Austen Authors at NaNoWriMo

Austen Authors at NaNoWriMo

nano_2016_badgeNaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) kicked off on the 1st, and as it will be pretty much my entire world for the next 26 days, I could think of little else to share with you today. For those unfamiliar with the event, NaNo challenges participants to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s 1,667 words a day. It’s really not that taxing if you are disciplined and write each day, but if you are like me there will be days when you don’t write. This is where things start to get tricky. This year I know upfront that there are at least ten days in which little to no writing is likely to occur. 50,000 words in 20 days is 2,500 words a day. OK. I can do that. I’ve done it before. But what if I lose a few more days? My daughter could get sick, or I could, or some other unforeseen event might happen, like acute writer’s block. Who knows?

I have managed to complete 50,000 words or more all three years I have done NaNoWriMo. In 2012, I squeaked out 50,042 words. If I recall correctly, 20,000 of those were composed on November 30th. That was painful, but the result was Holidays at Pemberley, the final book in my Tales of Less Pride and Prejudice trilogy. In 2013 I wrote 82,122 words! Boom! That’s 2,737 words on average per day. To be fair, the book was one I had been thinking about for an entire year, and the subject one I had been studying for half my life, so I was ready to roll on November 1st. The Madness of Mr. Darcy is certainly my most successful NaNo novel thus far. I have yet to publish my 2014 novel, The Prodigal Husband, 57,626 words of which I completed during that month. “The Big Move” to Switzerland in 2015 interrupted my editing of the story and kept me from participating that year. I still plan to finish it, but right now there is a new book to begin.

Darcy in Wonderland
is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. I have never before tried to combine the worlds of two different authors, so this is quite experimental. The time is ambiguously Victorian. Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth Darcy are living the perfect life. Their estate is flourishing. Their children are talented and successful: the youngest, Alice, a precocious 6 year old. No other child has so tested their patience, even while awing them with her imaginative capacity. Mr. Darcy, a staid and traditional father, is particularly concerned for Alice’s future in a society that supplies little outlet for flights of fancy, yet when the two are left alone on the estate and find themselves falling down the not-so-proverbial rabbit hole, it is Alice’s creativity or Mr. Darcy’s pragmatism that will guide them safely home?

Working Cover (it will change)

Here is an excerpt from the very rough 5519 words I have logged thus far (I’m already behind!):

“Dr. Seaton made me take the awfullest medicine last winter. What does your medicine taste like, Mrs. Reynolds?” asked Alice.

“Like brandy, which is what it is mostly made of.”

Alice made a face. “I don’t like brandy.”

“And when have you tasted it, young lady?” her mother inquired.

“There is a bottle in Papa’s office.”

“Not that is there for your convenience!”

Alice looked surprised at her mother’s chagrin. “Why ever not? Papa drinks it all the time, so it cannot be that it is poisonous. I did check the bottle for a skull and crossbones, just in case, and there were no markings suggesting it would disagree with me.”

“A substance need not be poisonous to disagree with you, my dear. Do not sample your father’s drinks again.”

“Yes, Mama. I shan’t, even though the port wine was so very nice.”

“Alice here has been keeping me entertained with a marvelous story,” Mrs. Reynolds quickly inserted. “She is the most creative child.”

“But it is not a story, Mrs. Reynolds. It is true. I saw a white rabbit with pink eyes hop by, Mama, which as Bennet says is nothing so very special at all. He is so odious sometimes. But even he admitted that a white rabbit with pink eyes would be worth seeing if it wore a waistcoat and pocket watch, as this one did.”

“A waistcoat and pocket watch?” Elizabeth’s eyes grew dramatically large. “I never met a rabbit who could tell time.”

“Well this one could, for he pulled out his watch and checked it. I saw him. I would have asked him for the time, by means of gaining an introduction, but he got away from me.”

“So he can talk and tell time! Perhaps you will see him again?”

Alice shook her head firmly. “I do hope so, Mama. I was on my way to look for him when my feet brought me to Mrs. Reynolds, which was a very good thing, as Sally did not like to leave her alone while she went to Lambton. I think they ought to be acknowledged, don’t you?”

“Well done feet,” Elizabeth supplied on cue.

“Thank you, ma’am,” Alice replied, bobbing a tidy courtesy. “I should have sent word to the house, I know that now, and shall do so next time my feet know where they are going before my mind arrives.”

“I should appreciate that. And now you had best run home for tea. Make sure it is your mind directing your feet this time, and not the other way around. Cassie and Miss Williams will be waiting for you in schoolroom. I shall stay with Mrs. Reynolds until Sally returns. Please tell Thompson where I am.”

“Yes, Mama. Goodbye, Mrs. Reynolds. I shall come visit again soon.”

“Goodbye, my dear. Pull the door firmly behind you. It sticks.”

