WRITERS CONSULTING FAMILY AND FRIENDS. This article by Rebecca Onion in Slate (June 18) tells how Jane Austen recorded the opinions of her friends and family on MANSFIELD PARK and EMMA. The British Library has recently made the document available online (here) Rebecca Onion has helpfully included in the article a transcript of Jane’s summary of the comments on MANSFIELD PARK. Jane identified the person who made each comment.
I was pleased to see that Jane Austen used a similar process to the one Mary Jane has used for her two full-length plays. Mary Jane also records comments from her friends and family who see or read her work, along with critiques from professional associates. She also makes a master list of the comments. She reviews the list before beginning each new draft. There is an advantage to knowing well the person who makes comments.