Because a novel–even one that is light and fun–is about more than “word piffle” if you will. Between the lines you as a writer have something to say about life.
You do! And thought-provoking does not mean preachy. Even in fiction, you can raise questions about stuff. Your world view gives depth to your artistic work. Even without trying, who you are will seep out and enrich your writing.
Did I have an “agenda” when I wrote Darcy By Any Other Name? Heck, yeah! For years I’ve observed the Jane Austen fan base, bemused at the few who seem to be enamored (only) with Mr. Darcy’s looks and wealth. Looks and money–are these the sum of his attraction? Of course not! (And I think all Austen readers know this!)
If women were drawn to men only by good looks, the human race would die out in, like, one generation! So I decided to provoke the Darcy lovers a little. Would they, could they, fall in love with Mr. Darcy as a more ordinary male? Would a smart, clever, honorable man on the inside change the way a homely man is perceived? The wry, intelligent sense of humor? The shared smile? The meeting of minds as kindred spirits? Those are powerful draws for women.
Granted, even Mr. Darcy struggles with the body swap. Here is a snippet from Chapter 2, with Darcy emerging from his coma, but in the “wrong” house. He is aghast at who he has become.
Both girls left the bedchamber. It was then that Darcy discovered something wondrous: he was able to open his eyes. A miracle, he could see! Eagerly he took in his surroundings.
The bedchamber was entirely new to him, small and sparsely furnished—and unlike anything at Netherfield, unless it belonged to one of the servants. The walls were painted, not papered, and an ancient wardrobe stood in the corner. On the dressing table rested a wide-brimmed parson’s hat, though what it was doing here Darcy did not know.
His left arm, which was very painful, was bound with cloths, and he decided not to move it. He was able to lift his right hand, however. Carefully he brought it nearer in order to see. And then Darcy felt a wave of panic. Here was the frayed cuff of which Miss Lydia spoke!
And his hand—what had happened to his hand? His long, elegant fingers were now thick and squat—as fat as sausages!
In a panic Darcy strained to see his left hand. His signet ring, worn by his father and grandfather, was gone! And was that a wart forming on the back of his hand? A wart?
Tomorrow’s post is J for Justice. How readers enjoy the rotter getting his due!
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