igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
Finally decided to go through and pull out the various bits of character/plot discussion that took place with relevance to my story The Choices of Raoul de Chagny, for archiving and future reference if I need them again...
Raoul's psychology )
Aristocracy )
Means to a successful family life )
Meg and Christine as performers )
The thorny question of Gustave's paternity )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
I've been asked what Erik's reaction was to Christine's failure to arrive at Phantasma: so here are a few of the 'unseen' parts of this story in note form.

Erik didn't give up easily when Christine cancelled her engagement: not being stupid, he worked out that she would still be on the boat whether she was going to sing for him or not, and sent his henchmen to the docks with instructions to bring her back anyway. However, Raoul's inspiration of using Célestine's talkative tendencies to distract the attention of the Press (since they couldn't very well shut her up, having sacked her) coincidentally happened to throw Squelch, Fleck and Gangle off the scent as well, and the little party managed to slip off the ship and reach the shipping office to trade in the tickets in privacy, without the slightest idea how narrowly they'd avoided a reunion with old friends...

Erik was furious at this incompetence; but by the time he'd tracked down what had happened, Christine had gone - they were lucky enough to switch to a sailing that very evening (at the price of having to travel back via Liverpool rather than direct to Cherbourg), and didn't even spend a single night in New York.

However, he did have all this music, and he did have a resident leading lady, and she did have song-and-dance possibilities that Christine had never offered - and inspired by the recent success of shows such as "The Merry Widow" with its string of lyrical hits and "Florodora" with its innovative dance routines, he had an Idea...

He is definitely not over Christine yet, however. Give it (and Meg) a few years, and a fond reunion may be on the cards: but if Christine Daaé were to walk in the door right now there would be angst all round, and I wouldn't be liable for the results. Christine's instinct to keep her family as far from him as possible is entirely correct: he would see them at best as hostages (he is not terribly pleased with her just at the moment; he is quite capable of combining this with an ardent desire to possess her all the same) and at worst - particularly in Raoul's case - as directly culpable in her 'flouting' of him.

So better to keep all parties well apart for a while and let things settle. Meg is very happy; Erik will be, if she has any say in the matter (and the current public success of his music is doing a lot to ease his troubled soul: he finds he can express himself without Christine, after all); and Raoul and Christine are enjoying a second honeymoon ;-D

Raoul, after some initial hesitancy, has settled down into a cheerfully ruthless and affectionate relationship with Gustave with which both are tacitly and undemonstratively very happy - a healthy Edwardian father/son set-up, in other words :-D
Christine hasn't quite got over the sheer pleasure of watching them together yet... and as I hinted earlier in the story, romping around with Gustave on occasion is actually very good for Raoul, both physically and mentally.

I'm not sure if they will ever tell Gustave of his true paternity (assuming it is true... Christine isn't certain, and can't ever really be). I rather suspect not; it will only hurt him and put him into a legally dubious and morally scandalous situation. These things happened, but one didn't talk about them; you wouldn't necessarily tell a child he was adopted, for example (given the almost inevitable implication that he was the discarded result of some maidservant's indiscretion, rather than a valued member of a respectable family).

I also suspect Christine of angling for another, 'accidental', pregnancy - which would scare Raoul stiff, possibly with entirely justifiable reason, and would certainly have him dragging her off pellmell back to Europe as fast as possible. But that is getting too far into badfic territory... ;-)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

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.


Epilogue: A World with No More Night )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

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/Please-Pretend and the uploading of the final part of Water-horse, meant that I had at one point four stories on the go simultaneously, of which the one that was safely recorded in manuscript but required significant labour to transfer to the computer lost out over those which were either floating in the æther or else already present on disc. So... here, finally, is the remaining half of what was scheduled to be the end chapter† of "The Choices of Raoul de Chagny", in which the angst-to-fluff plot is firmly concluded in favour of the latter, and our characters have plans that don't involve Coney Island!

(† 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 6: Back Here Beside You )

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

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 5: Friend and Father )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

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

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!)


Chapter 3: 'Til I Hear You Sing )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
Igenlode: Aarrgghh! My fluffy epilogue is turning into angst!

Wordsmith: But isn't that a good thing? You're better at writing angst anyway.

Igenlode: But I wanted her to be happy about it...

Wordsmith: Then trust Raoul... trust in Raoul...

<goes off arguing with self>...




And meanwhile, in Chapter Three, Christine loses her hat... and Raoul loses his head...
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

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 2: 'In Hell, I imagine' )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)

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!

Chapter 1: What Little We Deserve )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Horizon)
Feeling very happy with my subconscious today, as it came up with the terms "Prater", "Uhlan" and "scrap-metal" (MM Firmin and Andre) in the relevant contexts, all of which proved on research to be accurate: it would be nice if I had access to the information consciously without having to do the double-check, of course, but it's very satisfying to have written "in the Prater" as a placeholder and then to find, after strenuous attempts to identify a likely riding-spot in Vienna, that there actually is a place by just that name and in a suitable location :-) (My conscious mind was busy associating it with South America...)

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