( Raoul's psychology )
( Aristocracy )
( Means to a successful family life )
( Meg and Christine as performers )
( The thorny question of Gustave's paternity )
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Right; I've been over and over this chapter (which suffered from not having a pre-written plot outline: making it up as you go along is not the same), and I think this is the best I can do with it.
Happy endings all round, then!
Raoul gets to take the lead for once, at least partly because Christine is a little too emotionally involved to see the wider view... and partly because the author felt he'd earned a turn by this point :-) Raoul likes looking after Christine -- it makes him feel needed -- but he also gets to display a bit of insight. (Plus, he had more education as a child, which gives him a slight advantage when it comes to skimming foreign text..!)
And if they both seem slow on the uptake... remember that, in canon, they neither of them even guessed about Phantasma until the truth was thrust in their faces. They've had a lot of other concerns over the last ten years, and speculating about mysterious rich producers isn't top of the agenda any more.
Or arguably chapter 5b...
This has been unconscionably delayed due to the arrival of a fifth Raoul-plot into my life (requiring significant research if it is to be tackled at all), and to beginning the writing of the third last week -- which, given my concurrent French translation exercise http://www.fanfiction.net/s/9617539/1/
(† But then Gustave picked up a piece of old newspaper blowing across a dusty street, and I did want to know what happened next... so the story still has a lengthy sequel-cum-epilogue to come ;-D)
An interesting factoid is that this chapter title was originally scheduled to be used for Chapter 4, and has thus been displaced twice already as additional action intervened...
Chapter 5 was running extremely long, so I have decided to split it at approximately the halfway mark; as for Chapters 1 and 2, likewise written 'through' and subsequently split, this provides a slightly rough join, but makes quite good sense thematically.
Meanwhile, this fiction just gets fluffier and fluffier...
Chapter 4 I'm a little less insecure about, for some reason.
Still a high fluff quotient -- as there will be from now on -- but I'm guessing that there's enough conflict in it to keep me happy, and to feel that the chapter justifies its existence in the plot. (There is a plot, even if it only consists of 'find a way to keep the characters from meeting up'!)( Chapter 4: One Thing More )
And at this point I go from material I'm reasonably comfortable with (people who love each other and make each other unhappy) to material that starts to get outside my experience and my competence... in other words, despite having written it weeks ago and stared at it until my eyes go funny, and having picked up some obvious problems (i.e. over-use of specific words), I'm not at all confident about it. I'm not talented at 'fluff', and it's all too easy to produce risible results; unfortunately I actually care about the characters and don't want to make fun of them.
(Ironically, this is also more or less the point at which I got back to my original plot summary, after having frantically winged it over the previous chapter (now Chs 1 & 2) due to spotting a major plot hole...)
In structural terms, we move on from "Why Does She Love Me?" in Chapters 1 & 2 to "Things Have Gone Astray" in Chapters 3 & 4 (not yet typed), although of course there are echoes from various other points of the musical to be heard; I couldn't resist a "Beneath a Moonless Sky" reference (sorry!)
Enough frantic typing-up for the moment, I think... just enough to get the characters safely put away for a while, so I can get that pesky Epilogue down on the page...
In Chapter 1, we had Christine's side of the marriage: in Chapter 2, we get Raoul's, as perceived by the least relenting judge of all :-(
( Chapter 1: What Little We Deserve )
Finished! It's finished! It just needs typing out of manuscript status... lots of typing... Oh, and it needs the Epilogue writing as well, but that will be quite a bit more work; it was busy trying to write itself this afternoon in advance of the necessary research, which is not really the right way round to do things -- never mind how little of the 'research' is likely actually to register in the finished chapter...
And so here, in its first-draft status and subject to potential tweaking later on (but probably not very much, unless I encounter serious structural problems) is the first typed chapter of my attempt to write a legitimate alternative outcome to "Love Never Dies", without cheating: all the problems and inconsistencies created by Andrew Lloyd Webber have to be included and whipped into some kind of psychological probability, whether I like them or not :-D
Continuity is Lloyd Webber ("Phantom of the Opera"/"Love Never Dies") with sizeable helpings of the Leroux novel for the backstory where not actively contradicted in the musicals: the only thing I have deliberately changed here is that Raoul's parents both died (as in Leroux) while he was still a boy (although as per Lloyd Webber, he holds the title of Vicomte and not Comte de Chagny!) Specifically, the story is dated very precisely to 1907, which is supposedly the setting for "Love Never Dies" (whether or not this is consistent with the time-period for "Phantom"...) It is also tied definitely to the events and lyrics of the original London production, rather than the revised version -- largely because a number of the specific lines I referenced here were among those subsequently removed in revision. I suspect this may lend some significance to the colossal struggles I had in getting this stuff to work together!