Sunday, April 28, 2013

8 More Sentences from Betrothed to Mr. Darcy

I'm back for a second week of Weekend Writing Warriors. Thanks for stopping by.

This snippet is from Betrothed to Mr. Darcy, a Pride and Prejudice variation that I am writing. In this scene, Mr. Bennet and Mr. Darcy are arguing over the terms of the marriage settlement. Elizabeth arrives to find her two favorite men shouting at each other across her father's desk.

“But, this man” he pointed at Darcy yet again. Lizzy wondered at the restraint her intended showed because a lesser man who dared to point at Mr. Darcy not once, but twice, might have found his finger snapped off at the joint, “refuses to accept anything.”

Before she could voice her surprise, Mr. Darcy responded to the accusation. “I am simply being practical, sir. My income is more than sufficient to provide funds for the care of my future wife,” despite his anger, a smile formed on his mouth when he said ‘wife’ and his eyes softened as they looked to the object of his affection, “But you, sir, have a wife and two other daughters to provide for, not to mention the likelihood that your youngest will need financial assistance for the balance of her marriage and beyond.”

“Is it not shameful enough that I am obliged to you for the expense of one daughter’s marriage and the living of her husband but you expect me to allow you the full measure of support for my most beloved daughter as well? It cannot be.”

Betrothed to Mr. Darcy follows Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy during the period of time between their betrothal and marriage. In addition to the usual stresses associated with planning a wedding, Elizabeth Bennet is forced to confront the impact that her family's behavior and reputation will have on not just Mr. Darcy, but his sister, Georgiana, as well. Will she set aside her desire to be his bride in order to protect the Darcy name and reputation? 

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Finished My First Draft of Betrothed to Mr. Darcy!

Due to the overwhelming response to my last post asking what happens after the knock on the door, I deleted the knock on the door and went back to my original plan. Maybe there will be a knock on the door in my next book. Or the next draft of this one.

I was really running out of steam and I knew the basics of the scenes I wanted to write, but I just didn't have enough brain cells left to actually write the scenes so I put in notes like "here is where I will write dialogue so poignant the reader will weep" and moved on to the dialogue that I knew I wanted to write for sure.

But, it is done and has been sent off to some trusted readers for feedback.

I'm a little nervous.

Monday, April 22, 2013

What Happens After The Knock On The Door

I'm very close to the end of the first draft of Betrothed to Mr. Darcy. Yay! 

I know where the story is going from here but I had a bright idea to add a little twist to the story. I'm wondering if it was a stroke of brilliance or just a nutty act of desperation. 

Let me set the scene. It's the night before Lizzy and Mr. Darcy are to be married (and Jane and Bingley too, but they aren't the stars here). Everyone has gathered at Netherfield and spirits are high. Everyone behaves well and the mood is festive. Until Mrs. Bennet commits a couple of major, and loud, faux pas. 

This scene takes place after the Bennets have returned home and Lizzy is in her bedroom reflecting on the evening and on the morrow. 

But there was no hiding it. There was no avoiding it. No matter how she or Mr. Darcy comported themselves or how far away they might live, she would never be free of the association with her family. She might be able to bear their vulgarity, she had survived this long with them, but what of Miss Darcy? The poor girl had to practically be carried from the room. Colonel Fitzwilliam had his arm firmly around her waist and her feet barely touched the floor as he moved her out of harm’s way.

She recollected the conversation she’d had earlier in the evening with Georgiana about courage. The girl had even made some progress during the party as she interacted with the small group who were gathered. A faint smile touched the corners of her lips as she recalled watching Georgiana and Kitty giggle together at the far side of the room. She suspected that Miss Darcy had not had many friends of her own age with whom to share girly confidences.

In contrast, her mind conjured up the look of sheer terror on Miss Darcy’s face when she said “Pemberley? Is not Pemberley safe from him?”

Lizzy’s footsteps echoed around the nearly empty room as she continued to pace. Finally she collapsed across the bed, lying upon her stomach, staring into the corner of the floor.
A small object caught her attention and diverted her from her thoughts. She left the bed and recovered it.

