igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-07-23 11:33 pm

Charles and Ashley

Fanfiction.net appears to be malfunctioning again...

I discovered this yesterday, at the point where I was attempting to post about having a panic due to losing the notes I'd thought I'd made for a putative "Gone With the Wind" fan-fiction. It was an idea that came to me during an exchange of PMs after writing The Paths of the Living, several years ago now, and I thought I'd written down the salient text and tucked it into the front cover of the red leather notebook I was using at the time. When I actually got round to looking at the sheets in question, I discovered that they were notes for Lost and Found instead, which was also sparked off by a PM conversation at about the same time...
Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-07-22 01:01 am

More rewrites

Finished rough-typing my final chapter of "In Regret Always", which comes out at 5,500 words; that makes the whole thing twenty-one and a half thousand, definitely one of my longer efforts. Unfortunately I wasn't particularly happy with Gustave's big flashback speech in this chapter: the actual scene is fine plotwise, the details of what happens are fine, but I'm not sure his wording is getting it across as vividly as I can see it in my mind's eye. I remember having a lot of trouble in writing that bit in the first place; I wasn't particularly happy with the outcome at the time, and sadly it hasn't improved with being away from it.Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-07-09 03:27 pm
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Chapter length

Chapter two of "In Regret, Always" completed: i.e. typed, heavily tweaked in places in an attempt to make it work better, and proofread for transcription errors (in that order!)

It eventually came out at 5,800 words, which is probably the longest single chapter I've done -- actually longer than several of my existing multi-chapter stories in their entirety. If it hadn't been for the framing structure I'd probably have elected to simply to split it at "an equally brave lie", but I had enough trouble getting in and out of the frame in order to split off the first half of the scene (an extra 3,500 words; just as well I did :-p) In any case, I seem to remember that chapter 3 in the manuscript is going to be even longer... Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-07-08 10:27 pm

Blue Remembered Hills (ch7)

I've been spending an awful lot of time over the past week or so up to my ears in French, but here we are finally with the essential scene in any Phantom retelling: the unmasking scene (combined here with the kidnap, since events are being compressed into a single day...) And an Erik-PoV chapter; the gentleman known to my fandom-blind beta-reader of the time as "Crazy Erik" :-p

It's interesting writing a character who is insane but -- of course -- isn't aware of it...

Chapter 7: Behind the Mask

The great chamber beneath the hillside was dark, lit by only the faintest midnight glow through the viewport from the dust-laden sky high above. The shadows of the gallery stretched away far out of sight, in long shapeless aisles that threw back only a random glint or two in answer to the faint pool of light at Erik’s feet as he moved; at any other time he would have welcomed that refuge, a deep anonymous night in which all men were equal, both marred and unmarred. But he was no longer alone. And she— she was not at home here as he was. He had to see that all was well; that all was ready for her.

His body still ached from the vibrating drone of their long flight, but he would not have sacrificed one hour of it. To have her there, cradled close in the soft black leather of the seat with her white throat thrown back, utterly yielding in the heavy-breathing stupor of her drugged doze... If he had reached out — taken his hand for one moment from the yoke of the little flyer — he could have brushed that wisp of hair that curled behind her ear, or set his gloved wrist against the smooth curve of her cheek that still held the downy bloom of a child. He longed to set loose those tight-bound braids and see her veiled in the sheen of her hair, brushed out like true rain as Newparis would never know it. She had been close enough to touch... and that had been enough.Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-07-07 08:44 pm
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Rushed into flower

The first flowers have come out on my windowsill -- and they turn out to be purple Virginia stocks, which are apparently notoriously quick-growing. These were some of the smallest seedlings and have rushed upwards and into flower before many of the other varieties have managed more than a couple of leaves yet. I've been trying to thin them out (they don't have much root to speak of) but there are still far more of them than anything else at the moment. I'm assuming they will die off once they finished flowering.Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-07-03 10:53 am
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Windowsill 2017

Of the late-sown plants that failed to flower last year, one turned out to be another sweet alyssum and flourished mightily, the ageratums died, the wallflower-like things withered and died one by one through winter and spring, the creeping thyme-like stuff with tiny leaves gradually died off, the love-in-the-mist-like frondy thing is still sitting there looking quite vigorous but showing no signs of flowering, and there's another one that has been clinging on underneath the alyssum with its leading shoots looking deformed.

