Tag Archives: #canon

MacBird, Bonnie. Art in the Blood. London: Harper Collins, 2015*

Dude....the characters....

Dude….the characters….

Gateway drug: a  habit-forming drug that, while not in itself addictive, may lead to the use of other, addictive, drugs.”**

Every Sherlockian remembers their first time. The first glimmer of fascination–the curiosity–the first few pages and then the moment. The rush. The binge. The constant need for more. More Sherlock Holmes.

We all know the feeling.

We all know the feeling.  (from Imgur)

My own Sherlockian “gateway drug” was pastiche–most particularly Edward Hanna’s the Whitechapel Horror and Lyndsay Faye’s Dust and Shadow,  making me especially interested in the ability of well-written Sherlockian fiction to serve, not just as a “fix” for established addicts, but as an introduction to the Canon all its own. In order to accomplish this, I believe a pastiche (we’re just going to use this word in a very general sense) must have all of the following qualities to some degree:

  • It must be well-written.
  • It must be true to the Canon (and if it’s true to widely accepted apocrypha, such as Baring-Gould’s biography, so much the better).
  • Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson need to be recognizable as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson.
  • It must be as accessible to the novice as it is to the long-time Sherlockian.

And, finally:

  • It must leave the reader wanting more.

Not every pastiche fits these criteria. As much as I love Simmons’ The Fifth Heart and Newman’s Moriarty: The Hound of the D’Urbervilles, I don’t know that I would recommend them to someone who wants to read about Sherlock Holmes for the first time, but is wary of the Canon because it’s “old.” (This happens, particularly with young people).  While both are gorgeously written, the first is not extremely canonical, while the second is like one big Easter egg basket. I’m sure you can think of other books which wouldn’t make the list…

LIKE THIS ONE

            LIKE THIS ONE!

Bonnie MacBird’s Art in the Blood, on the other hand, fills the bill perfectly.

It’s late November, 1888, and as cold and dreary inside 221B as it is outside…at least, until the fire. Not a cozy fire in the hearth, but an actual fire which, but for the intervention of firemen, could have burned 221 Baker Street to the ground.  Not that Sherlock Holmes particularly cares.  When Watson (who is now married, but was summoned by his former landlady) finds him, he is laying on the settee,

His hair awry, his face ashen with lack of sleep and sustenance, he looked, quite frankly, at death’s door. He lay shivering on the couch, clothed in a shabby purple dressing gown. An old red blanket tangled around his feet and with a quick movement, he yanked it up to cover his face.

Watson learns from Mrs. Hudson that Holmes has been this way ever since he was briefly put in jail for tampering with evidence in the Ripper case–something which shocks the doctor. He could not help his friend then, but he tries to do so now, and resolves to treat him as a patient and to sit with him until he can get him out of the dark and miserable place his much-vaunted brain has become. As Dr. Watson tells us:

I have been loath to write in detail about Holmes’s artistic nature, lest it reveal a vulnerability in him that could place him in danger. It is well known that in exchange for visionary powers, artists often suffer with extreme sensitivity and violent changeability of temperament. A philosophical crisis, or simply the boredom, of inactivity could send Holmes spinning into a paralysed gloom from which I could not retrieve him****

His ministrations are not nearly as effective as the arrival of a good case, however. Although Holmes has refused a request from Mycroft to look into something regarding “E/P,” he jumps at the chance to help a beautiful French chanteuse find her son. Ten year-old Emil does not know that Mlle. la Victoire is his mother; as far as he is concerned, he is the son of the Earl of Pellingham and his wife, daughter of an American industrialist. He is only half-right. Having lost her own child as an infant, Lady Pellingham agreed to raise Emil as her own; his mother has only been allowed to see him once a year, at Christmas, and even then under the guise of being a family friend. This year, however, she tells Holmes, she received a letter telling her that, not only will she never be allowed to see her son again, but that her life will be in danger if she disobeys–a threat underlined by a physical attack a few days later. Mycroft’s case of international art theft (with diplomatic complications) has nothing on this damsel in distress and her endangered child. Fortunately for the British Government, they turn out to be linked…and linked in such a way as to hide a dark and unimaginable conspiracy. Watson is a master at making the most wicked villains (Baron Gruner, Sarah Cushing, James Moriarty) and twisted plots (“The Adventure of the Speckled Band,” “The Hound of the Baskervilles”) suitable for a general audience. In this case, which the author (editor?) found hidden in a collection of papers in the Wellcome Library, he tries his best, but one can’t help but think that the reason it never saw publication had not so much to do with the nobility of the participants as it did the horrific nature of the crime.

