Thursday, June 17, 2010

Sticking My Neck Out Again

Hey all!

I'm feeling much braver these days, so today I queried a production company, and pitched my original TV one-hour pilot, Home of the Braves. They were asking for comedies, and since mine is a "dramedy"--like Gilmore Girls--I took a chance and submitted a logline, synopsis and a small resume. This pilot placed in the top 75 in a very prestigious screenwriting contest last summer, and I was also able to tell them that an animated movie that I wrote won Best Children's Movie in a film festival back in 2005. So maybe that big "L" emblazoned on my forehead isn't as deep as I was thinking...

I've been promising you something, so I'm properly posting this pilot for all of you. Earlier, I had put a link to it, but I think it was having issues, so I cut, pasted and did my best to format it so it looks halfway decent here--the only thing I couldn't do was to center the dialog.

It's a really sweet, funny and moving story. I hope that you like it as much as I do. And thank you once again for all your encouragement and support. My husband is also very thankful for you! (Yah, I finally told him...)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Julie, Julia, Amy and Jane

The last four days I have watched about ten movies. I sort of lost count, and I even stopped watching two other ones after ten or so minutes, and there was one that I wish I had turned off after ten minutes. My husband is away for two weeks, so I thought I would watch all the chick flicks, dramas and anything in between that he wouldn't be interested in while he was gone. His favorite movies are Tombstone and Sparticus. Cowboys and gladiators--I guess you can say they technically are period dramas, but not my kind, although Val Kilmer was fabulous as Doc Holiday. :0)

So in the line up tonight was Julie and Julia. I had a friend from work tell me that I really needed to see it, so I did. And I felt a little exposed. Both Julie and Julia were at pivotal life stages and each feeling a little useless and lost. They threw themselves into something they had a passion for and after a lot of struggle and pain, their dreams were realized.

It was a sweet movie, but it left me with an ache in my stomach and also left me feeling a little guilty, so I'm letting you all in on a secret. I've told no one. Until now.

I heard back from a publisher a couple of weeks ago--maybe even three weeks now. The publishers who do Pride and Prejudice fanfic. The one I was grooming my book for. I was so excited to hear back from them that I read the email first thing when I got to work. NOT a good idea.

The editor told me that my writing was "weak" along with a few other things--she absolutely hated the title. I actually felt sick to my stomach and did my best not to cry for five whole hours while at work. I somehow got through my day. I was so embarrassed and devastated that I didn't even want to tell my husband. Isn't that pitiful? He immediately knew that something was wrong. I did my best to act like everything was normal, but that darn man knows me so well. I couldn't get the words out without crying and I felt like there was a massive "L" burned into my forehead (Loser). I couldn't get the words out. After he made sure that it wasn't life threatening and that it wasn't something he had done, he told me that he would wait until I was ready to tell him.

How many movies or novels for that matter deal with this exact issue--someone in authority or with expertise squashing someone's dreams? I should have a thick skin and I should keep plugging away until someone believes in me. Or I should go back and look at what I have written and figure out how to make it better. That would be what a true heroine would do. But I'm a sensitive writer with paper thin skin, who was so pumped up and admittedly high by the literally hundreds and hundreds of reviews from everyday people who said they loved my book and wanted to read it over and over again. I just wasn't prepared for anything else. The disillusioned heroine stumbles.

I haven't looked at my book or written a word on my new one since. My real life plot is so frustratingly predictable--our heroine licks her wounds and needs to somehow believe in herself again. I'm actually embarrassed to admit that one little email did that to me. So completely infantile. Meanwhile, I keep getting reviews from complete strangers telling me that this was the best P&P fanfic they have ever read, and I don't know what to do with the information. Part of me wants to forward each and every one of them to the publisher and the other half of me wants to yell at them to stop sending me raving reviews because it just doesn't matter.

So tonight Julie and Julia each kicked my butt a little. Julia Child worked years and years on her cookbook before she found someone willing to publish it. And she kept cooking the whole time. And little Julie cooked her little heart out every night after work while blogging about it for an entire year, encountering great disappointment, kitchen disasters and even marital troubles. I've only been at this for a few months. My kitchen and marriage is still intact. I have nothing to complain about.

I thought about the one thing that got people's dander up with my book--the fact that I let Elizabeth question herself and lose some confidence after she got kicked out of Kent. I had a few people really let me know how out of character that was for our dear Lizzy. But I heartily disagreed and now I think that I will cut myself the same slack and have the same patience with myself. I just needed a little time.

All this to say, I promise to get back to my newest book this week. I will tell my husband what happened when he calls tomorrow night, and I will not yell at the reviews as they still trickle in, but I will also try to figure out just what was weak about my work. I will also email the agent that I had contact with (who was going to poke around and see if she could find anyone interested) and see if she is still interested.

Thank you Julie and Julia for plugging away, for doing what you love with all your heart and for my little butt kicking. And thank you Jane for not giving up on getting your work published two-hundred years ago when it literally was a man's world. I'm in awe of you, your wit and your elegant way of making us fall in love with your characters over and over again. I hope you all will forgive me for stumbling.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Little Giggle

Hey all. I was gone on vacation last week with no internet. Sort of nice, but I twitched a little now and again. I have nothing new to report, but I do have a link to The Bronte sisters action figures commercial. It's absolutely hilarious! I hope you enjoy. Pudding not included...

Bronte Sisters Action Figures

Monday, May 10, 2010

It's a small world after all...

So I've been at my new job for a little over three weeks. Last Friday, I had a woman from our editing department come up to me very excited. She asked me if I had written a JAFF book called Speak Not Against the Sun. I lifted my eyebrow and said that I had. She broke into a huge grin as she told me that she read my story on one of the fan sites before she ever knew me. I couldn't believe it!

It was such a rush, and a coincidence. My follow up book, Forgive Me, Jane, actually is about a woman who writes a JAFF book and gets to know her fans at a Jane Austen convention. I felt like I was living it.

You all need to cross your fingers for me since my story is in the reading queue at one publishers, and I'm emailing an agent back and forth. She read my first three chapters of both my books and without saying that she would represent me, she told me she would poke around this week and see if she could find anyone that was interested in a "Sweet Romance." She said that romances without sex are harder to sell. We will see...

So things are well enough in my little small world, at least lots is happening. And now I have that song stuck in my head, but in a good way.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Something beefy for you to read

You all are wonderful!! I thought for sure that this place would be chirping crickets and not more after I posted my last chapters. I'm very touched and humbled, so, to reward you (I hope) for still visiting my blog and commenting, I'm going to post some of my scripts for you to read. I have three romantic comedies and my original one-hour TV "dramedy", which did really well in a script writing competition last year.

Scripts read very differently from novels, but I'm sure you'll catch on. I'm gonna unleash my TV pilot on you first, Home of the Braves. It's done in the same vein as "Gilmore Girls" and "Ed" with lots of wit, humor, eccentric characters, and it takes place in a small town. It's been buried for a while and deserves a little sunlight. It holds a very special place in my heart.

I'll provide the link here, (pasting and formatting it onto my pages would take at least an hour and a half), and will also post the link on my pages as well, for when this post gets buried. I hope that you enjoy. (They will ask you to sign in, just to give me a count of how many visitors I get. You can make up any name you want--your privacy is protected either way. :0)

Home of the Braves

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I'm naked and standing in front of a crowd...

