Mr. Darcy’s Pledge: a WIP by Monica Fairview — 60 Comments

    • Dramatic is definitely good. I’ll have to wait and see which way most people vote. Thank you for your input, Rosa.

  1. I find it riveting as it is. Darcy’s thoughts are exactly as one would expect and I don’t feel they went too far. If he had voiced that I would say they had. And yes the way he sees Pemberly makes sense. It’s his haven, but since he doesn’t have Elizabeth it would feel empty, very much how he feels about himself without her, hence the thoughts of the carriage overturning. I am eagerly looking forward to reading this book.

    • I agree. It is wonderful as it is. It eases you into the story. You kind of know what’s coming but it pleased me to think that when he said he was expecting “a house full of people who were paid to serve him” and then he’ll see Georgiana running out to greet him – very nice thought to anticipate the fruition of this. Can hardly wait to read it!

      • Martha, that’s a lovely way of putting it! Georgiana should at least draw him out of his melancholy mood — at any rate, we hope so!

  2. Hi Monica, thanks for allowing us this opportunity to help you.

    To my mind it works fine as it is, but if you wanted to switch back and forth between the two POVs, then starting with Georgiana would work best to my mind. Then you could switch to Darcy after “approaching carriage wheels” and then back to Georgiana again afterwards.

    I think Pemberley would seem empty to him right now as I guess he would have been imagining Elizabeth there before the disatrous scene at Hunsford, having been so sure of her accepting his proposal. The thought of losing consciousness so he wouldn’t have to think about her is rather dramatic but having thought it and the subsequent thoughts about injury and death, he seems to be coming out of that sort of depression.

    Looking forward to reading the completed work.

    • Thanks for this, Anji. I’ll look into interspersing the two POVs and see how that works. That’s a really good suggestion.

  3. Should I keep Georgiana’s perspective at the beginning, or would it be better to start with Darcy and then interrupt his thoughts to show Georgiana in Pemberley?

    I think that starting with Georgiana is like setting the stage so that when the main characters arrive they have a place to fit in and establish themselves. I think it enhanced my reception of Darcy – like I was expectantly awaiting him just as she was – which is always more favorable than a cold, in your face meeting…

    Is the carriage moment going to far?
    I think the carriage moment showed us something important about his state of mind and his character – that he was despondent enough to initially say ‘good, I’ll finally be free of her’ but then mature enough to say ‘whoa, no, I’m not ready to be layed up for months or dead – that is worse than this dismay over Lizzy’. It gives us – and himself – a clear definition of where he stands. Though I question – why had “she taken the wise course by turning him down” ? from what angle is he thinking that?

    And last but not least, does the way he perceives Pemberley make sense.

    I’m a little undecided here .. he thinks “Only, it was not really home, not when there was no one waiting for him. Georgiana was there now, true, but she spent very little time overall in Derbyshire, and in any case she wasn’t expecting him. ” It seems a bit childish to be pouting that no one – i.e., Lizzy – is waiting all excited for him to arrive, though I realize that is what he had dreamed would happen when he proposed. But to disparage Georgiana as insufficient to cheer him seems a bit out of character. I would have expected him to smile a little thinking of how nice it would be to surprise her. I don’t see him as unmoved by knowing she is there and how much she loves him and how pleased she would be to see him.

    Yes, maybe he is wallowing in an attack of self-pity, but to honestly reflect that “Pemberley was a large hollow house full of people who were paid to serve him.” does seem to negate his supposed emotional attachment to it – maybe if he had a second thought with a more balanced reflection it would feel more stable – like he did with the carriage almost toppling. A thought like “well, at least it will be pleasant to surprise Georgiana and to let Ms. Reynolds fuss over me a little bit. Maybe some time in my study or the library with the things that comfort me will help.”

    I’m not sure what “Or at least, to be able to focus on the one thing that gave him a sense of purpose, the one thing he knew with absolute certainty would banish Elizabeth Bennet from his mind forever. ” implies. Is that working on estate matters could accomplish that? I wouldn’t think so – not ‘banish forever’. Is it meant to be a little cliffhanger? something to be revealed later? what could he possible think would ‘banish her from his mind forever’ when nothing had succeeded in even a small measure so far?