Her eyes grew wide when she recognized the handwriting and then recalled the contents.
It was the letter Mr. Darcy had given her the morning after that dreadful night in Hunsford when he had proposed to her and she had refused him.

Hands shaking, she unfolded the papers and re-read their contents, though she had nearly committed the entirety of it to memory. Her eyes scanned down the pages and one sentence stood out from all the others, taunting her with its accuracy.

The situation of your mother’s family, though objectionable was nothing in comparison to that total want of propriety so frequently, almost uniformly betrayed by herself, by your three younger sisters, and occasionally even by your father. 

Total want of propriety.

The phrase perfectly described her mother this evening, though she was pleased to note that both Kitty and Mary behaved well and her father had shown surprising interest in his wife and her well-being.

That was little consolation in the face of the utter devastation her mother had created. She could have borne the humiliation of her mother’s conversation with Mrs. Hurst and Miss Bingley. Being forced, at high volume and in the presence of Miss Bingley, to recollect the hideous scene her mother had created in London had been degrading, but she would survive it.

What seemed insurmountable was the notion of forcing Miss Darcy to endure such attacks, and in her own home, where she ought to feel safest.

Lizzy hated thinking of her mother as a threat to anyone. In general, she was harmless, simply loud and vulgar. Not ideal characteristics, but overall, she was not ill-intentioned in her statements. She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper.

Lizzy sat upon the edge of her bed and looked around the room again. Her trunks were packed and stacked against one wall. This would be her last night in this room, or at least her last as an unmarried woman.

She had spent the whole of her life living at Longbourn, snuggled into the sisterly bosom of her four sisters. As her father often said, the younger girls were silly indeed, but as girls they had all enjoyed bouts of silliness. It was a home often filled with laughter and the lively chatter of girls whose lives were largely carefree.

As they had grown, the girls were not nearly so close with one another, though she and Jane had always been of similar mindset.

She surveyed the bed and recalled the night that she and Jane had sat upon it while she shared with Jane the happy news that she was to wed Mr. Darcy. She smiled at the recollection of Jane’s incredulity. Jane, always properly composed, had been all amazement at her sister’s announcement.

Lizzy’s heart warmed at the recollection of climbing between the covers of her bed that night, after Mr. Darcy had shared his feelings with her, and clasping to her heart the sweet secret of his love for her. 

Could not the power of their love for one another overcome the minor flaws of her family?
She laid her head against the pillows, closed her eyes and remembered that tomorrow she would be Mr. Darcy’s bride. A contented sigh escaped her lips.

Her few minutes of sleep were suddenly interrupted by a pounding at the front door followed by the screams of her mother. “What is it? Are we to be murdered in our beds? Shall I never have a moment’s peace in this house?”

The pounding continued until Mr. Bennet in his night clothes and robe made his way to the front door, while Jane went to calm their mother who was in the throws of a near seizure. “What shall it matter if I am killed in my bed by robbers? It will be a relief to you all, and Lizzy especially since she hates me and never wants me to set foot in Pemberley.”

“Mama,” Lizzy said, exasperated. “Please calm yourself so that we may determine what has caused this disruption.”

The door opened and....

What happens next? Have I written myself down a rabbit hole from which there is no return?  

Sunday, April 21, 2013

#8Sunday From Betrothed To Mr. Darcy

Welcome! This is my first time to participate in Weekend Writing Warriors. Thanks for taking the time to visit my blog. 

This snippet is from my current Work In Progress, Betrothed to Mr. Darcy

Their mother, evidently aroused by the sounds of them entering, rushed to the top of the stairs to shout to her daughter, “Lizzy! You must stop them. I know that your father will fight Mr. Darcy and will be killed and then what shall happen to us? Mr. Collins and his dreadful wife Charlotte will take possession of our home and turn us out into the cold.”

“Mama,” Elizabeth gathered all her good humor to respond to her mother, “I am sure that the two of them will not come to blows. Please calm yourself and I will investigate.”