Meanwhile I sowed another packet of random seed from a "Little Miss" flower kit that was date-expired (rescued from bric-à-brac donations).Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-06-28 03:11 am
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The end?

Right, I think I've come up with an end: Gustave's poetry, if I can get it right.

(If he does end up in the trenches, the suggestion is that he will be one of the 'war poets'; the other idea is that the story of his parents will at least offer the potential to be immortalised as tragic poetry, if nothing else. Not sure I'm succeeding in conveying either at the moment yet...)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-06-26 06:39 pm
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The last letter

Finally reached the point in my fourth (and last) chapter where I can insert the letter Raoul is seen writing at the start of the story. Copied more or less verbatim from the notes I made after the London Marathon, which is the point at which I had only just developed this section, and was thus able to recall it in far more detail than the rest; I changed very little, and as a result ended up crossing off the last page of my 'summary' at a rate about a dozen times faster than the rest of it!

Which means I'm almost finished after about sixty days of writing (has it really been that long?)

Now I just need to find an end for the story; I was thinking along the lines of 'romantic idiots'...
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-06-24 01:36 am

Blue Remembered Hills (ch6)

And here's the other half of the Blake/Gan chapter; Blake's scenes weren't really long enough to stand on their own, and Gan's big scene would have made a very long single chapter in contrast. So we have here the combined outsiders' view of some fairly tumultuous events (and I've tried to distinguish the two different viewpoints).

Chapter 6: Broken Trust

Gan felt his mouth go dry. The spectre in black and white held them all, effortlessly, by sheer force of dominion. The voice, when it came, was distorted: a rising inhuman hiss through circuits that shielded and manipulated alike.

“People of Newparis— I have brought you here to make an example. An example that some among you have forgotten. An example to all those in whose talent we trust.”

Long, gloved fingers gestured, and a girl somewhere to the right cried out in one short sharp whimper of surprise. The crowd stirred, parting, as two broad-hewed men in dockyard clothes elbowed through with the chosen one caught up between them.

Gan got one glimpse down at her face, white as ash beneath the pale plait that crowned her head; the whisper of Vargas’ double axe sang ghost-like through his mind and he almost reached out to her, but Blake caught at his sleeve, both of them unsure in that moment if she was to be heroine or sacrifice of the hour. “Gan, wait— we don’t know—”

And then she was past and gone, hastened up to the stage where Dar stood rigid and grim, and Gan had only the memory of blue eyes pale as waxen thread, filled with all-consuming terror of the Ghost.Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-06-22 03:01 am
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For some reason I seem to be having a lot of trouble getting effective phrasing for Gustave's big speech in chapter 4 -- despite having the whole thing pretty much planned out in advance, as opposed to the trouble I had in 'winging it' with the Phantom in chapter 2. I sincerely hope I don't end up having the same problem when it comes to Raoul's pivotal letter...

Here's a quick piece of unsolicited rewriting that I did instead as an exercise on somebody else's fiction, in an attempt to prove that I still had the knack of turning an improved phrase.

"With the main hall's lights only at half current, both men standing amidst the Symphony Societies chairs on the otherwise empty stage of Carnegie Hall were cast deeply in the relief of the subdued illumination. A hesitant melody issued forth from the strings of a solitary violin before a short laugh once more resulted in an aborted attempt" -- this jarred particularly heavily on my ear :-(

My attempt at getting the passage to sound more natural: "The lights of Carnegie Hall, currently only at half-brightness, cast a dim illumination over the rows of chairs set up for the Symphony Society on the main stage, and laid deep contrasting shadows across the features of the two men who stood together there. A solo violin began to play, hesitantly, but the player broke off the melody moments later in yet another abortive attempt, with a short laugh at his own expense."

