November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in which one must write a short novel in a month. Despite my family going on a short vacation last weekend, all I can really think about is accomplishing NaNoWriMo this year.
This will be my third year attempting NaNoWriMo. I almost made it in my first year. I got to 42,077 words but didn’t quite make it because my family was moving at the end of the month. Last year I only made it to 27,464 words. Neither book has been finished. Despite that, I feel more confident that I will make the target word count this year.
In my regional NaNoWriMo community, we’ve joked about the surprises that happen while participating, even when you start with a good outline. In my first year, I realized that the story I was working on should not be JAFF and should be an original work instead. Last year, I realized that I needed to change my timeline and have the story occur in the 1790s rather than the 1810s. Additionally, Darcy would inherit a barony.
This year, I was only a few days into writing when I realized I needed to rethink the title and series completely. What was going to be book three in the Witches of Austen is going to be book two in Pride and Prejudice and Prophecies.
What does this mean for WoA fans? The story will continue, but I’ll be reworking the first two books to combine them as one story. As my focus of the series will go from short stories/novellas to novels, it means I’ll be able to spend more time building this fantastical world.
Without further ado, I share an excerpt from a rough draft Mr. Darcy and the Magical Pursuit.
“Mr. Darcy and Miss Darcy,” the butler to General Tilney’s London house announced them, and Fitzwilliam Darcy and his younger sister entered the drawing room.
You are certain all shall be well, Fitzwilliam? Georgiana used heart-speak to converse with her brother.
Trust me, he replied. I know you can play your part.
Of course! I am a Darcy.
Darcy watched as his sister squared her shoulders. The expression on her face looked shy and reserved, but Darcy knew that his sister’s keen eyes and strong empathic talents were taking everything in. A part of him hated that he had to involve her in such a rouse, but his heart also swelled in pride at her ability.
Mrs. Tilney and her daughters immediately fawned over Georgiana and seated her near Charles. Darcy had made the usual civilities before the General launched into a long rant about the waste of time staying at Netherfield had been.
“Sir, I think we had better not say anymore about certain ladies from Hertfordshire,” Caroline said with a long glance at her brother. Charles spoke with Georgiana but had heard the other conversation and looked slightly flushed.
“Indeed,” agreed their mother. “Allow me to say, however, that the eldest Miss Bennet’s powers were nothing compared to dear Georgiana’s.”
Georgiana blushed at the praise and stammered her thanks.
“As the eldest Miss Bennet was an empath, it would be fairer to compare Georgiana to Miss Morland,” Darcy took a sip of wine during the awkward silence that followed. “Speaking of empaths, how does Miss Tilney do?” He had not seen her since they left Netherfield.
“She slowly recovers,” Mrs. Tilney replied.
“Quite busy with his parish, unfortunately,” the General said. “If they had not thought they were the Bewitched Sisters, a match with that youngest one might have done him good.”
“Miss Kate?” Bingley asked.
“Yes, the Allen heiress.”
Darcy knew that Catherine Morland was not an heiress of any kind, but decided to allow the General to keep his ignorance. Henry did not need his father match-making for him.
“I think I might visit him,” Charles said.
“Henry?” Caroline said, alarmed. “No, we need you in London. Who will be our chaperone?”
“Your father or Hurst,” Bingley suggested.
Darcy understood his friend sought solitude but it did not suit his purposes. He needed to speak with him alone. He nodded to Georgiana. She had seen a vision of the General leaving town tomorrow morning. Darcy could meet with Bingley after dinner with impunity.
“We had come to invite you to a dinner tomorrow,” she said in a tremulous voice.
“The General will be gone, but the rest of us will be very happy to come,” Mrs. Tilney said.
A servant entered with the mail. As Georgiana and Mrs. Tilney arranged the time, Caroline and Louisa quickly read the missive.
“Pray, forgive me for interrupting, Georgiana. Mother, did we not have an appointment at Madame Dupont, today?” Caroline said when she had finished.
“You’re quite right,” she said and then gave Darcy an indulgent smile. “Although Tuesday is usually our at home day, it was the only time she had for us this entire week. I declare, after Lady Windemere’s ball last week and Caroline wore the blue gown, everyone has been clamoring for Madame Dupont’s dresses. We’ll have to make over our entire Spring wardrobe.”
“Indeed,” the General replied from behind the paper. “Status is everything, If your gowns are not unique, there is no purpose in being seen at all.”
“Allow me to offer you my carriage,” Darcy said very civilly.
“You are terribly kind, but we could never put you through the trouble and have poor Georgiana out in the cold longer than necessary,” Mrs. Hurst said.
“Do excuse us then,” Darcy said while rising. “I look forward to seeing you all tomorrow evening.”
Georgiana gave a curtsy and Darcy bowed before leaving.
“Well?” he looked at his sister after they boarded the carriage.
“Something was in the letter that they needed to discuss.”
“I had thought as much.”
“Caroline and Louisa were very concerned about it. I believe it was related to Bingley.”
“Interesting…” he said. “And Eleanor?”
“She is alive. Held captive and restrained but alive. That is all I could make out.”
“That ought to give Richard some peace. Although, they would never harm her. The General?”
“He seemed as placid and as in control as ever. He certainly did not give the aura of a man worried about anything.”
“Good,” Darcy said with a nod. “I want them all believing they pull the strings and we play on their stage.”
“They do not know that I am an empath as well, so all is safe,” she said. “I know it came close with Wickham but…”
“It is well,” Darcy said and reached across the carriage to squeeze her hand.
They arrived at their home, and Darcy leafed through his post. He made notes using his special code in a journal and then put it in the strong box in his study. He walked toward the fireplace to burn the original letters from the other Council members. As he reached for the tinder box, a flame leaped from a log. Simultaneously, the windows frosted over from the inside.
He loves you, Jane. Do not give up, Elizabeth Bennet’s voice echoed from the walls of his heart.
Darcy squeezed his eyes shut. “I will conquer this. I must,” he said and thrust the papers into the fire.
He must move past his infatuation for Elizabeth, for her own sake he told himself. Even as he thought it, he knew he was helpless against the call of her on his heart. Love need not lead to matrimony he mentally chanted again and again.
Well, I’ll see you again next month, on the other side of NaNo. Here’s hoping I’ve survived and earned that completed badge! Have a happy November!