It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a writer in need of a plot must steal from Jane Austen.
I spent the afternoon watching the six-hour Colin Firth version of Pride and Prejudice with my beloved daughter. This put me in mind of several things, neat plot twists that could improve it, and continuations and crossovers.
For example: Mary “You have delighted us long enough” Bennet playing pianoforte and singing at the ball at Netherfield Park. Imagine if she had sung, instead of the rather dull song she attempted, the Cab Calloway Saint James Infirmary Blues, or Minnie the Moocher. That would have certainly enlivened the party.
Or, during the period when Mr. Bingley is in London, he rents Netherfield Park to Sir Francis Varney. Into every generation a slayer is born … Mary Bennet, Vampyre Slayer. She alone will have the strength and skill to fight the vampires, demons, and forces of darkness …
Jane and Lizzy are in town. They are attending a ball. Lord Ruthven is in attendance. He’s gotten Lizzy separated from the crowd and is about to work his wicked will, when in through the French windows in a dive and roll, a wooden stake in each hand, comes Mary Bennet, dressed in man’s array.
I suppose Sir Lucas is her Watcher.
There in London, Lizzy Darcy makes the acquaintance of “Lucky Jack” Aubrey, ashore on duty at the Admiralty. Lizzy, encouraged by her sister Mary’s example, dresses in men’s array and ships out with Lucky Jack, where she plays a decisive role in the Battle of Trafalgar.
After Mr. Collins’ unfortunate early death (from a sudden disease with signs and symptoms nearly indistinguishable from arsenic poisoning), and after the death of Mr. Bennet, Charlotte takes possession of Longbourn, where she and Kitty start a school, with the aid of a certain Captain Jack Harkness. Captain Jack has no objection to sharing.
Silly young Lydia, age fifteen, had gone off and married Mr. Wickham. He’s gotten one last chance, and he now has the love of a good woman to guide him.
Mr. Wickham, now, up there in Newcastle with his new regiment and his new wife, soon ships out to the Pennisula, where (never one to stand on formality, nor likely to have much respect for respectability) he allies himself with Lieutenant Richard Sharpe and his company of Chosen Men.
Years later, in a novel to be titled The Colonel’s Lady, Lydia is in India, a terror of propriety to all the junior officers and especially to the officers’ wives. Then one day, the Indian Mutiny breaks out. She has Adventures.
I do love a good crossover.