As I promised last time, I’m back with part two on the subject of the “popular highlights” feature on your Kindle. But first an update on the progress of my upcoming novel, The Persuasion of Miss Jane Austen. I’m in the middle of some final rewrites based on feedback from my beta readers. When I’m finished, the manuscript will go to the proof reader for a final line edit. Meanwhile, my graphic designer is hard at work trying to translate my vision for the cover into reality. It’s almost there – just a bit more tweaking – so hopefully my next post will be the exciting cover reveal!
Okay. As I mentioned before, the passages most frequently highlighted in my books tend to fall either into the category of romance or what I’m calling “wisdom.” Last time I covered the romantic; this time it’s wisdom.
To start, let me say that I don’t set out to teach or influence readers by what I write. Some authors do, of course. They may have an agenda – hidden or otherwise. And it was not uncommon longer ago for tales designed to teach valuable life lessons to literally end with the words, “And the moral of the story is…”
My goal is purely entertainment. Still, it’s possible that I might happen to say something sage occasionally, purely by accident. Which reminds me of our Jane Austen quote for the day. It’s not exactly the same situation, but you’ll get the idea. Lizzy Bennet, when she’s acquired a little more wisdom of her own, says about Mr. Darcy:
“I meant to be uncommonly clever in taking so decided a dislike to him, without any reason. It is such a spur to one’s genius, such an opening for wit, to have a dislike of that kind. One may be continually abusive without saying anything just; but one cannot always be laughing at a man without now and then stumbling on something witty.” (Pride and Prejudice, chapter 40)
To carry it one step further, one cannot write 100,000 words to create a novel without accidentally stumbling on something wise or witty. So, according to my readers’ highlights, here are my best:
…despite apparent indifference toward their own infants, men seem to have no lack of interest in the activity that leads to their existence.
“It seems the law has only a nodding acquaintance with justice and an even more tenuous association with common sense.”
“Even as young as you are, you have learnt that life is full of trials. Yet I pray you never allow bitterness to take root in your soul. It is a deadly poison, Jo, and life is too fleeting to waste a moment on resentment or recriminations.”
“I should be sorry to discover that I must surrender my reason in proof of my affection.”
When unscrupulous men behave dishonestly, it surprises no one. But when an honorable man acts against his known principles, it threatens to turn to quicksand the ground on which we all stand.
“In my experience, venturing to ascribe motives to another person’s behavior is a singularly perilous undertaking.”
“…for rarely is one person solely to blame in a dispute and the other completely innocent.”
“Nothing will destroy your love more quickly than discovering that you cannot truly esteem your husband.”
Rereading this list, I do see a couple that are pretty close to my own thoughts (and, no, it’s not the last one!), grown out of some experience in my life. But ideally, rather than me, they should sound more like the characters to whom the words/thoughts are ascribed. That’s one of the incredible things about writing fiction. Your characters take on lives and personalities of their own, and sometimes even the author is impressed by the wise or witty things they come up with!
What do you think? Do you have a favorite from this list? Or better still, give us your favorite Jane Austen words of wisdom.
Jane: “No man is offended by another man’s admiration of the woman he loves; it is the woman only who can make it a torment.”
An excellent choice, Imelda! Thanks for sharing it. 🙂
LOVED the quote about the infants, Shannon. How very clever of you!!
That was Lizzy’s thought in “The Darcys of Pemberley”, Monica! She’s the clever one. 😉 Thanks for your comment.