For this month’s post, I decided to focus on a question which has been on my mind lately. I have lots of friends that know I write, many of whom have read some of my work, and the question I get asked is why do I write based on Pride and Prejudice?
Now stay with me for a moment. Those that ask me this question are not making any point except to suggest that I don’t need to write based on someone else’s characters, regardless of how well Jane Austen did in creating them. In fact, my mother called me just this evening to comment about an outline I had asked her to look at for me, and her first comment was that it was a plot I could easily modify to make it just a straight historical fiction!
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. For one thing, I think a lot of authors who are reading this would agree that it can be tough to get noticed. Pride and Prejudice variations have the distinction of having a fan base already built in, and as long as I create a plot that is interesting, edit properly, and write well, I’m likely going to pull in the readers. To paraphrase The Field of Dreams, “If I write it, they will come.”
So why do I continue to write variations? First, because they are enjoyable. There’s something about taking Jane Austen’s characters, twisting them a little, inserting new plots, and releasing an entirely different story which is incredibly appealing. My ambitions do include widening my repertoire, but I doubt I will ever completely stop writing in this wonderful world. It—and the readers—have been very good to me since I started, and it’s too much fun to simply leave it behind!
Second, because they are easier to do than other fiction. I write in the fantasy space as well, and that requires not only new plots and characters, but I also have to essentially build the world from the ground up, which takes a lot of effort. Fantasy is a lot of work. By contrast, with variations, I have characters and the world already created, I only need to come up with the plot, and whatever other characters needed for the story. I find writing Pride and Prejudice to be a lot less stressful than other genres.
Finally, I write P&P because I love adding to the body of work already out there. So many have been written that there are few things that have not been done before. Still, putting a different spin on a plot which has already used is also a challenge, and one that I relish.
Anyone who is familiar with my work will attest that I love to find new angles and change characters up. But I’m trying to move more in a suspense direction with my variation writing. They will still feature Elizabeth and Darcy, but will hopefully provide more oomph than my body of work up until now. Just as a sneak peak, here are something of the edgier works (not all encompassing) I’ve got in the pipe:
- Elizabeth related to Darcy: Yes, I know this has been done many times before, and you can rest assured that the connection is not close enough to prevent them from marrying. I’m hoping that I can find a different take on it and make it interesting.
- The Bennet Trilogy: The working name at present. It will encompass Mr. Bennet as a young man, then a book about Elizabeth as a young girl, then finally an Elizabeth and Darcy story. This trilogy will feature one villain throughout all three books, one who hates the Bennet family and will do anything to ruin them.
- Elizabeth’s Secret Identity: I won’t say much about this one, only that it’s something unlike anything I’ve ever tried before. The development is taking a ton of time, and it will almost certainly be much longer than any of my current variations. Don’t expect to see it before sometime next year.
There you have it. A little of what motivates me and where I’m going in the future. I’m interested to hear your opinions, especially that of other authors. Why do you write Pride and Prejudice variations? Please comment!