Fried at Five on Friday

. . . otherwise known as being overcome by overwhelming circumstances.  People (demanding parents and partners, hellish colleagues and bosses, “well-meaning” friends) and/or events (jobs, caregiving, chores, commitments, expectations) can take their toll.  There are off days, challenging ones, frustrating ones, go-away! ones.  <LOL>  Par for the course.  It’s call l-i-f-e.

Being overwhelmed [overcome] does not mean:

♠ jumping up and down and ripping your hair out at the roots (this does not make for a very pretty fashion statement)

♠ hitting your head against a concrete wall (it hurts!)

♠ sucking back Canadian maple donuts (though they do hit that sweet spot so nicely) or treat(s) of choice

♠ chugging chardonnay (relaxes/numbs for a while but, ooooooh, the aftermath)

♠ screaming, cursing, swearing (though that does feel <bleeping> great)

♠ giving up (quitting or refusing to do something is okay for a day or two, but not the long run).

How about something more constructive?

♥ refocusing (tell yourself you got what it takes—you’re your own favorite—resilient—warrior)

♥ maintaining the faith (re-finding/redefining it, whatever faith may mean to you)

♥ believing in hope, dreams, and possibilities

♥ dancing / singing / listening to music

♥ exercising / walking / biking . . . swimming / surfing

♥watching fun (amusing) shows or inspirational programs

♥ reading something light/funny (comics work)

♥ breathing deeply—a lot!

No one said every day would be easy—and some may find many aren’t—but, again, that’s l-i-f-e.  But those type of days don’t have to be [that] overwhelming.  Face them straight on.  Laugh at them.  Do not let them take control.  You . . . are . . . a . . . trooper . . .  a . . . fighter.

You . . . got . . . this!

Primo Promo

As you’ve noticed, there have been a few promotional posts about books being avail for 99 cents.  A great, appealing price indeed.

But is it so great to [constantly] promote?  It can’t hurt.  If you’re not with a publisher who sets the promo dates, that’s okay.  Do it on your own.

Why would you do it?  To . . .

♦  launch your new book (this will generate interest and spark sales)  ♦  increase sales (dropping the price of your book for a wee while can boost numbers and this looks good on you)  ♦  entice book “sales” shoppers (lots of folks love the bargain price tag of 99 cents).

There are free sites to promote your book, but you’ll pay fees for others (some are quite affordable).  I won’t list them here but suggest you Google when you’re ready.  This way you’ll find the most current sites.

It’s recommended that before you do any sort of promoting you have some good reviews on your side.  That makes sense.  Potential buyers might be more inclined to purchase your book if others have provided accolades.

Have a good synopsis (blurb) handy—you’ll need it for the promotion.  Make sure there are no typos, which goes without saying.

Let’s see.  Ah yes.  Make certain your book is live . . . available.  Ensure that retailers have the same price and promo dates (we don’t want to create any confusion now, do we?).

And it goes without saying . . . promote the <bleep> out of your, uh, promotion.  Tell friends, family, neighbors.  Communicate the great news—stupendous price—on social media and via writing/author communities (everywhere and anywhere you can think of).

Happy promoting (and selling)!

So, Ya Wanna E-Publish?

Hey, it’s Rey posting today.  A former client gave me the idea of tackling e-publishing.  Given a lot of people Linda, JJ and I know have signed up with e-publishers, it seemed a great idea to “chat” a bit about them.

From what I’ve researched, they say it can be a bit more difficult finding one of these as opposed to a traditional one (I’d have thought the opposite, but what do I know, he-he).  Why?  Because different e-publishers have different approaches.

All right, you’ve written your book and now you want to get it out there.  Bravo!  But who do you go with?  You should start by checking out books (genres) like yours and see who’s handling them.  Research the companies so you know who you’re dealing with, what they’re about, and what they’re looking for, and expect from you.