I sent my finished manuscript to a publisher late last night via email, and sent off a query to another one today. (Yes, I finally reached my 90,000 word goal and did a little dance to mark the occasion.) I am gearing up and eating some protein, so I'll have enough stamina to send it off to a third. My tummy is woozy and I'm emotionally drained. Each publisher required different things, and I spent a good part of two days obsessing about every little detail. Is the query too long? One publisher wanted me to write at least two paragraphs describing my book, but did not set a limit. What if I'm describing two books and I write ten paragraphs? They didn't specifically ask for a logline and synopsis, but they didn't say not to include them either--what should I do? I had to write a career arc and make a list comparable/competitive books for another publisher. I was suppose to give sales records if I had them. I had nothing like that, but I had you!

So, I turned them over to you by giving them this blog link as well as a link to, which keeps the best stats of all of the JAFF sites. They can read my reviews there if they would like. And if they come here, "HOWDY! PICK ME!" or better yet, "FIGHT OVER ME!" :0)

I am actually pitching two books, the second one, which I am currently writing, is very closely tied to Speak Not Against the Sun--though I haven't told any of you why. Yet. Until now. Right now. Next paragraph. Read it.

My new book, Forgive Me, Jane, is based oh-so-very loosely on my experience writing Speak Not... And I say loosely, because it's a modern romance and the heroine is young, single, and of course impossibly beautiful. She's also brilliant and an overnight Internet sensation--pure fiction.

So, I'll give you my logline and my synopsis, since they're out running buck naked in the publishing world now anyway--shameless hussies!


Reluctantly using the Jane Austen fan fiction genre to break into a more intellectual writing career, Internet sensation “4giveMeJane,” A.K.A., Amanda Jorgenson, unveils her new book at the very quirky traveling “Always Austen Convention,” unaware that her own pride and many prejudices will come into play, as an unexpected love story waits for her there.


Amanda Jorgenson, a frustrated USC English Lit post grad, cannot get any publishing company to look at her overly erudite work, Transport to Nowhere. And until she gets her big break, Amanda works as a dental hygienist with her best friend and JAFF nut, Jessie, whom she berates for “slapping dearest Miss Austen in the face” with the literary aberrations she constantly reads.

Getting desperate, Amanda secretly researches the lucrative world of JAFF, and without Jessie’s knowledge starts writing her own JAFF book, Speak Not Against the Sun. (Yay!) Under the instruction of her geeky, viral marketing guru brother, she also starts a blog, “Forgive Me, Jane,” chronicling her journey, and starts to post her finished chapters on her blog and various fan fiction sites under the screen name “4giveMeJane.”

Almost overnight, Amanda, becomes an Internet sensation. Thousands upon thousands of fans all over the world can’t get enough of her writing, and soon she is contacted by a publishing company and gets a three-book deal. Amanda’s first book is due to be debuted at a traveling Jane Austen Convention. After coming clean with Jessie, she gets Jessie to join her on the book tour, acting as her personal assistant, while trying to rein her in, since Jessie is after all, visiting her personal Mecca.

Once at the convention, which is overrun with pudgy middle-age women running around in Regency costumes, and dealing with the surprising politics of other JAFF authors, Amanda starts to regret her decision to write the book. She is even more depressed to meet her fans, wondering in her head how they were able to tear themselves away from their thirty cats and stacks of newspapers piled to the ceiling to come to the conference. (Pure fiction, I hope, since I've never met any of you in person...)

After an exhausting evening of book signing and fake smiling for pictures, Amanda steals away to a neighboring hotel bar, where she has one drink too many—literally. She only has one drink, but she is the ultimate lightweight when it comes to alcohol. She meets a terribly handsome Brit named Rhys, whom she flirts with and inadvertently throws herself at, kissing him, without him returning the gesture. Jessie tracks her inebriated friend down; literally pulls Amanda off of the poor man and drags her away, apologizing to a stunned, but strangely charmed Rhys.

The next day, Amanda discovers the mysterious Brit she kissed is the actor who played creepy, oily and overweight, “Mr. Collins,” in the 2006 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. He is there along with other lesser actors who have been in Jane Austen films, to sign autographs, take pictures with fans, and sit on a panel for Q&As.

Although Rhys is completely fit and gorgeous now, Amanda, who is very conservative—never even having slept with a man—is absolutely horrified by her drunken kiss, and even more by the object of the kiss. She has always been repulsed by this particular Mr. Collins and cannot un-connect the actor from the character he played. She does everything she can to avoid Rhys the rest of the three city convention, to no avail.

She eventually finds out that Rhys turned down the coveted role of handsome, but rakish “Wickham” in order to stretch himself to play the repulsive Collins—which he purposely gained weight for. And he pulled off the part brilliantly. For no producer, director or woman for that matter, would think twice about him for a sexy lead after his very believable performance as Collins. And as cruel fate would have it, the actor who did play Wickham was catapulted to stardom after the movie, and Rhys has to live with his decision. At least he did it honestly, and was acclaimed for the role, though it came to nothing but offers for other overweight and less than glamorous bit roles. Played against Amanda’s decision to purposely lower her standards to gain success, there is an interesting dynamic and conflict between the two.

Subplots include a sweet love story between Jessie and Kevin, Amanda’s geeky but cute older brother, and an unlikely friendship between Amanda and the seemingly icy “Queen of Regency Romps” author, Lizzy Manchester.

Gradually, but hilariously, snobby Amanda gets over her prejudice against her bizarre but adoring fans. And although she fights hard against her attraction to Rhys, she comes to truly love the down-on-his-luck, but oh-so-hunky and talented actor.

So, does it make you want to read my book? Let me know what you think.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Is Edward Cullen a modern Mr. Darcy?

Do I dare compare Pride and Prejudice with the Twilight sagas?  A most beloved classic and a pop culture phenomenon?  I can almost hear the intake of breath from Austen devotees.  :)  I know they are two very different things, but how different are they really?  I don't mean to get any feathers ruffled, but the more I dive into Darcy's character, the more parallels I see to a new literary heartthrob (not the actor heart throb), Edward Cullen.  If we can separate Colin Firth and Matthew MacFadyen from the literary Mr. Darcy, then we can pull Robert Pattinson, "purdy" as he may be, away from Edward Cullen and examine the men from the books.

Let's really look at the two and try to get past the whole fantasy vampire genre.  Darcy and Edward are both good decent men (slash vampire.)  They are both very reluctantly drawn to a strong young woman that they meet by chance with lots of other people around.  Each are surprised by their unexplained attraction and initially treat the objects of their desire quite horribly, in hopes that Lizzy and Bella will stay away from them.  Darcy and Edward are uber-rich, brooding, intelligent, and have lost their parents.  They both dress impeccably and are from completely different worlds than the ones Lizzy and Bella come from.

Even though both books are about our heroines, their love interests interest us all for the same reason.  We just love tortured men!  If there was a contest, Edward would win hands down for most tortured with the whole "I'm a vampire and had no choice in becoming one", and spends his waking hours (which are all of them) quelling an unrelenting thirst for human blood.  He knows that he should stay miles and miles away from Bella because he's afraid that his darker instincts might overpower him if he gets too close to her.  But Darcy in his own tortured way was all alone in the world and doesn't know how badly he needs Elizabeth until she flatly rejects him in Hunsford.  We don't get to see him beyond when he and Elizabeth are in the same room, but we get the idea that he spends the majority of his time trying not to think about her, yet inventing ways in his mind to be near her.  And there is nothing sexier than a man torn to bits over a woman he can't or shouldn't have.

