Jonathan Pinnock - Writer of Stuff

NO SOONER THE WORD THAN THE FICTION

Mrs Darcy, Episode Sixty-Four

Today’s episode is a reflective interlude which seeks to explain what actually happened at the Mission. I’ve just realised that we are almost two-thirds of the way through this thing, which is a long way further than I’ve previously managed with a novel – so if nothing else, I’ve proved to myself that I can keep going for over 40K words …

Now here’s a question for you people out there. In the course of trying to sell this thing to a publisher, it keeps coming up against the problem that it looks like another bloody mash-up – and of course the market for that kind of thing has long moved on (P&P&Z sold zillions, but most of the other wannabes have apparently sold poorly, at least in the UK).

My problem with this is that I never intended to write a mash-up as such. Sure, my starting point was that I thought it might be amusing to take the characters from “Pride and Prejudice” and use them in an entirely different context, but the story very soon took on a life of its own, bringing in a whole load of other stuff that I hadn’t anticipated at all. But how do you differentiate that from a mash-up? Or is there no difference at all? Are Jasper fforde’s books (for example) just mash-ups, then?

I’m thinking aloud here, which is a dangerous thing to do on a blog. But I really would be interested to know what anyone else thinks. The floor is yours.

6 Comments

  1. If the story will work without using someone else’s characters it’s not a mash-up. If you’re relying on the reader’s knowledge of the other book then it is. That’s my opinion and I’m sure there are a thousand others.

  2. admin

    July 28, 2010 at 2:32 pm

    Interesting distinction. I’d like to think in the case of Mrs Darcy that it would sort of work without those particular characters, but that it works better with them.

    I know that at least one reader who has enjoyed it absolutely loathes Jane Austen, and I certainly don’t see that myself as a barrier. In fact, I’m not even sure that I see hardcore Jane Austen fans as its target market. Which is odd, because those are the kind of followers that it’s picked up on Twitter and Facebook.

    I find it all very confusing.

  3. I haven’t read all the episodes, I tend to dip in and out, but it’s great fun. For me, as a fairly keen Janeite, it’s knowing the books that makes it even more amusing, so I’m not surprised there are some hard-core JA fans of this. As for potential publication, it’s much more to my taste than the zombie one or the sea monster, neither of which did a thing for me. Didn’t even get to chapter 2.

    But what I’m waiting for is another Youtube trailer please, Jonathan. And I think this novel would lend itself to being dramatised: Mrs D and the Aliens: The Musical?

  4. admin

    July 29, 2010 at 11:41 pm

    Many thanks for that, Nicky – much appreciated. Funnily enough, you’re not the first one to have asked about another YouTuberance recently – I’ll see what I can do :) I have grave doubts about musicals, although I’m almost tempted to see what could be done in the style of Gilbert and Sullivan. I said almost.

  5. Excellent, I look forward to the Youtube AND the musical. In French, of course?

  6. admin

    July 30, 2010 at 11:57 am

    *gulp*

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