Honorine Platzer, Lautrec's

Honorine Platzer, Lautrec’s “Woman in Gloves.” Author Bonnie MacBird believes she may have been the actual Mademoiselle La Victoire.

So–does Art in the Blood work as a “gateway” pastiche? Let’s evaluate….

Art in the Blood  is exceptionally well-written. I must admit to having a weakness for prose that does all kinds of artsy things and/or features Ponderous Moral Observations. I particularly love being punched in the gut by Deep Thoughts on Human Nature. Art in the Blood is not really that kind of book, which is one of its great strengths. After all, as much as Holmes accused him of romanticizing everything, Watson actually tended to stick to the facts of his cases, rather than musing too much on the psychological makeups of villains, victims, or detectives. He focuses on the crime, the clues, and the solution–the excitement of the thing for he is, after all, a man of action. Art in the Bloodwhile it may occasionally hint at the emotional lives of its characters, is very much a mystery and an adventure, told in a highly visual, cinematic fashion. It’s very easy to imagine this story translated to a large or small screen, and I think this quality will make it appealing to a large audience.

As for the book’s original characters–these are both generally necessary in a pastiche–and potential disasters.  However much an author loves Sherlock Holmes and (or) Dr. Watson, the temptation to either pay too much attention to one’s own character, or even to live through him or her, is a strong one. Ms. MacBird brings in several major original characters, all of whom are well-drawn, but only one is a real scene-stealer. Still, the grandson of the famous Vidocq is so amusingly full of himself that it’s easy to forgive him, and to allow him his Big Moment when it finally comes.

What about its Canonicity?  While I have gradually become less of a stickler over the past five years, many Sherlockians don’t appreciate much departure from the Doylean world and, honestly, when you’re trying to introduce your friend, partner, or child (in the case of this book, a “child” being no younger than thirteen) to Sherlock Holmes, it’s natural to want to use stories which don’t involve the Great Detective in space, or a robot Watson. I am happy to report, therefore, that Art in the Blood is quite canonical.  I couldn’t find any real issues with its relationship to 221B.  Mary does go on an extended visit to see her mother, and we know from The Sign of Four that her mother was actually dead…but as her own husband claims such a visit in “The Five Orange Pips,” it becomes strangely all the more accurate for its Watsonian nature. As for the other details, Art in the Blood  is meticulously researched. People and places are where the book says they are, when it says they are, and if the reader wants to know more (as you should), there is a list of annotations and research notes online at http://www.macbird.com/aitb/notes/. At the same time, the narrative doesn’t get bogged down with period details, always a danger with historical accounts. There is a teeny bit of “as you know” explication when Sherlock tells Watson about his relatives, the Vernets, but one gets the impression that life with Sherlock Holmes was probably filled with such moments.

“Am I boring you, Watson?”

An unreliable Watson and a pedantic Sherlock Holmes?  You can probably infer from that that I believe that Ms. MacBird keeps our heroes in character, and yes–she does. While connoisseurs of the Watson voice may not hear him, precisely, the author does a creditable job of…um, transcribing his work. She also refers to their well-known foibles in creative ways–without just using quotes from the Canon.  Therefore, we know that Watson is still a ladies’ man, not because anyone mentions “three continents,” but because he both claims to the reader that he has never seen shapely legs displayed in a cancan…but really hopes that will change. His humorous asides and sensitivities (such as his hurt when Holmes puts Mlle. la Victoire up in his old room) remind me a little bit of Nigel Bruce–in a good way–but he’s consistently the brave, loyal, intelligent physician who’s been missing the excitement of his former life. Holmes is the man of logic and determination, working hard to keep the lid on those “hidden fires” of his own past and current affections. Some may find his obvious–but never blatant attraction to Mlle. la Victoire anti-canonical, but really, it isn’t. Depending on how one reads The Sign of the Four, Holmes may well have been attracted to Mary Morstan before Watson made his own feelings obvious. Their client is every bit as clever (possibly more so) than the much-admired Irene Adler, and her method of both attracting Holmes’ attention and making sure he’s as good as everyone says impresses him. Holmes’ concern for children, as evidenced in his work with the Baker Street Irregulars and his concern for the young Lord Saltire in “The Adventure of the Priory School,” shines through in this book, particularly in one touching instance involving Beeton’s Christmas Annual. While not everyone enjoys glimpses into Holmes’ psyche, some of us do, and Ms. MacBird deftly supplies both sorts of reader, by providing small hints about the Great Detective’s past, while never going much further than that.

