ON WRITING

“It’s very easy to quit during the first ten years of writing. Nobody cares whether you write or not, and it’s very hard to write when nobody cares one way or the other. You can’t get fired if you don’t write, and most of the time you don’t get rewarded if you do. But don’t quit.” Andre Dubus

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Wednesday, 3 August 2016

#IWSG post. #Writing at the desk. Jane Austen. Writing for fun! Lynda Young release, Cling to God.

Welcome to another #IWSG post.


Thanks to Alex J Cavanaugh for starting this group and thanks to the rotating co-hosts. This month, please visit Alex's assistants, 

Today my topic is Writing at the Desk

We as writers might be sitting at our writing desk (your bed, the beach, the cafe), penning something for pure enjoyment. Okay. Rare. Most likely we're sweating over a masterpiece with a deadline, which is where writing loses its fun aspect. And where insecurity hits.

Jane Austen was prolific in her writing, with 6 major novels to her name. (See her full range of books HERE). The most popular has always been Pride and Prejudice which has had numerous adaptations. Considering she died at just 41 years old, she penned an amazing number of words--published novels, and some 3,000 letters. 

When Jane Austen was 19 years old, her father George Austen recognised her prodigious talent. He bought her that little mahogany writing desk we see in the rare drawings of her. This was in the early 1700s. Don't tell me that Jane, a woman, felt secure writing away in those good old days, where, let's face it, women had fewer options than today.

Image result for jane austen at her deskAusten christened her beloved desk with a tale told through letters (remember them?) featuring the wicked and wayward Lady Susan Vernon, an unashamed adulteress. Jane didn't dream it would see the light of published day. This was her fun work. The wickedly audacious tale about Lady Susan was considered way too scandalous by Austen's family to ever be published. But, time marches on, and fifty years after her death, the controversial and unfinished work was published. The Kindle edition is FREE.

Many years later (early 2000s), enter Whit Stillman, American filmmaker. He fell in love with the witty and charming Lady Susan and has worked laboriously to turn Austen's epistolary novel (novel written as a series of documents) into a screenplay. 

Stillman jokes:
"The family was right. It should never have been published. It is about a corrupt young woman who is a mistress of manipulation in her attempt to make the world her own. Lady Susan is a terrific find. It was Austen's first adult work."
Stillman has named the adaptation, Love and Friendship, and has attracted big name actors--Kate Beckinsale is Lady Susan.

Image result for Pride and Prejudice and ZombiesWe usually think of Jane Austen as tame. Chick lit claims her as its heroine, one of the first chick lit writers. Think Emma and you can see where they're coming from. There are multiple Jane Austen fan clubs and reading groups, and novels written about her. She has become a commercial commodity, even having zombie films and books adapted from her novels. Think Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

If we think of the old adage 'write what you know', Austen must have been a very critical observer of her times. Her Lady Susan letters show her as a serious comedian with an incredible perception of the world as she knew it. 
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Someone who needs no introduction, and writes what she knows, is our blogger friend and fellow Aussie, Lynda Young

Lynda has gouged out some time from her frantically busy life to pen a daily devotional to help in the chaos of life. 

Cling to God: A Daily Devotional by Lynda R Young
Release date: October 18th, 2016
Published by Freedom Fox Press
Cling to God in the chaos of life…

Blurb: Cling to God is a book of devotionals for every day of the year. The aim is to encourage Christians in their faith, to help them think about their beliefs and learn more about God. The devotions are short and inspirational so that people with busy lifestyles will still be able to spend time with the Lord each day. It will appeal to a wide Christian audience, to those new in their faith as well as those matured beyond milk and honey.

Author Bio:
Lynda R Young, a Christian first, writes devotionals, articles, and speculative short stories. In her spare time she is also an editor, game developer, artist, and dabbles in photography and all things creative.She lives in Australia with her sweetheart of a husband. 


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  • So, what are you writing at your desk?
  • Do you have a favourite Jane Austen book?
  • Do you have any questions for Lynda re her devotional guide?
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And the question of the month for #IWSG is:

What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust, or has it been published?

My first serious piece of writing was a story about a girl who sought asylum in Australia. This was the time of the Vietnamese Boat People seeking safety in Australia after the Vietnam War. I did my research, but life got in the way and this piece never grew wings. Now with asylum seekers and refugees all around us, the premise is current. Maybe I'll find it, dust it off, and modernise it. Or maybe I'll just start again...better idea.
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And the next IWSG Anthology is on FANTASY. Over at WEP we have a guest post from our previous winner, Arpan Ghost, writing about FANTASY.

The Inlinkz form is up. You can now sign up for the WEP GARDENS challenge in my sidebar or over at WEP or on Yolanda Renee's blog. Post from August 17 - 19.

JOIN US FOR THE AUGUST CHALLENGE!





