Monk vs. Monk

A reader of my book MR. MONK GOES TO THE FIREHOUSE posted a comment on a discussion board that the Monk in the book differs to some degree from the Monk on television. She’s right.

I don’t think there is any way the "book" MONK and the "TV" MONK can
ever be exactly the same. We are seeing them through two very different
mediums (TV vs books) and points-of-view (the camera’s vs Natalie’s).

typical MONK episode doesn’t have enough story to fill book…so I have
to come up with much, much more for Monk to think, say and do for a
novel. And, of course, in the books we don’t have Tony Shalhoub’s
magnificent performance to convey the humor, the vulnerability,
sadness, etc. So much of MONK’s humor, drama and character is expressed
visually and I have to make up for that narratively in other ways.

differences between the "book" MONK and the "TV" MONK became very clear
to me recently, when I was writing the third book and my third MONK
episode at the same time. They are both MONK…but different. And
that’s okay. By the way, MONK creator/exec producer Andy Breckman is
fine with that, too. He’s been incredibly supportive and has encouraged
me to create my own version of Monk for the books. After I wrotethe first book, he paid me a wonderful compliment. He said  that he felt like a songwriter and that someone else had covered his song. It was still his song, but at the same time it was different, and he enjoyed the differences.

I also got a complaint from a reader who was upset that there are continuity gaffs between the recent episodes of the show and my first book. That’s inevitable, given the long lead time of the books vs. the speed of TV series production. So, the books and
the TV show don’t exist in the exact same universe…more like parallel

example, someone sent me a nasty email because I didn’t acknowledge
Stottlemeyer’s marital problems in the first book. Well, when I wrote
Stottlemeyer’s wife hadn’t left him yet. I managed to mention it in the
third book, but I am sure things will come up in Season Five that will
clash with stuff in the third Monk book, which I am turning in next
month for publication in January 2007.

Speaking of which, I better get back to writing!

4 thoughts on “Monk vs. Monk”

  1. They are slightly different, but you can see the TV show in the book. And you did create some wonderful laugh out loud moments that I don’t think would work on TV.

  2. This brings up another curious point (to an outsider) – Why is the lead time for a book so much longer than the TV series.
    A TV series involves a lot more people, a lot more co-ordination etc than a book.
    What are the lead times ?

  3. Continuity differences aside, I thought the character differences were already addressed: The TV show is you watching MONK through the camera, the book is you watching MONK as filtered through Natalie’s point of view.

  4. I’m amused that Andy Breckman says he “felt like a songwriter.” Is he forgetting his albums “Don’t Get Killed” and “Proud Dad,” I wonder?


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