How precious are Your thoughts to me, O LORD ... how vast is the sum of them!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Austen-Inspired Snippets

This is my first time to participate in Katie Sabelko’s wonderful Snippets of Story on her blog Whisperings of the Pen. The idea is to post excerpts of any writing you’ve been doing over the past month. So, since my latest writing has been for my co-written, Austen-inspired Regency novel, and all my posts this month are required to pay homage to Jane Austen, everything matches up. For more on the story behind these snippets, you can go to its own special post here.

                                             Snippets from The Wise- and Light-Hearted

“Mrs. Dawson might think it more than odd to receive an invitation to such a sudden event.” [said Mrs. Edwards to her daughter Cassandra.]

Mrs. Edwards and Mrs. Dawson were friends and thought very highly of each other, but they were always endeavoring to keep one another’s good opinion. Mrs. Dawson was of an extremely old and respected family, and Mrs. Edwards never liked to do anything that might cause her to think she or Cassandra lacked in genteelness.

- The Wise- and Light-Hearted

William reached out for Joseph, and so the man took him into his lap. “Very well. I think William wants his animals. One mustn’t deprive a gentleman of his horse.”

Cassandra smiled as she handed him the basket. “Have you seen his rocking horse? It is so darling.”

“Mama gave it to him from the attic not two weeks ago,” Sophia explained. “Cassandra loves it more than William, I think, for the memories.”

“I was surprised Mother kept that old thing. I had quite forgotten it ever existed,” Prescott remarked. “It’s dashed incredible that it still holds together.”

“I shall be pleased to meet your steed, little man,” Joseph said, making a white cow trot in the air just out of William’s reach. “Now, what is the task that we have the honor of doing for you?”

- The Wise- and Light-Hearted

“No, not in the least. Their eyes will be on other things!” responded Lucy gaily. She wondered if Sophia caught on to her jest, but when she saw Sophia rapturously watching a butterfly, she surmised that she hadn’t. It was just as well. Sophia had never been less in the mood for jokes than in the past two days. She had confided to Lucy how greatly heartened she was to learn that the Browns were leaving, but she could not be merry until she was sure they were gone. She did not want herself disappointed, and so she would keep her cheerfulness under guard. Aside from that, she did not want anything at all to appear attractive to Mr. Stephen Brown.

“Indeed they will,” Cassandra echoed, likewise letting her gaze rest upon Sophia.

Sophia then became aware of their gaze and smiled at them. “Did you see that butterfly? I’m certain it was a pearl-bordered fritillary. It was dramatic as a leopard with its spots.”

- The Wise- and Light-Hearted

The week passed quickly. Not a day went by that Sophia was not put into the Browns’ company. Every encouragement was given to Stephen Brown by her family members, each in their own way: Mr. Edwards never lost an opportunity to speak and joke with him or offer him some favor, ensuring he knew how much he approved of him; Mrs. Edwards outdid herself with hospitality and always found something relevant to say to him, something she didn’t exert herself to do for everyone; Cassandra was always gently encouraging conversation between Mr. Brown and Sophia and praising them to each other; Prescott lavished attention on Mr. Brown and even offered a clumsy compliment or two whenever Sophia was around. Sophia bore it because she had no other choice. She was always with her family.

- The Wise- and Light-Hearted

Sophia rose from the stone bench and paced, her mind pacing more erratically. At length she decided: the one thing that was settled was that Mr. Brown was leaving tomorrow. She had only one more day of enduring him. And one more day could be endured, not in skulking and hiding, but in brave determination to behave at her best -- to live -- despite him.

- The Wise- and Light-Hearted


I do my best to mix my natural writing style with Miss Austen’s, but no one writes quite like Miss Austen, least of all me. I’ve read one spin-off of Pride and Prejudice but thought it very dull indeed compared to her books; I don’t really desire to try any others (unless you, readers, can recommend something to me!).

Here’s a short list of things I find particular to her writing, and how my writing relates:

- A sense of humor and sarcasm beyond comparison; her language is so elegantly formal that the joke catches you off-guard and you’re chuckling before you know what hit you. (I feel my writing reflects my role model best when I’m funny or sarcastic. But I’m not a very sarcastic writer, so I don’t try over-hard.)

- Quick and complete character sketches. A sentence or two and you know what to expect from the person being described. (I love this about her, and I’m trying to get better at it.)

- Lack of minute physical detail. This allows her to focus on characters and their personalities. (I actually prefer detail to no detail, so I’m perhaps a little more descriptive than she is.)

In the end, it’s best to be myself, but I still get a thrill whenever I read something and think, That sounds like it came from Jane Austen!


  1. Wow, these snippets are so cute! I've never actually been at a meeting where you read aloud from your stories--although I think you haven't been reading aloud from this one? Is this one finished yet?

    1. Thanks for reading! I'm glad you like the snippets. : ) We usually do read aloud from this one, though there have been meetings where there wasn't anything new to read from it. This isn't finished yet ... still a ways to go, but that's okay because my friend & I are having too much fun!