV. The only things I can share with you are things my protagonist knows. We follow her through the entire book, trying to solve the crime as she stumbles on clues.

But a traditional mystery has been brewing in my head, and I’m starting to make notes and character wheels for it. When I wake up in the morning, scenes for it tease me, tempting me to write it. And this morning, instead of being in Laurel’s head, I woke up in somebody else’s. A mother’s who has two daughters–sixteen and thirteen. And she fits the profile of the type of woman my killer likes to stalk. And suddenly, I feared for her. And then–let’s face it; I’m a writer–I cheered for myself. That was exactly what I’d been struggling with–how to build suspense. And the answer came. By using multiple POVs.

I’d intended to write the book in single POV to get the feel that a Louis Kincaid mystery has. Kincaid goes from person to person, digging for information, hoping to find a killer before he strikes again. And it works. Ticking clocks make us worry. We know he’s not going to reach the next victim in time, and no matter what he does, more and more things go wrong for him, regardless of his best efforts. So I know it’s possible to build suspense without multiple POV. BUT, I also know that shifting from one person’s viewpoint to another’s works really well because the reader can learn things the protagonist can’t. We can see that he’s going in the wrong direction or that he suspects the wrong person or that he’s walking into a trap. Besides, I haven’t written in multiple POV for a while now, so it’s going to be a nice change.

It’s too soon for me to know how many POVs I’m going to use and who the key players will be, but the story’s beginning to gel for me. And it’s going to be fun writing its plot points. It’s going to be even more fun putting my characters in danger. No cozy feeling this time. I want to shake things up a little.

Hope you’re enjoying whatever you’re working on. Happy writing!

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