No Freud in this one.

No Freud in this one.

Often when reading pastiche, I get the feeling that I’m reading a story written by a Sherlockian for a Sherlockian.  We have our own lingo, our own inside jokes, our knowledge of obscure Canonical disputes, a long list of quotes–and we enjoy trotting them out for each other. This is all fine, of course (see what I did there? Huh? Huh?), but when it comes to making new convert…er, introducing people to the canonical Sherlock Holmes, stories featuring buckets of acronyms, Easter egg references to the third episode of the Ronald Howard series, and quotes from Gillette’s play are probably not the best way to go about it. If you want your best friend to win the Mycroft one day, you have to start with books which make our heroes both real–and accessible. I guarantee you that your friends and family will be able to read Art in the Blood without texting you questions–and they will find it compelling and suspenseful enough to be honest when you ask them if they’ve read it. When they next venture into the Canon–which they may well do–they will find the heroes they just met (although you may have to explain the whole Victorian flashback thing). And they’ll wonder about all of those cases in Watson’s dispatch box, because, well, they need more.

Ms. MacBird leaves Holmes and Watson in a good place (this isn’t a spoiler, as we know they live long past 1888. Long past.) but, while there is no hint of a new hitherto-unknown case in the offing, that door isn’t particularly closed, either.  The book begins with a bored Sherlock Holmes, but ends with a bored Watson?

Well, in Baker Street, there’s only one sure cure for boredom….

Put that gun away!

Put that gun away!

Art in the Blood is currently available in all formats in the United Kingdom, and will be released in the United States on October 6, 2015. It is available for pre-order. Otto Penzler is also offering a very limited edition (of a canonical 60 books only) featuring original illustrations, annotations, a foreword by Leslie Klinger, and deluxe paper and binding with marbled endpapers. it is a little pricey, but would make a wonderful special occasion gift for your favorite Sherlockian. See http://www.mysteriousbookshop.com/products/bonnie-macbird-art-in-the-blood-limited-edition for more details.

 Emmy-award winning writer and producer Bonnie MacBird worked as a feature film development executive for Universal and has written for both stage and screen, including the screenplay for TRON (hence the marked visual quality of her writing in Art in the Blood).  A talented painter, she also teaches a course on screenwriter and is in demand as a speaker. She is on both FaceBook and Twitter, and you can learn more about her and her work at her website, www.macbird.com.

Star Rating: 5 out of 5–“This is a wonderful book that gets it right.”

Canon Rating: 5 out of 5–“Watson? Is that you?”

Footnotes:  

*This review is taken from an ARC (advanced reading copy) from Harper Collins, London. It will also have a U.S. edition.

**Google definition

***Just in case you were wondering, Watson tells us that “…my friend threw considerable light on the case, something that proved most unwelcome among certain individuals at the highest levels of government.”–and then proceeds to say that all of this has to remain secret.  It will turn up in “the history books,” he writes.  Well, Watson, it hasn’t, and we know you’re still out there, so it’s time to tell us what you know!

****This theory linking genius and insanity has been around for awhile, and during Watson’s time was put forth by Cesare Lombroso, in The Man of Genius. While this book first appeared in 1889, a year after the events in Art in the Blood take place, Lombroso had published articles on the subject throughout this period as well. He was also responsible for the concept of “atavism,” or  “throwbacks,” which is mentioned in The Hound of the Baskervilles and “The Adventure of the Greek Interpreter,” so we know that both Holmes and Watson were acquainted with his work.

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Filed under BonnieMacBird, Canon Works, Characters, Introductory Pastiche, Pastiche

Reading the Canon Online

"You realize this doesn't happen in the books, don't you, Holmes?"

“You realize this doesn’t happen in the books, don’t you, Holmes?”

Books are wonderful things. They can teach us, inspire us, make us happy, sad, or very, very…aggravated. They take us to places we could never travel in real life, either because we lack the means–or because they do not actually exist. Books are a bridge to the countless people who have gone before us–and our own connection to the descendants we can only imagine. Through print, we reach out with ideas, stories, emotions, in hopes that, with the reader as our collaborator, we can create something meaningful.  Yes, books are wonderful things.

But dang, can they be expensive!