Other important questions to consider:

♦  What are their contracts like?  ♦    What are their formatting requirements?  ♦   Is there a print-on-demand option?  ♦     Will they design your book cover?  ♦     Who’s responsible for editing?  ♦     Where are they selling?  ♦     Who are their retail partners?  ♦     Will they help promote you?

There’s a lot (!) to know—and understand—before you sign up.

Don’t forget to check their standing.  Are there any complaints or “writer beware” statements and grievances?  Look closely and carefully.  Sure, it’ll take time and effort—but you put that into your book, didn’t you?  Make the best (wisest) choice.

Create a list of those e-publishers that look promising—are right for you and your book—and start submitting.  Another way to get a feel for who’s who: join on-line writing communities.  Get input from them.  Check, check, check.  Ask, ask, ask.  Make a list and start submitting.

E-publishers are more willing to take a chance on new writers, even if their books don’t necessarily fall within a traditional category/genre.  So, if you’ve just written a sci-fi-fantasy romance, hey, you may stand a good chance of being snapped up.

Being e-published offers the opportunity of developing a fanbase—whether you’re doing it on your own behalf and/or have your e-publisher’s assistance (chances are it’ll be on you to do, but never say never, as Cousin Jilly likes to say).  So, once you’ve got a book you’re your name is on it, recognize that that can lead to something exciting—with the right approach(es).

Sure, there are downsides to e-publishing, as with pretty much anything out there, but there’s no need to state them here; you’ll learn about them as you’re researching [the right] e-publishers to contact.

As private eyes, the three of us have ascertained (my new word) that the more thoroughly you investigate, the more you have a handle on how to resolve an issue or learn the reality of a situation.  Like a P.I., follow clues and examine evidence to solve your baffling case: which e-publisher would serve you best?

Doncha love short and sweet?

Stay in Touch!

As writers and bloggers, it’s imperative to stay in touch—to acquire followers, visitors, friends.  Sure, there’s a sense of satisfaction in writing for oneself—the process, the completion—but [personally] I’d like to know that people are reviewing what I’m writing and posting.  As such, social media is our best friend . . . most of the time.  <he-he>

First and foremost, social media puts our stuff out there in the “real” world.  Folks can read it, comment on it, like it.  The one problem?  There are so many platforms!  I myself can barely keep up with the basics—the oldies but goodies—like Facebook and Twitter.  I’m particularly fond of Facebook because not only do I have my personal page, I have an author page.  I belong to several writing communities, which help me network and “advertise” my books (as well as encourage and back fellow writers and bloggers). 

There’s an amazing amount of support out there.  Other useful platforms include YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Goodreads, Pinterest, and Tumblr.  (We’re talking “free advertising” as opposed to paying someone to advertise and network for us.)  Each one will have pros and cons; you determine which will work best for you and begin building that audience and driving traffic.

Brand yourself.  Tell the social media world who you are, what makes you different, why they should read/follow you.  Garner interest.  Having a presence is really rather necessary in this day and age, and social media platforms can serve as great promotional tools.  And the more of an audience (followers) you develop, the better you look to potential agents and publishers; they love numbers (but, then, so do we).  

Part of the presence is your integrity.  Ensure your work is typo-free and follows grammar and punctuation basics—depending on what you’re writing, of course (perhaps you’re into poetry or more eclectic stuff).  Be sincere and non-critical, unless you’re a reviewer but, even then, you want to offer constructive criticism. 

Give thought to your About page, your bio . . . you.  Be honest.  Be creative, funny, intriguing—whatever you believe reflects who you are and what you’re about.  Do keep it short and sweet, though; you want to maintain (pique) interest, not lose it.

Be consistent, too.  If you decide to engage several platforms, ensure the content is similar across the board: remember your brand, your identity.  You want it to be uniform, to reflect who and what you are.  And speaking of consistency, make sure you use those platforms regularly—remember “integrity”.  Consistency = constancy.  Ensure your audience can depend on you to be there regularly.

