When Lilacs Last Bloomed on the Lake

lilac storm

Storm on Lake Ontario, copyright Philip Clift

When Lilacs Last Bloomed on the Lake JW2

This is the revised part one of the first of the Lilac Grove Mysteries With Histories.  The referred quote by Walt Whitman is:


Comments and suggestions are much appreciated.



3 thoughts on “When Lilacs Last Bloomed on the Lake”

  1. Hey, Jeanne, happy birthday! I got a chance to look at this one this morning. It looks great so far, but I don’t really know how useful my advice can be with something like this. It looks like it’s shaping up to be a cozy, which is not a genre I know much about. But I’ll give you a thought I had and you can decide if it’s worth using or not once you have more of your story.

    It has become traditional to have a prologue that flash forwards to some particularly dramatic moment to create suspense. Assuming you are creating Kindle books, roughly the first 10% of the book will come up as a sample. So once you have a first draft and a general idea of the length of the thing, you may want to tinker some with the structure to make a prologue that drops the reader in the middle of the action before introducing the characters and set-up.

    Example: Donna Tartt’s The Goldfinch. In chronological order, the first thing that happens is the terror attack on the museum. However, she actually opens with a flash forward to many years later, when our hero is on the run in Amsterdam. So there’s a double layer of suspense to keep the reader going…

    But I’m a bit at sea with small town cozy mysteries so I’m not sure how appropriate this advice is for you. My guess from this sample that you’d have a similar audience to The Cat Who or Sneaky Pie series readers? Basically I think you have to figure out who are the biggest names in the category you’re writing and then see how they are constructing their books?

    One thing that might be fun for you is that some cozies these days sometimes include recipes. Like before each of the four parts of the book, you could have a recipe. Just for fun. Like for part one, you could have the recipe for the green “lizard” drink you mention. Darker mysteries usually just have some ominous little quotation or aphorism…

    Anyway, those are my rambling thoughts. Feel free to laugh if you think they’re silly. I think once you have an entire draft, maybe the thing to do would be print out the pages and look at it as a physical object and figure out where scenes can be moved around to create more movement.

    1. After sleeping on it, I think you are absolutely right. I’ve begun writing the prologue to Lilacs and think I may have come up with a hook prologue for Tara.

      Thanks a lot.

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