Today I am so pleased to welcome Megan Reddaway to Joyfully Jay. Megan has come to talk to us about her latest release, Out, Proud, and Prejudiced. She has also brought along a great giveaway. Please join me in giving her a big welcome!
Writing a Retelling: Challenge or Cop-out?
A lot of people assume that writing a retelling must be easier than writing something “original”. Having done both, I don’t think it’s easier at all! In some ways it’s harder, because you still have to come up with characters, plot, dialogue, and your own way of telling the story, but they have to fit into a certain structure.
Retellings probably suit the “plotter” type of writer rather than the “pantser” who tends to start a story with just the first scenes in their head and not much idea of what will happen after that. None of us are complete plotters or complete pantsers (the plotter finds things changing as they write, the pantser has some later scenes or the ending figured out) but most styles of retelling require more planning than an entirely new story.
I think they also suit the kind of person who enjoys puzzles. Plotting a retelling is like designing a puzzle in your head. The plot needs to have a certain shape and the characters need to have certain qualities, or people won’t recognize it as a retelling. You don’t want to end up with a completely different story—it can diverge, but it has to have something identifiable about it. That’s quite a challenge.
(Spoilers for Pride and Prejudice follow!)
The biggest challenge for me in planning Out, Proud, and Prejudiced was finding something for the villain to do that would be as devastating for my main character, Bennet, as when Wickham ran off with Lydia in the original.
Readers these days may not realize how terrible the effects of that could have been. But if Wickham hadn’t married Lydia—and he wouldn’t have done, if Darcy hadn’t found him and bribed him—it wouldn’t only have been Lydia who was ruined. The social lives and marriage prospects of all of her sisters would have been wrecked.
There’d have been no more invitations to balls for Lizzie and the others, no more friendship with the Lucas family. They’d have been shunned in Meryton. And after their father died and his estate went to Mr. Collins, they’d have had to rely on the charity of their aunts and uncles.
This isn’t something Jane Austen spells out, because she didn’t need to. Readers in her day would have known it without being told. But it isn’t obvious to us now. In fact, it’s hard to believe.
I didn’t understand it until I heard the story of some great-great-aunts of mine, born in the 19th century. They were farmer’s daughters, not of the Bennet family’s class, but the consequences of disgrace were the same. One of them was seduced by a farmhand and fell pregnant, and the man couldn’t be found to marry her. She was sent all the way from Yorkshire to France to have the baby and left it there, but word got out, and none of the sisters ever married.
Their brother did, of course, by the double standards of the day—he inherited the farm, too. And he and his children supported the aunts, including the “fallen” one, into their extreme old age. But the Bennet sisters had no brother to inherit their father’s estate and take care of them.
So Darcy didn’t bribe Wickham out of kindness to Lydia, or because Elizabeth was concerned for Lydia. He did it because he had to. If Lydia had been known to have lived with a man and not married him, Darcy wouldn’t have been able to propose to Elizabeth again—or if he had, she’d have felt obliged to turn him down rather than ruin him. A man in Darcy’s position couldn’t take a wife who was tainted by such a disgrace. His friends wouldn’t receive her. His children’s prospects would be affected. She’d always be an embarrassment to the family.
(End of spoilers for Pride and Prejudice)
When I wrote Out, Proud, and Prejudiced, I wanted to mirror all of the main events of the original plot in some way. So my villain had to do something that threatened to have an impact on Bennet’s life and hurt his family and friends too. I came up with something that I hope works. I won’t tell you what it is . . .
And there was one final challenge. It’s vital to make sure that somebody who’s never read the original will still enjoy the story. For Out, Proud, and Prejudiced that meant finding a beta reader who’d never seen any of the Pride and Prejudice movies, either. Such a person was found and the story passed the test, so that was a relief!
Megan Reddaway’s male-male retelling Out, Proud, and Prejudiced was published in ebook and paperback on June 4th.
One’s proud, one’s prejudiced, and they can’t stand each other.
Quick-tempered Bennet Rourke dislikes Darius Lanniker on sight. Darius may be a hotshot city lawyer, but that doesn’t give him the right to sneer at Bennet, his friends, and their college. It doesn’t help that Bennet’s restaurant job has him waiting at Darius’s table. So when his tutor recommends him for an internship at Darius’s Pemberley estate, Bennet isn’t sure he wants it. He’s also not sure he can afford to turn it down.
Darius is a fish out of water in the small college town of Meriton, but something keeps pulling him back there. He’s helping out a friend with business advice, nothing more. If he’s interested in Bennet, it’s not serious. Sure, Bennet challenges him in a way no other man has. But they have nothing in common. Right?
Wrong. Their best friends are falling in love, and Bennet and Darius can’t seem to escape each other. Soon they’re sharing climbing ropes and birthday cake, and there’s a spark between them that won’t be denied.
But betrayal is around the corner. Darius must swallow his pride and Bennet must drop his prejudices to see the rainbow shining through the storm clouds.
A standalone novel—a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.
Note: contains mention of past abuse.
MEGAN REDDAWAY lives in England and has been entertained by fictional characters acting out their stories in her head for as long as she can remember. She began writing them down as soon as she could.
Since she grew up, she has worked as a secretary, driver, barperson, and article writer, among other things. Whatever she is doing, she always has a story bubbling away at the same time.
For news of Meganís gay romance releases and two free stories, visit her website: http://meganreddaway.com
Megan has brought a great giveaway. Just follow the Rafflecopter below to enter.
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