Something else to consider: how about streaming live?  If it fits your purpose (and personality), go for it. 

Final food for thought: your post/article or story/book may be completed.  But that’s not “the end”.  Well, it could be.  You could simply leave it and hope people find it and read it.  And maybe writing isn’t about sales for you (though, to be perfectly frank, I’d love to make some serious $$$ from my writing), but chances are you want to be read and recognized.  So, being a blogger/author doesn’t stop there; it means being a promoter and networker, and collaborator too.  We wear many hats . . . and that can prove challenging . . . but it can also be fun.

Can We All Get Along?

I always liked Rodney King’s question.  It’s as simple as the answer should be: yes.  It’s also a simple lead into a simple post . . . about manners, kindness, respect.

“Can we all get along” comes to mind whenever something disturbing flashes on the screen.  But it also popped into my head when something trifling transpired recently.

We bloggers regularly receive spam comments.  Par for the course.  Most are innocuous, a few are annoying, and the odd one can be outright rude or nasty.  I got one the other day that read something like this (I’m sorry I trashed it, to be honest, because I’d like to have featured it):

I thought I’d check out your site for some informative posts but found them of no value-add and boring.  What a waste of my time.

A watered-down version, but you get the idea.  Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion.  I didn’t really let it bother me . . . well, kind of . . . maybe a little.  It did prompt me to consider how ill-mannered or impolite—and hurtful—people can be.  Everyone sports different levels of sensitivity and self-worth, and a comment like that could prove depressing, if not devastating, to someone.

Does being rude or hateful provide some strange thrill?  Stoke the ego?  Fuel a need to be spiteful because it’s been a bad day, week, life?  Offer constructive criticism, not destructive.  Or, even better, as the maxim goes, if you have nothing good to say, don’t say it.

Sure, we all have bad days and there are times we experience a need to be vengeful/vindictive because we feel we’ve been wronged.  When there is a pressing need to right that wrong, do it the right way, in a positive way: be encouraging.  And if you feel you’re lacking in the positivity department these days, tuck into an article, course, or vid for a recap.  There are countless ones to be found.

We should never forget about maintaining good manners, providing kindness, and displaying respect but, particularly during these trying (worrying) times, maybe we should make an extra effort.  Kindness goes so much farther than callousness.

Let’s all [endeavor to] get along.  Life’s short—show a little love.

Perhaps Al and Annie express it best . . .

The Definitive Detective

Given the Triple Threat Investigation gals reviewed various mystery genres, I thought it might be a good “The End” to the series if we simply reconsidered what makes for a good detective/sleuth.

When you set out to write your first mystery, you may wonder which components would help your protagonist resonate with readers.  You’ve decided on your genre . . . right?  And how you’ll approach it . . . yes?

The main elements of your mystery: the crime(s), the victim(s), the search for clues that reveal who the culprit is, the tension and friction as said search progresses and intensifies . . . and the ta-da! moment that unveils the perp and shares the details (such as the why).

Now, what about your detective?  How will you define her (I’m going with “she” for this post).  Will she be witty, eccentric, stand-up-comedian funny, logical, philosophical, giddily happy . . . glum, frosty, la-di-da highbrow, cool, arrogant?  You probably wouldn’t want to go with a negative main character for most genres, though she could have one or two less likable traits (as we all do in real life).  Think of it this way: readers enjoy the thrill of accompanying a detective during the clue-searching quest, so make sure they want to spend that time with your detective.

Consider your favorite sleuths.  Why do you like them?  What traits are appealing?  Why do you keep reading mysteries that feature him or her?  There’s obviously a draw.  List details (attributes, peculiarities/habits, features, and so forth), as well the pros and the cons.

Think about these components in terms of the detective you’re creating.  What would you like to see in yours?  Make sure you include a couple of failings, too, because no one is perfect.  What about speech/narration (is there an accent, does she use certain favorite expressions)?  Does she have a traumatic past, a painful memory, or harrowing experience(s)?  Was she born with a silver spoon in her mouth?

