The Foxtrot Firefly

Finding Ways to Make History Real and Relevant in a Technology Filled World

Writing, Writing, Writing

It’s very rare these days (although slowly becoming less rare) that I have a day off in which to get things done. Those things are typically chores. (Today I got the oil changed on my car.) But what I really want to be using these days off for is writing. The trouble is the writing doesn’t always come to me at the most convenient times.

I have a couple of pages full of writing that I will not be publishing (but contain the gist of an idea) that happened upon me while I was at work. It had been so long since an idea had hit me like that that I filled several pages, afraid to let the muse go. Trouble was there were elements missing, and that in and of itself made the writing difficult, but also, I knew, unpublishable.

Where is the realm of my most recent interest?

Surprise, surprise. With Sherlock Holmes. With the what-ifs of a story seriously lacking in strong female characters.

It’s interesting, really, because Sherlock Holmes himself has always been of great interest to me. A mind like that. While I love Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple, what I thoroughly enjoy is Sherlock Holmes. He sees what others don’t. At the same time, he is extremely blind to the human aspect of things. Data!

On that end of things, it seems all very logical to me. Collecting data, interpreting data. It’s the scientific response. I think what bothers me most is that the scientific process has become so standard in the medico-legal field that Holmes isn’t alone anymore. To update Holmes, we have to add an extra level of deductive reasoning that may seem to swing out of left field, but we know can only be from visual deductions.

I noticed this the other day after re-watching BBC Sherlock‘s “A Study in Pink”. I had gone back and re-read A Study in Scarlet and noticed some glaring differences. First and foremost that Mike Stamford tells Sherlock Holmes:

‘We came here on business,’ said Stamford, sitting down on a high three-legged stool, and pushing another one in my direction with his foot. ‘My friend here wants to take diggings; and as you were complaining that you could get no one to go halves with you, I thought that I had better bring you together.’

Well that’s not Holmes using deductive reasoning at all. Hah! He does make the much more famous Afghanistan deduction, and the military doctor one, but Sherlock Holmes does not deduce quite to the same level that we would be given to believe in “A Study in Pink”. I see that as being much more significantly because of the need for Holmes to prove himself above and beyond the science of the police. This is something that would not need to be proven when the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle books and stories were published. Medicolegal studies had barely been conceived of, let alone regularly used in court.

Last year around this time I discovered a new set of books (and completed the reading of these books) based on Sherlock Holmes, but set around his younger sister, Enola Holmes. It is a feminist view point and discusses the downside of being a young woman in Victorian England. Corsets and high heels for starters, but also the simple fact that Sherlock Holmes would consider certain things beneath him – the languages of flowers and fans, for example.

These two things came together in my head as something new. What if Enola Holmes were present in the modernized Sherlock’s universe? How would that present itself?

Now, it turns out it’s been attempted a couple of times. Some theories turn Mycroft’s secretary, Anthea, into Enola in disguise. But I’m giving it a shot.

Turns out it’s difficult to write a story involving any of the original or added Holmes family if you are a little rusty in you knowledge of death, however. So I’m back at the research table. Which reminded me of a few ideas I’ve had before and are unpublished, so my Holmes story may have run off the tracks, but if you are curious, don’t hesitate to check on my page. (Yes, it’s under my pen name, not my real name.) Enjoy.

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