62 comments:

  1. The epistolary novel may not be popular, but it isn't dead. I recently read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society which is set in my home island during WW2, and is told through a series of letters. Very cleverly done.

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    1. I haven't read those, Ian, but i love an epistolary novel.

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    2. I really enjoyed the Potato Peel Society book! So charming.

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  2. Dracula, in a sense, is an epistolary novel, made up of newspaper bits, letters, etc. No one character ever had the whole story. My first novel, Buccaneers of the Time Stream, was turned to ashes as was my whole home. Sigh. And highest of sales to Lynda -- each of us need a light for our path each step of the way.

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    1. Yes, I enjoyed reading Dracula in that form. If we think about it, there are quite a few classics that even if not completely in letter form, have extracts from letters in them. My favourite is Acts of Love by Judith Michael. Read it years ago and recently re-read it. It haunts me.
      Thanks for your kind words to Lynda, Roland. :-)

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  3. Hi, Denise!

    How are you? Hope all is well in you life...

    Read many of Jane Austen's books, but I still favor PRIDE AND PREJUDICE... I love the old classics and I really love the Bronte sisters and Charles Dickens.

    I never new about Jane's letter and of Lady Susan...

    ALL the best to Lynda.... My intro for her book posts tomorrow for the IWSG. Such a lovely cover and inspirational writing.

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    1. Pride and Prejudice is certainly the most popular of her novels. I'll look forward to your intro tomorrow!

      All good. You'll be getting some photos of the renos soon! :-)

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    2. Great! Really looking forward to seeing them... I am on the last legs of my rehab. UGH.... it has been a year since I bought this place and it;s still not complete. Hopefully within the next few weeks....

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  4. Aw, thank you so much, Denise. You are a dream for helping me out sharing the awesome news about my book. I do feel a little like how Jane Austen must've felt. I think every piece we write has a little part of ourselves in it, so it makes us mighty nervous putting it out there for the first time.

    Thanks too for the comments of Roland and Michael. I have a huge grin right now.

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  5. Hi,
    Thanks for talking about Jane Austen. She was a fantastic novelist. If I were you, I would seek out the piece about refugees or the girl you wrote about and revise it. Such stories are needed today. Thanks also for introducing me to Lynda's book. I look forward to it coming out because I am always looking for a new devotional book for the coming year. So this one might be good for my year 2017.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia

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    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Pat. I'll think about that!

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  6. Hi Denise - great letting us know about Austen's letters and then the publication of them ... an epistolary novel - so good to know about .. and the Potato Peel Pie book .. I think I have it here ... I must find it!

    Good luck to Lynda - and I do love her cover ... cheers Hilary

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    1. I don't have the Potato Peel Pie book. Sounds interesting!

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  7. Big congratulations to Lynda!
    You should dust off that old piece. You never know.
    Kate Beckinsale? All right, I might actually watch that one.

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    1. I thought that name would have you, Alex!

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  8. I am clearly rusty on my Jane Austen facts. I had no idea she'd died at 41! And, ha, I've definitely changed my writing location from when I started writing five years ago. Hidden away downstairs, the dining room table, the couch.... And that first ms? Definitely in a drawer, but I was so naive when writing it, I assumed it would get published. I mean, I wrote a novel...isn't that all you have to do to end up in a bookstore? Ha! Five years and six manuscripts later....Congrats to Lynda! <3 Christy

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    1. Ha ha...I assumed it'd get published! No way! But weren't we all naive in our first flush of writing?! Lovely for you to visit, Christy. Been ages...:-)

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  9. Congratulations to Lynda on her new book. She is awesome! Jane Austen was a woman ahead of her time. She touched on so many issues that is still relevant today. I think you should absolutely dust off your first work and make it shine.

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    1. Jane definitely was a great role model for us still! Thanks for the encouragement, Murees. Maybe I will...

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  10. I've seen Pride and Prejudice as a movie, but haven't read the book. Those letters do sound intriguing. But the zombie version? I don't know . . . but I did read the book Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter twice. It was actually great and it was amazing how well this crazy fictional premise fit into his real life.

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    1. So someone said the zombie version movie was great but the book not so much.

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  11. My very macho son took me to the Jane Austen museum in Bath, UK. I was enamoured. What a treat. I saw the desk! The clothes, the furnishings. As you can guess, I love all things Jane Austen. Thanks for sharing this, Denise. Happy IWSG Day.

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    1. I'd love to visit the museum. I've visited Bath, but not Jane Austen!

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    2. They have a doorman standing outside in dress costume. And there's a stature of Jane in full costume. It's a delightful museum with a video. They also have family photos. I hadn't realized one of her brothers died young.

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  12. Sometimes it's easier to start fresh than to do the dusting!
    Yay for Lynda!!!

