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This may be the year I do Nano Wrimo

So I've got this idea ... of doing a modern version of Madame Bovary, called Ms Bovary or something like that. It would be about an extremely silly, shallow woman who rides around reading dumb chick lit books and "Hello" magazine on the tube, and thinks that somehow this is what life is going to be like when she gets married.

I'm guessing that she marries a city finance guy or something, so she can be bored and disgusted by him and his boring table conversation (about "business"), but how do you fit in all of that Victorian "must keep the affair hidden at all costs" thing in a world where divorces are easy and lovers are common?

How do you make it critical that she stays with her husband instead of leaving? That is the mystery I have yet to work out. I was imagining that she maybe had to keep her visa so she could be in the same country as her lover, but that doesn't quite work for the vision I had of the novel ... ideas?

Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
valkyriekaren
Aug. 13th, 2008 11:20 am (UTC)
How do you make it critical that she stays with her husband instead of leaving?

He has all the money and they have a prenup agreement that says if they split up because of an affair, she doesn't get much/anything?
valkyriekaren
Aug. 13th, 2008 11:22 am (UTC)
You may also want to check out Posy Simmonds's graphic novel Gemma Bovery: http://www.amazon.com/Gemma-Bovery-Posy-Simmonds/dp/0375423397
webcowgirl
Aug. 13th, 2008 11:25 am (UTC)
No no! Then I will lose all of my impetus to write one!

Part of the deal with Bovary is that they never have enough money and she spends beyond her means - so a prenup won't do because ultimately she spends her husband into bankruptcy AND gets power of attorney over him.
valkyriekaren
Aug. 13th, 2008 12:43 pm (UTC)
In that case I wouldn't make him a city finance guy - they're always loaded. I suppose she could be a spendaholic or something.

Monsieur Bovary is a country doctor, isn't he?
robot_mel
Aug. 13th, 2008 12:21 pm (UTC)
Unfortunately that's the whole problem,

If you set it in London you loose the large part that it was about how provincial people were isolated and unable to get to the city. That the country life was horribly repressive and dull and that interesting people who were there were doomed to failure if they couldn't get out. If M. bovary had managed to get to Paris, even in the 19th century, she would have been fine and been able to keep herself afloat thorough affairs as nana did.

Sticking with your idea, you'd have to make her very religious, or from a religious family in order to justify the fews on sex and affairs. Also plenty of women today Don't get divorced just cause they can, oftern because they have no skills/work of their own to manage on, and their husbands earn so much more than they ever could its much more comfortable to stay with them. Never mind that the men they are having affairs with, if the Rudolphe type, would never let them come and live with them even if they were free.
webcowgirl
Aug. 13th, 2008 12:23 pm (UTC)
What if he is sent to work in Dubai?

Although somehow for going bankrupt, it seems they would need to move to London ...

Edited at 2008-08-13 12:24 pm (UTC)
robot_mel
Aug. 13th, 2008 12:28 pm (UTC)
With her husband? Or is he getting a job and having to transfer there?

Having them move to a foriegn country to get the isolation is good, of course then you are saying how terribly dull and repressive whereever they choose to live is (on par with the French countryside), and if they could just get back to the UK (paris) everything would be fine. (Not the most politically correct of stories)
robot_mel
Aug. 13th, 2008 12:32 pm (UTC)
You can go bankrupt in lots of places in the UK, think of the North of england where there is no work, and there is mass unemployment and people's homes are worth nothing. She could be terribly isolated in a northern village, and then they get the internet, (and the internet could be the evil shopkeeper) who gives her credit cards and she runs up lots and lots of bills with her online shopping! And then they could be coming to repossess the house or something
webcowgirl
Aug. 13th, 2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
Ooh, running up bills with internet shopping, that sounds good!

I think I would want to put her someplace fairly geographically distant ... but the thing for the chick lit is so UK and I think not nearly so US that I don't think it would work ...
madda_gaska
Aug. 13th, 2008 06:41 pm (UTC)
Slough.

Or even Milton Keynes.