Face it, most of us can’t just stop and buy a book just because we need or wish to read it. Landlords frown at that sort of devil-may-care spending. Nor can we count on our local library to have the book we want when we want it.* Fortunately, however, many beneficent folks around the internet realize this, and have digitized hundreds of works no longer bound by copyright. So if you’ve been prevented from reading the original Sherlock Holmes stories and novels, here’s where you can find them online:

Stories:

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes–http://www.gutenberg.org/files/1661/1661-h/1661-h.htm

The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes–http://www.gutenberg.org/files/834/834-h/834-h.htm

The Return of Sherlock Holmes–http://www.gutenberg.org/files/108/108-h/1tm08-h.htm

His Last Bow–sherlock-holm.es/stories/pdf/a4/1-sided/lstb.pdf

The Case Book of Sherlock Holmes--http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks/c00012.html

Novels:

A Study in Scarlet–http://www.gutenberg.org/files/244/244-h/244-h.htm

The Sign of [the] Four–http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2097

The Hound of the Baskervilles–http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/2852

The Valley of Fear–http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/3289

If you notice, all but one of these links is from Project Gutenberg, and if you notice further, Project Gutenberg has a “Donate” button; if you have the means and feel so inclined, I’m sure they would be appreciative.

Howard Marion Crawford and Ronald Howard

I knew I should have brought a book….

Footnotes:

*Or we may have fines. Lots and lots of fines. Thanks, son.

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Filed under Administrative, Canon Works, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Observations: Using Canon in Your Fiction

Ok. That's the last time we let Violet make the book club pick.

Ok. That’s the last time we let Violet make the book club pick.

 

By Way of Explanation….

If you’re a reader, this has happened to you.

 You’ve bought a book with a terrific cover, possibly by your favorite author; you go to the library and check out a novel  your best friend swears is the greatest thing she’s ever read; a person in your writing group passes out the latest chapter in her saga…

 And you don’t like it.

 “But why?” asks your critique partner, your friend, or your credit card. “What was wrong?” So you think hard, try to puzzle it through, but the best you can come up with is: “I dunno, really. Guess it just wasn’t for me.”

 Most of the time, that’s probably good enough. Your friend knows you’re picky, your writing group is spared a tearburst, and your credit card company really doesn’t care as long as you pay some interest. But if you’re a writer who really wants to know what works and what doesn’t–or, say, a reviewer who has to justify that star-rating, there has to be more. When you’re both, well….

Over the past few years, I’ve read a lot of Sherlock Holmes-related books, pastiche, and unpublished fan fiction. I’ve learned to analyze it, so that I can explain precisely (I hope) what each writer does that either appeals to, or discourages, her audience. Sometimes this is easy to see; sometimes it’s a challenge.  Once I began this blog, I got the chance to find out what others look for in a good, non-Doyle story, and I try to incorporate this knowledge into my reviews; after all, it’s not about what I like, necessarily, but what the Sherlockian world wants to read. During the year I’ve been blogging, it came to my attention that there are common ways Sherlockian authors writing for the commercial market either succeed or fail, and I began to wonder if these observations might not be worth sharing. So here they are. Take them for what they’re worth.  You may agree, you may disagree–you may have something to add. Whichever camp you fall into–but particularly the last two–I would love to hear from you in the comments.

Please note: All examples of stories, errors, misbehavior, etc., are completely fictional, unless otherwise specified. Also, please do not call others out in a negative way in your comments.

 

Part One: Canon

 

Let’s get this one out of the way first, shall we?

If you write pastiche and/or fanfiction, let me just say right now that I admire you. I love writing fiction; there’s nothing better than creating a world, filling it with characters and setting them upon each other, preferably with poison, but sometimes a .22-calibre…

Oh. Where was I?  Yes–the bravery of the pasticheur.  See, if I write a story, I control it. There are parameters, of course, depending on the genre, but the characters are mine, and they can speak and act as I choose. All the reader knows about them is what I tell (ok, show–it’s “show, don’t tell”) them. Even in a series, I can make some changes, as long as I justify them adequately. Pastiche writers of any type don’t have that freedom. They’re taking on characters and worlds which have existed for decades, if not centuries, and which many of their readers know intimately. There are restrictions. There are guidelines. There is Canon.

Every time I type that word....

Every time I type that word….

