Austen Men I Have Known

Austen Men Are Real.

Writers borrow from their own lives when they construct their characters and circumstances. I am at my most realistic when I insert a scene or person from my own life into the story, for I can feel the emotions and describe the events very well, especially if I was experiencing strong feelings when I lived it.

Austen men

Yesterday, I was thinking of that and of the very different Darcys Laura Hile and I have written. Her Darcys are playful. They banter with cheerful Elizabeth. My Darcys are kind and courteous, but they brood. They’re moody, and Elizabeth is by turns angry, sad, happy – she’s all over the place. Like me.

I have been told that I’m dramatic. I might be.

Anyhow, I now realize that I’ve combined Austen’s characters with bits and pieces of people I’ve known throughout my life. As I processed that epiphany, I began to think of the men (and boys) I’ve known and how bits and pieces of them have made it into my characters. I knew all of them well. Some of them were classmates, some were casual dates, some were/are friends or relatives, some were boyfriends, and one is my husband.

In fact, I have known all of the Austen men. Let that sink in. I was able to think through Austen’s characters and select the man I know/knew who fit that character. I knew Darcys, Bingleys, Hursts, Wickhams, Collinses, Edwards, Toms, Brandons, Wentworths, Tilneys, Knightleys, Churchills, Mr. Bennets, – all of them.

My first boyfriend was definitely a Bingley – sweet, kind, cheerful, well-liked, lovable, unfailingly polite, popular, and courteous. I dated him for three years and never heard a cross word from him, though I’m certain he heard a few from me. Unlike Austen’s Bingley, he was very intelligent and spiritual. I think that’s why my Bingleys are always smarter and more capable than the Austen original.

Is there a Bingley in your past?

For the next few months, I plan to trace Austen’s characters, male and female (yes, I knew those, too) through my life. Please feel free to join me.

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10 thoughts on “Austen Men I Have Known

  1. Laura Hile

    Okay, I’m intrigued. Such an excellent idea for a series!
    I haven’t known many Austen men–not as boyfriends or family members (okay, maybe a few in the extended family!)–but students? Ah, yes, they’re there. Austen men-in-the-making.

    Looking forward to more.

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  2. Robin Helm Post author

    I know Austen women, too, and I intend to write about them, so I’m changing the name of the series to “Austen Characters” and this one is subtitled “Austen Men.”

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  3. Robin Helm Post author

    My true life Wickhams aren’t quite as bad as Austen’s, and my Janes aren’t as perfect as hers. I like real people better than fictional ones.

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  4. Christina Boyd

    My own MrB has was a Mr Bingley when I first met him. I’m afraid that years of responsibilities has lessened his playfulness and easy going spirit.

    Liked by 1 person

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  5. Robin Helm Post author

    Perhaps the original Mr. Bingley would have done the same, Christina, as the years passed. Having a family does that to men who take it seriously. I no longer am around the Mr. B I described in the blog post, but it would be interesting to know what he’s like now. He married a lovely woman and had two daughters.

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  6. Robin Helm Post author

    I understand what you’re saying, Leigh. Those super-happy people are a real puzzle to me. I like them. I’m drawn to them. But I can’t be like that. I guess it takes all kinds of people, huh? Thanks for commenting!

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Why yes, we DO want a piece of your mind. ;-)

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