When Darcy first met Elizabeth, he flatly refused to dance with her and called her "tolerable, yet not handsome enough to temp him" within her earshot.  Ouch!  But we all know that it was only a knee-jerk reaction to his instant attraction to her.  Edward saw Bella from across the cafeteria and couldn't read her thoughts.  That was intriguing, but when he got a whiff of her in Biology class, he literally had to lean away and not take a breath for fifty minutes.  Poor Bella even sniffs her own hair to make sure she isn't the one offending.  Like Lizzy, Bella was absolutely mystified why and how he could be so suddenly repulsed by her.  Each lady was left with bitter memories and did not look kindly on the man who acted repulsed.

Interestingly enough, while fighting his attraction, Darcy still asked Lizzy to dance at the Lucas gathering and again while Lizzy was staying at Netherfield.  Which shows us that there was a real war going on in his head.  He then decided that he would not speak to her if he could help it, after he realized where his heart was heading.  Austen writes a scene where the two are in the same room alone for quite some time without saying a word to each other, but we all know that their thoughts were full of each other.

Struggling with his attraction, Edward couldn't help but save Bella when he saw a car skidding straight for her.  But after the hospital, when he fully realized what danger they all were in from his attraction, he did not say a word to her for six weeks, though they sat next to each other in Biology class each day.  Bella narrates the book, and every once in a while she thinks she sees Edward's head slightly incline her way when she is talking to someone else, but she can't be sure.  Well played, Stephenie Meyer.  I was on edge for those six weeks!

There is just something about being in on how tortured each man is--longing for and wanting the girl, but holding back.  And that is one thing that I tried to do in my book--let everyone in on Darcy's struggle.  I longed to know what he was thinking in P&P, and this was my interpretation--he could not get her out of his head.  I even touch on Colonel Fitzwilliam's struggle.  He gives up Lizzy because he knew in the end, it was for the best.

And there is most likely a longing in all of us to be the object of such love.  Maybe the extra handsome produce manager looks forward to your weekly shopping trips, and switches his hours with someone knowing that you come at 5:30 every Wednesday evening.  Maybe he thinks you are too good for him with your Jimmy Choo shoes and your Lexus parked outside, so he barely says anything to you, but he thinks about you all the time while he works his way through graduate school.  And even though you are attracted to him, you think he is a huge snob because he smiles and heartily greets everyone but you.  Heavy sigh. 

It's highly intoxicating, and that is why there have been two centuries of women in love with Mr. Darcy, and now droves of youngsters and cougars alike who can't get enough of Edward Cullen.   It's a delicious formula that works and has held up for over two hundred years.

I did it.  I just compared Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy to a sparkling vampire.  If Jane will forgive me for writing a fanfic with her dearest characters, then maybe, just maybe she can forgive me for this...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Amended Chapter 7

I've added to Chapter 7.  Jane and Bingley on their honeymoon.  A few sweet scenes, and the mystery of Bingley having to take off suddenly (to snip a queue.)  Enjoy! 

The new job is great so far...

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Everything in its time

Only 7,000 more words to go on the "filling" out the novel before it's submission ready.  I had planned to devote this upcoming week to getting it done and getting it out to the publishers, but life has already gotten in the way--in a good way.  I got myself a thing called "a job."  I will be working in the marketing department at a non profit organization.  My strong writing background sealed the job for me.  I will start out part time and grow as the job does.  They are creating the position for me, and as more things get handed to me, the more I will work. 

Hopefully the part time work will still give me a chance to write and somehow keep up with my house and my family. The timing is actually really good, and I am up for it all.  Let the juggling begin! 

I'll let you know how things are going with the book.  I'm setting little goals for myself, so I won't forget about it.  This (staying at home and writing like a madwoman) is still what my dream job is...

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Changes to Chapter 6

I finished my tweaking to Chapter 6, and have re-posted it.  I originally told you it was Chapter 5, but I was wrong.  It's a very hefty chapter now--I might be able to split it into two later.  I addressed Richard's feelings in this and it made me have an even bigger crush on the man.  We even have a dinner that includes Caroline.  I couldn't be done with her quite yet.

Now I will be working on a new chapter between 11 and 12, where we will follow Darcy while Lizzy is at Pemberley.  I already mentioned that he gets a scene with Mademoiselle Adele.  I hope it works.

I have only 7,000 more words to go, and then I can start the formidable process of looking for publishers.  My knees are already knocking.

Thank you for your input with the prologue.  Please let me know what you think about the new Chapter 6.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


I've added a prologue in the anticipation that anyone, being familiar with P&P or not, would be able to have everything they needed to know in just 2 pages before they start my story.  Am I missing anything that applies to my story??  I don't know how to put it ahead of my first chapter here at my blog unless I just add it as part of the first chapter.

Coming soon:  Extended Chapter 5 with more D&E&C.F love triangle.  Still working on it...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

This is it...

You don't even care what I have to say here. You will all just push right past me to get to the last chapter. Yup, it's up.   And it's over, sort of...  Please let me know what you think. I'll be waiting...

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

So the spoiling continues...

Thirteen is up, ladies. Can I just take a second and tell you how much I love my thesaurus. I adore my thesaurus. I have a penchant for my thesaurus. I delight in my thesaurus. I am devoted to my thesaurus. I am completely besotted with my thesaurus!

It's almost Friday, and I did some more editing on 13 for the JAFF sites, and changed the ending a bit, so I reposted the revised chapter here, if you are interested...

Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm so happy right now!

All I have to say is "Mademoiselle Adele and Mr. Darcy in the same room!" I am cracking myself up!! I'm writing London scenes with Darcy while Lizzy is at Pemberley, and guess where Darcy has to go to pick up something for his dear little Georgiana! It's just killing me. Darcy might need a little magic, too.

This might be an entire chapter tucked in right before Chapter 12. We all need more of Darcy and I think I'm on to something...

Just thought I'd share my joy. I'll tell you when it's good and fat enough to post.

Thank you all again for all the extremely helpful suggestions. There are many I want to explore--including delving in further into the almost Darcy, Lizzy Colonel Fitzwilliam love triangle when she first arrived in London. I want to be gentle on Richard, since I have an admitted crush on him, but I do think we should find out just how Richard came to the realization that he should give up any thoughts of her and decide to help Darcy...

Okay, back to writing!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I'm waay ahead of you...

We've got a nasty flu going through our house, and since I'm feeling a little strange myself, I thought I'd get this up while I can. This is my favorite chapter since Mademoiselle Adele was introduced. Lots of fun and an absolute heart pounding last scene. Yay me!

Let me know what you think...

Oh! Thanks for all of your ideas on stretching out my book. I'm actually glad, because you can stick around after I've posted my last chapters on the JAFF sites, to see what else I'm adding and give me feedback. I really appreciate everything! :0)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I need 17,000 more words!

Okay, I am looking in to querying some publishers who do JAFF. The minimum requirement is 90,000 words. I'm at 73,000 right now with my full 14 chapters. That is roughly two more chapters that I need to write! There is no way I can contrive to keep D&E apart much longer, and I don't want to.

Since my background is script writing, I am not used to this much leeway. For feature length scripts I usually have only 120 pages that are not even full WORD pages--all the dialog has set margins only a few inches across, and is centered with the character's names above them each time they speak. Seriously, I would say that it would be about 60-80 full WORD doc pages--that's it. So, I've learned how to be very brief, but to make my words tight and powerful--full of meaning and subtext while propelling the story forward. Needless to say, I'm a little lost with all of this white space.

What I need is ideas for more "stuff" in between the beginning and Lizzy's trip to Pemberley. But it has to be relevant to the story and it has to propel it forward, it cannot simply be a distraction. There has to be information in it for us or the characters.

