Finding inspiration ...It took me a few days to think of a good topic to post about. I finally realized my lack of focused inspiration could be a topic. It’s very timely, in fact. I am new to published works, but I have been writing for online forums for just under a year and have written one full length story, three novella length works, and eight works ranging from 800 to 7,000 words. I also made additions to and recreated two of those novellas into something much better. Let’s not discuss the stories that are dying and/or patiently waiting in my hard drive to see the light of day.
I just finished writing and sending my third novella length story, A Sense of Obligation, through the editing process before posting online. And as you may have guessed, I’ve basically been writing non-stop for the last year. I have seven stories that show a lot of promise, and I am trying to pick between three of them to become the next story. It’s been over a month since I finished writing A Sense of Obligation and while a few short stories have come, my muse is just not captured by anything long at the moment. I will eventually finish each of the stories I am working on; I have an outline and know what I want to do. I’ve just never needed to just write before like it was a job. Just log in the hours and complete the sentences and get it done. I’ve always been inspired, possessed perhaps, by scenes and stories.
So, what do I do now, when everything is screaming at me at once but nothing is really standing out?
· I read the original P&P a lot
· I look at writing challenges just so something is flowing
· I reread the chapters I’ve got
· I go through my plot/scene bunny list to see if any of them will fit into the story and give it new life
· I read and try to relax my writing gene
· I ask everyone who will listen
· I give online polls.
Yet, still nothing is coming.
But sometimes, when I least expect it, I will have a flash of a scene come to mind from a song I hear, something my husband says, or something I think of while walking down the street. Sometimes it is silly, and who knows if it will stay.
One night a few weeks ago, just before falling asleep, a flash of the song “People Will Say We’re In Love” from Oklahoma struck, and it just fit so perfectly in one of the stories I was working on.
In this story, Elizabeth has overheard Wickham scheming against the Bennet family just before she departs for Kent, but she’s not quite willing to give up all of her prejudices against Darcy. She asks for his help in protecting her family and through a series of arguments, which happen in their “chance meetings” while walking each day, he reveals that he is in love with her. He does not propose...right away. They finally agree on a courtship but Elizabeth has determined to keep it a secret for a few weeks while she can work on her family’s opinion of him. This excerpt is rather rough and needs some narration instead of so much dialogue but it’s how the scene came to me.
They were nearing the Parsonage when Elizabeth stopped walking. “You must not walk me to the gate again if you do not want people suspecting things.”
“You do not want people suspecting our courtship. I am more than happy to announce it to the world.”
“Mr. Darcy.” She levelled him a look but he would not respond. Letting out an exasperated sigh, she tried again. “Fitzwilliam.”
“If you continually appear with me it will begin to look like these meetings are not chance.”
“Is that what you have thought?”
Elizabeth laughed. “No, just before you declared your love for me it occurred to me these meetings did not seem like chance.”
Darcy smiled a little. “Did you not ask to keep the courtship a secret because your father has a poor opinion of me? I can only think some of it stems from the apparently well-known slight I gave you at the Meryton Assembly. If others would report to seeing me behave exceedingly gentlemanly toward you, that could only further our cause. I meet you by accident and then escort you home. No one need think anything else.”
Elizabeth laughed again. “You do make good points, sir, but you have no understanding of the fanciful and romantic notions of ladies. Maria is entirely ridiculous, and Charlotte has had suspicions you were in love for quite some time, before you noticed me, I believe.”
Darcy’s eyes lit up. “When?”
“It was when we all dined at Lucas Lodge that I noticed you observing my conversation. She was not surprised at all. I believe she fancied you were besotted with me even then.”
“She is not far from the truth. I hardly know when it began but that evening, after you refused to dance with me the first time, I could think of nothing else but your beautiful eyes, which I had noticed many nights before. Miss Bingley accosted me and believed I was annoyed with the evening. Instead, I acknowledged my admiration for you.”
Elizabeth gasped. “So early as that? And no wonder Miss Bingley was so hateful towards me! So, you see a lady’s imagination is quite rapid!”
Darcy laughed outright. “I said the very thing to Miss Bingley when she immediately teased I would soon be offering for you.”
“My point is that again, I worry about expectations to an engagement I do not consent to. I will not have my name bandied about. You claim now to love me enough to marry me even with my family’s poor behaviour, but it may prove too much for you. You have not been in their company for many months.” Darcy attempted to argue but Elizabeth persisted. “I only mean aside from the matter of my regard, the courtship may be dissolved due to other reasons, and I do not want all of my acquaintances so very certain of a pending announcement just to be treated with contempt and pity later.”
“Do you truly doubt my constancy…”
“Let us only discuss the matter at hand! Let us think of ways to conceal your affection.”
“Disguise of every sort is my abhorrence.”
“Now, you must not stare at me so much, nor laugh at my jokes. Do not seem so pleased when I tease you. When you see my family again you cannot be too eager to like them, or people will certainly believe you are in love with me!”
Darcy hardly seemed pleased for a moment before replying, “Very well, but you should modify your behaviour as well.”
“Oh, no one in the world would suspect I love you.”
“You are hardly bound to think otherwise.”
“Miss Bingley was jealous enough; she must have thought you encouraged me. Otherwise she would have no fear that my infatuation would soon disappear as often happens to a man.”
“To you?” Elizabeth could not account for the feelings of jealousy she had.
“Let us discuss the matter at hand,” he replied smugly. “I hardly think Mrs. Collins would be encouraging the match if she did not think you harbored some tenderness for me.”
“I hated you! The whole world knew of it! She is hardly very sensible in any case; she married my cousin!”
“Some might think you protest too much, my lady.”
Colour drained from Elizabeth’s face as she acknowledged the likelihood of this truth. Darcy continued as though he did not notice.
