I am finding it a little difficult to let go of Mr Darcy. He was my first love, you see, at the tender age of 15. This was the Mr Darcy of the written word, the original character created in the book of Pride & Prejudice, penned by Jane Austen’s fair hand.
Time moves on and life takes over but, in the intervening 35 years, we have met again on occasion (1995 and 2005 remain the most memorable encounters), and though his appearance – and even some aspects of his personality – change on each instance of our re-acquaintance, I have loved him still. (He certainly seems to be aging better than I am!!)
So you see, now I have added my own Mr Darcy to the mix, the one that walks through the pages of A Fair Prospect, I am reluctant to bid him farewell.
As you will know from my posts here or on other Blogs recently, the story was a long time in the making: four years of writing, almost three years of editing. Two volumes are out there now, with the third burning a hole in my desk. The story has long been complete.
So what, you may well ask, is the hold up on releasing the final volume? Surely it’s time to move onto something new? All stories must come to an end. Well, therein lies the problem.
Did you ever read Tolkein’s trilogy, The Lord of the Rings? And did you also see the wonderful films that Peter Jackson made of the story? I hope you did, because if not, this will make no sense!
I remember there being much debate when the final film, The Return of the King, came out, over the ending – or should that be ‘endings’. As is often the case, loyal fans of the books were disappointed that there wasn’t more story after the ring was destroyed. They wanted to see the scouring of the Shire and so on. For others, it was the film with too many additional scenes after the main climax (I think there were at least four or five fade outs), and Elijah Wood once said that Jack Nicholson had walked out of a screening after the second fade out, saying ‘too many endings, man’!
So here is the danger: having put Darcy and Elizabeth through so much angst across three volumes, was the right ending going to be that moment when they throw the ring into the fires of Mount Doom? (Should I have put a spoiler alert on this? You do know that the trilogy was originally called The Fellowship of the Darcy, The Two Darcys and The Return of the Darcy, don’t you?) 😉 Anyway… if it isn’t that moment, when is it? How much more would a reader want to hear of their story?
For reassurance and guidance, I returned to Pride & Prejudice to remind myself of what Jane Austen had chosen to do, soon realising that she too had not been able to leave her couple without taking them beyond the moment when they come to an understanding. She too had added further chapters and a short epilogue.
I have now, therefore, done the same, extending the story beyond where it originally ended. Is this the right thing to do? Will someone put the book down after one of those chapters and say, ‘too many endings, man’?
I am still undecided, but May is looming, and with it will come the daunting decision on what is definitely going to be Darcy’s last scene before I hit that ‘approve proof’ button. Watch this space for further updates as I tweak and polish!
In the meantime, I am pleased to say that Darcy’s Dilemma is now available in paperback in all the usual online bookstores, in the Kindle store and on Smashwords.com for all other eBook formats (it will be in the Nook, Kobo and iBook stores very soon too).