Here are some things off the top of my head, but I really would like to hear from my ladies. Tell me what you would like to have fleshed out even more.

* Jane and Bingley's relationship--maybe his disappearance in Bath

* More Wickham interaction previous to the encounter

* Should I spend more time in London with the Gardiners--the 1st time

* Should I have a Caroline subplot/story?

* Should I follow Darcy on his "business" trip while Lizzy is at Pemberley?

Ooh, I think I probably could do an entire chapter on the Darcy thing. Because he is up to something, but I don't reveal it until later. Maybe we can know, but Lizzy will be in the dark. Hmmmm.

Give up your ideas my dears--please! :0)

Friday, March 19, 2010

What a big liar I am!

You broke me. You sighed, you whimpered, and you apparently twitched. Here is Chapter 11 two days early...

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Good news and bad news...

Hello all!

Chapter 10 is up. Yay! That is the good news. The bad news is that I am catching up to myself. I cannot post two chapters a week anymore without letting things slip. I only have three more chapters to go and I have to make sure I'm wrapping everything up tightly. I technically have finished, but am going back and adding, editing, and filling out everything. I have a little more research to do as well to make sure I get some details right.

All that to say that I will not publish Chapter 11 until next Sunday. I will miss all of you, and plan to keep you with me for another 3 weeks. :0)

Enjoy this chapter...

Friday, March 12, 2010

A new title??

So, I have never been married the title, "Speak Not Against the Sun." I slapped it on so I could put it up on the JAFF sites. It seemed clever enough, but it is a mouthful. It's tied to a wonderful thread throughout my story arc, but I'm not convinced that this is what I will name my baby.

I had been toying with a joke title, which made me laugh, but the more I thought about it, the more appropriate it sounded. And it would stop a Janeite in her tracks, if she saw it in a bookstore. "The Practice of Elegant Females." Very marketable, but still not speaking to my soul.

And then, two days ago, it hit me while I was editing Chapter 9. "A Rush of Blackbirds." It's what started the entire story, and it is referred to several times thereafter. I can't stop thinking about it.

Elizabeth ran through the rain. She was dressed in her deep green gown, her hair wet and loose down her back. A dark figure in a red coat was waiting in the shadows of the wood. He smiled handsomely, and bid her to come. Elizabeth stopped in horror, and wanted to change her course, but something down the muddy path caught her eye. Mr. Darcy was sitting against the oak, holding her handkerchief, but he did not see her. He saw nothing, for scarlet was pouring from his head, and his body was twisted and broken. A rush of blackbirds startled her awake. She was in London.

Le sigh... It just sounds so dang romantic to me. Is it just me? What do you think, Miss Austen?

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I'm certain to make people angry now...

All I can say, is that I'm promising a very happy ending.  It's way too soon to end my book now, and if you want to kill a book, a movie, or a TV show--get the two, who have created sexual tension for months on end, if not years, together.  No one is interested past that.  The reader/viewer experienced their happy ending, and don't care about the wedding plans, mean relatives, or if he puts the toilet seat down or not.  I have seen it over and over again.  It is a well known fact in Hollywood that you have to do anything you can to keep the love birds apart, unless there is an ensemble cast, and this was not the only story going on.

So, since this is the only story going on, more angst is on the way.  Deal with it people (she says with deep affection...)  :0)  Enjoy the roller coaster ride.   Grab the safety bar, and hold on tight.  We can fix our hair when it's all over.

I hope that you enjoy Chapter 9.  Thanks for sticking with me this far...

Sunday, March 7, 2010

I must be getting old...

Sorry readers,

I had a little lapse, and forgot to post Chapter 8 earlier!  I was up at 4:30 this morning to sing at church and then came home, ate, and crashed.  I've been almost useless since.  Hope you enjoy this chapter.  Charlotte makes me smile.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Chapter Seven is up...

I'm rewarding all of you who have come to my blog, by posting my newest chapter here, a day before I post on the three JAFF sites.

Let me also share that I am in the home stretch.  I finally have a clear vision on just how this is going to end, and am very exited, and pretty certain that I will finish the book this month.  Knock on wood, or MacBook, whatever is closest....

So enjoy, and let me know what you think.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Warning--Angst Ahead!

Hello friends,

Sorry I could not manage to get Chapter 6 up a day earlier.  I inadvertently added two new scenes, and had to obsess over them completely before I unleashed them on you.

I would like to publish each chapter individually, but this site only lets me publish 10 pages.  So, my advice would be to scroll down to the end and then up from there.

I should warn you that you are in for a bumpy ride in Chapter 6.  It is high time a villain came and twisted his mustache, don't you think??  :0)

Don't panic.  No one dies.  Just some emotional trauma.

I hope that you enjoy it.  Let me know what you think.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Now you can read my story here!

Thanks to my new internet friend, Carrie (you rock, girl!),  I now figured out how to post my story here.   Simply click on the link under "Home" and my first five chapters will show up.  I'm still posting on three JAFF sites, and will update every Monday and Friday.  I guess I will keep the same schedule here--or maybe I'll do it here a day earlier...  Hmmmm.  What do you think?

Everyone has been wonderful.  Please let me know if you see a mistake, so I can fix it.  I'm excited about where the characters are taking me.  Wrote a VERY emotional scene yesterday--PMS can help make those brilliant!  :0)

Enjoy, and drop me a comment if you are so inclined.

Monday, February 22, 2010

What Have I Done?

Okay, so I posted my first three chapters last week on a couple of fan sites.  No big deal.  NOT!  (I haven't said that out loud for years!!)  I was not prepared for the amount of comments and emails that would accompany it.  One of the sites has a running count of how many people were actually viewing my story, and while I slept the first night it shot up to over one thousand.  (As of this morning, it is nearing two thousand.)  It boggled my mind to actually picture one thousand random strangers from all over the world reading my little personal project.  I suddenly felt exposed, self conscious, and now responsible to make all of them happy.

I heard from Sweden, Italy and France.  I feel like a Good Will Ambassador, spreading the love of Elizabeth and Darcy for all to enjoy.  Not really.  But it truly gives me pause, and opens my eyes to just how big a community this is.  And these people know P&P.  I mean know know.  They own Elizabeth and Darcy in their minds, just as I do.  I could lose readers easily, if I do something they deem out of character, or take a turn they find unbelievable, unpalatable.  I would like to say that I am doing this only for me, and do not care if I lose a reader or two, but I do care.  I want this book to go all the way to being published if I possibly could, and the fans are my most important ally.

I had an "I really need my mommy moment," and called her when I felt the full force of it.  She giggled with me about my knocking knees, but assured me that I was not in over my head.  She loves me, she believes in me, and this is what she gets paid the big bucks for.  Thanks Mom.

Promising two postings per week, I posted Chapter 4 just a while ago.  I am also posting on a third site this afternoon and will upload all four since I don't want to have to remember who gets what chapters when. 

So, now that I am over the shock, I am hoping that I can actually get some helpful feedback.  I have been taking advantage of the forums, and already have some seasoned vets helping me with what to do with Wickham.  This journey has just been kicked up a notch or two, and I'm excited and even more motivated.  I will have to work hard to keep ahead of my posting schedule which is two chapters every week.  I'm good for a few more weeks...

Thank you to everyone of my new friends, who are on this interesting little journey with me.  Don't be afraid to help me along with little nudges.  I'm terrified, but exhilarated at the same time.  I couldn't ask for a better way to keep accountable. 

Goodbye for now.  And Miss Austen?  Were you this scared?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

First Three Chapters Are Up!