“I will. Goodbye.” The two ladies watched Alice’s deliberate care in making sure the door was perfectly sealed, costing its innocent frame several undeservedly sharp slams.

I am not the only Austen Author involved in NaNo this year. P.O. Dixon is our reigning champ, having met the 50,000 word goal every year for the past 4 years! Way to go! I guess it’s not so surprising that this prolific writer should consistently conquer NaNo; she is the author of twenty-three published books. This year she is tackling By Reason, By Reflection, By Everything. Love the title! Here is the premise: What if Mr. Gerald Darcy’s first born son is promised to Mr. Thomas Bennet’s first born daughter? The possibilities are endless.

witchesofausten3Rose Fairbanks is also participating for her third year in a row. The Magic of Pemberley Park will be the third book in her Witches of Austen series. She has kindly supplied a cover image and blurb. Enjoy!

The magic continues in Book Three of the Witches of Austen Series!

Jane, Lizzy, and Kate have dutifully gone separate ways to search for the Council members that can enlighten them on the remaining prophecies regarding the Bewitched Sisters. Can their powers withstand the distance? New experiences, as well as old and new faces, threaten to alter the sisters beyond their recognition.

Best of luck to my fellow AuAu NaNoers and all the other 2016 participants, especially my “writing buddies” WendiS, Cassandra, and Laura Hile. Happy writing everyone!



20 Responses to Austen Authors at NaNoWriMo

  1. Alexa, all of you are amazing who do NANO and succeed. I have tried it 3 or 4 times and I just can’t write that way. Even when I made the 50,000 words, after I went back and read, most of what I wrote I either rewrote or threw out. I find that I need to spend much more time thinking and working through the scenes in a chapter before I go on in order for everything to hang together. (Yes, like only 5 years on Darcy’s Melody — good thing I”m not trying to make a iiving off of that one.) . Still, I’m wishing the best to all of you who are participating and I’m very eager to read your new stories. The madness of Mr. Darcy was one of my favorites. Best of Luck. Jen Red

  2. Your NaNo work sounds like so much fun Alexa. I hope the finished work makes it to publication eventually. It certainly sounds as though it could be a unique variation/sequel. My favourite of your books so far is The Madness of Mr. Darcy, which in itself was a new type of variation for me, and so very well done.

    Good luck to you and all,of the AuAus taking part this year.

    • It has been a blast so far, Anji! I do plan to publish if it continues to go well. Thank you for the Madness of Mr. Darcy love. I put my soul in that book. This one is more of a mind game, and it is lots of fun!

  3. What a delightful child and so much like her mother. I hope her feet take her where they are supposed to and perhaps lead her to the white rabbit with the pink eyes. Thank you so much as we do need a little humor now and then in our lives! Good luck in your future endeavors and keep up with the humor!
    May your feet make the correct journey!!!

  4. Two of my books know their roots in NaNo. I am structured enough to meet the deadlines…being a Virgo, my brain works best that way. I wish you well with this project. It sounds quite interesting.

    • Thanks, Regina! NaNo provides good conditions for my brain, too, but as I said below, it certainly doesn’t work for everyone.

      Of course now I’m wondering which two books …

  5. Good luck, Alexa. I am not a fast writer so I stand, or sit in awe of your challenge. I have written my own The Secret Diary of Alice in Wonderland, but never thought to tie my favorite tale to Pride and Prejudice. Brilliant idea.

    • Thanks, Barbara! We all write differently. So far, this year has been a lot of fun. Rumor has it that there is another P&P/Alice story out there, but I have yet to discover where or by whom. It’s getting harder and harder to come up with something that hasn’t been done, in some form or another. Luckily, we all seem to be original enough to keep if fresh, even when we overlap.

      • Regarding a rumor of another Alice/P&P story, do you mean one that has not been made available yet, or one that is already written? If it’s the latter, I’ve read that one. It’s 2 stories: Lizzy, the Witch and the Wardrobe & Darcy’s Adventures through the Looking Glass, by Sandy.
        Now if it’s the former, I sure hope we get to read it soon.
        And I look forward to your story also, because I’ve read your other stories, and I’m sure this one will be just as good.

  6. Alexa,
    Really enjoyed your excerpt and reading of Alice’s attempts to persuade her dearest Mama and Mrs R. that she really had encountered the white rabbit! So sweet!

    Don’t know how you wrote 50,000 words in a month,but I wish you the very best of luck in your writing endeavours!

  7. I really don’t know how you do it! But they all sound so good that I can’t wait to read them
    I definitely think that Alice is more like Elizabeth than Darcy ?.
    Good luck with the rest of your story.

    • Thanks, Glynis! NaNo isn’t for everyone. I recently had a conversation about this at a writing workshop – I happen to work well under pressure and am motivated by competition. Other writers freeze under those circumstances. Some just have no interest. To each their own!

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