“You notice me staring because your eyes are often upon me. And you listen to my conversation too much. You are always so eager to speak and argue with me. You seem quite content to be the sole object of my attention. People will believe you love me.”
“That-that-that is ridiculous! Everyone knows I am fond of intelligent discussion and lively debate. I like to study a person’s character.”
“And your reasons for constantly needing to study mine and no one else’s?” Elizabeth was silent. “Elizabeth, I cannot consent to conceal my admiration for you in this way. It would be like denying myself breath. I think it is the same for you.”
“You have an odd way of showing admiration.”
“It is true. I did fight it and I did not realize it until I was somewhere in the middle. As you said at our dance at Netherfield, I have long observed a great similarity in the turn of our minds.”
“I said that to provoke you!”
“Yes, you often try to provoke me in a tender moment. Why is that?” Elizabeth gulped. Darcy’s questioning was too much for her to bear, and he was rubbing circles on the hand which held his arm.
Before she could reply a coach came within their view, proving to be Colonel Fitzwilliam returned from London.
Darcy looked as though he hated to leave Elizabeth’s side. “Until tomorrow?” He squeezed Elizabeth’s hand.
“Yes, until tomorrow.”
Ah, that’s so much better, if only it belonged in chapter three, where I am currently at, instead of what will likely be chapter six. The way something from the everyday inspired me reminds me of the scene that first struck me for The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter, nearly a year ago, as my son was learning to speak more and ask questions. Here is the scene which was the creation of Michael Gardiner. Although new acquaintances, Fitzwilliam and Georgiana Darcy have offered to take Elizabeth Bennet to Hertfordshire with them when they find out they will be travelling on the same day.
As Elizabeth hugged her aunt farewell, Mrs. Gardiner remarked on the weather. “How warm it is for the first of October. I hope it will not affect your travels.” She looked toward the sky. Unseasonable changes in temperature frequently brought storms, but the day was cloudless.
“It has been unusually warm lately. What is it called again, Brother?”“I have heard it called many things. St. Martin’s Summer, for St. Martin’s feast in November and St. Luke’s Summer for the corresponding feast in October. I think the most relevant one for now is St. Michael’s Little Summer, as we are only a few days past Michaelmas.”
“How interesting! I have never heard it before!” Mrs. Gardiner replied.
“It is what the Welsh prefer to call it. I heard it called thus while attending to one of my estates, just outside the Welsh border in Shropshire. Many of the workers have a Welsh heritage.”
“Mama! Mama! Tell him!” Michael was suddenly pulling on Mrs. Gardiner’s skirts.
“Tell Mr. Darcy I am not a saint, I’m an angel!” Michael demanded in all seriousness, and all of the adults except Mr. Darcy broke out in laughter.Seeing his confused face, Elizabeth managed to explain between chuckles. “Michael is named after the archangel, as is his brother Gabriel. His sisters are named for their grandmothers who have passed. We have explained to him they are now angels in Heaven watching down on us. Incidentally, nearly everyone he knows is named for a passed relative. Only he is quite convinced he is an angel. I suppose he believes they cannot be punished.”Finally understanding the situation, Darcy chuckled. Elizabeth felt her heart rate increase when she saw his broad smile, complete with devastating dimples, again.
“And it is not summer. Miss Fields told us it is now Odd…odd…Oddum!” Michael grinned, immensely proud at remembering the unusual sounding word.
“Oddum?” Darcy paused, thinking over what word the little one was attempting to pronounce.“Oh, Autumn. Yes, it is, Master Michael. But sometimes the weather acts differently than we expect, and we come up with silly names for it. It has been so warm it is like a little summer and since it is close to St. Michael’s feast day we have come up with the name St. Michael’s Little Summer. Do you think you can share your name with the weather?”
“Yes, sir! Angels always share.” Michael beamed again.
Yes, it certainly is nice to find inspiration, no matter how fleeting it is! I suppose that is what makes me so obsessed with Pride and Prejudice, I can always find inspiration from it, and I continually feel the need to bask in Jane Austen’s genius.
Thanks so much for hosting me, Maria Grazia! I hope you have enjoyed my musings on writing with and without inspiration, and I hope you all will enjoy The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter!
About the book
When Fitzwilliam Darcy visits Hyde Park with his sister, he expects nothing more than a quiet walk on a fine day. Instead, he meets a young woman who challenges his ideas and pulls his sister out of her melancholy. He soon realizes Elizabeth Bennet is the only woman in the world with whom he could spend the rest of his life.
Elizabeth, clever and self-assured, refuses to change for the sake of gaining a husband, a prospect she finds impossible regardless. With wit and independence rather than fortune, she is entirely convinced no sensible man would have her, and she cannot respect a fool. Can Darcy prove to be this impossible man? Or is a figure from his past an insurmountable obstacle to a future with The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter?
About the author
Rose Fairbanks fell in love with Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy 11 years ago. Coincidentally, or perhaps not, she also met her real life Mr. Darcy 11 years ago. They had their series of missteps, just like Elizabeth and Darcy, but are now teaching the admiring multitude what happiness in marriage really looks like and have been blessed with two children, a 3 year old son and a one year old daughter.
Previously rereading her favorite Austen novels several times a year, Rose discovered Jane Austen Fan Fiction due to pregnancy-induced insomnia. Several months later she began writing. The Gentleman’s Impertinent Daughter is her first published work.
Rose has a degree in history and hopes to one day finish her PhD in Modern Europe and will focus on the Regency Era in Great Britain. For now, she gets to satiate her love of research, Pride and Prejudice, reading and writing....and the only thing she has to sacrifice is sleep! She proudly admits to her Darcy obsession, addictions to reading, chocolate and sweet tea, is always in the mood for a good debate and dearly loves to laugh.