    I’d also love to hear any other ideas about how to make the beginning stronger

    I’m not clever enough to come up with plot twists – I’d be an avid writer instead of just a reader if I were.. lol

  4. Jan — this detailed breakdown is sooo helpful. I really like your idea of keeping that balance about Pemberley.

    The last sentence does imply something very specific — yes. Glad you saw it that way.

  5. I agree with Jan Ashe – to disparage Georgiana importance seems out of character. Throwing himself into his responsibilities (be it Pemberly or Georgiana) is what I’ve always imagined him to be doing since the Hunsford debacle. Idle thoughts about carriages implies an emotional need to grasp at anything to distract him from his thoughts, be it carriages or his tenants’ reaction to his arrival.

    Without knowing the plot, I can’t comment on the relevant importance of which POV to put first, but what you’ve written from Georgiana’s POV is quite good.

    • I see where you and Jan are coming from. Perhaps I can add something about Georgiana in a later paragraph, just to show that he still cares about her, but he sees Pemberley differently now?

  6. I don’t see Darcy feelings as disparaging Georgiana. the love of a sister is very different then the love someone feels for a prospective mate. even though he loves his sister it will not make up for the feelings of a lost love and therefore the house would feel empty to him especially since Georgiana spends most of her time in London not at Pemberleyand she is more of a daughter then someone who can confide in.

    • A good point, Deborah, about Georgiana being more like a daughter to him. I see her as a very sheltered young lady despite her bad experience with Wickham.

  7. Thanks for sharing this. I like knowing about the ways in which everyone struggles in whatever creative process they are involved.

    I liked the beginning as is. However, I don’t think I was “hooked”–at least not emotionally–until I got to the Darcy portion. I agree that having Georgiana first sets the stage to let us know that this will be a shift between the two POV’s.

    I do not think that Darcy’s feeling are disparaging of Georgiana. I think it shows how he is changing from what he was before he met Elizabeth. I don’t think he realized the love that was missing. He has been forced to re-evaluate his life in the light of Elizabeth’s opinions and refusal. Life is all of a sudden empty. I like the way you show the depression that he is feeling–it’s very real.

    Of course now that I am hooked, I can’t wait to read the rest. 🙂

  8. Thanks for sharing this, Monica!

    While I think we’re all reading fan-fiction for Darcy’s troubles and his POV, I still think it flows better to start with Georgiana’s. It sets the scene, and it builds up to the crescendo we’re waiting for.

    I don’t think there was anything OTT in his reaction to the risk of toppling over and I for one found the description of Pemberley as a hollow house full of people employed to serve him in perfect keeping with his mood after Hunsford. Yes, it’s his home, his anchor, he loves Pemberley for everything it stands for, but if he’s at the stage of still hurting after Elizabeth’s refusal, I can easily see why everything else would grip him a lot less now. After all, I imagine this period in his life as one when he sees that everything that used to matter 100% is far less important without Elizabeth at his side. On that note, I’m not that sold on him thanking heavens that she refused him, though it can easily be seen as an effort to put on a brave front.

    I loved this excerpt, it’s very moving and bitter sweet as well e.g. how he never thought that learning Ancient Greek would have a practical purpose 🙂 and same as everybody, I’m looking forward to the rest.

    Good luck and hope it’s out soon.

    • Thank you for your good wishes, Joanna!! And for your kind words. I agree that we’re all here for Darcy 🙂 though I do like to write about other P&P characters as well. Interesting that you see Georgiana’s scene as building up expectations — it probably does serve that function though of course when you’re writing your don’t really see it that way. Something to think about. Much appreciated, Joanna!

  9. I enjoyed reading Georgiana’s POV first. And I love this sentence regarding Darcy’s frame of mind: “Pemberley was a large hollow house full of people who were paid to serve him.” How sad, but true. It will be interesting to read everyone’s thoughts!

