On Friday, Andrea Lundgren and I are going to have a Laurie vs. Professor Bhaer blog debate over which man Jo March from Little Women should have chosen for her husband. As a warm up, here is a very funny, but also insightful, post by Andrea on how an author can skillfully steer a story in the direction they want, despite not having set up the direction properly.
Good Wives is the sequel to Little Women: Meg, Jo, Beth, & Amy, often published together in the same book. Nowadays, most people don’t realize they are reading two very different books, but there was a year’s gap between the original publication of part one and part two, and it seems the choices Louisa May Alcott made for the sequel were not necessarily planned ahead of time.
She doesn’t seem certain there will be a sequel, since the first volume ends by stating “[T]he curtain falls upon Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy. Whether it ever rises again, depends upon the reception given the first act…”
When I first read the two volumes, I took everything more or less at face value, but rereading them late last year made me realize how off-course the whole thing became. First, Beth’s near-death in book one was, I always felt, the stronger ending…
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