And she could be descended from some devout Catholics so that she doesn't want to get caught because affairs are to be heard (of) and not seen.

As for the husband's profession, how about someone who works in a Jobseekers place or a local council? Underpaid, and with absolutely no requirement to be able to spell their own name, let alone be good at... anything.

S
madda_gaska
Aug. 13th, 2008 06:42 pm (UTC)
Surely the evil shopkeeper should be a nice man from Nigeria who just needs to move USD 1 million out of the country?

S
robot_mel
Aug. 14th, 2008 08:14 am (UTC)
You are so right!
ms_vermilion
Aug. 13th, 2008 02:48 pm (UTC)
Just be sure that she still has the equivalent of a dramatic drooling blue cyanide death at the end.
inanna
Aug. 13th, 2008 05:58 pm (UTC)
An iron clad pre-nup. If she is found to be cheating she (like Michael Douglas in his pre-nup w/ Cathrine Zeta-Jones) must pay her husband $5Million. Yes, that is in their pre-nup agreement. And include she loses money/status as she gets nothing in the case of a divorce.
madda_gaska
Aug. 13th, 2008 06:42 pm (UTC)
And what does Zeta-Jones get if Douglas is found to be cheating?

S
inanna
Aug. 14th, 2008 04:53 am (UTC)
Actually, that is what she gets if HE gets caught (he had quite the reputation for his exploits). She gets 1.5 million a year that they are together, just for it. :)
madda_gaska
Aug. 14th, 2008 06:40 am (UTC)
She gets paid to be with him?
I'm fairly sure there is a word for that...

Every time I think I can't be more dumbfounded at the stupidity, shallowness, and hubris of the Hollywood, etc, bunch they sink to a new low!

S
friend_of_tofu
Aug. 13th, 2008 06:27 pm (UTC)
IMHO, don't do it. Posy Simmonds' version is so good, and so recent, that yours would inevitably suffer in comparison, no matter how good it was.

If you must do it, read up on some recent high-profile high-earner divorce cases. This might indicate why a woman married to a wealthy man would still be ill-advised to give any grounds for divorce. Also, you might want to consider the negative publicity aspect cf Heather Mills-McCartney.
webcowgirl
Aug. 13th, 2008 07:09 pm (UTC)
Ah well, no point in bothering then.
robot_mel
Aug. 14th, 2008 09:26 am (UTC)
The problem with what everyone has been saying about the "pre-nup" idea is that it assumes that her husband is very wealthy, which if you're keeping it inline with the story he shouldn't be. All her expenses come from things bought on credit, not with his earnings.

I wouldn't say don't do it just cause someone else has done it. I mean you were wanting to do it because you thought it would be fun to do, not because you were wanting to impress everyone else. If you still think it'd be fun to write go for it!
webcowgirl
Aug. 14th, 2008 09:37 am (UTC)
Thanks for the encouragement!
I want to make it into something fun that reads like a chick lit novel. I'm imagining Mr. Bovary as a struggling stocks guy she meets in London (so she thinks he will be rich), who first gets posted in York and then maybe gets sent to Dubai? I might want to see about it having a happy ending, though ... that said, I found the ending of the original extremely satisfying! Or maybe she should live in York? There's just this whole section of London female society I really want to mock ...

Edited at 2008-08-14 09:38 am (UTC)
robot_mel
Aug. 14th, 2008 09:44 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks for the encouragement!
Sounds like it'd be fun to write, which is the only thing that matters! And I think the ideas really coming together well. I think the begining is excellent! And I like the idea f them moving somewhere north. (or to dubai). I understand the need to keep mocking those people. You could always have them go to london for the weekend (like they went to the ball) and put all those people in then, and then have her fantasising about them for the rest of the novel!
webcowgirl
Aug. 14th, 2008 10:03 am (UTC)
Re: Thanks for the encouragement!
Actually, to really skewer things, I could make her an American Goth who meets and English Goth, and then she gets to go to Whitby for a weekend ... but her husband lives in Blackpool ...
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )

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