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    1. I'm leaning that way, Jemi. I hope my writing style has improved over the years!

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  13. I still love P&P and the BBC miniseries helped me appreciate the book more.

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  14. Believe it or not, I've never read one of her books.

    Lynda's devotional is SO inspiring!

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    1. Not everyone's a Jane Austen fan, but if you understand that she was a satirist it makes her work all the more interesting.

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  15. I saw that desk (or maybe a reproduction, not sure) in her home--now a preserved bit of her history. What a rule breaker she was to write about someone like Lady Susan. Great post, Denise. Thanks.

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  16. Yay for Lynda!

    I LOVE Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (the movie. The book was a train wreck.) and am totally looking forward to the upcoming film. Knowing it was based on Austen's book only makes it better. Yay!

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    1. It's good to hear someone who has seen the Zombie's movie Crystal!

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  17. If she's looking down on us, I hope she approves. :-)

    Anna from elements of emaginette

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    1. We can only hope! I'm sure she'd be cheering us on!

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  18. Changes your perspective of Jane Austin for sure. I do plan to download Lady Susan.
    The devotional looks great.

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    1. Well let me know how you enjoy Lady Susan. Should be a hoot!

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  19. Jane has some naughty work. I plan to write mostly kid and teen appropriate books. But since I have an adult title called 'Mermaid Strippers' among my unfinished manuscripts, I'm no naive innocent with my pen either. *Wink*
    And congrats to Lynda with her upcoming devotional.

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    1. Mermaid Strippers does sound intriguing Sheena-kay!

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  20. Hello Denise, I thought I'd return the compliament and visit you.
    What a lovely refreshing blog you have. Most enjoyable to read.
    Have a great week-end.Happy writing.
    YVONNE.

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    1. Thank you Yvonne. Lovely compliment. Thanks for returning the visit.

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  21. She sure could capture everything she saw and put her own spin on it with ease. Or at least make it look at ease.

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  22. Lynda Young IS a sweetheart. I've never forgotten her from my long ago blogger days.

    Great post on Jane Austen. Now I'm piqued...want to read Lady Susan.

    An informative and lively post, as always :)

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    1. Let me know what you think of Lady Susan, Ann.

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  23. Found your blog through the IWSG and so glad I did. I've always loved Jane Austen, and can't wait to read Lady Susan. Thanks for the free link, also. I have a dumb question - what is WEP stand for? I'm familiar with WIP but I am drawing a blank. Thanks and have a great day. I'm #256 on the IWSG list, In my own words.

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    1. Glad you came by, Diane. WEP stands for Write...Edit...Publish. You can go to this URL to check us out. We'd welcome you warmly to any challenge.

      http://writeeditpublishnow.blogspot.com

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  24. Jane Austen, one of my favorite authors. Too cool that she wrote something considered salacious. Lady Susan the ultimate femme fatale. Love it!
    Congratulations to Lynda! Such an wonderful achievement! When I was younger one of my favorite books was a book of devotionals that I sent to my terminal uncle when I learned of his illness. These books are wonderful gifts!
    We have a great number of participants for the challenge!

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  25. Jane Austen was something, wasn't she? So ahead of her time. So intelligent and witty. I haven't read her Lady Susan tales but now I must!

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    1. I think there's going to be several downloads of the free Kindle!

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  26. I love all Jane’s novels, but Northanger Abbey is my favorite. I love the light-hearted tone and the intentionally ham-handed political irony. I’ve always imagined Jane chuckling to herself as she wrote the book. Haven't yet read Lady Susan, however, so maybe there’s another favorite in my future. :)

    Wishing Lynda many, many sales!

    VR Barkowski

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    1. Northanger Abbey gets panned by the critics, probably because they don't get Austen's satire. I must give it another read now.

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  27. I love learning about process. It's great to know a little of how one of the literary grandmasters produced her work.

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  28. Congratulations to Lynda R Young! My first ever draft was published in a local newspaper. I didn't know at seventeen that I should have edited and polished before sending it in!

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    1. Ha ha Nas. How things have changed, eh?

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  29. Congrats to Lynda on her new book! And I love Jane Austin. Interesting to learn more about her and her desk (as I sit on my bed typing).

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  30. Another amazing post. I remember Lynda Young and will now head over there. I downloaded Lady Susan and just read the first two "chapters" (very short, my speed :) I think I wrote you a long woeful email sometime last week (I think), about giving up blogging again, but wasn't going to publicly announce it. But I'm back - just can't give up writing - but to WordPress, new host GoDaddy. Like Jane Austen, write what you know. I'm doing my "life stories," mine and others, among them my growing up in "Mormon" country. It's what I know. Thanks for all the support you've given/give me in my "old" age (caregiving is getting rougher and rougher). (I'm now at annbestlifestories.com)

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