igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

Right, I sincerely hope this works, since I'm still unable to log in to fix broken syntax or do anything other than post new articles... If this lasts much longer I shall be forced to join the great majority on Dreamwidth. Which would be a pity, because there's a lot of history (most of it not mine) on LiveJournal.

Oh, and I haven't mentioned the site's new and endearing habit of apparently loading every page twice with about twenty seconds' delay between them, so that you have just typed several sentences into the browser form before the page rerenders and wipes everything...

So here we're into what is basically the epilogue of the story, from the point of view of Gustave who is essentially an optimistic and sunny-natured child, and who is busy forgetting all the less pleasant parts of the last couple of days. It's basically Raoul-and-Christine fluff being observed through the largely oblivious eyes of their ten-year-old son :-)

I tried to model my Edwardian boy's PoV on the various heroes of E. Nesbit's pre-War stories, which deal with such prosaic matters as comforting crying little sisters, explaining to grown-ups how your best clothes came to be soaked through, and various imaginative pursuits that made perfect sense at the time but get you into no end of trouble when reality intrudes. Although Gustave doesn't really have to deal with anything more than traumatised parents :-p

(Apparently I don't have a tag for Gustave. Well, under the circumstances I can't very well insert one retrospectively :-( ) [Edit April 2017: finally going through and inserting tags via Dreamwidth, two years later!]

Chapter 9: A Hero of Our Time

Mrs Morrison had been a lot more friendly this morning since their luggage had come. But Gustave couldn’t help remembering the way she’d looked at Mother last night as if she didn’t approve of her or of Father at all. He was polite, of course, and let the landlady ruffle his hair and smooth down his new jacket and tell his mother what a fine boy he was in a New York English so broad it might as well have been Flemish so far as they were concerned. But he was glad when the carriage she’d sent for finally arrived and they could load everything up again and get ready to leave. He wasn’t sure he entirely liked Mrs Morrison or her house.

It had been fun to sleep in his clothes and be tucked up at the foot of his mother’s bed and wake up in a strange little room with the sounds of the street outside. He could see it was the sort of adventure you got tired of quite quickly, though. And when they’d heard a heavy vehicle stopping outside and footsteps running up the stairs to come banging on their door, he’d seen his mother go white as a sheet.

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

Chapter 8: The Master and Marguerite

“She chose Raoul.” Every time it burst out of him with the same circling incomprehension. “The petulant sot, the fool: why, he was the last of us to know! He would have yielded her to me, yielded to the better man... Beauty, youth, wealth— he has none left, and still she cleaves to him. Ten long years, and still she cannot see what an empty vessel she has married — why, Christine? Why?”

Perhaps she loves him. But Meg knew better than to say that. She had known the Vicomte young and oblivious, known all that careless hope turned sick with self-loathing, and seen constancy beneath both.

Last night she had wanted him to take Christine away. She had not cared, much, if it meant Christine’s happiness or not. She thought now that perhaps it would.

“Why?” It was the same hopeless cry, and she drew breath sharply without thinking.

“It was her choice.” She had not meant to speak; but it was no longer the Master of the Aerie at her side but a man broken on his own wheel, and if she could tear him from it she would. “You said yourself that the other would have yielded her to you if she chose it — perhaps what you see as weakness is the value she sees in him. Perhaps in the end he was ready to honour her choice — to place her happiness above his own.”

Easier to accept, maybe, than the other truth Meg had heard half-formed beneath that halting, partial account... that Christine de Chagny as wife and mother had granted only pity in the face of every overture from her lover of one night save when he unleashed the dark power of his music, and in the end had found strength through anger to break free even from that.

Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

I've been going backwards and forwards on whether Meg Giry is actually 'in love with' the Phantom or not (especially since I'm using the original London production canon here, after which we were assured that her interest is purely professional, though this frankly isn't what it looks like at all...) In the end I've largely left this part of the story in its state of confusion, since if there is one thing for certain in canon it is that the Phantom is not in love with Meg.

I never really thought much about the consistency of Meg's backstory before starting this chapter (not least because I was proceeding on the initial assumption that this dialogue would be seen from the Phantom's point of view!), so I've leaned quite heavily on [livejournal.com profile] aceofgallifrey's analysis, though I haven't swallowed this lock, stock and barrel because it's based on hyper-interpretation of the 2004 movie version in which Meg's role is considerably embroidered...

