Hi everyone. Time again for things bouncing about inside my brain. First, as I will not be posting again until after, I hope you are all going to have a joyful Thanksgiving next week. The holidays are a time not only to be with family and friends, but to remember those who are less fortunate. This year, I have had 6 friends who became widows and another friend who lost her 24-year-old son. This will be the first holiday season without their loved ones. Though we should show kindness throughout the year, during the holiday season, we need to remember those who are struggling.

Ok, now off my soapbox. Haha.

Recently, I was in a chat with several JAFF authors and readers. We were discussing things that many of our readers will not tolerate, things that people are steadfast for or against.  One thing our beloved Jane Austen did was give us characters who we know, yet we don’t really know. Take for example names. What was Mr and Mrs Bennet’s first names? Mr and Mrs Gardiner? Lord and Lady…?? (the colonel’s parents). The colonel’s first name, even Fitzwilliam Darcy’s father’s name. All these characters we love, yet we don’t really know them. I do find in interesting that those we love to hate (Caroline Bingley, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, William Collins, George Wickham) have their full names in Jane Austen’s book.

Most of us stick with certain names for the main characters. Thomas and Fanny Bennet. Edward and Madeline Gardiner, Lord and Lady Matlock, Colonel Richard Fitzwilliam. I admit, I use all of these, except for the Gardiners, names as listed. Sometimes I change Mr Gardiner to Edwin, as it was my great grandfather’s name. Mrs Gardiner I usually name Helen, as it was my grandmother’s name. Usually, I use Henry and Rebecca for Lord and Lady Matlock’s given names. I play around with the colonel’s brother’s name. It depends on if the character is going to be a bad guy or a good guy, then I use the name that fits. It is fun to name a character for someone in my life who was either good or bad.

Another issue is who is good or bad. One character that people frown on being bad is the colonel. I have written one book with the colonel being a bad guy and got a lot of grief over it. People do not want to see him be evil. Also, if he marries Elizabeth, it is almost a sure thing that he will not be alive by the end of the story, so his cousin ends up with Elizabeth. Of late, I have gotten into reading variations which have Bingley being a bad guy. Don’t know why, it has just become appealing to me. How can someone be so cheery and good, having lived with Caroline all his life?  Have done a bad Georgiana and a bad Jane, no one really cared for those. Mr and Mrs Bennet are accepted as either good or bad, same with Lady Catherine or Anne de Bourgh. So far, I haven’t written a bad Mr or Mrs Gardiner story. There is something about them always being there for our beloved Lizzy when all the rest of the world is against her, that makes me shake my head at ever making the Gardiners bad.

Another issue that people are touchy over is if Darcy and Elizabeth end up together. In all of my stories, I have Darcy and Lizzy together. I have a hard time with stories where they don’t work through all the odds against them and end up with their beloved spouse. I have read stories where they ended up married to other people at the end and was left with the WTH feeling. It is one thing if they were previously married, but at the end of the day, Darcy and Elizabeth are always together in my stories. In one of my stories, I had Darcy and Elizabeth die within a short time in the epilogue, after living a long life together, with their children and grandchildren around. People didn’t want to see them die, even though they had lived a long life filled with love.  Even as authors, there are some things that are not acceptable to do with our characters.  Personally, I cannot write a story where Darcy and Elizabeth do not come together and live a happily ever after life.

Another thing that is a strong choice when it comes to our books is the cover. Many people believe that because our stories are romance, there needs to be a sexy couple on the cover. Personally, I disagree with this one. To me, each of us have a vision in our head of what makes a sexy person. Are you into “tall dark and handsome” or are you more into a blonde or a bit of a belly? I don’t see the people on the cover, I want to have my own vision of the man’s appearance. Also, let’s face it, I am nowhere near a pencil thin body with long flowing hair. If I can’t see myself in the image, it throws me off when I am reading. Another thing is I have seen some stories that describe Elizabeth as shorter, yet in my imagation, she is nearly as tall as the “Darcy.”

Well, that is another bit on what is rumbling around in my head. What do you think? Let me know if you have a certain name for some of the characters or images that you prefer. Have a great week and enjoy next week. Thank you to all of you who read my stories. You make my life so much fuller.

6 responses to “What is in the name?”

  1. Glynis Avatar

    I do tend to prefer the generally used names mentioned as using other names sometimes throws me out of the story. I have read stories with good and bad versions of favourite characters. I’ve even got a favourite story which actually has a bad Mr Gardiner! But I do love it when there is a Mrs Gardiner and they are Elizabeth’s supporters. I certainly couldn’t read a book where Darcy and Elizabeth don’t end up together, in fact I don’t see the point in one being written. Just change the names and have it as a non JAFF! I’m a great lover of an epitaph and yes I do prefer them to be all sweetness and light.

  2. Regina Jeffers Avatar

    I attempt to keep characters names the same in the JAFF, even going so far to have Darcy’s coachman, valet, butlers, etc., the same. As I have said previously, I use “Edward” for the colonel’s name. I have down so since my first book back in 2007. I used “Edward,” for it was my father’s name, and he died at age 47. As to D&E ending up with another person, I fear I agree with Glynis. Why write the tale?

  3. Riana Everly Avatar

    I stick to the names from Fandom. It’s easier, and it avoids the possibility of people getting upset. And I’ve enjoyed (and even written) a Bad Bingley. But, as you say, the one non-negotiable is Lizzy and Darcy ending up together. That’s really the whole point of P&P fan fiction. I’m less concerned with Austen’s other novels, although I will fight you if you try to separate Anne Elliot and Frederick Wentworth! LOL
    I’ve never used my father’s name for a character, since it was rather unusual, but it’s also very English, and now that I think of it, why not? Thanks for that great idea!

  4. Linda A. Avatar
    Linda A.

    The names differences don’t bother me so much, but ODC MUST be together at the end (although, the story is unforgettable if they don’t). I also like the Bad Jane or Bad Bingley trope. There is something too … sweet, maybe? … about them that just makes me want to ruffle their feathers. I’ve also read at least one Bad Colonel that I liked. As long as they get what is coming to them, and the reason for the bad behavior is explained, they are okay with me. I’ve even read one with a Bad Mr. Gardiner but a Good Lady Catherine that was memorable. For me, what it comes down to is different names and OOC actions are okay as long as Darcy and Elizabeth end up together and the baddies get their comeuppance.

  5. mustangtiger Avatar

    Melanie – I can sympathize with you about loosing friends & family. We just lost my mother-in-law 2 weeks ago and I am sure this will be a very tough holiday season especially for Dad.

    The character names or behavior are not as important as the overall story – on the ONE condition that D&E end up together. I don’t mind of Col F is good or bad. One of my favorites is Undoing by LL Diamond which bucked several of the “traditional” characters but it is a fantastic story. I also dont mind in the epilogue that they die after a good life as that is the reality of it.

    I have been working my way through your books and so far I have not found one that I didn’t like ~ Glory

  6. cindie snyder Avatar
    cindie snyder

    I go for tall dark and Darcy I mean handsome!lol Great post very interesting.

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