Friday, March 16, 2012

Jane Austen Sequels and ReWrites

By Pat Gulley

I think Dear Jane’s work is about the most rewritten and sequels added to in a category other than Science Fiction. It all started in 1913 with Old Friends and New Fancies by Sybil G. Brinton and has been roaring along ever since.

I’ve read a bunch of them—the sequels, not the rewrites. I don’t like rewrites, they seem too presumptuous, as if they know better than the original author. Sequels allows us to find out more about secondary or lesser characters. Some of my absolute favorites are The Lydia Bennet Story, Charlotte Collins, The Diary of Captain Wentworth, and Mercy’s Embrace—a three book series about Ann Elliott’s sister Elizabeth. Oh, you are not Janites, okay, Lydia and Charlotte are from Pride and Prejudice and Captain Wentworth, Ann and Elizabeth are from Persuasion, which is my all time favorite Austen Book.

I even have a sequel started myself. It isn’t one of my files that I open frequently due to the fact that one must be in the mood for the totally different speech patterns and spellings necessary to keep the time period right. (I’m assuming all historical writers understand this, but OTOH, I have seen some written with totally modern language. Most Janites would disapprove.

So it occurs to me that a lot of famous books might deserve sequels and I’d like to see what you think.
Without doing Jane, or Conan Doyle or Shakespeare, and not taking up the ones that already exist in SF, like Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, and not Harry Potter, what great stand alone book or famous character from fiction of any kind would you like to write a sequel to? No, we won’t demand you get to it, just a little bit of daydreaming about if you could or maybe someday should.


Ramona said...

Captain Wentworth kept a diary!?! He's my favorite hero, so I may check this out.

Pat, great post. I think Dear Jane is keeping publishing afloat all on her own. My mother, who is nearly 80, read P&P for the first time a few years ago. I'm not kidding when I say she became obsessed, and she devours these rewrites, sequels, ripoffs, whateveryouwannacallthem. Great for me at gift-giving time, so I appreciate the tips. For Christmas, I gave her one that was a combo of P&P and Gone with the Wind.

The "other" Jane is popular too. The Eyre Affair, a contemporary YA called Jane, etc.

These Janes have staying power.

C.L. Phillips said...

...a sequel....hmmm...requires some consideration...a followup to Stranger in a Strange Land. Mostly I want to write an extension to the sayings of Lazarus Long!

Great post!

Jenna said...

I'm not sure this is something I could do, to be honest. There's no part of me that longs to write about other people's characters. And I find the whole Jane thing sort of weird. I did enjoy Laurie King's Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes books, but then I never read the original Sherlock Holmes books. My education is sadly lacking.

I wouldn't mind more books about Peter Wimsey, but someone is already doing those.

Joyce Tremel said...

I'd like a sequel to To Kill a Mockingbird. I'd like to see Scout all grown up.

There are some series that were dropped before the author wrapped everything up and I'd love to see them finished. Two in particular: Sarah Stewart Taylor's "Sweeney" books and Kathryn Miller Haines' Rosie Winters series. Kathy, I especially need to know if Rosie and Peaches get together. Get working on that, would you?

Ramona said...

Joyce, I agree about the Sweeney books. I really liked the Tim character. Same thing with Sue Hubbard's Adironack series and Frank Bennett. It makes me sad when a series stops before I get closure (because it's all about me.)

Gina said...

I want a sequel to Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Yeah, I know Tess is dead at the end, but I'd like to know what becomes of Angel and Liza-Lu.

Norma Huss said...

I want to READ a sequel to the four Turing Hopper (Artificital Intelligence) series - written by the original author, Donna Andrews. Now that's a truly original mystery series and I think Donna would love to write more of them.

So, I agree with Joyce who wants to see dropped series continue to the wrap-up.

Gloria Alden said...

I loved the Jane Austin books, too. I read the first in a series of a follow-up - bought three thinking I'd like them, but I didn't. Involved the Darcey's in paranormal mysteries. I might have liked them better if the paranormal were ghosts. I loved all the Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell books by Laurie R. King except the last one. If I could do it, I'd like to write more of Lord Peter Wimsey. Love his character.

Patg said...

Nice discussion, and glad I could help with the gift giving thing, Ramona. And I certainly understand your mother's obsession with all thing Jane. We are Janites!!!
Cindy, YES, Lazarus Long deserves a sequel.
Jenna, yes someone is continuing Lord Peter, but she takes soooo long between books.
Joyce, YES, Scout all grown up. Add what happened to everyone. Did Aticas ever get remarried?
Unless the authors of series have died, I don't see why any of them don't continue with self-publishing on Smashwords or Kindle. Their fans would be there in a heartbeat.
Oh, Ramona, Jane had two unfinished novels. The Watsons and Sanditon. Both have been finished by authors know for their sequels.

Patg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Storyteller Mary said...

I'm very intrigued by this . . . I'm not sure what I'd choose to continue, though I remember wanting more "Little House" and "Borrowers" books when I got to the end of that series, and recently feeling the same at the end of the "Mrs. Pollifax" books . . .
I think I read once that Isaac Asimov started writing books because he ran out of things to read . . .

Patg said...

Storyteller Mary, and didn't Asimov do a wonderful job. Read all his fiction and some of his nonfiction.
Gloria, I do not like the paranormal Jane at all. Surprising, but I prefer my Jane in her own time frame. The sequels about the secondary characters are my favorite.

Gayle Feyrer said...

Fun post. I brooded a bit, and The Count of Monte Cristo popped into mind. The original book completes his revenge, but he'd be a great detective.