If you're a Janeite, chances are you're familiar with the name Laurel Ann and the blog Austenprose. Laurel Ann was unable to participate in Jane in June last year because she was working on something super secret and awesome - and this year, that labor of love is bearing fruits! This October will mark the release of Jane Austen Made Me Do It, an anthology of Jane-ness, slaved over and put together by Laurel Ann!
Today she has a special post for us about Jane as a "miniaturist" and writing short stories based on Jane's works, as well as a giveaway of Jane Austen Made Me Do It!
“There are some writers who wrote too much. There are others who wrote enough. There are yet others who wrote nothing like enough to satisfy their admirers, and Jane Austen is certainly one of these.” Margaret Drabble
With only six major works, a novella, a scattering of minor works and her juvenilia available to us, we can never have too much Jane Austen. It seems only natural to crave more of the unique world that she created inspiring new authors to write retellings, continuations, mashing-up’s or inspired by of her stories and characters. The first official Jane Austen sequel appeared in 1913. Old Friends and New Fancies by Sybil Brinton was the pioneer of the Austen sequel genre. Since then there have been hundreds of Austen-inspired novels, but very few published short stories. This was intriguing to me. The result of my passion to compile an Austen-inspired anthology is my first book, Jane Austen Made Me Do It, to be published in October by Ballantine Books.
So how does one write an Austen-inspired short story? “[O]n to the little bit (two Inches wide) of Ivory on which I work with so fine a Brush, as produces little effect after much labour?” That was how Jane Austen described her work to her nephew. She was a miniaturist – like those talented portrait painters of her era who created likenesses of Royalty and gentry on small oval disks. Her subjects and characters that populated her novels were particular and focused, and that it what one also needs to do to write a great short story. Choose one or two characters and place them in a context that is dense and quick moving. In the case of my anthology, in 5,000 words or less.
I had the great fortune of working with twenty-four very talented authors. They came from a variety of backgrounds: some were experienced bestselling fiction writers, others were specialist in the Austenesque genre and one was a complete unknown, and the lucky winner of our short story contest. As an editor I believe in the power of creativity. I gave them free reign and a light hand. From historical, to contemporary to fantastical, I was thrilled with their results. They are Jane Austen inspired miniatures. I hope she would approve.
In honor of Misty’s ‘Jane in June’ extravaganza, I am very happy to offer her readers the first chance of one bound galley copy of Jane Austen Made Me Do It: Original Stories Inspired by Literature’s Most Astute Observer of the Human Heart to one lucky winner. Just leave a comment stating why you think Jane Austen is a miniaturist, or which of her characters you would like to see in a short story by June 30, 2011. Winner will be announced here at Book Rat on July 5, 2011. Shipment to US or Canadian addresses only. Good luck to all.
Cheers, Laurel Ann Nattress, Austenprose
Short fiction can be exciting – like little glistening jewels. I gravitate toward it when I need a quick and satisfying read. A Jane Austen short story anthology seemed liked and interesting notion. At that time there were none in print. I asked myself if that was because no one wanted to read one – or no one had thought of it yet?
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