    • Sorry, Kara — I thought I’d posted a response! I wasn’t slighting you! I’m glad you see the quote as an extension of Darcy’s emotions — I did hope it would come across that way. If he is to become more aware of himself, I think he has to start thinking differently about his surroundings.

  10. In my opinion, it is perfect the way it is. I would not change the placing of each character’s thoughts at all. The only thing I would change is the last sentence Mrs. Annesley says to Georgiana. The “it’s” took me right out of the story and broke the mood you were creating for me. But that is just me. I will still read it veraciously I am sure!

    I do not feel the way Darcy talked about the carriage overturning was a problem either. In those days it could cause all sorts of major dissruption, and he may be seeking that as a way to heal his broken heart.
    I think this little peek is very well done! It caught me right away and I wanted to read more. I am not certain why contractions bother me so much in Regency Romance, it just breaks with what I feel would be the way of speaking.
    I feel like the way he perceives Pemberley is exactly the way he should, he is coming home, but he is still alone and that weighs more on him now than ever. He needs a “partner” not just a sister or servants.
    Thank you so much for asking our opinion! It’s wonderful to comment on works from writers I esteem.

    • Thank you, Angie. I’ll change the “it’s” if you feel it jolts you out of that world.
      It’s generally a difficult call to make. I originally had all my dialog written out without any contractions, then when I read it out it sounded very artificial — so I decided to change the more awkward-sounding sentences, but I came some of the more formal ones. That makes it very inconsistent, I know, but for modern readers I don’t want the dialog to seem too artificial. I’m glad you raised the point, though.

      What do other people think?

  11. I like the Georgianna perspective, but for me it’s hard to say if it’s useful without knowing what the book is about, and how central of a character she is. If she is just a side character, and not integral, she probably shouldn’t be the first we see. Just my opinion.
    I like what you do with D. We can see his pain in his thrill/death behavior, I can see that in him. He is very passionate in what he does, and is very lonely.
    Can’t wait to see what you do with it.

    • I agree, Kari. Darcy is very passionate, under that facade! Georgiana *is* a central figure, so I suppose that means I should have her in the first chapter.

  12. How fun to hear about your process of writing… I so admire all you authors’ abilities, and enjoy the results amazingly! I look forward to the finished product with happy anticipation!

    Oh yes, do begin it just as you have with Georgiana’s point of view! I agree with others that the opening with Georgiana and Mrs. Annesley is perfect, the way it sets the stage with some anticipation and cleverly orients us to where in the P&P story we are, which is further clarified in Darcy’s turn. We get to share her anticipation and then feel her excitement when she sees it really is her brother that has come! Then turning to Darcy’s POV, we further understand why he is just returning so abruptly and unannounced. It feels just right to me! I don’t believe switching back and forth too often would be an improvement… The way you have it now seems good… it finish one thought, and allows us to have time to understand them and feel their emotions before taking the story from the other’s point of view… Unless it is a simple exchange like in conversation. The way you presented Georgiana’s feelings about improving herself and how she interprets Darcy’s response to her is great.

    The way Darcy responds to his beloved home shows the depth of his loss in Elizabeth’s refusal and feels strong and right to me!… likewise with the toppling carriage incident and his initial thoughts and then self-correction. And I too liked your use of the latin quote to begin his POV… that seems perfect to his character! Also loved your descriptions of the grouse, sheep, grasses, smells and other foliage to help us picture it all. And then his acknowledging his workers with a greeting even with his suffering showed a largeness of mind, I think! 🙂 I’m going to love this story!!

    • Yes, I do love that moment when Darcy is drawn out of his inner world and makes the effort to connect with the workers. I like the way you phrased it, Carol — largeness of mind is a good word, and also the old fashioned concept of largesse. I do like that quality in his character and I think it’s important in P&P. It saves him from turning into a more ordinary brooding/silent hero. Thank you for highlighting that for me, Carol.

