Why Do a Jane Austen Retelling?

Posted by in Emma + Elsie

Jane Austen is more popular than she’s ever been in history, thanks to a number of recent retellings and remakes of her most popular novels. So what’s drawing me toward creating another story with these characters?

I’ve asked myself this a lot, especially because there are so many other modern Austen retellings out there, and not even just books. The most popular ones are Clueless, Bridget Jone’s Diary, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, etc.

Then there are meta stories, like Austenland, Becoming Jane.

And then there are actual remakes of most of the stories as well, in both BBC miniseries versions and multiple full-length movies.

And yet… Jane Austen is simply a classic, and the more I study her books, the more I become fascinated with her world and the way she portrays her characters.

So, I’m doing it, and I will make it awesome and different than all the other options out there. There will be a few things that set my series apart:

Retelling + Mashup

The focus of these books are on Emma Woodhouse and Elsie Bennet, two characters from different Jane Austen books (Emma and Pride and Prejudice). That begs a lot of other questions that wouldn’t come up in a normal retelling:

  • How does someone like Emma Woodhouse respond to someone like Chuck Bingley, and why does he choose Jane over her?
  • Why are Emma and Elsie friends in the first place, when Emma cares so much about class and it’s clear that Elsie’s family has little of it?
  • What does someone like Jace Knightley, who doesn’t always approve of Emma’s choices, think of her friendship with Elsie Bennet?

These questions make the retelling more interesting to me, because they shift both narratives in subtle ways and ultimately add a lot of story that isn’t actually there in the originals.

New Adult

The classic versions of Jane Austen’s books were always about young women growing up and finding their places in the world (typically through a romance). There is no doubt in my mind that the modern version of this would be the New Adult genre, books which are often about adults who don’t quite have to face adulthood yet; they are put in adult situations and deal with adult problems while not having to immerse themselves completely in that world.

I believe the New Adult version will add some depth to how these books would look with a modern twist, especially because the reasons to be with someone are so much different in modern times.

Serialization

I love serialization and I knew that it was the right format for this series, because it would allow me to go deeper and explore little scenes in both books with a lot more space to expand on them.

As with all serials, I believe in limits. This series has 18 books, but they’ll be bundled and all that good stuff, about 6 full books worth of content. I really think the extended version will make them even better and more fulfilling for Jane Austen fans.

I’m mostly creating this series because I love Jane Austen and I want more! There is never enough story, for some reason… so, I’m going to do one my way.