Chapter 7: Notes from Underground

Meg Giry had been the one on her way up out of the chorus, before any of this had ever started. She had been the one people noticed: the bright one, the quick one, the girl with the spark that said Look at me. She’d been the one who’d been featured in the minor rôles — serving-maids and confidantes, pageboys and peasant dancers, tiny parts all of them, but she’d been there on the programme with her name in print, she’d been there on the stage with her clear voice and her vivid grace and she’d made an impression.

She’d been the one with initiative and ambition, the one who was going places: her mother’s daughter. And it hadn’t been fair, because dreamy, quiet Christine Daaé had talent of her own that no-one ever saw. Christine could have done just as well as Meg if anyone had given her the chance. But if it had been left up to Christine, no-one would ever have looked twice.

So when Carlotta, the diva of those days, had let loose her temperament one time too many and stormed off the stage before the start of the production, Meg had followed the impulse of a moment — as so often in her life — and spoken up on her friend’s behalf: “Christine Daaé could do it, sir.” She’d known Christine was good; she’d heard her practising for her new teacher. She hadn’t had the faintest idea Christine was that good...

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

'Write about what you know,' they say. Well, I know a lot about unheated rooms... ;-p

The characters are so damaged at this stage that things are never going to be easy.

Chapter 6: War and Peace

The gas hissed softly behind them and Gustave murmured something in his sleep; the window-frame rattled a little as a heavy wagon passed outside, and somewhere nearby a baby wailed and was hushed back to silence. Raoul looked back at her steadily, his shoulders set in defeat, and the span of their lives together lay trapped between the four walls of this little room, ebbing and ebbing away... Christine bit her lip, eyes filling unaccountably.

“Don’t you understand?” Her grip moved convulsively on his arm. “You don’t have to win to be with me. You never did.”

It wasn’t strength or protection that had mattered up on the Opera House roof. It was the answering joy of that promise given and returned; of his impulsive need to shield her, and not his success.

“Just... stay yourself. That’s all I ever wanted. All I was afraid of losing — all that matters to Gustave, or to me. Fail or succeed or lose your temper, forgive me and let me forgive you, but be Raoul. Be real and flawed and human: you don’t have to be strong all the time, you don’t even have to be right. We’re not those young dreamers on the Opera stage any more, and I’m not made of porcelain; I won’t break. Let me fight for you too. Let me in—”

That’s all I ask of you. She didn’t say it; didn’t think, at that moment, that she could say anything else at all past the ache in her throat that threatened to silence her altogether.

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

This was originally planned to be the end of the preceding chapter; but not only did the 'pier' scene overrun, it rapidly became obvious that the characters had an awful lot to sort out that wasn't appropriate to Gustave's presence. Also, having all been through the wringer by this stage, they were worn out.

The result was that the ending didn't come out at all the way I had originally anticipated, and a couple of completely new settings come into the story to accommodate the 'delayed matter'...

Chapter 5: The Seagull

Christine buried her face in Gustave’s hair again, nuzzling the warm small-boy scent of him and enveloping him in a tight embrace until he began at last to wriggle and pull away. She was still shaking with reaction.

She’d believed the Phantom fully capable of taking her son from her and keeping them apart to hold her to his will; but he would never have harmed him. Not the child he had so ardently believed to be his own — the boy in whose quick mind and talent he had seen an unmarred reflection of what he might have been. If she’d had any doubt of that, the man’s horror and distress when the boy was found missing from backstage had made it clear: Mr Y would never hurt Gustave, she was certain of it, even in heartbreak or despair.

Harm to Raoul... was a very different matter.

And so in those first few bewildered moments it had been Raoul’s life she feared for, cut short at the hands of some trap or over-zealous lackey when he’d plunged out after their son in the grip of blind misery and the desperate need to act. She’d been afraid for Gustave at the first when the boy had failed to return, and again when she understood that he was truly missing. But he’d wandered off before, caught up in the flush of some unforeseen interest or following a trail that no adult could make out: as a mother her worry was acute enough but tempered by the pangs of experience.

She had not truly panicked to begin with. Not until frenzied inquisition had brought to light Meg Giry’s hand in the whole affair, and a tumult of insecurity and rage at which Christine, horrified, had never guessed. Not until Meg’s mother, herself on the point of breakdown, had flung accusations that betrayed all too clearly the direction of poor Meg’s heart, as Christine’s presence stole everything from her that she had wanted or might have had. Not until the loaded gun that had been called for, against Christine’s protests, had turned up missing, with Meg Giry as the last to have entered the high Aerie without its Master’s knowledge...

