Why Write Pride and Prejudice?

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!

19 Responses to Why Write Pride and Prejudice?

  1. I feel like the plot and characters are so timeless that its fun to see what they would do in new and different situations.

  2. I read and write these stories because the original characters are so well drawn and so interesting. Spending time with them in any form feels like spending time with an old friend!

  3. Jann, I’m not sure I can give a good answer as to ‘why’ I write P&P variations. The ideas do keep coming, and I think they keep bugging us until we make them into a book. At the moment, I have 40 plot ideas 2/3 of which are Regency romance and the rest are P&P’s. I need to clone myself about six times over and never sleep to get them all done. 🙂

    • Holy cow that’s a lot of ideas. I have about a dozen (though my writing partner and I likely have about another 20 or so sitting in a document). As for historical, I have only about 2 or 3 at present, but I’m slowly growing them.

  4. I love P&P! That wraps it all up. I also think that fan fiction in general is fun because it’s like everyone was given the same writing prompt, and there is so much that can be done with it. It always amazes me to see what human creativity can do, and it is especially interesting when we all start from the same place. I recently read (and reviewed) your latest release, so I just wanted to say thanks!

    • Thank you! There is an amazing breadth of material out there and I have some especial favorites. I know I rally liked one when I wish I had written it myself!

  5. I read JAFF and write it because her world is so rich and her characters so fascinating that I don’t want the experience to end. I want the stories to go on, I want to know what happened next to everyone. I am completing my story of Kitty Bennet and it was great fun to write it. Darcy and Lizzy are still involved but otherwise it is a whole new cast of characters and new settings. They say “write what you want to read!”

  6. I’m a reader not a writer, and as I read almost entirely books about Darcy and Elizabeth, I for one am glad that you and so many other authors go to so much trouble and research to write them.
    I do love a good plot twist and especially enjoy a loving, passionate Darcy and a not too stubborn Elizabeth.
    Keep up the good work and thank you for this post.

    • I went through a time when I was reading mostly P&P stuff, but I’ve gotten back into some of the things I used to read. I tend to enjoy plots that change things up substantially. A pet peeve is when a lot of text is copied verbatim, though I do like to use quotes from the book, especially when I can force them into another character’s mouth!

  7. I don’t write any books or stories as my mind just has not come up with any new ideas for plots. I do however post reviews of more than two sentences and I hope I give honest feedback to other readers who might be looking for their next interesting read. I do like the twists which include some sexual tension. NO, I am not talking about bedroom scenes although some have been well done. I do believe I have read all of yours, Mr. Rowland, and have enjoyed them. Good luck with your future efforts.

      • I am presently reading Chaos Comes to Kent and enjoying it. I like the reversals of behavior in some of the character: Lady Catherine and Anne, to be precise. Thanks for your comments.

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