on Fiction University:
Today’s readers often prefer shorter, “lighter” stories that they can breeze through while commuting to work or waiting for their child to finish a Zoom session with their teacher. But how can we provide what this market wants and still come close to producing something we find satisfying as writers?
I have three goals with my writing, not necessarily in order of importance: (1) to write stories, something I very much enjoy, (2) to make money, and (3) to educate people about psychological topics in a painless and pleasant way. The last has been my life’s calling.
My first mystery series was not light at all. There are moments of humor but the books are psychological suspense stories, with a psychotherapist protagonist. And in each book, I showcased particular psychological disorders and/or societal issues that impact on mental health.
Then I got an idea for a cozy mystery series, and I soon discovered that I actually like writing shorter, lighter cozies.
“But that’s so fluffy,” I thought. I felt I wasn’t being true to my goal of raising consciousness about psychology.
However, now that I’ve written ten cozies in this “new” series, I’ve long since realized that I can address deeper issues even in this lighter medium.
You may not share my particular goal of raising consciousness about certain issues, but your story will resonate louder and longer with readers if it has helped them understand themselves and others better and/or has tapped into their interest in certain topics.
Here are some hints for accomplishing this “light without fluff” result.