All Things Austen – Imagining Characters Beyond the Book — 38 Comments

  1. I always wished for a long and happy life for Darcy and Elizabeth, living at Pemberley and raising many children. Perhaps my wish results from the rocky road they had to take until they arrived at their marriage. Of course, I also image that Darcy has still some pride which may sometimes clash with Elizabeth´s tendency to judge quickly. In other words: I´d like to know whether they have really learnt from their experiences.

  2. I believe you’ve hit on the reason so many of us read JAFF. We all want more. I love stories that take me past the novels’ ends. It is the reason I began reading, and eventually writing, fan fiction based on a Japanese manga whose ending dissatisfied many readers. It was left too open ended, and even though the author when interviewed gave us some clues, we ventured out on our own. Austen, too, provided us with a fertile field to plant in!

  3. I always imagine a happy life for Darcy and Elizabeth and for Anne and Fredrick. I think both would be happier away from their families.

  4. I agree that our wondering what happens to these beloved characters are what draws us to JAFF.
    Couples like the Darcys, the Bingleys, and the Wentworths can easily be imagined as having happy futures. I have high hopes for the Brandons too. The Wickhams life can only be disappointing for Lydia. The money-grubbing Lucy Steele probably deserves her rather empty future but is shallow enough to not care.
    The one couple I see with the most unsettled road is Emma and Knightley. He has just always struck me as too much a father figure rather than a lover/confidant.

    • Theresa,
      You make a really interesting point about Emma and Knightley — he *is* very father-figure like, and it would be fascinating to watch their relationship play out a few years into their marriage. Perhaps once they had children together, he would have an easier time seeing her in a more adult light…?

  5. This imagining the characters in different ways is definitely the reason I read so many variations. I have so much respect for the authors that put their ideas out there for me to enjoy.

    • Vesper,
      It’s incredible to me what an impact she made on the world with just those few, but, ohhhh, to have been able to have more of her stories available to us…that would have been heavenly!

  6. I would have loved to read a sequel written by Jane for Persuasion. I’m certain Wentworth and Ann survived all the bumps in their marriage. But what happened to Snotty Sis and Mirror Obsessed Orgre Dad?

    • Debbi,
      I know, right??!
      I’ve wondered about Anne’s vain father and sister, too — ever since I first read Persuasion!! I’d love to know what JA thought would happen to them… 😉

  7. I started reading JAFF for this very reason and am so grateful for the authors that help us not have to wonder what happens next.

  8. Marilyn, you’ve clearly explained why I became attracted to Austen pastiches — I had some thoughts about “the rest of” some of the stories but wanted — needed! — to know what others thought about them.

    Being a lifelong Sherlockian (I treat myself to a re-reading of the complete canon every year for my birthday) I have to say that I have never had any such interest in Sherlock Holmes pastiches. In fact, I avoid them completely — well, except for Benedict Cumberbatch!

    It truly is sad that Jane was lost to us so soon — but delightful that others have taken up her mantle.

    • Janis,
      I love Benedict C. too!!
      And thank you. I’m so glad you liked this post. Before I got my first publishing contract (8 years ago today, actually!!), I had no idea what a vast world of Austen-inspired fiction there was out there. But it was such a delightful discovery to learn that so many other readers/writers also craved more of Jane: Continuations of our favorites of her novels, reimaginings, modernizations (which are my personal favorite, since her vision is still so relevant, IMO), prequels, sequels, and more 😀 . I think that’s why we have such a passionate community…

  9. The thing that we all love…where they went after the book…even Jane was creating JAFF. LOL There are so many that I think of randomly. Of course I love the books based on the primaries and their HEA’s. But I often think about the minors. Did Mary find love and get her nose out of Fordyce? Did Elizabeth Eliot ever marry or did she and Caro start the club for Perfect Women with Disappointed Hopes? Did Anne sail with Frederick? Did Elinor actually trust Edward or did it take time? Did Jane Fairfax loving Frank make him a better man? I could go on…LOL Thus the reason I read.

