Reply To: Student: Ellen Gilman Homework Thread

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Kate MacEachern

Inciting incident: Mom’s injury and bad Betsy gives the heroine the reason a spur to leave her big-lawyer job and go home.

Trigger set up: Too much work and the dog she doesn’t want to adopt making her rethink her current lifestyle.

She’s unhappy where she is and thinking about that dog and getting out of high pressure law. I’d say she’s feeling loss of autonomy by being smothered in her current situation if she doesn’t flee it. There’s also a hint of romance once the two are out from under the eyes of the law firm employees. I’m guessing the dog does become part of her life.

Since this is a mystery, I’m assuming the dead body (and possibly threat to her mom’s business or her mom as a suspect) will pull the heroine into the role of crime solver.

I think in cozy mysteries the heroine usually starts in the milieu the book will be about. This is a short opening to get there, but I’m not sure how that matches up with genre expectations, especially if there is an earlier prologue. Another possibility might be to start with the heroine arriving at home/at the store and fill in how she got there perhaps while she’s working to help out.

I like the banter and the relationships we see and the heroine is tugging at my heartstrings.


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