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igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

I've been fiddling and fiddling with the important bits of this and then putting things back the way they were before, so I think this is probably as good as it's going to get...

"Je me voyais mal faire chanter à Raoul The beauty Underneath, mais le cœur y est !"

Chapter 4: Dead Souls

Her aim shook so much that Raoul scarcely dared take his eyes off the weapon. But at that range she could hardly miss. For a moment they were a frozen tableau.

“Back.” She gestured with the gun, and Raoul obeyed, backing step by reluctant step away from the terrified betrayal in the child’s face.

“Papa...” It was barely a whisper, but Raoul’s heart clenched, helpless.

“Miss Giry—”

“It won’t be long, Vicomte. It won’t be long for any of us now. Just until he comes... and then it can all be over, all the hurt and all the wanting and all the shame. You feel it too, don’t you? You’ve wanted the same thing...”

The weaving mouth of the gun beckoned, mesmerising, like an endless tunnel into blackness spiralling down, and she laughed. Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

Raoul, naturally, doesn't have the faintest idea why Meg Giry would want to kidnap his son -- and of course he isn't the rescuer that Meg is hoping to see...

Chapter 3: Diary of a Madman

Gustave. Raoul would not let himself think of anything else. He kept the boy’s face before his mind’s eye with a fierce, willed concentration, as if that small fair head could blot out the rest.

Gustave’s face — lost. frightened — haunted him round every corner, with every glimpse of a child through the crowd and every furtive shape that whisked away down dark alleys at his approach with what might have been a struggling burden in tow. Gustave...

The persistent small shadow trailed in memory at his heels, demanding acknowledgment — attention, affection — again and again with the same uncomprehending hope, until Raoul’s teeth had been set on edge by the knowledge of it. The child had wanted the old days back. He’d made himself a living reproach to the father he’d lost, and it had been one more reminder that Raoul neither wanted or needed to tell him what he had become.

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igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

Let's face it, "Beneath a Moonless Sky" is not what happens when you put two complete sexual novices together without a knowledge of the basic mechanics. And the sheer amount of stamina implied would only be likely in the absence of actual culmination...

Credit goes to [livejournal.com profile] butterflydrming for this particular aspect of the plot, though I've written it here as angst-ridden drama rather than comedy.

Chapter 2: Fathers and Sons

He’d taken insane bets before. Bets that she could neither understand nor forgive; bets that no amount of desperation or bravado could condone, that no man with a wife and child had any right to risk. He’d taken them, sometimes, because she’d begged him not to — just as he’d drunk himself into sottish fury in some schoolboy fling of defiance against his own conscience and all nagging wives.

But this bet... hurt.

Hurt all the more because she’d let herself believe in all those promises, those kisses — it was as if he’d known just how much of a fool she was, just what she wanted to hear, and gambled on that: on the idea that he had only to whistle, and she’d come fawning back to heel like some dog left by the wayside at her master’s whim.

And he’d been right. That was what hurt the most; tears, sudden, unwanted, blurred across her eyes. No wonder he’d shrunk from telling her. No doubt they’d laughed together, he and that other — and of that betrayal, she would not even think — at just how easy it was to win a woman’s heart. A moment of kindness, a few words of flattery, a tender kiss or a sweep of melody, and they could toss her back and forth between them in some jeu de paume, and stake her future on the outcome as if she were just one more sop for a man’s wounded pride.

How dared they? How dared they? And... how could she ever trust in her marriage again?

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

I've based this on the original cast recording and -- so far as I could establish it -- on the costuming and staging of the London production. (Christine is not wearing the 'peacock dress' for her stage performance, for example, but a skimpy modern-style evening gown!)

As will become obvious, this story does not take place in the same continuity as either of my other LND plots set in this universe, The Choices of Raoul de Chagny or To Ease Your Troubled Mind...

All the Rules Rearranged

Chapter 1: What is to be Done?

Her dressing-room at Phantasma held no clock. But the call-boys had been past, the dancers had flocked outside in their bright chattering gaggle, and soon it would be her turn.

She’d come so far to sing this song; so far, in so many ways. The past she’d thought forgotten had opened its guilt from the grave — its guilt and its allure both — and that old storm of tears had closed weeping and raging over her once again. Somehow she’d held herself together through it all with a strength learned from womanhood and ten years of marriage. Only a few more minutes now, and it would be over. One last aria to pay their debts — and repay a debt that was all her own — and she and her son would be gone from this place, leaving the tormented past to rest at last in peace.

