I apologize for what I am about to unleash upon you, if you haven't already been afflicted by this video addiction. It's likely that you may have heard about The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a video blog adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, but if you haven't, well, clear your schedule now. Once you start, you'll keep going. Seriously, just order takeout tonight and tomorrow, too. If you're in the US, you might have today off, so this is perfect. Enjoy!
I don't remember when I found out that romance novelist Kate Noble is a writer for The Lizzie Bennet Diaries – she's credited as Kate Rorick, prompting me to say, “Alas, poor Rorick, because that has to be the worst job ever…NOT.” When I started watching the LBD again after taking a brief break, I realized that I'd never held her down and asked her nosy questions – and now that so many of you are discovering the addicition, well, alas poor Rorick, she got an email from me – which she was kind enough to answer, thank heavens!
1. How did you start writing for this project?
Kate Noble: I previously worked on a job with one of the co-executive producers on LBD, Margaret Dunlap. We stayed friends after that job ended, and when she told me about the LBD, I basically said, “Awesome. Let me know if you ever need any more writers because I have the book memorized.” Sometime around cycle 4, they decided to expand their writing staff, and Margaret set me up for coffee with the showrunner Bernie Su. We hit it off, he very much appreciated my background in romance, and hired me. My first episode was episode 35, Home Sweet Home, right after Lizzie and Jane get back from Netherfield.
2. What are some of the things you've written – and are most proud of?
Kate: The line “Excuse me, Lizzie” seemed to go over pretty well with the fandom. (As did “You called me a robot. And a Newsie.” — personal fave.)
Seriously, being able to write episodes 59, 61, and 62 (aka, the lead up to Darcy’s proposal and the aftermath of Darcy’s proposal – Bernie wrote the actual proposal episode, which is how it should be: the showrunner shouldering the weight for the most important story moment to that point) was a huge rush – and major responsibility, and I’m very proud of how they turned out.
I really enjoyed the response to episode 70, New Jane, where Jane tells Lizzie she’s worried about what Lizzie will do when she graduates. It seemed to resonate with a lot of people who found themselves in similar situations.
And on a different level, another favorite is episode 72, Party Time. The only direction I gave in the script is the following…
Mary is TERRIBLE at reading her lines and supremely uncomfortable playing a role.
Briana Cuoco took that one sentence description and knocked the scene out of the park. It still makes me laugh.
3. How does your approach to the material perhaps differ from the other writers?
Kate: I don’t know if my approach does differ fundamentally. It’s possible that I know the book better than some of the other writers (because when Jane Austen was writing it two hundred years ago, she was obviously writing it with me in mind and it speaks to me on a level that no other person could ever share EVER), but that isn’t entirely a good thing: we are a modern interpretation and sometimes you have to be willing to let the original text go.
When we are breaking the story (i.e. figuring out what’s going to happen in the next block of episodes) we are all in a room together, talking, figuring, and arguing it out. Just us, a big white board, a lot of soda and some Red Vines. Television shows like this are a product of collaboration, and there is an incredible group of people writing for the LBD, and we are all working very hard in service to a story we love.
4. Why is this series so addictive? WHAT IS THIS CRACK YOU ARE WRITING?!
Kate: Jane Austen wrote the crack two centuries ago. We just transmedia’d it.
Obviously, the original story (super rich snobby guy falls for poor but smart everywoman and she SAYS NO, then, as they get to know each other better their first impressions of each other are challenged) holds up for modern audiences. The myriad of television and film adaptations attest to that. However, I think that with the LBD, the way the show is set up to deliberately break the 4th wall and involve the audience via Twitter and Tumblr, gets the fans invested as they never have before. Combine that with the fact that this is all unfolding in real time – i.e. a week in the show is a week in real life — it feels like we are on this journey with Lizzie. It heightens the anticipation: you can’t wait to see what happens next, but you have to, because in our story, it’s still in the process of happening.
Kate: Funnily enough, I wrote a blog about this the other day – there are a couple of major differences between writing for the LBD and writing novels. The biggest being the collaborative aspect of the show (mentioned above) vs. the solitary nature of drafting a novel, and the role money plays in a production – i.e., you are limited in your writing by what you can afford to put on the screen. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because it forces you to get creative with what you have.
Another aspect that makes a difference is the fact that the LBD is an adaptation. We know how the story ends (no spoilers!), and don’t have to invent the plot from whole cloth, they way I do when drafting a novel. That said, we do have to meticulously build the world that they live in and make the character and plot adjustments so that 19th century characters really feel like they live in the here and now. So, six of one, half dozen of the other.
However, my opinion has always been that no matter the format, good storytelling is good storytelling, and I’m just happy to be involved in something that has elicited so much love from so many people. That it’s an adaptation of my favorite book ever? Well, that’s a heck of a bonus.
6. What's next for you as Kate Noble?
Kate: My next historical romance is coming out April 2nd, and I’m very excited for it. Let It Be Me ( A | BN | K | iB) is the passionate tale of Bridget Forrester, the oft-overlooked middle child of the Forrester clan (think Lady Edith) who travels to Venice for the opportunity to be tutored in music by the renowned maestro Vincenzo Carpenini. But Bridget also catches the eye of theater owner Oliver Merrick, and soon enough both men need her help to win a wager. But there’s so much more than money at stake.
I’m madly in love with this story, and you can find excerpts and more at my website.
8. Can you give us a teeny bit of info about what happens next in the LBD world?
Kate: We are in the process of writing and shooting the last few episodes!
It will be so hard to say goodbye to Lizzie and the gang, but then again, these episodes are fantastic and I can’t wait for everyone to see them. (I believe that last sentence is what the kids call “trolling”.) And I know there are plans for a new series in the works. I can’t spill secrets about what it will be of course, but rest assured – awesomeness is in store.
I really like Noble's writing (I gave The Summer of You an A-) and am not surprised that she's adding to the crack that is this series. You can find out more about Kate at her website. Her new book Let it Be Me is available for pre-order now at Amazon, BN, Kobo, and iBooks. You can also see a complete list of her books in order at Amazon.
Thank you to Kate for her time and for her contributions to what is seriously among the most addictive things on the internet right now. If you haven't watched The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, I apologize in advance for the time you're about to lose.