(The answer, I suspect, is that it took me ten minutes to rework those two sentences, and the author, with fifty or sixty chapters of Grand Epic to spin out, didn't spend anything like that long in contemplating the question...)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-06-18 09:30 pm

Nineteenth century French law on legitimacy

This is the summary I came across: http://www.placedauphine.net/projects/inheritancelaw.html

This is the actual law:
In the original French: https://fr.wikisource.org/wiki/Code_civil_des_Fran%C3%A7ais_1804/Livre_I,_Titre_VII

(Section relevant to Gustave's situation: VII.I.2 "De la paternité et de la filiation" ) 312. L’enfant conçu pendant le mariage, a pour père le mari. [...] 313.
Le mari ne pourra, en alléguant son impuissance naturelle, désavouer l’enfant : il ne pourra le désavouer même pour cause d’adultère, à moins que la naissance ne lui ait été cachée...
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-06-16 12:35 am
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Paris war days

I'm not sure how much, if any, of this is relevant, but it's interesting period information:
Paris War Days by Charles Inman Barnard, a diary of the outbreak of the war by an American in Paris.
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-06-14 02:36 am
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War research

Research: it looks as if -- even though the Americans didn't have a system of sending over voluntary nurses, which was my original idea for how Christine arrives back in France -- the French hospitals did use them ("infirmières bénévoles"/"infirmières auxiliaires"), courtesy of various voluntary societies. Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-06-12 06:57 pm

Blue Remembered Hills (ch5)

In which our two sets of crossover characters finally meet... just about. (Sadly I suspect the Daroga doesn't really count for most people ;-p)

This was the chapter that was originally written in flashback with Gan looking back on prior events while waiting for the rally to start; in the end I decided to restructure it into chronological order simply so that I could split the scenes involved over two chapters, since it was running very long. As I'm discovering with "In Regret, Always", an enclosing flashback structure makes dividing things into sub-scenes very difficult :-(

Chapter 5: First Contact

Gan’s face was beginning to ache from the effort of keeping up a genial smile, and even Blake’s bonhomie had slipped considerably. A mutual glance confirmed that right now they had a single thought in common: how to get away from their pressing new acquaintances. With hindsight, buying everyone in the bar a drink had probably been a mistake.

Blake peeled away the arm of one burly spacer from around his shoulders and clapped another over-enthusiastic crewman across the back in farewell, navigating an unobtrusive path across the crowded room towards the exit. Shaking off the old man at his elbow — and the pocket-case of highly contraband ju-gems he’d been trying to sell him — Gan followed, wearing a politely fixed grin as an assortment of affectionately-inebriated strangers tried to detain them, accost them or offer inside information on trade deals guaranteed to be highly profitable for a small initial outlay. Between the raised voices and the flicker of the overhead lights, his head had begun to swim unpleasantly.

“Well, that didn’t go quite as planned.” Blake stopped in the street outside, taking a deep breath, and glanced behind him. Gan found himself doing the same, as if to check that the most persistent of their erstwhile boon companions had finally abandoned the fray.Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-06-05 12:08 am

Blue Remembered Hills (ch4)

I finally got one fanfiction.net review on chapter 3 after I basically begged one of the story followers from an earlier chapter to tell me what she thought of it... which basically amounted to "I don't know anything about the characters, but nice landscape" :-(

hide moaning )

Chapter 4: To See it Shining Plain

The viewport lay high in the city, up on the third level, and looked north-west, towards the mountains. Towards Angel Six: that memory came unbidden and uncomfortable, and Cris thrust it back down. If only her Angel could see Rall for himself— could know how shy and protective he was towards her, how utterly different from the jaded black-uniformed betrayer the Angel had surely been picturing when he’d spoken so harshly to forbid her his company. She had not wanted to hurt her beloved teacher; she’d tried hard to keep Rall at a distance. But surely her Angel, so wise, so gentle, could not have asked her to make her dearest friend this unhappy?

Rall had taken a few paces to one side, and stood now gazing out over the land almost as he had done when they were children— when they had painted the imagined distance with plants and animals out of old tales of her father’s, and dreamed of far countries beyond the horizon and worlds beyond the stars. Only... the young man’s hands were locked together tightly behind his back when once they would have reached out eagerly for hers, and three stiff paces separated them both. And she knew that it was her own actions that had set this new constraint between them.

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-06-04 02:12 am
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What's in a name?

The trouble with this Christine and Raoul scene is that I'm really not sure what order things ought to go in, and I'm not at all sure if the current order of the conversation (with Raoul going off on a rant about nursing before it's even occurred to him to find out what happened to the Phantom) is right...

