Austen Men in My Life

Charles Bingley

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.


10 thoughts on “Austen Men in My Life

  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.

    Liked by 1 person

  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.”

    Liked by 1 person

  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.


  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

  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.


  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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