As I’ve learned through talking to people and reading comments, Sherlockians vary in their devotion to canon. Some want stories to hew so closely to Conan Doyle that they refuse to read anything outside of those 60 stories.  Others want their pastiche to be true pastiche–to sound exactly like Watson. Others take what Conan Doyle himself told William Gillette to heart: “You may marry him, murder him, or do anything you like to him.” If Holmes is out there on Mars, bedding vampire women as he takes over a female Moriarty’s empire and cries over Oprah-bot reruns while eating donuts by the case and patting his pet rabbit, John, they don’t care, as long as they like the story. When we’re talking a commercial audience, however, it’s probably safe to assume that most of your potential readers are looking for a Holmes and Watson that they recognize.

Many Sherlockians, however, want even more. They want you to get the details right. They really do want the complete 1895 experience. They’ve read the stories a hundred times (or more), and they are quite concerned with trifles. It’s all very well to sputter at this, as some writers do, and point out that Sherlock Holmes is a fictional character, some of the stories have plot holes a foot deep, and, besides, Doyle himself is on record as not caring about continuity.

I hate to be the one to inform you, but–guess what? None of that matters.

You see, Holmes, Watson, Mrs. Hudson, Lestrade, and everyone else who tromps through those pages have achieved something that most characters never do: at some point, they left the two-dimensional world of print and became real. Vincent Starrett was right when he wrote, “Only the things the heart believes are true.” Thousands of hearts believed in 221B very quickly. They still do. If they woke up in Holmes’ world tomorrow (and some are doubtless disappointed when they do not), they would know their way about. Like it or not, if you want to write a Sherlock Holmes book, these are the people you are courting, so it’s important to take their needs and preferences into account.

What does this mean to you as a writer? Research, basically. Lots and lots of research. We’ll deal more with the whole accuracy thing in another section, but basically, to write about Sherlock Holmes successfully, you need to know the canon.  Does this mean you need to be able to quote it, book, chapter, and verse?  No, not at all, but by the time you type “The End,” you may be able to win your  scion society’s quiz contest. You just need to have a copy of the the canon and the willingness to do the work. It will, at times, prove tedious, and involve checking and re-checking. You may need to change some of your plot points to accommodate established fact. Watson doesn’t give many concrete dates, for example, but when he does, it’s best not to have Holmes away in Greece when he’s supposed to be wrestling Moriarty in Switzerland. And don’t kid yourself that “no one will know.”  Because, dear writer, they will, and while most people are willing to dismiss the occasional contradiction, too many will hurt your credibility, and your next book may not be as well-received. The temptation always exists to go where your story takes you, ignoring the particulars, but keep in mind, you’re writing about a man who once quoted Thomas Carlyle: “Genius is the infinite capacity for taking pains.”*

You’ll find, of course, that, with Watson being the type to accurately catalog the details of a woman’s dress, but not remember exactly what month it is, it can be hard to ferret out the information you need. Then there is the troublesome fact that Sherlockians in general are people who like to prove how much like their hero they are, leading them to produce heaps of articles and chronologies and debates on every imaginable and improbable aspect of Doyle’s work. It is impossible to take everyone’s canonical hobby horse into account when you’re writing. Even now, someone is pounding out an impassioned essay in which they prove, once and for all, that Sherlock Holmes was behind the theft of the Blue Carbuncle. Your best bet is to invest in a good copy of the canon–with annotations, if you can afford it–and pick a chronology that makes sense to you. Many people are familiar with, and have access to, William Baring-Gould’s, but there are others which are also well-researched and respected. Once these are on your desk, treat them as if they were divinely inspired, and refer to them often. It’s as simple as that.**

Sherlockians engaging in a genteel discussion over the Oxford/Cambridge question.

Sherlockians engaging in a genteel discussion over the Oxford/Cambridge question.

 

What about AU (Alternate Universe), you ask? That’s an excellent question, and one that I struggle with as a reviewer. One might argue that once you decide to change Holmes’ world to that extent, canon no longer matters. My husband thinks that. So do many others; there’s no doubt that AU gives a writer plenty of room to play. Chances are excellent, too, that the readers who will be attracted to an AU story are not going to be Watson-voice Canon-sticklers.  But just trying to puzzle it through, it seems to me that the closer you are to Doyle’s world, the closer you should probably hew to canon. The audience for a Victorian/Edwardian Holmes is going to expect you to have some canon references, and that those will be accurate. They’ll expect a reasonably canonical timeline, and that you recognize major events, such as  Mary Morstan, Reichenbach, and The Great Hiatus.  If, however, you’re writing about, say, a present-day Holmes and Watson, people will be very happy with characters whose personalities they recognize and will give you lots of leeway with plot. Even then, the more canon “Easter Eggs” you put in, and the more ingeniously you manipulate established story lines, the better off you’ll be; witness the passion inspired by BBC Sherlock, and compare it to the Sherlockian world’s more tepid response to Elementary.***

