Saturday, May 25, 2013

Characters In Search Of A Novel Guest Post

Hats Off to Jane Austen

by Molly D Campbell

As a writer myself, I am amazed at all the books that are now being published every single day by independent authors. These books are all over Amazon! It is now so easy for any old Tom, Dick, or Emily Bronte to cook up a novel on their laptops, do a little editing, and PRESTO, hit the publish button!

Of course, not many of us Independent authors achieve the success of that lady who wrote Fifty Shades of Grey. But we continue to sit in our pajamas in front of our computer screens, typing away with high hopes and the Oxford Comma.

But as I dusted my bookshelves this morning, I came across my dog-eared copy of Mansfield Park. That Jane Austen—what a genius. And then I started to imagine what her writing life must have been like. Good heavens.

First of all, I am sure that in order to get ready to scribe one of her novels, she had to stock up on foolscap, or vellum, or whatever they called paper back then. She would need reams of the stuff. And quills. Ink. Blotters. The supplies alone would take up an entire cupboard, I am sure.

Then Jane would sit down at her desk and begin to write. I write in either pajamas or sweat pants, with bedroom slippers and a cup of coffee. Jane would be trussed up in a corset, surrounded by pantaloons and petticoats, topped off with a gown. Getting dressed must have taken at least 45 minutes. I am usually completely done writing for the day after 45 minutes. Good grief.

Then Jane would sit down and begin scratching out the words, repeatedly dipping her quill into an inkwell. There would be blots all over the place. I am sure she got ink on her dresses. And all over her fingers. Really, if writing were this messy today, I just wouldn’t want to bother. I have my manicure to think of.

Editing? I just hit “copy,” “cut,” and “paste.” Easy-peasy. Jane had to cross things out and rewrite them. I bet she had to add pages and rip others up. Just think of the huge stack of inky vellum that she had to deal with. Not to mention worrying about what would happen if the wind blew, scattering her foolscap to the winds. Numbering the pages wouldn’t be a solution to this kind of catastrophe. It boggles my mind.

Back in the days of Jane, Emily B, and all of their writing friends, it took huge commitment and intestinal fortitude to be a writer. And just think of this: after they finished a book, they had to copy it over in longhand in order to submit a readable final draft to their publishers. This must have taken years and years. No wonder Jane never got married. She just didn’t have the time.

These days, writers have loads of time. Because of technology, we can write books, answer emails, vacuum, put a chicken in the crock pot, change some diapers, and compose brilliant tweets all in the same day.

If Jane were alive, I bet she would have a husband, ten books on the New York Times best seller list, 400,00 Twitter followers, and a social media manager. And she would probably have time to play Words With Friends. She would have her own hashtag, I am sure. #everysavagecandance. It gives me pause, and I am humbled by her dedication and genius. But then I have to write a chapter, check my Facebook page, and sort some socks.

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Genre - Fiction / Short Stories

Rating – PG13

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