Something inspired me, possibly choosing a title.  I went ahead and posted my first three chapters, pimples and all, on a JAF site called A Happy Assembly.  Hope you enjoy!

A Time Line, and Possibly, A Title...

I'm doing a time line jig! Isn't it purdy?? (Can you see the artwork of Mr. Darcy in my P&P book from 1940? He looks so darn snooty, it makes me giggle.) So, my novel takes place in a ten month period. I just found that out last night, when I started putting a time line together. I was starting to lose track of key events, and was having to search for certain passages I had written, to know who did what and when. I went to a wonderful sight that has already been invaluable called the Regency Encyclopedia, and found an old scanned written time line of P&P. I took notes, and was able to make my own time line using P&P's, since some of the same things still happen in my book after my jumping off point.

We start in November the day after the Netherfield ball and go to the following September, which is exactly one year from the day Bingley decided to take up residence in Hertfordshire. I just finished writing what happened in March, which you can see many many major things happened. So, now my book has progressed into April, which is slow and sort of uneventful. I'm ruminating and trying to figure out what our star crossed lovers are thinking--how they are processing things, because things will pick up in the summer. I'm actually catching my breath, since writing about the events in Hunsford exhausted me. (Lizzy does go to visit Charlotte, but the events are very different from P&P.) I was actually tensed up while I was typing, and my heart was pounding. How nerdy am I?

I also might be able to do an "I Chose a Title" jig. I'm just not positive it's the best marketing choice. From the research I have done, if you really want to grab true Austenites, they recommend that you title your books with something recognizable in it, like Pemberly, Darcy, or Longbourn. Or to do a play on the original title--like Pride and Pestilence, which is still a viable option for me. :0) But my really awesome, well-obsessed-over title is neither. Writers love to be either extremely clever, or want deep and prophetic strings tied to their works. One of my produced scripts, which was a modern day Jonah story, I entitled "Hold the Anchovies." It still makes me proud. (Of course I had to explain to my scientist hubby, "What if Jonah ordered pizza?" Three seconds later, he smiled and nodded.)

So, my maybe-title "Speak Not Against the Sun," will not stop a Jane Austen fanatic in her heels at the bookstore, but it is a fun and meaningful thread throughout my book. When Elizabeth wants to distract herself in my novel, she recites Latin verses she has memorized. She did just that under her breath within earshot of Darcy,"Adversus solem ne loquitor," which translates as "speak not against the sun", or "why argue when you have no chance of winning?" Darcy understands her and it becomes a private joke or spear point between them the rest of the book. Should I go for the marketing method or with my vanity? What think you, esteemed reader?

I'll post something new from my book next time. If any of you have a good book title idea for me, give it up! Until then, forgive me, dearest Jane...

Friday, February 12, 2010


When I first decided that I was going to write a JAFF book, I had to choose between a modern adaptation and a Regency era "what if." I had a list going of pros and cons for both, and one of the cons for a Regency era book was the vernacular. I thought it would be difficult trying to use words that I have only read, and most likely never uttered out loud. Also the order of the words--they are unintuitive. And the predicates are all over the board with Jane. I just didn't think I could get in the groove. I was wrong. No. How wrong I was.

We all know that there are little freaky pockets of our brains that stow away bits of information that we never intended to keep. But I was not expecting that I had a little stash of words and phrasings that I would use on a whim some day. All those years of period dramas, Masterpiece Theater, Bronte books, and of course my beloved Austen books and screen adaptations paid off. When I chose Regency, I dove right in, and out of my subconscious came flowing a river of words that I would never have strung together in every day life. It surprised me how easy it was. Thanks little freaky brain.

The problem for me now is that those words that I spend hours on, meant for characters living and breathing in 1800, are starting to come out in my every day conversations. "Make haste!" and "Are you quite well?" are escaping without any thought. I'll be lucky if I don't start running around in empire waisted frocks instead of my everyday blue jeans, and buying ugly bonnets to make over.

Some words are new to me, and some are old friends. One word that I have fallen in love with during this journey is "great." The power of that word is lost in our language today. We use it to mean awesome, wonderful or sometimes large, but it's lost its weight. Its heaviness. Its poundage. "A great slap" is sooo much better than a "hard slap." There is more force, but also more class attached to it. A "great shout" is ten times better than a "loud shout"--or is it just me? I have been having to quell (another ancient word I never used before) my liberal use of "great" and rein myself in, but I have enjoyed my new appreciation for that great word.

Okay, back to my work in progress. I've written about 130 pages so far. The checklist helped a great deal. I will leave you with a little paragraph that makes me laugh each time I read it. Poor Caroline is the one lady everyone loves to hate, and I'm no exception. I hope you enjoy it too. Thanks for keeping up with me.


Surprisingly, and most likely against Caroline’s wishes and knowledge, Mr. Bingley came calling at Longbourn two days later. Elizabeth wondered if he had to lower himself from an upper story while his sister was distracted cooking plump children. She also noted that it was fortuitous that her young visiting cousins were mostly lean and thus safe. Mrs. Bennet could barely contain her raptures, and Mr. Bingley was immediately invited to dinner the following night, which he graciously accepted, though they were merely having fish.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Checklist... check!

Yay! I did it! I got my checklist (that we are not calling an outline) done! I have 11 major "things" that need to happen to forward my story to it's happy conclusion. My characters now have somewhere to go, and I can't wait to have them all pile in the bus and get this show on the road.

I will leave you with my first few opening paragraphs of my book, since I have nothing new to share with you. It's important to hit the ground running when you write, because the first two sentences can either turn someone off, or get them excited about turning the page. So, I literally have Elizabeth run right out of the door without a word to anyone.

See you all soon!


No quicker did Elizabeth open the door, then did Mrs. Bennet step forward with an exaggerated expression of great felicitation. Elizabeth, having spent all her humor trying to convince Mr. Collins that her refusal to his marriage proposal was indeed sincere, had none left for her mother. She simply stepped around the lady and strode as calmly as she could manage through the vestibule, and out the front door.

Not far behind, Mr. Collins appeared at the breakfast room door with a look of self importance, mixed with the after effects of straight vinegar. He caught a glimpse of Elizabeth’s white frock disappearing around the corner. Mrs. Bennet turned toward him hoping for clarification.

“Mr. Collins?” Mrs. Bennet asked as she tried to decipher his odd expression.

Elizabeth had not even stopped to pick up her bonnet. Her legs would not let her tarry. They moved swiftly without being instructed. They carried her further and further away from Longbourn, and that horrible ridiculous man. “Almost as soon as he entered this house…” How arrogant! How insulting! How self-serving can one man be? And how could he accuse her of being bashful? Had he not observed her for more than one second? Or did he see only what flattered his shallow mind?

Without any thought beyond driving the memory of Mr. Collins’ nearness and his breath from her mind, Elizabeth picked up her skirt and hastened into the trees. She had no destination, and no will to return anytime soon. Her mother and her ever-present nerves would be in similar spirit no matter what time she returned. Charlotte Lucas was due to come by and relive the Netherfield ball minute by minute, but Elizabeth would not regret missing the reveling. Too much had happened. This morning. Last night. Oh, last night! Elizabeth’s head was full of it, and did not get one wink of sleep. Mr. Collin’s superior timing had only added to her misery, and she was exultant to be free of everyone. Of everything--even if only for a while. She would take all day, she determined as she gauged the sky, before its vastness got lost behind the towering firs, and gave no thought whatsoever to her thin muslin or delicate slippers.

