Sunday, June 5, 2016

The Case of the Looking-Glass Mirror - An Experiment in Murder Mysteries with the Help of Lewis Carroll

Charles Dodgson with Pen in Hand
Charles Lutwidge Dodgson never wrote a detective adventure story, but I thought he might be of help for me in creating the fourth novel in the Jonas Watcher Detective Adventure Series. I chose Through The Looking-Glass for the template for my novel because it was the lesser known of the two Alice in Wonderland stories. Additionally, it contained characters that could act as blueprints and it had "a most marvelous" villain in the form of  the Jabberwocky. My only obstacle was to be sure that I committed no plagiarism. This was actually quite easy because Through The Looking-Glass is to be used as a template not to be copied but a reference.

Gene Poscham and Company

I already had my title, and oddly enough I hadn't gotten it from The novel by Lewis Carroll, but from another author; Agatha Christie. The title came from her novel, The Mirror Cracked. I must confess the original title for the fourth book started out as The Case of The Broken Mirror, but it wasn't quite working for me. While I was musing about the novel and looking for inspiration I was staring at my bookcase. No need to guess, I spotted one of my three copies of  Through The Looking-Glass And What Alice Found There and the idea for the fourth novel leaped out at me. 

My first task was to start building my outline for what has become The Case of the Looking-Glass Mirror.  I chose the double reference to the same object because I decided to use that concept throughout the book. The question is can I make consistence use of the concept without making the storyline seem artificial. I took a look at the Table of Contents of Through The Looking-Glass as I prepared my outline. 


Through The Looking-Glass

Outline for 
The Case of the Looking-Glass Mirror

Chapter 1 - Those in Glass Houses
Chapter 2 - A Conservatory Garden
Chapter 3 - A Bespectacled Entomologist
Chapter 4 – Welcome to My Parlor
Chapter 5 – Twins in The Forbidden City
Chapter 6 - The Sheppard's Asylum
Chapter 7 - One for Professor Unoeuf
Chapter 8 - Lieutenant Lyon in search of a Unicorn
Chapter 9 - A Paladin in the Night
Chapter 10 – Return to the Glass House
Chapter 11 – A Return to Sanity

As you can see that while I used the table of contents as a blueprint, I didn't duplicate it but rather used it for inspiration. Some of the titles of the outline will survive and become book chapters and some will be altered as I write the book. I am sure that most chapter titles will show an obvious connection to Through The Looking-Glass and others will be more difficult to ascertain where the hell they came from. For now, trust me, there is a connection, however tenuous. At the writing of this post, I have completed Chapter 5 in the outline and I am working on Chapter 6.


Jonas Watcher in
The Case of
the Looking-Glass Mirror
For the overall story, I have established the tie in to the murders, and a number of the story elements that will be carried throughout the book are defined. I now just remains for me to finish the outline and get started writing the novel. I will leave you with a possible image that I am considering for the book cover.  It is very tenuous at this time. I do like the color scheme, and the references to Through The Looking_Glass but I have just started and as I work on the story other images will come to me and I will try them out. Part of the fun of writing a novel in the research is that while I search the web for information, I also search it with the same terms, but I look at images and videos. They too are a great source for ideas when writing a novel and with coming up with a plot for my next novel. Of course for me at this time, I am working on book 4 of the series and I have three or four more waiting in the wings.