Don’t forget to build a visual image.  Is this detective tall, short, blubbery, slim, attractive?  Any scars?  Where (and from what)?  What about eye color, and lip and face shapes?  Is the body/physique toned or fleshy?  Is she a lover of salsa dancing?  A coin collector (numismatic)?  A chess player?

And what about the other characters?  How will yours react to them in various situations?  What will she feel/believe about them?  Does she have certain values and beliefs that may have her respond in a certain manner?

Chances are you won’t use all the details of your character sketch, but you may, particularly if you write a series.  (I build my sketches as I actually write the first draft, but that’s me and that may not work for you).

Your detective should seem real to readers, so give her everything you’ve got—make her come alive!  Make her dance across the pages!

Tucking the Thrill into a Thriller

Hey—yay—it’s Rey again.  Linda accepted an invitation to go surfing on Maui for a few days, so I’m taking over the last genre/sub-genre review post: the thriller.

Thrillers are popular page-turners—and, like mysteries, provide a lot of curving trails, and curveballs.  The POV can come from different characters, like the protagonist or even the villain.  They can be written in different styles and be dark or droll.  Types of thrillers: mystery, psychological, crime, romantic, action, political, military, legal, and even supernatural, paranormal and sci-fi, to name a few.

Okay, so we know there are various types, but what is a thriller?  In a nutshell, it’s a story that’s full of action, moves quickly, has friction and conflict and tension, contains suspense and sudden, surprising turns and kinks.  Scenes push the plot forward and place readers on that proverbial exciting but tense roller-coaster ride.  You know something else?  It may not necessarily revolve around the protagonist solving a crime but him or her preventing one from happening.  Or readers learn the nasty, ugly secret (crime, mystery, event, action) right off.  Sweet twists, huh?

It goes without saying that you need a strong protagonist, as well as robust characters, and a believably bad villain . . . or, maybe not (depends on your storyline and what the villain is all about).  Bring those characters to life.  Make certain you include some [important] history, likes and dislikes and idiosyncrasies; what makes these folks tick?  Consider what’s at stake—for all characters.  What motivates them?  Why would they pursue one specific action/response over another?  What’s in it for them?

Throw in a few monkey wrenches.  Don’t make anything overly easy for your main character(s).  Let them vigorously track solutions and ways out.  Conflict, tension and friction are vital—you want those unsettling twists and turns, but not so many (or so minor) that you muddy the storyline or have readers scratching their heads and going “huh?”.

Settings and backgrounds, missions/quests, must be detailed enough that readers can visualize them.  In fact, every component should be crisp and clear; again, you want to avoid any head-scratching (but, then, this holds for any book/genre you decide to write).  And part of this is pacing—keep it swift and uncluttered with unnecessary information.

Research, too.  Get a feel for events that would work in a thriller (espionage comes to mind) and use them, fictionalize them.  With thrillers, there’s that extra layer of excitement (events and actions) that goes beyond simply following clues to corner that crafty culprit.

WP111thrillerClipartdotEmailGrab readers from the get-go.  Start with a sinister or shocking—riveting—act.  Add action regularly, but don’t just shove it in there for the sake of it.  Make sure it makes sense, that it moves the plot along, and that it isn’t so fantastic or abundant that it becomes a bit of a bore.  And don’t forget to insert some suspense; hint at upcoming threats and risks.  Create anxiety.  This builds on that layer of excitement, which urges readers to keep—you got it—reading!

Add questions along the way—through narration or dialogue—so readers are as curious as the main character(s) and yearn to learn the answers.

Lastly, make that ending dynamic and convincing; it’s a crucial moment in your book.  It shouldn’t be limp or expected (and, if it were, your readers likely gave up reading long before they reached this pivotal point).  This is where can tie all your loose ends together or, if you’re planning a sequel, leave some things open to the imagination . . . and the sale of your follow-up book.