The trees provided desperately wanted shelter. Her face was flushed, and the coolness of the shaded wood was the answering remedy. Elizabeth had felt exposed out in the open; exposed to Mr. Collin’s insincere overtures, her mother’s unbridled tongue, her sisters’ wild behavior, the poorly concealed contempt emanating from Caroline’s and Louisa’s smug faces, and his inescapable eyes. Those eyes. Why she could not get Mr. Darcy’s stare out of her head even now, was beyond her comprehension.

Though she ran to escape, uncontrollable thoughts kept stride and swirled around her head. The unexpected and very intense dance with Mr. Darcy would not leave her alone. Though they sparred, he very gently held her hand. Though his face severe, there was something altogether different in his eyes, almost soft. Though she accused, the way he looked at her seemed to be communicating to her something far beyond their spoken conversation. This would not do! If ever she could disappear, she wished it would happen at that very moment.

She picked up her pace along with her gown and even dared to clear small boulders and fallen branches without any fear. This might not be acceptable behavior for a woman of almost one and twenty, but the surge of release Elizabeth felt with each stride and bound kept her from caring one straw what the trees and woodland creatures would think. She filled her lungs with the scents of moss, earthy lichen, and sharp resinous sap. The damp coolness of the ground spread quickly through her house shoes and chilled her feet, and it gave her a certain measure of boldness. If the tiny beasts were to have a forest ball this evening, she was happy to give them all the scandalous conversation they would need.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Outline, schmoutline

My writing process would make most professionals cringe. I've never been one for outlines. I just jump in to my stories with both feet and see where they take me. I'm just as surprised as anyone when a story takes an unexpected turn, or if a character does something out of the ordinary. Honestly, I feel like I'm an unseen reporter in the corner, writing furiously as the characters interact with each other without any interference from me.

In high school, I remember having to turn in outlines before we wrote essays or term papers. I actually wrote the papers first. It was already in my head and came out almost perfectly organized with little tweaking needed. I would then make my outline from the finished product. The cart waay before the horse. I'm sure that if the teacher changed something in my outline, I would then do the same to the essay, but it just seemed so pointless to me.

Essays, apparently, are very different from books. I'm assuming length has the most to do with it, which is directly tied to my brain capacity. Eighty some odd pages came flowing out of me almost effortlessly for this book, but then my characters started yawning, lolling about and fiddling with their frocks. Subsequently, someone glanced over my way, did a double-take, and told the others I was there. Now they are staring at me and waiting. I wished I dressed better for the occasion.

They did work hard, so I decided to give them a respite. I left them alone and let myself be distracted for several days when a great screenplay idea came to me (actually this book sparked it.) I thought that when I came back to my book, the characters would be rested and ready to move forward, and to surprise me once again. I was wrong.

So, I think it's time for an outline. Goals, really. A checklist of sorts, and unlike outlines, I LOVE checklists. So does my husband. There is nothing quite as satisfying as being able to check something off of an official check list with a big flourish and pen leaving the paper and flying up in the air. Last year, my husband and I were getting ready for a vacation, and we both had our separate lists. We were checking things off and getting things done, when he looked over at me with a glint in his eye and said, "I have never been more attracted to you than I am at this very moment." Needless to say, we had to add something else to our lists. :0)

Translating that to my book--I can make a list of things I want to happen and check them off as I go. What do I want to happen? Where should it happen? How do I get this particular character to do this? What or who will be a wrench and keep Elizabeth and Darcy apart just a little while longer? So much better than a boring and restricting outline! I like the openness of it, I can add another line at anytime. Yes, this checklist idea will be the ticket. I can't wait to get to it. Good thing my husband is at work.

Here's a little something for you until next time. Elizabeth came to stay in London with her aunt and uncle, and they are hosting a dinner party that Mr. Darcy and Col. Fitzwilliam have been invited to. Elizabeth knows that people are talking about her and both of the gentlemen, and is not looking forward to the get together. Thanks for keeping up with me, and Miss Austen? Please forgive me...


Friday night came too quickly. Elizabeth considered having a great headache, but she knew how disappointed her aunt would be, if not suspicious. Georgiana would not be coming as Elizabeth had wished. Elizabeth had called on her and promised her that she would not leave her alone for one moment, but Georgiana would have none of it. She begged Elizabeth to forgive her, and claimed she was too young and too awkward for a formal dinner party. Of course Elizabeth forgave her, and the two played duets on Georgiana’s pianoforte until just before the gentlemen were expected home, and Elizabeth felt the need to leave.

Elizabeth helped Mrs. and Mr. Gardiner welcome their guests. Mrs. Boyle came with her ancient husband, and was happy to tell Elizabeth that her grandson was very pleased by her looks and manners, and would not be sorry to dance with her again if the occasion arose. But she also kindly warned Elizabeth not to set her hat on him, since he was still young and very susceptible to pretty faces, and hadn’t learned the merits of what a good match meant. All this had to be repeated very loudly so Mr. Boyle and the servants downstairs could hear that Elizabeth should not set her hat on their precious, scrawny heir apparent. Elizabeth began to think that her name suited her perfectly, and wished for her permanent removal.

Mrs. Gardiner set an elegant table, and after drinks, Elizabeth found herself sitting next to none other than Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth knew it was by design, and tried not to blush when she realized where she would be spending the next hour and a half. She rose to the occasion and graciously smiled and talked to everyone around her. She was in the middle of listening to a Mrs. Grey speak of her recent visit to court where the Prince Regent had fallen asleep during the knighting of the Duke of Somethingshire, when Mrs. Boyle’s shrill voice came up significantly in volume from the opposite end of the table.

“No, dearest! She only has one thousand after her mother’s death, not one thousand per annum! Poor dear. That would be at least something!”

Elizabeth froze for a moment, and she could see that a few faces had turned to her. Quickly and graciously, her dear uncle remarked on something humorous that happened outside of the House of Commons and everyone’s attention was diverted. Almost everyone’s. A low voice spoke next to her.

“Perhaps we should just get cards printed out for you, so no one is confused on the subject, Miss Bennet.”

Elizabeth looked over at Mr. Darcy who was smiling, but not necessarily teasing. She felt so grateful that he was not repulsed by her situation, and that he was making an effort to lighten the situation.

She smiled back at him. “I don’t think that will be necessary while Mrs. Boyle still breathes, Mr. Darcy.”

Darcy lowered his voice further and leaned in a little bit closer to her ear. “Well, we can always hope for a well placed pheasant bone to block her air passage,” he mused.

Elizabeth's eyes widened. Mr. Darcy had made a joke and a very good one! She had to use her napkin to hide a sudden burst of laughter, and Col. Fitzwilliam looked over from across the table noticing their camaraderie.

Elizabeth recovered and whispered back, but while facing her own plate. “You shock me, Mr. Darcy. I did not think that you were capable of such indecorous thoughts. I was under the opinion that I alone was guilty of such things.”

“Not at all, Miss Bennet. Great minds think alike.” And with that, he took a drink of his wine. Elizabeth did the same and looked up to notice Col. Fitzwilliam smiling at her. She quickly returned it.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ahh, research...

Hey, all three of my followers! (How are you, Mom?) My eyes are bloodshot. Visine is my friend. I have been researching like a mad woman, finding helpful Jane Austen fan sites, blogs, a Regency encyclopedia--anything that will assist me with my book. A couple of the sites I found will let anyone upload their own JAFF (Jane Austen Fan Fiction) writings. It's actually a lot of fun. Some of the people posting are writing in English as their 2nd language, God bless 'em.

