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Written by CarrieB
(4/6/2004 3:32 p.m.)
in consequence of the missive, Questions for Ms. Bebris, penned by Tori Marie
As long as you don't add that you liked it against your will, against your reason, and even against your character. ;-)
]One thing that I really enjoyed in this book were the quotations from P&P at the chapter headings. In some cases, they set the tone of the chapter for me. In others, they gave me a little teaser and I enjoyed looking for the quote to be "fulfilled". Of course, they also gave us fodder for some of our group read discussion. :-) Did you intend to have them just set the tone or did you use them to introduce clues as to what was really going on? Or is there another purpose to them entirely? Also, what made you decide to use them in the first place?
It started with just the quote at the beginning of the novel ("It is a truth universally acknowledged . . ."), which I used to explain where the book's subtitle came from, to set the tone, and to introduce the theme. Once again, we have a single man in possession—at least, allegedly!—of a large fortune, in want of a wife. Ironically, of course, Parrish turns out to be a married man in possession of a wife and in want of a large fortune.
Then I got the idea of using the quote at the start of Chapter One to very quickly establish for the reader the point at which we're picking up the Darcys' story. Those who have read P&P know we're starting right where JA's book left off, and those who haven't read P&P get pretty much a 1-sentence summary of P&P's plot and Mrs. Bennet's character to bring them up to speed. From there (a lady's imagination being very rapid, don't you know :-) sprung the decision to use a quote at the start of each chapter.
The quotes serve multiple purposes. First, as you noted, they set the tone of the chapter and in some cases provide a teaser. They also provide glimpses of character, relationships, and background information for those who either haven't read P&P or haven't read it in a while. Finally, they bring Austen's voice into the book. I made the decision very early to write in my own voice rather than try to imitate JA's. No one can possibly equal her – that's why we still read her and love her two centuries after she wrote. To attempt to copy her seemed an effort doomed to fail, like a musician playing notes that are almost in tune but not quite. I would rather offer my audience a counterpoint melody that harmonizes. Yet I think JA fans read sequels because they want to spend a little more time not only with JA's characters, but also with JA's voice. So I thought, why not invite her to join us at Netherfield? :-) Those who have read P&P have the pleasure of recalling passages from it, and those who haven't read it might be enticed by the quotes to check out what they've been missing.
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