How to Write a Pastiche that Sparkle$!

(See note at the end of the post.)

I’ve read, like, so many Sherlock Holmes pastiches since becoming part of the Baker Street Babes, and I’ve even written some. That’s why I feel like I’m totes ready to tell YOU how to write a pastiche that will sparkle like a vampire in the sunshine and prance like millions of tiny unicorns.


1) Include TONS of historical people. It’s called playing The Game. Who wants to read a pastiche where Holmes interacts in-depth with one historical person or situation? Subtlety is boring. Namecheck at least ten real-life characters, or you don’t deserve to call yourself a pastiche artist.

2) Make it ALL about the romance. It doesn’t really matter which characters you pick. I mean, people picking up a Sherlock Holmes mystery really wish they were reading a Harlequin Romance Novel. Give it to them!


3) Use EVERY trope. Sherlock Holmes smokes a pipe, wears a deerstalker, says “elementary,” and takes drugs for a reason! Talk about these things on every page, so people know without a doubt that they’re reading a real, live, Holmes story!

4) Make it PARANORMAL, baby! I’m not talking about tastefully atmospheric forays into Victorian spiritualism. Remember what we said above? Subtlety is for loooosers! Give us so some werewolves, a clairvoyant robot, and maybe a patronus or two! Make it worth our time.

Rowe Holmes

5) Make sure all the speech is VICTORIAN. People back then didn’t talk like us. They said things like, “tut tut,” and “old boy,” all the time. If you get lazy and start making Holmes and Watson sound like real, actual people, you’ve failed!

If you follow these 5 totes wicked tips, you can’t go wrong as a pastiche writer. Just remember, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle already hates all of us anyway, no reason to stop fueling the afterlife rage.

(Note: In my life, I abide by the adage that a joke once explained is no longer funny; I had also hoped that my ridiculous mode of expressing myself would indicate my broadly comic intentions. Alas, as is often the case on these interwebs, satire cannot be left on its own without engendering unfortunate misunderstandings.

Therefore, let me be clear: This post is a complete joke and not meant to be taken seriously on any level. It is a broad satire poking fun at things pastiche writers do when we’re not at our best. These tips are the opposite of how I would ever write or encourage someone else to write. Furthermore, I put the whole world on notice that if I ever start using “$” for “s,” saying “totes” unironically, or speaking of tiny unicorns in a serious way, you have permission to shoot me on sight.)


(Book 2) The Detective, The Woman and The Winking Tree: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities – and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.

(Book 1) The Detective and the Woman: A Novel of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores and e-bookstores worldwide including in the USA Amazon,Barnes and Noble and Classic Specialities – and in all electronic formats including Amazon Kindle , iTunes(iPad/iPhone) and Kobo.

8 thoughts on “How to Write a Pastiche that Sparkle$!

  1. Well…that is a formula for one kind of a “pastiche”. Strictly speaking, a true Sherlock Holmes pastiche should imitate Doyle’s style. Putting historical people and romance (for Holmes, anyway) into the piece can be fun, but they don’t really reflect Doyle’s style. That does not mean that what you are doing is bad or wrong. Certainly the series’ by Laurie R King and Carole Nelson Douglas fall into this category as well, and I am a fan of both. It may be a lot of fun to read, but the sort of story you are talking about is really (in some ways) more creative than a strict pastiche.

  2. I guess it’s good that you replied to a comment and stated that you were being sarcastic with this post, because I was ready to write you off. Although I own both of your published “The Detective, The Woman, and…” pastiches, and I’ve ordered the third, I haven’t gotten to read them yet – So many pastiches, so little time! However, if I really thought that you followed these rules that you listed, your books would quickly go on the shelf where I put the other unreadable Holmes materials in my collection. Only traditional classic Canon-like Holmes for me, please. (Such as Tony Reynolds, David Marcum, Denis O. Smith, Hugh Ashton, June Thomson, Barrie Roberts, etc.) No vampires, no slash, and no Cumberbatch. Please take a moment and explain what your books are REALLY like for those of us who are suddenly uneasy….

    • Gary, the post is a total joke meant to lay out the absolute opposite of how I would ever write pastiche or tell anyone to write it and comes from my own frustration with low quality works I’ve read. I’m sorry if my use of broad satire as a writing tool didn’t come across effectively.

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