Putting Suspense in Suspense

It’s JJ providing the next-to-last post re reviewing mystery sub-genres and related genres.  Suspense seemed a primo one to add to the list.  You can’t really have a good, riveting mystery novel if you don’t have suspense.  And, of course, you can’t have a spellbinding suspense novel if you don’t have thrills and chills either.  Suspense creates anticipation, tension, excitement—components that keep your readers roused and reading.

Suspense, as a genre, is related to the mystery and thriller, but the main difference: how much suspense you create for your readers.  Are you playing with their emotions [enough]?  Making them feel anxious, thrilled, enthused, eager to learn what’s going to transpire?

Generally speaking, a suspense novel makes readers aware of things that your protagonist isn’t.  Additionally, the crime and/or challenge occur almost immediately.  And points-of-view aren’t necessarily limited to just the protagonist; the perpetrator’s may be provided as well.

The unknown elements, the sought-after answers help create suspense—who committed the despicable crime, why was it perpetrated, what will go down when the perp or an associate reveals the truth, when will the protagonist know he’s about to plunge over the cliff.  But you’ll also want to infuse some edginess in the characters, dialogue/narration, scenes and action to draw readers into the conundrum.

Try something like:

  • A shrill, ear-stinging sound emanated from the top of the dilapidated dwelling.
  • Apprehensive, Henrietta hastily scanned the shadowy laneway, hoping to catch sight of the long-limbed, one-eyed robber.
  • “It couldn’t have been Tom—he was with Libby in the Seaside Bar last night,” Larry explained nervously, scratching his heavily scarred cheek with calloused fingers.  “I’m sure I saw them laughing over martinis around eight.”
  • Detective Mauer glanced up from the mangled body just as the heavy metal door clanged shut and thrust him into darkness.
  • The killer peered around the decaying fence and scanned the vacant shack; had that irritating jackass of a lieutenant discovered the gym bag with the evidence?

In mysteries—as with suspense—the protagonist is usually searching for a killer or culprit . . . that mysterious entity who won’t be revealed until the right, exciting moment.  By not disclosing a vital identity too readily in the story, you’re keeping readers guessing.  This can hold true of the protagonist, too.  You don’t have to, all at once, give up a lot of information about his or her personal and professional background, what makes him/her tick, or what might make him/her react and respond (and not necessarily in a positive way).  Think of it like building a LEGO® house—add one interlocking brick at a time.

Also remember: every character—no matter if major or minor—has a quest, purpose, and/or motive.  How big a part he/she plays in the storyline determines how much information you [need to] provide.

Do make sure readers care about main character(s) or feel some empathy.  This way they’ll get caught up in the suspense as hazards and threats present themselves; they’ll want your character(s) to overcome the dangers, resolve the issues, trump the challenges.

Instead of:

  • Theo turned from the crime scene upon hearing something and saw a tall man slip into the darkness.  Was he the murderer?

Try something like:

  • Hearing a harsh scraping sound, Theo whirled from the bloody crime scene and saw a heavyset tall man, sporting an old-world fedora, slip into the darkness of an alleyway.  Where had he recently seen that same hat?  And what about the man?  Was he responsible for this vile deed?  Theo drew a deep breath, quashing outrage as he considered how Jackson Marlboro must have suffered at the hands of his maniacal killer.

Dialogue/narration can also help keep readers guessing.  If it’s first-person, you’re restricted to expressing what the protagonist sees, senses, and undergoes; if it’s third-person, you have a wider range, but you may want to limit what is revealed by describing only what the character of the moment—or page/scene—is undergoing.  Give a little, but not a lot.  Dangle clues, tuck in a red herring or two, and offer tidbits like the proverbial carrot: think of them like the pieces of a puzzle.  And offer questions within the dialogue to give readers “food for thought”.

