#FirstDraft120 Day 112: A Ransome Sequel Story Idea | #amwriting #romance
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that watching Victoria on PBS was making me want to revisit the proposal I wrote seven years ago for a sequel series to The Ransome Trilogy. The main reason for this is because of the setting—the mid- to late-1840s, possibly up to the Great Exhibition in 1851. (Although, now that I’ve written about that in another series, I don’t know that I’d include it in any of these stories.)
Although I went through some of the files I’d created when I wrote the proposal back in 2010, I didn’t actually re-read the synopses. I just pulled the character lists and re-read the epilogue at the end of Ransome’s Quest for a brief reminder of some of the ideas I’d come up with. But I wanted to start fresh.
My goal for the remainder of January is to take at least one of the “next generation” (the children of Julia/William, Colin/Susan, Michael/Serena, and Sir Drake Pembroke) and, each day, come up with and share an idea for a romance story (whether novella or full-length remains to be seen—because who knows if I’ll ever write any/all of these).
Eleanor Ransome has reached the grand state of being a twenty-four-year-old spinster by being quite a bit like her mother, Julia Witherington Ransome; who, Eleanor is fond of pointing out, did not marry until she was twenty-nine. Although she is the second child, and a daughter, she is the one who has learned the running of the plantation at her mother’s right hand—since her elder brother followed their father’s footsteps and went off to sea fourteen years ago.
Because Colin Yates’s elder brother died unexpectedly (still a bachelor at his age!) and left the Earldom to Colin; because James is Colin & Susan’s only son and heir; and because James just turned twenty-nine years old, Colin has insisted James marry before his thirtieth birthday—otherwise he will be cut off from access to the money set aside for him (i.e., precursor to the trust fund). Because James has something of the reputation of a reclusive scholar—and because he’s never met a young woman he doesn’t think is flighty, simple-minded, and vapid—he decides it’s finally time to take his “aunt and uncle” (William and Julia Ransome) up on their offer for him to visit their sugar plantation in Jamaica and learn how such an enterprise is run; after all, James will someday be in charge of all the family’s investments, including the money involved in the sugar plantation and shipping ventures with the Ransomes. He sees it as an escape from his mother’s continuous attempts at matchmaking; his parents see it as the way to put James and the older of the two Ransome daughters together, just as they’d always hoped/dreamed.
Eleanor loves Tierra Dulce and Jamaica, and cannot imagine living anywhere else (she hated London the few times they’ve visited during her lifetime). However, when she learns that James Yates—the man her parents have always hinted at as being her “intended,” even though there is no formal agreement—is coming to visit, Eleanor decides her freedom is worth more to her than anything else. So she books passage on a steamer bound for Philadelphia to pay a visit to her uncle Michael Witherington’s family.
When James arrives in Jamaica, he is immediately given the task of sailing aboard a Tierra Dulce cargo ship to Philadelphia—where the other end of the shipping conglomerate is located and run by Julia Ransome’s brother, Michael Witherington, and his family. Little does James know that his real task is to retrieve Eleanor and convince her to return home—and/or to marry him. (Because, of course, this is all explained to Michael and Serena in a letter from Julia that James is carrying.)
As soon as James arrives on the ship from Jamaica, Eleanor knows what’s going on and what her parents (and his, and her uncle/aunt) are up to. However, she’s now trapped in Philadelphia with James because she spent all of her own readily-available money to purchase her passage to get out of Jamaica, and she knows no one else will give her the money she needs to leave, since they all seem bound and determined to make her marry James Yates. So she decides she will do whatever it takes in order to turn him off. And for her, that means being as bookish, intelligent, studied, and authoritative on all subjects as possible (since, she believes, men don’t like bluestockings).
When James sees how intelligent and independent Eleanor is, he cannot stop himself from admiring her. And the more she tries to turn him off by being the opposite of what’s expected from a society girl, the more attracted he is to her. Now he has to figure out how he can make her fall in love with him—because he can no longer imagine spending the rest of his life without her in it.
What are you working on today? How will you build momentum for this week? Have anything motivational to share?
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