Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Detective Homage Assignment

For this creative writing assignment, you will create an homage to one of the following writers of detective fiction:

·        Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes)
·        Agatha Christie (And Then There Were None, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, etc.)
·        Ellen Raskin (The Westing Game)
·        Peter Abrahams (Down the Rabbit Hole)
·        Jack D. Ferraiolo (The Big Splash)
·        Alane Ferguson (The Christopher Killer)

The various homages to Sherlock Holmes (Young Sherlock Holmes, Enola Holmes, etc.) are not eligible.

You may write your homage on the same book than you used for your Book Review or you can base your homage off of a different book (including one you might have read previously).

An homage is different than fan fiction. Fan fiction uses original characters and creates new scenarios and stories for them. An homage creates new characters but is written in the same style as the original.

You will create new characters, a new plot, and a new setting for your homage. Your homage should borrow elements from the original, but should not be a copy of the original. An homage to Holmes could include a detective of any gender or age with keen powers of deduction. An homage to Ellen Raskin could include an eccentric millionaire creating an entirely new puzzle to be solved by new pairs of heirs. An homage to Christie could find 10 unrelated people invited somewhere (not an island) for mysterious reasons.

An example of an homage in the popular culture is the TV detective Monk. Monk is an obsessive-compulsive detective living in San Francisco who doesn’t get along well with people but has a knack for solving crimes. The TV doctor House was also inspired by Holmes; he solved medical mysteries but had a prickly personality.

Your homage will consist of two things: a treatment and a story excerpt. The treatment is like an outline. The story excerpt is 4-10 pages from what may be a longer work. You do not have to write the entire story, though you can certainly work on it in Open Writing next year if you take this Enrichment class.

Homages can be humorous. However, homages are not parodies. You are creating a work in the style of the original work; you are not mocking that work.


1. Explain to whom (which author) and to what (which work) you will be creating your homage. Explain why you chose this author and work for your homage. At least one paragraph.

2. Detective character sketch: This is a written description, not a drawn sketch, though you may certainly include a drawn sketch if you’d like. Describe your detective. Include name, age, physical appearance, personality, etc. Explain what traits your detective shares with the character upon which he or she is based. Minimum two paragraphs. Note: You will have to change the nature of this section if you are creating an homage to And Then There Were None.

3. Setting: Where will your story take place (may be fictional or real place). Describe the actual locations (school, home, library, stadium, park, etc.) which will feature in the story. Minimum one paragraph.

4. Mystery: What is the mystery? Who are the suspects? What are the initial clues? How is this mystery similar to the original? Minimum three paragraphs.

5. Solution: How is the mystery solved? What clues are used by the detective to solve the case? Minimum two paragraphs.

6. Vocabulary: Find 6 vocabulary words that you think fit the style of your author. These should not be common words. The words can come from the original works. You can also use other sources to find words that you think would be appropriate. Please list the words and their definitions. You will later incorporate these words into your story excerpt.  

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Mystery Novel Review

  • Word Count: 400-600.
  • Calibri, 1.5-line spacing, size 14
  • Do not indent paragraphs
  • Include header at top of page with title, author, page count, city of publication, publisher, price, and age range.
  • Include heading with name, date, period
Book Review should include:
  • novel opening
  • background on author
  • at least one quote
  • sense of what the book is about without giving away spoilers
  • analysis of quality of book
Karen Ray's review of The Giver in The New York Times (Oct. 31, 1993).