Instead of:

  • Jerry looked at the dog.  “Yeah, he seems like a nice fella,” Jerry said, looking at the dog that Roger was petting.

Try something like:

  • Jerry eyed the ash-gray poodle curiously.  “Yeah, he’s well-behaved.  I wonder who he belongs to and why he’s out here in the middle of nowhere?”
  • With a pensive brow, Roger peered thoughtfully at the pooch he was petting, as if hoping he might offer an answer.

Instead of:

  • Maria entered the dim bar, her gun tucked inside her coat.  She looked around and noticed five people at the bar and six seated at various tables around the bar.  They all looked like they wanted to be elsewhere.

Try something like:

  • Maria concealed the Luger and strolled into the dim waterfront bar.  A middle-aged bartender was keeping a watchful eye on the five glassy-eyed people seated at the curved, scratched bar.  Six others were seated at various tables near the dingy windows.  All appeared as if they wished to be elsewhere—lounging in lottery-won mansions maybe.

Scenes and actions should advance the storyline, so don’t add “filler” for the sake of padding the story.  And always bear in mind: show, don’t tell.  If you add description and details, make them interesting, not instructive; otherwise, all we’re reading is “she blah, blah, blah, blah”.

Instead of:

  • John walked into the forest to see what he could find regarding the killer.

Try something like:

  • Determinedly, John plunged into the dense, shadowed forest to ascertain if the conniving killer had wended his way through in an effort to throw off any followers.

WP11clipartDOTemailIn a suspense story, you want the same components as a mystery: a grim event or crime (that motivates your protagonist to take action), conflict, friction and tension (prompting readers to want to discover what happens and how the character deals with the situation), pacing (smooth and swift action and narration so as not to provoke yawns), misleading clues (those twists and turns that keep readers—and the protagonist—guessing), and ambiance (setting and feeling/mood).

Give thought to what readers may want (or not want) in terms of the plot and characters.  Give them a sample.  Yank it back.  Give another.  Jerk it around.  Just for the record: you don’t need a lot of violence to make it “suspenseful”.  Hint at it.  Build on it.  Allow readers to anticipate and visualize it.

There’s much say about suspense novels and what makes them work/successful but, hopefully, I’ve provided enough to get you started.

Longing for a Literary Mystery?

Hey, it’s Rey today.  To be honest, literary mysteries aren’t quite my, as Lindy-Loo would say, cup of tea.  They can be a bit too cerebral (thanks for that word goes to Cousin Jilly).  But you know?  I enjoy a challenge, so posting about them seemed like a sweet task to take on.

Let’s take a quick look at literary fiction first.  It tends to be more character-driven and doesn’t generally have the fast-moving plots of genre fiction.  Literary books move at a different pace, a slower one maybe, but can be equally exciting.  Events and exploits take place, just maybe not in the form of a hatchet slamming into someone’s head . . . uh . . . a sleuth sprinting after an assassin.  Good literary fiction not only has a plot and theme but tends to be deep(er) because it explores ideas, thoughts, and actions.  Literary authors are likely to be word whizzes and will paint intricate pictures through powerful prose. Some people might say this makes for a slow(er) book, but I think it’s all part of that perspective thing.

One other thing about literary fiction: it really doesn’t have rules.  You don’t have to stick to formulas, like that of mystery and its sub-genres.  The sky’s the limit; feel free to write what you wish.  Just keep the reader riveted.

So maybe you’re longing to write a literary mystery?  Did you know the first literary mysteries date back to the 1840s, courtesy of Edgar Allan Poe and his amateur detective, Le Chevalier C. Auguste Dupin?  By getting into the minds of his villains, Poe offered readers something new and fresh.  So did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who featured the ever-skillful Sherlock Holmes and his sidekick, er, friend, Dr. Watson in novels and short stories between 1887 and 1927.  The innovative “science of psychology” made its successful debut.