If you’re going to write an AU story, though, I have two words for you: prefatory note. Just warn people. If you tell your readers up front that you plan to shamelessly manipulate canon (or ignore it) for your own purposes, then you won’t lose them the second you make Holmes a non-smoker.  Seriously. If your readers expect canon (and most do, initially), every instance which violates those expectations pulls them  further from your story, until some fling your book against the wall and others vow never to read you again. A simply warning of your intentions will filter out those who would not like your book anyway and appease the majority, who will be willing to play along, as long as they understand what you’re doing. A prefatory note can, in fact, be what takes your readers from thinking you a canonical dunce to believing you a creative genius.

"Well, yes, Patty, but the author already said this takes place in the 1940s, so of course Holmes' dressing gown would have contrast stitching."

“Well, yes, Patty, but the author already said this takes place in the 1940s, so of course Holmes’ dressing gown would have contrast stitching.”

 

All this being said, however, I have seen some very able writers try something else: “vaguing.” Their Holmes and Watson inhabit what is obviously the canonical world. They ride in hansoms, have curried fowl, go to see Sarasate, etc., but there are no direct references to specific events, stories, or dates. There is no way I can do a fact-check and devote a review paragraph to how Mycroft could not possibly have appeared in this story, as the author has specifically set it to predate “The Greek Interpreter,” and since he and Watson are playing chess and eating cake together, Watson cannot be surprised when, five years later, he learns Mycroft exists, unless he’s had far too much brandy between times. As a reviewer, I appreciate the cleverness of someone who can weave their own novel into canon without any loose threads showing. However, I also have no problem with the “vague” approach. If you’re the kind of writer who is not exceptionally detail-oriented, who has a wonderful plot and wants to focus on your puzzle or emotional revelation without having to watch your canonical back, then “vaguing” is for you.

Finally, a caution. No matter how careful you are, someone is going to take issue with your canonicity. It is ineluctable.  How do you respond? Graciously, my dear. First, check your facts. They could be wrong. I don’t know how many times I have substituted Granada for canon, for example, sometimes in an embarrassingly public manner.  On occasion there are varying interpretations, and it can be fun to explore these with your readers. Sometimes, however, the reader will be correct, and you’ve blundered. Relax. It happens. Hopefully the person pointed it out nicely, but even if they didn’t, it’s ok. Tell them how much you appreciate their comment–you don’t know how you could have missed that, and will correct it, etc., etc. Stay polite, even if you have to grit your teeth to do it. Whatever you do, do not fight with this person, or make disparaging comments about him to others–particularly online. Trash him with your spouse or your best friend if you must, but that’s it. Believe me when I say that if you behave unpleasantly online, you will damage your professional reputation. The writing world has a very long memory, and nothing attracts attention and page views like an online meltdown.† After you’ve responded appropriately in public, and spent a few days emoting in private, your next step is to LET IT GO. A canonical error is no reflection on your worth as a person, your potential as a writer, or your love of Sherlock Holmes. Everyone else is not thinking about it anymore; they’ve moved on, and so should you.  As a reviewer, I can promise you that even when I point out a canonical error–as is my job, frankly–I still think well of the writer and, usually, of the story. I know it’s hard to get everything right.  I want every author to do well, to write more, and to be happy. Please believe that most people out there think the same.

Well!  That’s “Canon.” Stay-tuned for its close cousin, “Research,” up next post, and in the meantime, let me know what you think.

 

 

Footnotes:

*So, let’s be really picky. What Carlyle actually said–far less pithily– was, “‘Genius’ (which means transcendent capacity of taking trouble, first of all)….”  in his History of Frederick the Great.

** I’d put a winking smiley face emoticon here, but this is a professional blog. 😉

***Not a value judgment, either way. But I assume you want to inspire the type of devotion that fuels a thousand Tumblrs.

†Ok, so this bit of advice was actually inspired by several actual events in the romance-writing community.  But it’s also very standard.

 

 

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Filed under AU (Alternative Universe), Holmes-related ficiton, Pastiche, Writing