New Words And Old

Writing Difficult Topics

My internet ramble started with reading an article on the Writer’s Digest site: Writing Cozies With An Edge. Harper Kincaid writes about incorporating unusual or difficult subjects into a cozy.

One of her main characters is “a neurodivergent nun.” Eh? Where’s my dictionary? I couldn’t find it in a quick check with M-W, but they define neurodiversity as individual differences in brain functioning regarded as normal variations within the human population. Variations like ADHD, OCD, or Autism.

Her nun has some level of ADHD and her cousin in this story is an undiagnosed autistic. Agatha Christie had this one, too: remember Hercule Poirot’s personal fussiness and how he was always straightening things? He was definitely OCD.

Kincaid mentions other difficulties the MC may deal with: loss of vision or mobility, ethnicity or foreign origins – Hercule Poirot again – or age, like Miss Marple. Her thought is to work the topic in lightly and deal with it compassionately. “No subject is taboo if you have empathy.”

The Ragtag Daily Prompt yesterday was FRACTAL, another word that sent me to the dictionary. I did best with M-W’s definition for juniors. Fractal is an irregular shape that looks the same at any scale on which it is examined.

Fractal Image: Gordon Johnson — Pixabay

Today’s RDP word is CONSEQUENCES. An old and familiar word packed with deep meaning. Aren’t most stories built on people meeting the consequences of their actions, for better or for worse?

We’re inclined to expect wrong actions will receive just consequences, even if we hope to dodge them ourselves. (We always have noble reasons, right?) Scammers try hard to escape detection, but I suspect if someone would drain their bank account, they’d soon cry foul. Shoplifters would likely be furious if someone came to their house and raided their purse or carted off their precious things.

Cozy mystery readers expect the baddie to lose, they want challenging clues so they can help figure out whodunit, and they prefer low levels of angst. Murder and mayhem, but no horror or gory details. They like a neat wrap-up: the bad guy gets caught; the good guy wins the girl; the female sleuth impresses the handsome detective. So much the better if he falls for her even if she’s bipolar, an amputee, over the hill, or damaged by a trauma in her past?

On the other hand, I’ve noticed that the male main character – the love interest – is always smart, incredibly handsome, and physically fit. Hunks only need apply for this role. 😉

5 thoughts on “New Words And Old

  1. I guess I’m not a ‘cozy’ mystery reader. I cheer when the baddie gets away with it! I prefer it when the hero is more chunky than hunky, a bit like me! I like it when my little great cells turn black. I like fairy stories too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No, you wouldn’t enjoy cozies if the bad guy should get away with it — but there’s the difference between fiction and reality. In fiction the book could end on that note. In reality crooks rarely stop at one crime.
      I’d like it too, if the leading man wasn’t Mr Perfect — again favouring realistic — but I’ve seldom seen it in any genre.
      I feel like my little grey cells are slowing turning black for various reasons. Oh well… 😉 Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      Liked by 1 person

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