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COD Notes

October 20, 2017 12:45AM
As I mentioned before I was sort of inspired by this from reading a few “alternate universe” stories and from a comment or two on the message boards about how Frank Churchill was more like a brother to Emma than Mr. Knightley was.

Fleshing out Mrs. Churchill I chose to think of her as similar to Lady Catherine and Mrs. Ferrars with a dash of Mary Musgrove thrown in. It actually made Frank more understandable, in my opinion, for him to be so weak and pleasing because his aunt was so domineering. And for that reason, I also found myself pulling a bit from whitewashed memories of my maternal grandmother who was a tyrant in heels and someone you simply did not cross if you knew what was good for you, but who also could be very supportive and generous if you wanted to be/do what she wanted you to be/do.

Mr. Churchill was an evolution for me, because he started out being kind of on par with Frank in living under his wife’s dominion. But then when Frank tried to get him to help out with Jane Fairfax and to improve himself, Mr. C turned on him rather than disrupting his easy existence. But in the end, he's unable to maintain the villainy because he has no one to maintain it with. He’s such a gray character that it’s not really redemption, but I imagine that's how a lot of family conflicts go. Yeah, sure, he gets along well with his niece but he's still a snob in general, and still convinced that he should not do work of any kind. Mr. C and Frank patch things up because they are neither of them trained to be strong willed, and they both miss the presence of each other in their lives, some reminder of Mrs. C, etc. I don’t think Frank ever truly respects his uncle again, but they get along so long as they are not required to take positions against each other. And I think they will both be careful not to do so. He’s the family member who holds views you can’t tolerate (am I the only one who had a racist grandmother?), but he’s still family and you can’t change him, just wait for his bigoted views to die out.

I kept painting myself in a corner over this story, giving Frank insurmountable challenges, which seemed even more overwhelming given how irresolute he started out, so I had to keep ripping out chapters and rewriting. I think it now seems challenging but plausible, and his evolution seems realistic. He doesn’t magically wake up one day ready to shout down his uncle and aunt and bend them to his will. He’s definitely not a dashing hero, but given his beginning, he comes a long way.

The voice was different than my usual (nearly exclusive) focus on the main character, and it was fun to offer so many opposing views at times. The layering of different slices of perspective on the same day or events in different chapters was a challenge I don’t care to repeat soon. Every time I realized that I had made things too difficult for Frank I had to go back and rip up all sorts of random comments in different chapters to avoid discontinuity. And even doing that, there are times that it feels wrong… Jane was scheduled to come to Highbury in the fall, in November, at Christmas, in January or February, at Easter… her visit kept getting delayed and depending on who is talking about it and when they are talking, it sounds like I couldn’t keep track.

I feel a little guilty for not giving Jane Fairfax more time on the page, but then again I didn't imagine her doing much to advance the plot. She hid the courtship from her guardians until Frank could reveal it and tried to wait patiently and not be upset when her family wrote about Frank and Emma. I had a few scenes drafted between her and the Campbells, but they didn't make the cut, mostly because they lowered Frank’s chances even further.

Thanks to everyone who commented on the story. Short bursts of feedback are always appreciated (proof that someone is reading this), and the longer notes that showed how you enjoyed the characters are such a treat.

COD, 15 (end)

NN SOctober 19, 2017 09:49PM

Re: COD, 15 (end)

KateBOctober 20, 2017 01:50PM

Re: COD, 15 (end)

TinaOctober 20, 2017 02:11AM

COD Notes

NN SOctober 20, 2017 12:45AM

Re: COD Notes

M UOctober 20, 2017 03:26PM


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