  13. I enjoyed it just the way it is! Georgiana’s excitement at the possibility of seeing her brother after 3 months lightens the darker feelings of Darcy’s. I’m looking forward seeing how they react to each other. Thank you for sharing this enticing glimpse into your creation 🙂

    • I like your imagery, Lynn — the light and the dark. I think there’s a lot of that throughout the novel, so I’m glad you pointed that out.. Delighted that you were enticed.

  14. Excellent writing, as always, Monica. The opening of a book is hard for me, too. One time it came out smoothly the first time, but usually I rewrite and rewrite.

    Of your openings, Darcy’s POV is the more dramatic and a better hook, so I would start with that. I think the carriage moment is perfect – it shows how depressed and despairing he is, but also that he wouldn’t take action to hurt himself.

  15. I like it just the way you have it. The “soft” Georgina intro leading to the more dramatic thoughts in Darcy’s head guides us along nicely. I can understand, also, how Darcy has been imagining Pemberley with Elizabeth walking the halls, sitting by his side, etc. and, now it seems empty/incomplete. He has been walking on tip-toes around Georgina because of Ramsgate and, although he loves her, she is not his “help-mate” in life. Elizabeth teased him, challenged his opinions, and was on an equal intellectual level. They discussed poetry and literature together. He doesn’t have that with anyone else at Pemberley.

    He thinks Elizabeth made the right decision?….maybe because he believes she understands how far apart their social standings and/families are? We don’t yet hear that he realizes she was right in her assessment of him. But that is one possibility. Or he realizes that he doesn’t deserve her so she is right?

    Then with considering the carriage overturning we see his depression. I totally understand that minute when he thought life without him in it would be better. I believe with “Or at least, to be able to focus on the one thing that gave him a sense of purpose, the one thing he knew with absolute certainty would banish Elizabeth Bennet from his mind forever…we may discover from our author just what his pledge is all about.

    I am hooked.

    • Good questions about Elizabeth’s decision, Sheila. Hopefully they’ll be answered in the novel — though the answer is a bit more convoluted way than you’d first expect…

      It’s very helpful to see how you’re reading the excerpt, Sheila. It gives me a sense of what I need to look out for as I do my editing. Thank you.

  16. Monica,
    I share your frustration with beginnings… I’ve heard that, as writers, we often don’t know how to really begin a story until after we’ve ended it — thus, the beauty of revisions!
    I really enjoyed reading both of your openers! My favorite, though, I will say is the one starting in Darcy’s POV. It pulled me into the story world the fastest :).

    • Marilyn — thank you for that reminder. It’s true that typing in THE END is actually the beginning of a whole other process! I do find it’s easier to know how the story is going to end than to work out how/when it begins.

  17. I really liked the second one better. It plunged me into the story and gave me a background of previous events and how Darcey is feeling at the moment. I really wanted to keep on reading. I can’t wait until the book comes out! Thanks for sharing Monica!

    • Thank you, Lina. Very nice of you to say so. Okay — I’m adding your vote to the “Darcy first” tally.

  18. To be honest, I’d probably be hooked either way you go, as both passages are so well written. I would suggest keeping both passages separate and as they are rather than interrupt either perspective. I think Georgiana’s view coming first makes Darcy’s view more dramatic appearing later.

    I was also wondering why Darcy felt Elizabeth had made the right decision in refusing him — because he’d been so despondent and feeling unworthy?

    I really liked the way Georgiana was introduced, and I was struck by how she misinterpreted (?) her brother’s demeanor as being continued disapproval (“She desperately wanted him to forget about her stupidity and to look at her without remembering what had almost happened. So far she had not succeeded, to judge by the careful manner in which he always greeted her.”) I’m guessing if Darcy is being extra-careful with her, that’s partly because he’s bad at expressing himself, and he’s possibly wondering how he had failed her, rather than thinking she was a ticking time-bomb about do so something else impulsive and dangerous.