Decided to change the name of old Philippon to Valentin in order to avoid possible confusions between the maître d'hotel and Raoul's older brother (even though Comte Philippe doesn't even exist in the LND universe). 'Valentin' has the right number of syllables -- yes, I do worry about syllable counts where editing the rhythm of existing sentences is concerned -- and has the right surname/Christian name servant-y aura :-p
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-05-28 02:46 pm
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Remarriage in New York

I'm really struggling with this Chapter Two of "In Regret, Always"; I had to rip out another two pages of physical confrontation because the balance of the chapter was just totally out (and the amount of beating-up was getting silly), and unlike the previous material I couldn't even reuse this. Although that's probably just as well, since the chapter is running too long as it is. I'm currently trying hard to get a decent end within my 'framing device', having finally more or less finished with the flashback -- although things are getting blurred, because Raoul is now remembering (in the past tense) without actually being in the flashback (in the present tense), and I'm not sure that makes a lot of sense, structurally speaking.

Meanwhile I've discovered that the 'no remarriage' New York divorce clause came to an end in 1879, so it's just as well I wasn't planning to rely on it... (Raoul hasn't remarried, but then it wouldn't have been a New York divorce in the first place, so I'm not sure how much any of that would be relevant -- not a good idea to make it a pivotal plot point!)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-05-25 07:39 pm

Blue Remembered Hills (ch3)

And... back to the "Blake's 7" perspective. Reposting the story cynically in one section or the other of fanfiction.net according to which set of characters are being featured (as opposed to using the official 'crossover' section, which very few people bother to check for new entries) at least gives me a chance to gauge readership in the two separate fandoms. Unsurprisingly, it's considerably larger on the 'Phantom' side. (Unfortunately, I forgot to change the fandom back when initially posting chapter 2, so any alerts that went out to my 'followers' will have listed the story as a "Blake's 7" one and thus of no interest to them...)

'Considerably', of course, is a relative term. A grand total of thirty-four people actually went so far as to glance at chapter 2, but one of them was so excited as to 'follow' the story (which I hope means she'll recognise the update when I post this chapter into the other fandom) :-p)

Chapter 3: Down and Safe

Blake was asleep when the call came.

They’d all been on edge for far too long — in the case of Avon, himself and Jenna, more or less constantly since they’d first boarded the Liberator — and Avon for one was starting to look exhausted, all the squared angles of his face drawn sharper and more uncompromising than ever. No doubt he’d barely rested all this time for fear that the rest of them might somehow double-cross him or work out a way to put the ship to profit at his expense. No doubt, Blake considered wearily, Avon himself could have come up with two or three ways of doing just that. He wondered if all geniuses were paranoid, or if it was close proximity to computers that had soured Avon on humanity at large... or more personal reasons, perhaps.

Well, he wasn’t about to pry; he needed Avon’s cooperation, and it was hard enough to get that out of him anyway. Any attempt to restore the man to the human race would have to wait until later. Much later.

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-05-25 12:48 am
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Changeover Time

The first really hot day we've had this spring, and I finally got round to emptying the trunks up in the loft, dragging everything out onto the grass for a good airing, and conducting the great biannual changeover from winter to summer wardrobe. Off with the velvet jackets and on with the linen; goodbye to the eiderdown; away with the thermal underwear (save for one complete set of longsleeved vest and longjohns, plus one of the Uniqlo 'heat-tech' sleeveless vests; summer in England is never guaranteed to be all hot all the time).

I wonder if this is the latest I've ever done it? I had my hot-water-bottle out earlier on this week...
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
2017-05-17 05:57 pm

Blue Remembered Hills (ch2)

Chapter 2: Best of Friends

Most of the cadets — and ex-cadets — of the Borda had been billeted in an upper-level Administration building on the edge of Zone 1. The city was used to dealing with a periodic influx of Federation personnel, but rarely on this scale; the barracks reserved for Space Command had not been laid out in proportion to the cadet-ship’s capacity. The overflow arrivals, few of them able to believe their luck, had found themselves accommodated on a level of civilian comfort usually reserved for the staff of visiting members of the High Council.

The fact that they were obliged to share rooms two or three together was scarcely worthy of note to youngsters who were used to living on board in groups of five or six to a mess, but it did require a certain amount of tact where visitors were concerned. Especially those of the female variety.

Not that it looked as if he was ever likely to be the one privileged with that particular social dilemma, Rall reflected with a degree of bitterness, gathering up the few possessions he was likely to want for the day and preparing to vacate their shared room for his companion’s benefit. Read more... )