Generally, all mysteries: revolve around a crime and the efforts to solve it, investigate how said crime occurred, and attempt to solve it and find out who did it.

The literary mystery is no different, but what distinguishes it from the conventional one?

As in literary fiction, readers will find more character development and complexities; characterization tends to be more thorough and comprehensive.  Readers may get into the characters’ heads, which could be dark, scary places.  Relationships, dialogue and narration can be intense.

Narration is solid if not sophisticated (food-for-thought-and-not-naught).  The plot is more detailed and can incorporate social, philosophical, or abstract concepts, among others.  You’re getting more bang for your buck—there’s more than the mystery that’s afoot (OMG, I do believe I’m on a post roll, he-he).

The thrill of a whodunit is important, of course, but so is what happening around that search for truth and resolution.

From my research and what I learned from my P.I. associates, it’s also been suggested that literary mysteries may refer to books and/or that they use elements of literature to add a turn of the screw or three to the viewpoint(s), voice/tone, and setting(s).  I won’t argue; I’m just putting this out there.  Do with it what you will, my friends.

Nothing Hysterical about Historical Mysteries

It’s JJ today, reviewing historical mysteries.  I don’t have the opportunity to read them anymore, but there was a time I truly enjoyed them.  Besides old masters Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie, a couple of much-loved favorites from long ago (almost historical in itself) are Anne Perry and Ellis Peters.

If you’re considering writing one, pick a period you’d like your mystery to be set in and get to know it well, because you’ll need to include descriptions and details related to that era.  Research should become your new best friend.

Don’t simply plunk history—events, equipment, tools, fashion, politics, concepts—here and there.  Consider which elements are central to the tale and use them accordingly.  The historical information should be accurate and make sense for the storyline and setting.  Then ensure there is a balance between plot/story and those historical components (too much history might prompt a yawn).

If you choose a real city to set your story in, learn all you can about it.  What was popular at that time?  Who was popular at that time?  What did people eat and do for entertainment?  How were the roads?  What were the modes of transportation?  Who ran the city?  Enable readers to see the story; create a clear, convincing picture of a bygone period.  While true events may not play an integral part in your mystery, they might have caught the interest of, or affected, a character or two.  No one, regardless of the century, is oblivious to what is happening around him or her.  If a member of royalty is assassinated, surely that would have had lips flapping?  As such, maybe it’s worth mentioning in some respect, if only in passing.

Don’t forget language.  In the days of yore, people spoke differently.  Now, you may not want to plug in a score of “thou art” and “prithee” but do stir in some past-century flavor to boost mood and feeling.  And give thought to who’s speaking; an officer of the court or law would speak differently than a lord or lady of the times.  Remember: education, like equality, was not granted to all.

Men and women played distinct roles within society and had certain traditions and morals to follow.  Women wore rather constricting clothing and men with money sported the fashion of the time.  Having a swashbuckling heroine would work for a historic romance, but maybe not so much for a historical mystery.  Still, it is fiction—artistic license and all that—so if you think you can pull it off, given the crime(s) and storyline, give it a go.  Do remember, though, readers know their stuff.  Don’t be surprised if you’re called out on something.

And while on the topic of men and women, just who is your main character, your protagonist and “sleuth”?  Develop him (or her) thoroughly, based upon the period you’ve chosen for your mystery.

Last but not least, don’t forget crucial components for mysteries: police/detective work and forensics.  They’d not have used DNA or fingerprints in the 17th century to solve a murder or abduction or robbery.  Learn how crimes were processed.  You don’t have to provide a history lesson—too many details can prove as detrimental as incorrect facts—but do allow “glimpses” how legal folks went about collecting evidence . . . if they even did.

There’s a lot to share about historical mysteries, but I believe—hope—I’ve provided enough to get you started.  The rest will fall into place (trial and error, and all that).  Enjoy the time-travel trip.

May ye fare well.