    I enjoyed Darcy’s musings in the carriage, they revealed so many aspects of his character – his intelligence, his sense of responsibility by acknowledging his tenants, his attachment to Pemberley – even though he was feeling like it would have meant more if Elizabeth had been there. He even showed himself a bit of a thrill-seeker in wanting the carriage to go faster.

    Thanks for sharing this with us!

    • Thank you for your kind words, Kathy. I also tend to be hesitant about breaking up a character’s thoughts. It can be done, but dipping in and out can be disruptive and can break some of the tension. I’m glad you mentioned it.

      I’ve always been struck by how uncertain Georgiana appears in P&P, particularly the way Elizabeth describes her when she meets her in Pemberley. I think part of it is that she doesn’t really understand her brother — he’s a lot older than her and much more experienced, and she’s led a sheltered life. I definitely think he still sees her as a child, which she is in many ways, and as innocent/fragile. As you say, it’s not because he thinks she in any way resembles Lydia, but Georgiana might be feeling that she let down her brother in some way.

      Thank you for raising that issue 🙂

  19. Though Darcy’s POV is more grabbing than Georgie’s, I still like that you start with her. Her excitement and earnest intent on making a her brother happy sets a positive mood. I think if I picked up the book and was struck right away with D’s dark mood and almost desire to be hurt, that would give me some negative feelings just starting out. At least reading Georgianas POV before reading Darcy’s gives me some hope for happiness. That said, I didn’t think the carriage scene was over the top, considering what he is going through. I was glad he realized things weren’t quite that bad. I also really liked when he waved out the window. There’s hope for him yet!

    I think his view of Pemberley is right. He loves it, but also finally sees what his life has been missing. Maybe this will give him some motivation to get over himself and do what he must to get Lizzy!

    Thanks for letting us weigh in; it is fun to think about the behind the scenes of the stories we all love to read. I hope our collective reasoning is helpful. Can’t wait to read more!

    • Your raise a good point, TLeighF — the two paragraphs set up different reader expectations. Is the novel going to be about Darcy’s angst, or is it going to have a lighter tone? Which one reflects the overall tone of the novel? That’s really crucial.

      Thank you for your input. Yes, definitely the collective reasoning has helped me clarifty things. I’ll wait for more input, though, before making a decision.

    • Thank you TLeighF for so eloquently saying what I was inadequately attempting to say yesterday. Georgiana’s lighter tone at first pulls me in in a way that you feel her anticipation and excitement which offsets the negative Darcy’s darkness and depression. It gives a positive feeling of hope and makes you feel all is not lost. I prefer the book to begin as it is, just on case my jumbled thoughts yesterday didn’t make this clear.

      I also feel Darcy’s depression & feelings of Pemberley are right. Jos soul was shattered by Elizabeth’s refusal and his world was turned upside down. Sometimes it takes a very long time (months are not adequate) to get over such a devastation, if you can ever totally get past it.

      • Deborah — thank you for elaborating on your original argument and for weighing in towards keeping Georgiana’s perspective first. I rather like the idea of Georgiana representing hope. In that sense (and I’m just continuing along the same logic) we could see Georgiana as the end result of someone disappointed in love (she can still be happy) vs. someone trying to find his way out of the emotional trauma.

        You’ve given me something to think about as I continue my editing.

        • Thank you for your patience with some of my incoherent ramblings and I like the way you stated the comparison of disappointment in love versus emotional trauma. You hit the nail on the head.

  20. In my opinion, I like the two settings and I think it works if you include both. As to which to begin first, I feel it can go either way. Starting with Georgiana will nicely set her up to include events unfold from her point of view in later chapters. If you want to emphasize that this is Darcy’s story, beginning with his is the way to go. So I’m undecided which is the best way to proceed.

    I think he still feels strongly the sting of Elizabeth’s rejection of his hand in marriage. It takes time to get over this feeling so it does make sense that he thinks getting killed is better than to think about the good things in life. I can easily empathize his suffering as I’m a sensitive person like him with life’s trials and tribulations thrown at me.