“My nerves. Oh my nerves. As if planning weddings and wedding clothes for two daughters wasn’t enough to tear my nerves to shreds, now your father has angered Mr. Darcy and even if Mr. Darcy does not fight him, he may well decide not to marry you. Oh, I knew it was too much to hope that a man with ten thousand a year would marry you, Elizabeth.”

Betrothed to Mr. Darcy follows Elizabeth Bennet as she prepares to marry Mr. Darcy. Despite her fervent wish to become his bride, Lizzy's sense of duty causes her to doubt the wisdom of forcing the Darcys to become associated with the vulgarity and silliness of the Bennet family. 

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

In (Slight) Defense of Mrs. Bennet

Mrs. Bennet. I enjoy writing for her character because she is so silly and over the top. 

But, I wonder, if perhaps, Mrs. Bennet has not always been given fair credit for her efforts to marry off her daughters. Admittedly, her efforts on behalf of Lydia ended horribly, though in all fairness, even Elizabeth Bennet was fooled by Mr. Wickham. However, we shall save that debate for another day. 

Today, I want to talk about Mrs. Bennet, Mr. Collins, and Jane Bennet and the wonderful tool in the writer's toolbox called "What if..."

Recall that when Mr. Collins arrived at Longbourn it was with the intention (however presumptuous) of picking out a bride from amongst his cousins, much as one might choose from a litter of puppies (at least in his mind). And, please further recollect that his first choice was Jane, but that Mrs. Bennet directed him toward Elizabeth because she believed that Jane was about to become engaged to Mr. Bingley. 

Here's the big What If...what if Mrs. Bennet had not re-directed Mr. Collins' great ardor (which was, of course, easily done because of his total lack of ardor other than for a wife, any old wife) from Jane to Elizabeth. 

Would Jane, sweet, accommodating, amiable Jane, have declined? And even if she had would she have been able to withstand Mr. Collins' persistence? 

Is there any passage in all of Pride and Prejudice where Jane does not do as she is either told or asked to do? 

Even in the face of life with Mr. Collins, could Jane have put her own desires above his? Or her mother's? 

I am not asserting that Mrs. Bennet cared whether any of her daughters would actually want to marry Mr. Collins, but if she had not been so certain that Mr. Bingley would propose to Jane, she might have been tempted to go for the sure thing of a proposal from Mr. Collins. 

And then where would that have lead? 

Uh oh...I think I might have an idea for another book. 

What do you think? 

Monday, April 15, 2013

Lizzy Bennet and Tax Day

One of the things I find intriguing about the Regency Era is the role of women and money. 

Let's take for example the Bennet family. If Lizzy and Jane had not found themselves so fortuitously married what might have happened to the family when Mr. Bennet died and "those dreadful Collinses" took over Longbourn and booted Mrs. Bennet and any of her unmarried daughters out of the house? 

Of course, there's always Mr. Gardiner, the kind uncle who lives in Cheapside, who could be counted on to provide at least a meager living for his sister and her children. 

But the idea that any of the Bennet girls might have gone out and earned their own money in order to support themselves would have been rather scandalous and they likely would have felt that it was their last resort. 

Besides,what are they trained to do? Possibly a job as a governess would be an acceptable position for Jane or Lizzy. But what about Mary, Kitty or Lydia? 

All of this makes me think how fortunate I am to be able to work and earn a living and support myself. I'm not a burden to my family and though I am often concerned about my financial future, I know that I can take responsibility for myself, which was not an option for the Bennets. 

What does all of this have to do with tax day? Well, I'm trying to talk myself into feeling good about filling out all those forms. 

Lizzy Bennet and her sisters didn't have to fill out tax forms, but they also didn't have the privilege of being able to support themselves. 

Okay, I'm still annoyed about my taxes, but I'm feeling a little better.

If only I'd married a man with ten thousand a year! 

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Welcome to my blog and to my new adventure as an author of Pride and Prejudice Variations. I hope you will stop back often to see how I am doing as I work on my first book, Betrothed to Mr. Darcy and as I work my way through learning more about Jane Austen and the Regency era.