I found a forum where fans were giving their top 5 "musts" for a Jane Austen "What if?" novel. Almost across the board, they insisted that Elizabeth and Darcy end up together. No brainer for me. Others were concerned about "angst" either having too much or too little. I was a little confused, thinking maybe they had a different Jane encoded meaning for angst, because there is no compelling story worth being read without angst. It's a major force that drives a story forward and keeps us turning the page. We worry that Darcy might never be able to get a 2nd chance after his first disastrous proposal. We wring our hands wondering if Lydia's elopement will be just too much for Darcy to handle. The more I read in the forums, the more I understood that some of the novels--not all--which lean toward "romance" which equals lots of sex (they call it "fluff") do not have a lot of major conflicts. My thinking is that would keep the lovers apart, and thus major lack of pillow talk. Correct me if I'm wrong about this, but that is what I was getting.

The JAFF base is wide and varied. From Darcy and Elizabeth possibly touching with ungloved hands to Harlequin style bedroom romps on every third page. So, I'm told... well, so I found out quite by accident. :0) What I found most amusing was a list of acronyms and made up terms used. Some were sight specific and some were across the board, like JAFF. One site had pictures of Colin Firth (CF) in period dress from the mini series (P&P2), and had a pink arrow pointing to his crotch with the term "bunchage" under it. LOL! Poor man.

So, I brushed up on ballroom manners, found out that a lady NEVER calls on a gentleman, and uncovered the fact that women in the early 19th century went al fresco--no underpants until early mid century, around 1820-1830. Must have been breezy. I have also managed to write 42 pages, which kind of despressed me, until I realized that books are not printed in 8.5 by 11. So, I can almost double that, and claim that I have over 80 pages under my belt!

I'll give you a little peek and pick out something fun for below. It's Darcy reliving the dance he had with Elizabeth at Netherfield. If you didn't just catch it--I'm getting into Darcy's head! I'm determined to have it be "man" thoughts and not overly sentimental feminine interpretation of what a man would think. It won't be vulgar, but just normal struggles a man has around a pretty woman. My husband has told me on more than one occasion that all men are pigs, it's just that some are better at hiding their curly tails than others. Darcy is not thinking about how pretty her dress is...


It was a crisp morning, and Darcy had to admit that Hertfordshire was a beautiful place. No great rocks and mountains, but the rolling green hills and the woods pleased. He toured the park around Netherfield, mildly feeling the sting of the loss he tried not to think about. He tried not to think about how her small hand felt in his, how her plump lips tightened into a thin line when she was cross, and he tried not to think about how her eyes changed color with what she wore. Last night they were light green. They matched her gown perfectly. And when he took her hand to dance, those green eyes pierced right through him like she knew every thought he has ever had. He was in awe, he was ashamed, and he was relieved. For if she could read his thoughts, a great slap would have come hard upon his cheek. Oh, but what a pleasure it was to see the fire in those amazing eyes of hers. Darcy smiled slightly, and he couldn’t help but think of how very worth a slap from Miss Elizabeth Bennet might be, if he was a lesser man.


Thanks for keeping up with me. Goodbye for now, and please forgive me Jane.

Friday, January 22, 2010

A Purist Converted

There are a host of Austen fans out there who want screen adaptations to stick really close to Jane's books. They want to see the correct carriages from the era, accurate hairstyles and costumes. They don't want to see any garden plants springing up which did not exist in England in 1810, and most importantly, they want everything that happens on the screen to have come from only the brilliant mind of Miss Jane Austen.

To an extent, I was like that--minus the carriages and the plants. I was so fond of her characters, and felt like I knew them so well--they were old friends. So, when I saw a beloved character do something that I deemed "out of character," I literally bristled. If a completely new scene or character was introduced, or a location was changed from the book, I was distracted and felt as if I was pushed off of a most familiar path.

The 2005 version of P&P bugged me. Greatly. For years. I adored the 1995 mini series, and owned it on VHS. I remember plunking down over $80 for it at Costco--never having ever seen it, just knowing how much I loved the book. (I even made back up copies of the tapes--just in case!) Of course, I now have the DVD version, and there is no way to count how many times I have seen it. I have lines memorized and looks from the actors etched in my brain. So, even though I was sooo very excited to see the new adaptation, I was quickly turned off by it almost from the first scene. I was pushed off of my familiar path and landed hard on my hynie.

My head was spinning with everything that was wrong. Wrong! Wrong! It was all wrong! First of all, I couldn't get past the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Bennet actually loved each other. I felt that was such an important drive in Elizabeth NOT to have a marriage like her parents, which made her refusal of Mr. Collins all the more integral to the story line. I felt that they portrayed the Bennets as too poor and shabby. The Bennet girls would have had better frocks. They had spending money, and bonnets and gowns was what most of them obsessed over day and night--aside from officers. And I don't think that their house would have been such a disaster. There is NO WAY that Mrs. Bennet would have allowed a pig in her house, no matter how well endowed he was!! They changed the location of the most important scene in the book--Darcy's first proposal. How dare they?! Lady Catherine De Bourgh would never have visited the Bennets in the middle of the night, and what was Lizzy doing running around the countryside in her nightgown? And lastly, (and the more I think about it, most importantly,) I just couldn't "get" Matthew MacFadyen as Mr. Darcy. He wasn't "pretty" like Colin Firth, and he seemed more awkward than sure of himself. It made me sort of mad. I was truly disappointed. I pouted. I bought the DVD unseen with high expectations. I tucked it away in my library after one viewing and it stayed there until last spring.

Masterpiece Theater (now called Masterpiece Classics) ran a new mini series last year called "Little Dorret," and I fell in love with Matthew MacFadyen's character. He was so sweet, so vulnerable and so tortured at the same time, that I couldn't help but pull out P&P again. I was curious to watch again after four years with new eyes. I'm not sure what it was--maybe I decided to let go of the '95 adaptation and all my preconceived ideas, maybe I needed to be more attracted to the actor playing Mr. Darcy, maybe a combination of the two, but I fell head over heels for the 2005 adaptation.

I watched it over and over again. Keira Knightly was amazing (but that was never a question in my mind, even before). She was the right age (let's all face it, Jennifer Ehle looked closer to 30 than to 20, and Colin firth looked about 35 and not 25--because he was!) and I appreciated the fact that her hair wasn't perfect and her gowns weren't ironed professionally. She was Elizabeth Bennet. Young yet intelligent, spunky yet reserved, restrained yet passionate, observant yet clueless to her own feelings.

The more I watched it, the more I appreciated the "changes" made (except the pig). I appreciated them for what they were--artistic interpretations. We were not promised a recreation, we were promised a film "based" on the book, and that we were served. Matthew MacFadyen surprised me. He could smolder just as hotly as Colin Firth did, but just differently. What he did with his hand after he touched Elizabeth for the first time made my heart skip a beat. So much was said without one little word. What surprised me the most, was how much I loved the proposal under the grecian thingy in the rain. It was so dramatic, so unexpected for Elizabeth--and when they were arguing just inches from each other drenched in rain, and Darcy leaned in for a split second... heavy sigh! Mr. MacFadyen may not be pretty, but he was rugged, tortured and down right sexy there. He was in love, he was speared through, he was angry, he was vulnerable, he was mortified. He was Mr. Darcy.

OMG! I had lived out my own P&P moment! First impressions and all. All my preconceived notions--the way things "should be" versus just enjoying the movie for what it was, clouded my judgment. I will always feel like a little version of Elizabeth or Darcy, turning up my nose at something because I was so prejudiced. Heh heh... I love irony.

