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A Study in Desperation...?

Following on from my post re saturation I have been giving some thought as to why people, when creating their own pastiche works, sometimes go out of their way to change the formula. You only have to look at the Canon itself to see that this is (usually) a bad idea.

Don't mess with the formula just for the sake of it

Conan Doyle only deviated from his own basic formula four times. In The Blanched Soldier and The Lion's Mane we have stories narrated by Holmes due to Watson's absence from events. In His Last Bow and The Mazarin Stone we have third-party narration which, in the case of the latter, stemmed from the fact that it was based on a stage play in which Watson barely featured and hence could not be the narrator (at least not in the sense that he witnessed events).

All of these deviations by Doyle take place towards the end of the series where he was even more lax than usual in the care and attention he took with what were now, to him, pure and simple money-spinners. It is generally agreed that the stories not narrated by Watson are poorer to those "penned" by the good doctor.

In view of this I do wonder why some pastiche writers seem convinced that they can succeed where Doyle failed. The four stories mentioned above are not regarded as lesser because of their plots but more because of the change from the formula. People take comfort in the familiar and trusted and you mess with their comfort at your peril.

I have reached the conclusion (perhaps incorrectly) that this desire stems not from a desire to succeed where Doyle failed but from a desire to be different and thus stand out. However you are more likely to stand out through failure than success.

I think true success would be to follow the formula and manage to stand out.....



For more information on Arthur Conan Doyle and his time at Undershaw please refer to my book, An Entirely New Country which is available through all good bookstores including Amazon USA, Amazon UK, Classic Specialities, and in all electronic formats including iTunes, Kobo, Nook and Kindle .

The Norwood Author is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Waterstones UK, Amazon UK,  Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon Kindle, iBooks for the iPad/iPhone, Kobo Books, Nook.

Close to Holmes is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Amazon USABarnes and NobleAmazon UKWaterstones UKAmazon KindleKoboNook  and iBooks for the iPad/iPhone.

Eliminate the Impossible is available from all good bookstores, in many formats worldwide including Amazon USA, Barnes and Noble, Amazon UK, Waterstones UK, Amazon Kindle, Kobo, Nook and iBooks for the iPad/iPhone.

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