Thursday, August 20, 2015

notes on Lord Rupert's Foolish Bride

or should this post be called, what was Maggie thinking when she wrote that crazy book?

this is what happens when the heroine is not a member of the gentry

Jenny is not so odd in her world. Working class women fought in wars, dressed as men. I am sure they thought, why not be paid, when they followed their husbands into the army. It wasn't legal, they had to pretend they were male but they did it.

Women often got married pregnant and they worked hard. They often settled arguments by fighting. There were even women who were prize fighters. Working women spoke freely, not trying to keep their conversation decent. They were not vicars' daughters, like Jane Austen.

Where did the donkey come from? Jane Austen drove a donkey cart. You can see it here  Donkeys were considered safer than horses. Donkeys are too sensible to get their drivers into trouble and are unlikely to run away with them.  Donkeys don't scare easily. I am sure they don't bolt in a blind panic, not like the dreaded beach donkeys at Blackpool, but that is another story. I was little, it was scary. My father had to rescue me! The donkey was probably just trotting but I didn't think so at the time.

So there I was with a working heroine who had a donkey. I asked myself, what could possibly go wrong? What could go wrong that she couldn't easily fix? Every writer has to answer that question. It soon became clear that someone had to die, but who, and how, and could it be funny? If the person fated to die is evil, a mean awful man, with no redeeming qualities, then we can all be happy when he meets his doom. Can't we?

Would it help to know that my next heroine is a lady?

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