    • Stephanie,
      LOL!! Yes, even Jane was creating JAFF 😀 – love that!!
      And, ohhh, you made me giggle when I read your suggestion about Elizabeth Eliot and Caro starting that club – HAHA!! That would be a story I’d read for sure… I so wish Jane could write it for us 😉 .

  10. And thus we write and read JAFF!! 😉

    I have always been most curious regarding the characters in Mansfield Park. I’m sure that Edmund and Fanny were happy as larks, but I have amused myself with concocting all kinds of awful scenarios for the Crawfords.

    And if I believed in reincarnation, I would firmly agree with J.K. Rowling that Mrs. Norris was indeed reincarnated as Argus Filch’s nosy cat at Hogwarts.

    Thank you for a lovely and thought-provoking post, Marilyn! 🙂

    Susanne 🙂

    • Susanne,
      I’m so glad you enjoyed my post today — thanks for the kind words!
      FWIW, I think the Crawfords deserve every awful scenarios coming to them 😀 .
      And LOL about Mrs. Norris’s reincarnation!!! I *love* that!

  11. Great post, Marilyn. I’d heard it before, but I’m sure our readers are delighted to now know some of what JA imagined for her characters after “The End.” Wanting to know more about her characters is what made me start writing sequels. But I think I had even more fun trying to get inside JA’s head – exploring how she felt about her characters and how much of what they said and did had its origins in events of her own life. That story became The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen – still my best work, I think. 🙂

  12. I read my first JAFF book in 2014 and now have many many books all based on Darcy and Elizabeth as they are my favourite couple. I love all the scenarios whether modern, historical or somewhere in between. Obviously I prefer the ones without too much angst or where they as a couple deal with problems thrown at them. It is a tribute to the wonderful characters that Jane created that allows so many variations and I am so grateful to all the wonderful authors who create them 📚

    • Glynis,
      Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!! I appreciate a range of Darcy/Elizabeth scenarios, too — historical, modern, time-travel, etc. And I totally agree with you that JA created characters who could be in such a variety of storylines! 😉

  13. I have always wanted Elizabeth and Darcy to have a long life together. I do not want to think of an early death for either of them. I have always loved how Jane Austen thought of her characters as her children.

  14. While I adore all of Jane Austen ‘s tales, she left a lot to the imagination. So of course we will fantasize farther adventures for our favorite characters and sorrow for the is the appeal of JAFF.

  15. Thank goodness we have JAFF! I had to have more Darcy and Elizabeth, the Bingley’s…Caroline included, Mr. and Mrs. Bennet, Mary, Kitty and even Lydia and Wickham…I always imagine a better life for her than Wickham, Georgiana, the Colonel, etc.! I love sequels that give me a possible glimpse into their married lives. It is just so satisfying.

    • Carole,
      It *is* satisfying! I love reading a range of alternate story ideas, continuations, and reimaginings too — they entertain and inspire me 😉 . And it’s so fun to get to write some as well & share them with readers who love the characters as much as I do! xo

  16. I truly have no imagination as to creating sequels in my mind for all of Jane’s dear characters. (Not one of my strengths.) So maybe that is why I read so many JAFF stories. There are so many surprises there and if I chose to dream it is usually picturing one story or another and playing it out. Never seem to finish it before I fall off to sleep.

    • Sheila,
      I especially love your comment about trying to picture a story but falling asleep before you finish playing it out in your mind. That happens to me so often! I remember it strongly as a child — falling in love with a book or a film and then trying to reply it at night in bed, changing certain elements of the story (usually to include myself as a new character, LOL), but I’d rarely make it anywhere close to the end before I drifted off… 😉 Thanks for reminding me of that fun memory!! ♥

  17. Great post Marilyn. Jane Austen left us a wonderful legacy didn’t she? Such a shame that there isn’t more of it.

    Like Sheila, I sometimes try to think up stories as I’m settling down to sleep but never get very far. I’ve even written down some of the fragments I can remember but they’ll never see the light of day!

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