HomeWritersLiterary AgentsEditorsPublishersResourcesDiscussion
Forum Login | Join the discussion
+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 2 of 2
  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2013

    Need Help With Sherlock Holmes Adaptation

    Hey all!

    I am currently working on a novel based on the Sherlock Holmes canon. The basic premise is the following: After Sherlock and Moriarty have their fateful confrontation in the Reichenbeich Falls ("The Final Problem"), a depressed Dr. John Watson returns back to England. On his return, he is brought in for questioning in the disappearance of Moriarty, who (in a slight change from the canon of the short stories), is still a well-respected academic in London, and is not yet known by law enforcement for the evil deeds he is responsible for.

    To make a long story short, while Watson is in custody, he learns that he has suffered from both Paranoid Schizophrenia and Multiple Personality Disorder since his war injury during the Afghan campaign. Sherlock Holmes was an invention of his subconscious mind in order to cope with his PTSD, depression and idleness during his recovery. The mysteries he solved as a consulting detective to Scotland Yard and his various other clients did actually occur, but those parties believed Watson to be Holmes (Watson's written chronicles of Holmes' adventures had previously been written off as Holmes' attempts to sensationalize his own exploits).

    The doctors and authorities believe that Watson / Holmes' antagonism with Moriarty was simply another paranoid delusion which led Watson's other personality to stalk and murder him out of fear. When this happened, the Sherlock personality "died" with Moriarty.

    However, it soon becomes apparent that Moriarty did not actually die. In fact, he returns back to England with a plan that threatens to collapse the entire British empire. With "Holmes" out of the way, there is nobody who is able to outsmart him. Therefore, Watson is asked to try and "resurrect" Holmes in order to put a stop to Moriarty... a task which may be impossible to perform.

    As you can see, I have a pretty good idea where I want the plot to go as far as the characters are concerned. My problem is the details of Moriarty's plot, and developing the clues that will eventually lead to solving the case. I am a very character-based author, but as I am new to the mystery genre I would definitely appreciate some pointers as to how to develop that portion of the story.
    Last edited by TheNomad89; 10-22-2013 at 10:40 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2012
    Dallas, TX
    That's an intriguing premise. You'll need to be careful not to stray too far from the published canon, since that would distract from the "reality" of Watson's delusion.

    It's not clear from your description why the authorities would ask Watson to try to resurrect Holmes to stop Moriarty, if they believe that Moriarty is in fact innocent. Wouldn't this be more of a situation where, once Moriarty reappears on the scene, Watson realizes (through some careless word or event, or a snippet in the papers) what Moriarty's true plans are, and he feels compelled to stop him. The authorities, of course, would try to toss Watson back into Bedlam, since clearly his mental disorder has reemerged, so Watson will have to evade them while struggling to bring Holmes back to the fore.

    I'm not sure how useful any generic advice on writing mysteries would be. A successful mystery leverages the characters, the environment, and the background to weave the story, with seemingly innocuous events appearing early on becoming very important later. Presumably in this case, the mystery is not who the guilty party is (since that's apparently Moriarty) but what is he up to? I generally work backwards from the big aha! moment that occurs in the second-to-last chapter, and identify the specific events, observations, pieces of dialog, and so forth that hint at the climax without giving everything away. It takes a subtle and devious mind to display the pieces of the puzzle, while holding back the one piece that brings it all together. Figure that piece out, and you'll have the skeleton of your tale. Good luck!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts