This week we heard the sad news that one of the world’s favorite character actors, Andy Griffith passed away. It surprised me how many people mourned the passing of this man and made me think of the setting we most remember him in, Mayberry, North Carolina. Writer’s of cozy mysteries can look at Mayberry and see so many elements of hominess, quirky characters and family values that are infused into our own stories. Whenever I’m writing about my fictional town of Pecan Bayou, Texas, I find myself imagining a Floyd the barber, or Howard, or Goober. Mayberry is a world that no one really lives in but that we all love to visit. We love to imagine sitting on the porch on a pleasant evening and playing guitar after a good meal of fried chicken and apple pie.
As writers, we can create our own versions of this world, carefully placing all the elements that make a reader feel at home. In our creative writing prompt this week, I want you to create your own Mayberry. It doesn’t need to be in North Carolina; it doesn’t even need to be in the United States. Just make it where you would envision a quiet, peaceful, lovely place to live.
1. What is the name of your town? Where is it located? How big is it?
2. What is your town famous for? (watermelons, Washington slept here, biggest population of mosquitoes in one place)
3. Put five characters in your town. Here are some ideas:
mayor, pastor, grocer, teacher, policeman, a child, a senior citizen, a dog or cat, a barber named Floyd
4. Write a short paragraph about an unsolved mystery in your town. It can be a murder or something simple like whatever ever happened to Mrs. William’s cat?
5. Create an opening scene that gives you the essence of your town in the same way Andy and Opey did as they walked down the road to go fishing.
Photo submitted by diggerdanno at Morgue File