How to begin? . . . . I originally started this particular blog to explore the whole process of creating/writing a novel. I got it started, then abandoned it because I couldn't make the nifty-keen-o template I found work, and then I abandoned it. It also didn't help that I wasn't writing anything.
Originally, I set out to write a sequel to Pride and Prejudice. That was back in 2001. Since then, I must have written millions of words, thousands of pages, and got at least seven sequels going in my head or in various stages of rough draft or outline or notes or something. But, my great book never produced itself because a: it was tooooooooooooooooooo long; b: in was scattered and confused because I tried to build in an element of mystery to it, and c: in the beginning, I was a totally wretched writer. I read my very first draft and cringed.
I have made a particular point to never read any other author's sequel to P&P, but there are tons out there. In particular, Rebecca Ann Collins has penned no fewer than seven volumes of her Pemberley Chronicles in the same time I have been re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-re-rewriting my own masterpiece. As I said, I haven't read her work so I have no idea how we compare in a literary sense, but as far as success goes, I could kick myself for lacking the confidence to actually truly finish something. If it were finished, I'd have to submit it, right?
Her success does give me one source of comfort, however. There is a market for series in something other than sci-fi. It seems to be the thing these days, ie Twilight [no comment], The Hunger Games, et al. There is hope for me yet.
Then, there was the other thing. My plot and characters took on their lives of their own, and the more independent they grew, the less they resembled Jane Austen's characters. Austenophiles would never stand for it. For a long time, I just thought, 'Tough. They'll read it or not.' Then, I finally admitted to myself that I don't need to write any sequel for anyone. I can write my own book with compelling characters, an intricate plot, and lots of sensibility. So, six months ago I began the arduous task of extracting what remained of P&P out of my novel. It took on the magnitude of a heart-lung-liver transplant, because---let's admit it---P&P was the heart and soul of the book. The problem is, the back flips and contortions I performed to work in the details of P&P into my plot have been embedded in my brain for so long, sometimes it feels impossible to pry them out. I fear that some elements will forever remain, but hopefully not so much that it screams 'plagiarism!!' Honestly, I do have original thoughts in my head . . . . as much as anyone does, but that's another post entirely.
Ultimately, I tossed out my 200th draft and started from scratch, more or less. The story arch is the same, although, as I said, certain plot elements have to be eliminated. The poor Bennets are no more, their marriage struggles from entirely different stressors, and our heroine no longer has five sisters. Torn between desire and duty, our hero is a jumbled up mess of conflicting emotions because of his own familial obligations, but not regarding the lady. 'My Father's Son' is about how he fights to free himself of his predetermined fate, fulfill his duty without losing his soul, all while he deals with the heartbreak of the lady of his dreams falling in love with his best mate.
I say I started it six months ago. I got through the first four or five chapters, with my brother acting as editor, and we decided it was still too much of a mess and tossed that out. That was last spring. I started over again, this time telling it from a single point of view, rather than omniscience, and it's turning out a lot better. It comes along in short starts and stops, there was a two-month hiatus during the summer for various reasons, but not it's time to get going again.
Back in June, I set myself a goal to have the manuscript ready to submit by the end of the year. My son is determined to see that I make that goal, and I lost those two months, so I better get to it. I'm using this blog as a sort of log (among other things), a way to toss my ideas out into the void and see what sticks and what bounces back. It's also a way to help me collect my thoughts, and in that daunting task, I need as much help as I can get.
If somehow you found your way here and have read this far, thanks. Check out my Bits of This and That page, where I will be posting excerpts from time to time. Please be certain to leave your comments and constructive criticisms.