I didn’t finish reading Emma.
WHAT? I KNOW, RIGHT!
Here’s what’s going on with that…
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!