So, all that to say, in taking on a "What if?" using Pride and Prejudice, how closely do I stick to Miss Austen's voice, vision and characters? Everyone has their own opinions, as do I. The very nature of a "What if?" book excludes the true purists right away--they spit in our general direction and wish with every fiber of their being that we would leave poor Miss Austen and her works alone. But plenty more cannot get enough of her books and characters, and that is why I'm here today. Should I write as closely as I can to Miss Austen's vernacular and style? Should my own "voice" be heard at all? Can I write this, still stay true to the spirit of P&P, yet let myself come through?

Doing research, I have read four fan fiction books now. Three were modern adaptations and one "What if?" Holy moly! I wasn't prepared for the first one--the "What if?" Regency era one. I was at about page twenty when Darcy and Elizabeth started taking their clothes off! Talk about out of character! I literally gasped in unbelief, closed the book and instinctively looked around. I was alone, but I think my dog knew. She has kept my secret ever since, but requires a lot more treats.

Obviously, I can do anything I please, but I want to strike a nice balance. I won't have Lizzy making out with Mr. Wickham on a dare from Charlotte--I'm determined to stay true to the characters, but I don't necessarily want to copy Jane Austen's style completely. I want some of me to show through, so there will be a little different flavor, my flavor. I've already made up a completely new character who cracks me up. She's a French maid of the Gardiner's who gets Lizzy ready for the London balls she attends during her stay. Oh, crap! It just occurred to me that maybe I got that from "Little Women." I might have to remedy the whole French thing now. England was at war with them, anyway. Oh well...

"I will use Miss Austen's vision and characters as my springboard, but I will let myself be heard without distracting the reader."

How do you like that? :0) At least that's my goal. How I will carry it out--I have no idea. Maybe I should turn my attention to that now. I will go now and de-French a maid.

Goodbye for now, and please rest peacefully, Miss Austen.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Best Come Back Ever

“That was very ungenerous of you, Miss Eliza, to lie to Mr. Darcy’s face like that. Quite distasteful. I have to say that I will think twice before I believe anything else you say,” Caroline jabbed. She and Louisa shared a glance of victory before the former fixed her steely gaze back on Elizabeth.

“You look very lovely today, Miss Bingley,” Elizabeth simply replied with a sweet smile. Almost every occupant in the room, including Georgiana and the cufflink absorbed Mr. Hurst, stifled a smile.


That one really got me laughing. Of course, it was 1:00 a.m., and there was no one awake to share it with, but I cracked up none the less. It was like I was sitting in the corner taking notes while everyone interacted, and I was so proud of Elizabeth standing up to snotty Caroline like that. I'm not as clever or as bold as Elizabeth, but I sure would like to be her when I grow up.

Worked a little on Chapter 3 today. Elizabeth runs into Col. Fitzwilliam at a ball in London and sparks fly. In P&P he is quite charming and Elizabeth develops a crush on him, but it was never explored in any screen adaptation that I have seen, so I thought he might have to be Darcy's rival for at least a little while, but I don't think I'm through with Wickham yet either.

I'm going to take a break and read a P&P modern adaptation that just came from Amazon today. Research, you know... the fun kind. I will let you know if I like it, but won't name names if I don't, since I don't want to offend any fellow Austen writers.

Good night for now, and please forgive me Jane...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Struggling with inner monologue

Okay, so I was completely distracted today by a call from a dear friend who thinks that she met Mr. Right. He even kissed her before she boarded her train...heavy sigh.

So, I'm struggling whether or not I should let the readers into Darcy's head, and hence his feelings for Elizabeth. Miss Austen pretty much kept the readers twisting in the wind along with Elizabeth. I know that made things all the more potent and surprising when he proposed, but I also felt that Darcy was never truly fleshed out in the book and only regurgitated through Elizabeth's eyes. Maybe I can wait about halfway through and then let him loose, but would that be inconsistent?? Arrgh.

Well, here's a fun little scene from Chapter 2 of the still unnamed "What if?" novel. Darcy was involved in a riding accident the morning after the Netherfield ball and the sudden move to London to Keep Bingley and Jane apart did not happen.


“Darcy is grumpier than usual,” Mr. Bingley declared as they had tea one day. Bingley glanced over at Elizabeth and back at his tea before he continued. “He is an active man, and only being able to get as far as the garden is taking its toll on the poor fellow. He must have been a bear when you happened upon him, Miss Elizabeth.”

Elizabeth looked up from her tea. All eyes were on her. Not much had been said to her family on the subject of Elizabeth’s assistance, except to Jane. Elizabeth felt that a detailed description of her involvement would only bring unneeded speculation and gossip. If Mr. Darcy had not been so injured, it could have been a very compromising situation. So, she only spoke of her finding him and running for help.

“If you say ‘bear’ meaning unconscious and bleeding profusely—then by all means, Mr. Bingley, he was a great bear.” She smiled innocently and took another sip.

“Good heavens, Lizzy! How shocking! He was bleeding profusely? You didn’t relate that to us,” complained Mrs. Bennet, as she considered that the two who preceded the Good Samaritan most likely had excellent and sound reasons to pass on the opposite side of the road.

“You didn’t ask me anything about it, Mama,” Elizabeth noted calmly.

Lydia snorted. “No, she was too busy with our cousin, Mr. Collins, who was violently in love at the time.” Kitty and Lydia both held back laughter while Aunt Gardiner shot them looks to behave.

“I do have it in my power to tell you how upset I was when I found out you had left on foot in the rain to return to Longbourn, instead of taking shelter in my home, Miss Elizabeth,” Bingley said with sincerity, and Elizabeth felt it fully.

“Please forgive me, Mr. Bingley. You needed only to worry about Mr. Darcy, and I didn’t mind the walk one bit. I did not catch cold, I assure you.” She hesitated. “Please also convey that to Mr. Darcy for me, as I know I broke a promise to him."

“Well, you will have to convey that information yourself, Miss Elizabeth.” She looked up at him in surprise, as did the rest of the room as if he would produce the gentleman out of his trouser pocket that very moment. “I am to extend an invitation to the two eldest Miss Bennets to lunch at Netherfield tomorrow. Miss Darcy is staying with us and longs for more diverse company. May I tell her that you will attend?”


So, that's all. If real romance would stop happening around here, maybe I could get some work done...

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Getting Started...

Indulging a not so secret passion, I've decided to try my hand at a "What if?" novel based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, which has been one of my favorite books for over a decade. Don't get me started on the different adaptations, I will save that for another post...

Novels are new to me, as I'm mainly a script writer. I freelanced for a children's radio program and had one of my episodes turned into an animated DVD. I have since turned my attention to TV and feature film writing, but couldn't resist the siren call of this particular venue of fan fiction. The freedom of being able to describe a character's thoughts and feelings without the use of a narrator or an inner monologue is so refreshing! I'm still having to remind myself to let loose describing locations, people, sights and smells. (Oh, and writing in past tense is taking some getting used to...)

So, I started the still unnamed "What if?" last night and have two very thin first chapters. My "what if" starts the day after the Netherfield Ball, and just after the "universally charmed" Mr. Collins proposes to Elizabeth. In summary: What if Mr. Darcy breaks his ankle getting thrown from a horse, is aided by Elizabeth, and the occupants of Netherfield never leave for London as planned to keep Bingley away from Jane? What if Miss Darcy comes to Netherfield to be with her brother during his recovery and she and Lizzy become fast friends? What if a huge misunderstanding between Darcy and Elizabeth causes Lizzy to flee to London with the Gardiners? What if Darcy follows her there?

And then, I'm out. Stay tuned... and please forgive me, Jane. :0)