I’ve been reading Pride and Prejudice in preparation for entering the Writers’ News subscribers only January 2013 competition – the brief is ‘a story based on any of the characters or events in that famous novel – but set firmly in the 21st century’.
It’s the first time I’ve read the book and it’s taken me some time to get into it. I suppose it’s the old-fashioned language and often long paragraphs used to get a point across. But now that I know the characters I’m quite engrossed – although I’ve no idea how I’m going to capture its essence in just 1,700 words of a contemporary story.
In Jane Austen’s world people seem to marry barely knowing each other, with background and financial position counting far more than the compatibility of the couple. They get little time alone together and the height of a woman’s ambitions (and those of her parents) is to make a good marriage. Equally, the less well-off males are looking for a bride of independent means to make up for their own financial shortcomings.
Of course, today relationships are conducted quite differently so I think I’ve got quite a brainstorming session to think up a modern-day equivalent story! There is a wealth of Pride and Prejudice fan fiction on the web such as here – so I’m going to have a trawl through and see how it’s done.
In case you’d missed it, 2013 is the bicentenary of the publication of Pride and Prejudice – Austen held her first printed copy of the book on 29 January 1813. Today Pride and Prejudice is The British Library’s ‘most adopted’ title, in a fund-raising campaign where supporters are encouraged to sponsor a book of their choice.
I wonder which of today’s books will still be popular in 2213? Any suggestions?
By the way if you know any young writers (or are one yourself), there are details of a Jane Austen writing competition here, open to school years 7 to 11.