How to Write Pastiche
Writing pastiche is quite simple – just imitate! Read/watch/listen to as many original works as possible in the style that you want to make a pastiche of. Figure out their common elements and the conventions that define the style. If you’re making a pastiche of a particular author, for example, pay attention to the words and sentence structures he/she uses, as well as the kind of characters that tend to appear, and the rhythm of the narrative. The more detailed your observations, the more “spot on” your pastiche will seem.
In addition to accurately recreating the elements of the target genre or author, a good pastiche should also have its own identity or message. This, of course, is much harder to plan for – it takes creativity! One way to do this is to do a double pastiche, like Kill Bill in §2. Or, you might try exaggerating certain features of the work a bit – if you’re doing a pastiche of westerns, for example, try making the dialogue even more stylized than it really is in those movies.
When to use Pastiche
Pastiche is useful in any sort of creative work, and that includes formal essays! It’s not just novelists or poets who have their own unique voice – scholars and nonfiction authors do, too. It takes creativity to put words, facts, and arguments together in a way that’s compelling and interesting. You can learn that skill by imitating the way that your favorite nonfiction authors write.
In such a case, however, you wouldn’t exactly be paying homage to these other authors – you’d be using pastiche as a tool for learning, not as a rhetorical device in its own right!