She and her son and Raoul, and their baggage with them. Safe on familiar shores, in the life that she had so painstakingly pieced together for Gustave’s sake out of the ashes of their young dreams...

One song, Christine had told herself throughout the hours of waiting. Just this one song left, this one thing she needed to do, and then they would be done with America and all it stood for. Time itself had narrowed down to these few minutes ahead of her, and the music she had rehearsed over and over again.

And then Raoul... had changed everything. For a second time.

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
I've typed up the first 'chapter' of "All the Rules Rearranged", and it comes to almost 7,000 words; I've decided to split it as I'd originally planned before discovering that all the following chapters were going to be equally lengthy! This means that I effectively have a nine-chapter story on my hands instead of a five-chapter story, i.e. longer than "The Choices of Raoul" -- which is slightly worrying, since I'm not sure quite where the extra verbiage has gone: the entire plot takes place in less than 24 hours and only a couple of significant events actually happen, one of which we've already had in the course of the first chapter[s]. Multiple narrators means multiple backstories, and I suspect that may be the answer...

It also means that I need extra chapter titles, of course. I've gone provisionally for "What is to be Done?" (Что делать, Shto Delat': Chernyshevsky's socialist idealist novel) and "Crime and Punishment" (Преступлéние и наказáние, Dostoyevsky) for this first split chapter of Christine's, with the idea of saving "Fathers and Sons" for later!

Posted via m.livejournal.com.

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
"All the Rules, Rearranged" is finished(!) -- after some major issues with the last sentence. I'm still not certain about that ending, which seems a bit unfinished; can I really break off the story with my cast in the middle of a carriage-ride? They never even arrive, although that's partly due to lack of research... Maybe I ought at least to have Gustave spot a ship close by, or something.

Next I have to worry about the summary (do I give away my two main plot ideas in order to attract readers, or conceal them in order to interest and surprise them as they read?) and the chapter titles.

I had the vague idea that I might use Russian novel titles rather than quotes from the libretto this time round, chiefly because the possibilities of "The Master and Marguerite" for the chapter where Meg keeps referring to the Phantom (as per LND canon) as 'the Master' are so irresistible :-) Unfortunately famous Russian stories, like English novels, have a tendency to be named after their protagonists: "Oblomov", "Eugene Onegin", "Anna Karenina", "The Brothers Karamazov" etc. don't really offer much possibility, even if I allow myself to edit the titles subtly along the lines of Marguerite for Margarita. "A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich" might just be adaptable, for instance...

It also depends how I decide to split the chapters: whether I post four long chapters (Christine, Raoul, Christine, Meg) and an epilogue, or whether I split the long ones in half, thus effectively requiring twice as many chapter titles. I'm almost tempted by that option simply because it means the titles can be that much more specific, e.g. "Dead Souls"/"A Hero of Our Time" for the Raoul/Meg confrontation...
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
It's amusing to watch the way that Raoul keeps intruding into what is supposed to be a hurt/comfort scene between Meg and the Phantom... but my goodness, I find it hard to create a scenario in which Meg (or anyone else) would be attracted to the latter :-(

He's about thirty years older than she is, selfish, inconsiderate, callous, immature (ironically enough), and obsessively in love with another woman. Oh, and he's physically so hideous that people run away screaming if they catch sight of him without prior warning. Writing a Meg who is hankering after that is confoundedly difficult -- especially since all her story in the original "Phantom of the Opera" is of protecting and defending Christine against him.

I think I'm going for the "All the Rules Rearranged" title for this story (and hence am tagging previous posts accordingly).
The Meg scene is running so long (approx 5,000 words again -- for some reason the chapters in this story move with the speed of mud) that I can't combine it with the short epilogue that I'd planned from Gustave's point of view, so that will evidently have to stand on its own as a fifth chapter. So much for my original three-chapter concept!
I've got quite a lot of notes for it, since writing Gustave's views on his parents comes much more easily to me than writing Meg angsting about the Phantom(!), but they are of such a detailed nature that I'm not sure how much they will expand. It should be enough for a short standalone chapter, anyway -- a couple of thousand words?
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
Brilliant(?) new idea -- have the new 'epilogue' (i.e. the left-over/delayed matter from Chapter 3) seen through Gustave's point of view rather than Christine's. We've had two chapters of Christine's PoV already, and using the child's-eye view of his parents opens a whole new set of possibilities :-)

*Still* no title decided on for this story, though... (I shall have to go back and tag all these meta-posts retrospectively!)