    The answer to your third question is a yes too. He is so used to being alone that he does not feel it that way until the woman he fell in love with turns him down. Naturally his world has turned upside down and it opened his eyes to what he really feels has been there all along (loneliness) but with friends and family to cheer him up he doesn’t feel it much. In a way his depression open a floodgates of other repressed emotions. I hope it makes sense to you because I’m not good at expressing my thoughts coherently.

  21. It makes a lot of sense, Luthien84. The story is definitely Darcy’s story, but Georgiana is an important aspect of it, so her role needs to be acknowledged. Again, that is what makes the decision difficult.

    Thank you for the feedback about my other questions, too. I like that the carriage scene makes you empathize with Darcy and see the sensitive side of him. And your comment about opening the floodgates is very appropriate, since Darcy himself uses the phrase a couple of chapters later. 🙂

  22. Ooh! I like it as is – now can’t wait to read it when completed! Of course, will most likely love it no matter – your writing draws me in.

  23. Btw Monica, I check your website and notice the book cover for Mr. Darcy’s Pledge is not the same as the one you posted here. Will the selected cover be this or that or something totally different? Just curious to know.

  24. I think the way you have it is most effective. It leads into Darcy’s thoughts – points the way to the main attraction. We share in her anticipation of his appearance, which makes that appearance that much more powerful and dramatic. I believe it adds tension to the scene.

    I think Darcy’s thoughts are not too dramatic. He is devastated, although he’s not quite willing to admit it to himself yet, as evidenced by his avowal that he was thankful that she had more sense than he and turned him down. I see his thoughts about the carriage possibly overturning as a bit of a wake up call. It startles him out of his downward spiral and leads to a bit of much needed perspective.

    As far as his thoughts about Pemberley, his world view has been challenged and changed. Whether or not he likes it, he has been imagining Elizabeth as his wife, in his house – in his chambers – the loss of that dream will have undoubtably changed his perceptions of his home. It is no longer a home, a sanctuary, rather it is an empty shell, missing its most vital element, just as his life is an empty shell.

    Interesting to note that several of your fellow authors think you should start with Darcy’s perspective, whilst many of the readers agree with starting from Georgiana’s.
    I also see an interesting parallel between Georgiana’s thoughts and Darcy’s. They are both resolved to master themselves and their emotions. I’m not certain whether or not that was intentional, but it came through quite strongly, and I can’t help but think that it was.

    • Thank you for your input, Emlyn. Perceptive of you to notice that my fellow authors’ advice goes against that of most of the readers. I’m intrigued about that too. Also, I’m glad you liked the parallel between Georgiana’s thoughts. I have a little bit of that throughout the novel. It isn’t deliberately planned ahead of time, but I know it’s a thread and crops up several times.

      • Thank you all so much for your input. It’s not too late to give your opinion overall, but I’ve more or less decided (unless I get a strong argument against in which case I’ll definitely rethink.

        Overall, the argument to start with Darcy is that seeing Darcy’s viewpoint makes the beginning more dramatic. I agree with that.
        The argument to start with Georgiana is that it 1. It starts with a more cheerful note before showing Darcy’s angst and 2.It makes us anticipate Darcy’s entrance.
        I’m really lucky to have such literary critics as readers as I was really impressed with your arguments both ways. What swayed me is those of you who pointed out that either would work depending on which direction the novel was taking.
        I’ve given that issue some thought. My conclusion is that I never have a single tone in my writing. Those of you who know my work know that my writing tends to have a comic touch though some people will read it completely seriously, but I’m rarely very heavily on the serious side.
        So, since the novel definitely has more than one tone to it, I think having a heavier, darker (and more dramatic) beginning might not give the right impression.
        Thank you all so much for helping me think this through.

  25. It needs to be Georgiana first. It gives an intitial spark and contrasts Darcy’s gloom and somber thoughts nicely. By having Georgiana first it puts the priority on her and the “running to meet him” is a way to force Darcy beyond his thoughts of Elizabeth. How could he not feel at least a hint of joy at knowing one person is glad to see him. Yes, Georgiana first!

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