BCof1 Monthly Book Club: Emma (part 2)

I didn’t finish reading Emma.

WHAT? I KNOW, RIGHT!

Here’s what’s going on with that…

Monthly Book Club

Okay, I didn’t finish reading Emma.  I basically stopped caring about the original book.  So, when I didn’t get the audiobook back all that quickly, I decided to not fight it.  I decided to focus on what I wanted to do with the story.  I realized, among other things, that the romance element that was the plot of Emma, was not where I wanted to go with it.  I didn’t want to modernize match making the way Clueless has.  I looked at Emma Approved, the vlog series that focused on Emma being a lifestyle consultant, but again it was really all about the romance.  The story I was developing wasn’t about Emma as a matchmaker, but as just the consultant.  I wanted to focus on her pushing herself as an expert on a topic, without real experience or knowledge of what she was doing.  It’s like she thinks she can play matchmaker with a business and its customers.

My problem with Emma is what makes it one of my… meh titles by Austen.  I can work with it and it can be modernized, but Emma is not really a likable character.  Especially in a modern context.  She is entitled and has no concept of the world around her.  Even in Clueless they play up her narcissism because it’s a huge part of who she is.  Yes, she has a good heart, but she wants to fit the world into her perspective rather than shifting her understanding as she learns more.

Can I tell you how many YouTube videos I have looked at from people trying to build a platform with suspect knowledge?   I actually know quite a few in real life too.  It’s not limited to writing and publishing.  I see them in libraries too (but there are far fewer).  The entire self-help industry seems built around this as well.  I get more excited about this idea than I do about matchmaker Emma finding love.  Does that mean there won’t be romance in the book?  No, it just means it won’t be a romance novel.  It won’t be structured like a romance novel.  The romance will have to naturally fit in.  I’m not going to do with this, what Austen did with Northanger Abbey: “Oh, yeah, and they fell in love and got married, the end.”  The Knightly and Emma character will already be past the “meet cute” period and possibly already in a romantic relationship that might be struggling.  I don’t know that yet.  I have to do right by the characters I am creating and not have romance just to have romance.  Yes, I know this will very likely irritate Austen fans.

Anyway, it became less about me re-reading Emma and me getting to the story I wanted to tell, which is actually the point of my doing a re-reading. So, I never finished.

Next month, the classic selection is going to be My Cousin Rachel by Daphne Du Maurier.  Yes, it was a movie that might already be on demand to watch.  I need a break from romance and into a little horror (non-clown horror).

In the comments, tell me what you think of Emma (the character) and how much you will miss the romance if I leave it out. Happy Halloween!

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