I really wanted to have Christine say to the Phantom (re her 'aria') "Meg Giry could sing it, sir" -- but sadly I don't think she would credibly be in that frame of mind immediately after discovering that Meg has abducted her son, which is the only available time-window during which the dialogue in question could take place :-(
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
Third chapter finished, after some fiddling to the last two paragraphs of what I did last night. Thanks to the added half-scene carried over from the previous effort I now have a third five-thousand word chapter; this story just seems to run that way...

And in consequence the scheduled Meg-and-Erik scene at the end of Chapter Three is going to have to be a separate chapter all of its own, and I'm going to need to carry my Happy Ending forward somehow to the end of that. Since this simply consists of Christine's realisation that Raoul making ridiculous and unworkable assurances about the future is in itself a very good sign that things are back to normal(!), it can be fitted into more or less any setting. But it probably will need to be yet another Christine PoV-scene, though, and we've had rather a lot of those.

I rather think the forthcoming scene is going to need to be from Meg's point of view -- not just because I'm running scared of actually trying to get inside the Phantom's head, but for the highly practical reason that if I'm writing from his point of view I'm almost certainly going to need to name him, and the Andrew Lloyd Webber Phantom is not 'Erik' to me :-P
This of course throws up other problems, not least that she is not the most unbiased of narrators and the fans are going to expect some sympathy for him, but also that there are limits to what he can plausibly tell her -- and at some stage I really do need to handle his (implicit offstage) decision to renounce Christine once more, having essentially skated over it in two chapters already.
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
Finally finished the second (Raoul-PoV) chapter of the new story, with much labour. It seems to have come out at about 5,000 words, so possibly I don't need to split the long first chapter either.

Visual side-effect of switching to an A4 notebook after a sub-A5 notebook, I strongly suspect... and of very slow writing where I'm fumbling to get back into the story repeatedly. (I do tend to get the impression that most of the incredibly long fanfics on fanfiction.net are the ones where the authors are making it up as they go along without any clear idea of the plot... but maybe I'm just jaundiced because I'm completely incapable of generating that many words myself, and I have to 'win' at everything...)

I didn't actually take this on to the intended finishing point of the chapter (where they go off and find a new hotel for the night, the old one having uncomfortable associations), since I was struck by inspiration for how to deal with the Phantom's puzzling disappearance at this point :-) The original truth being, of course, that I simply wasn't interested enough in the character to wonder why he would walk off with Meg and let Christine go; but Raoul's long-scheduled retort of She wants you... God knows why cuts both ways, of course. And I'd already changed the ending of the first chapter on impulse to try to humanise the rather unsympathetic Phantom, so it ties back to that quite neatly.

The result, however, is that I shall have to add an extra half-scene into the start of the final chapter and deal with the end of the pier sequence from Christine's point of view instead -- or do it as a flashback, which would be pretty much par for the course :-p

I'm still not sure about the title of the story; the obvious and intended title was "If You Still Love Me", but I discovered that there is already a Raoul-friendly story by that name -- one that's even present in my own Rescue Raoul! collection -- which is slightly embarrassing. Ironically the title actually fits my story better than hers, since the whole thing revolves around Raoul's doubts as to whether his 'unfaithful' wife does still love him... but the two stories are close enough in concept that it's an awkward resemblance :-(
I can't immediately think of a good alternative, though.
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
Not terribly happy with my new "Love Never Dies" story -- although not so unhappy with it as I was yesterday, since I have now at least managed to get to the end of the chapter in a vaguely plausible manner...
Attempting to put Erik into it as a fully-fledged character rather than just a cameo is apparently far more of a challenge than I had realised; I'm constantly worrying about whether he is simply implausible (the canon Phantom in "Love Never Dies" simply isn't a very nice person most of the time) and whether I'm inadvertently 'bashing' the character in order to make the others look better, or whether he's turning Christine into a complete doormat — whether I'm making Raoul far too heroic to fit into my original plot concept (which relies on his being pretty beaten-down) or whether on the contrary I'm making him look completely pathetic. There was what was once conceived of as a central scene in which he essentially gets beaten up by Christine(!), and I'm not sure if I'm even going to be able to use that in conjunction with the Erik material :-(
Also, it appears I'm not terribly good at writing the Phantom: my Erik seems to have just two registers, insane rage and insensitive seduction. Not that the canon LND-Phantom is terribly different, mind you :-p


igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
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