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

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)

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)

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)
Well, we have a title. Not "The Two Letters" -- further letters having emerged in the plot -- but "In Regret, Always".
We also have a summary, provisionally at least, and about six hundred words of beginning (two days' concentrated work; at this rate, the story is going to take some time...)

Apparently I made several wrong assumptions so far as the WW1 stuff goes, partly due to cursory reading of inaccurate sources; there was no 'second wave' call-up of older men, so Raoul would have been involved right from the start. After several days' panic I worked out that the dates are about right for him to be on leave (assuming he's an officer; the first leave didn't come through for the general troops until considerably later), although this of course has knock-on effects on everything else. Gustave is rather further away from official call-up age (twenty in France) than I had imagined, although rather closer in reality than the official dates would suggest. And there was no American equivalent of the VAD for untrained women :-(

I hope I don't find any more nasty holes after I've written the material...
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
I'm still not especially happy about the confrontation with the Phantom in this hypothetical new story: the big idea was supposed to be that the henchmen try to chloroform Gustave instead of Raoul, much to both men's fury, thus rendering the boy conveniently unconscious so that the issue of his paternity can be argued outside his hearing while disposing of the chloroform so that it can't be used on Raoul. Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

I finally got round to doing the picture of 'Rall' and 'Cris' in their crossover "Blake's 7" incarnations that I've been vaguely planning for years -- it started off with the idea of being based on one of my favourite sketches from deviantArt, but once I actually got round to drawing my own version, four years later, the characters took on a look of their own...

(Click to view)

Which means that, for the first time in years and years, there is actually no remaining obstacle (other than the physical separation of computer from Internet) remaining between me and publishing my Grand Crossover Story. A very strange and unaccustomed situation.

(Although I do now have to go back and edit the details of the relevant chapter to make it match what's shown in the picture -- my ideas at the time about Federation uniform turned out to be based on a memory of Tarrant's costumes from the final series rather than what anyone in the Federation Space Fleet actually wore!)

And if I'm going to adopt my accustomed habit of posting new chapters here first for a final check-and-edit, it would probably make more sense, before I start, to post the Prologue chapters that are already uploaded to fanfiction.net...

BLUE REMEMBERED HILLS

Prologue-1 )Prologue-2 )Prologue-3 )Prologue-4 )Prologue-5 )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
So apparently I am writing this story, then...
At any rate, I've got a framework for the beginning (Raoul with his old uniform from the Reserves, writing his second letter and getting flashes back from the first letter), an opening for the carriage scene (scratches from Meg--rumours about Gustave--future children--Christine with the Phantom--but he put her there), and the essential New Backstory for their estrangement and the gambling, as required for every LND story :-p

(He had married a woman, not an opera--he had denied her nothing in those days--when she wanted to go back to the stage, the child had affected her voice--gradual alienation from the avoidance of caresses that could go no further--cousin Rodolphe de Sessaies went to Monte Carlo--Christine encouraged him to go with them--a drunken girl staked her pearl necklet and he won it against his watch--to give to Christine, like a boy with a fairing--things were better for a while, and he went again, but it didn't stop there. He was a rich man, after all, richer than Rodolphe--he could afford to lose--and then he couldn't)

Then Gustave wakes to ask again about Christine -- she will hate me. Back to letter.

As I said, apparently I am writing this story, like it or not! So it looks as if I need to work out the deal with the Phantom (always my weak point).
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
After my recent throwaway comment (à propos Christine's hostile reaction after Raoul's renunciation letter) to the effect that if Raoul had taken Gustave then a lot of tragedy all round would have been avoided, I ended up -- somewhat to my disbelief/dismay -- getting more LND plot nibbles...

I'd have to be careful, because this is actually a plotline I've seen done in fan-fiction, albeit in a somewhat different vein. plot elements so far )
Notes on French Army in WW1 )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

Stats



List of Completed Fics


(in the last year, rather than since the last time I did this in January 2015!) Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

The issue with this story that I had not anticipated (I was worrying about coming across as whitewashing Raoul, or antagonising Americans by writing a grotesquely caricatured protagonist) is that the readers have spent most of the story wanting to know what 'Erik' is up to, what cunning plans he is going to unleash upon his opponents and how he is reacting to finding himself temporarily foiled. Everyone is waiting for the big showdown... and there simply isn't one. Issues with overlooked Phantom )


Chapter 6: Jos Confronts Christine

“He thinks the world of you,” Christine said softly, with a glance at the door. “I am so very grateful.”

And the smart thing to do would have been to leave it there. Take his thanks and go, and leave the lady to sing opera in peace for Hammerstein and the rest, with warm feelings all round. Only... he liked the pair of them, and maybe they were owed something more than that. Than just the easy way out.

“Nice guy — when he’s sober,” Jos said with a sigh. “What d’you reckon his chances at of staying that way? And... was there something you were planning on telling him sometime about the kid?”

Read more... )

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

I'm increasingly concerned that Raoul comes across as getting rather an 'easy ride' in this story — a magical snap of the author's fingers, and then he's the Perfect Father and Husband overnight. The trouble is, I think, that I'm basing these chapters on the corresponding scene in canon where he really does miraculously scrub up and vow to do better... but without the corresponding tension of the unspoken bet on his marriage, and without the Phantom lurking around in the background waiting to make his own claims on Christine. Having been prevented by a fluke from being taunted into his reprehensible bet in the first place, all that is left of the character here is his genuine attempts at reformation. Which makes it come across as if I arbitrarily decided that Raoul is really a Nice Guy because I want him to be :-(

I considered replacing "mon vieux" with "fiston" as Raoul's form of affectionate address to the child, having come across this in Violonaire's Fantômes -- but I'm just not confident enough with it, and a check on Google Ngrams suggests that while the term 'fiston' did exist in the literature of this period, it's a term that has only really taken off in the last generation or so. So I'd better stick with what I'm fairly sure of so far as the French goes!


Chapter 5: Before the Performance

There were police at the Manhattan Opera in the end, that night. Not in the auditorium or outside the gallery entrance — the Daaé had scribbled a note for McWhirter to enclose with the ticket, promising there would be no trap, and she was dead-set on keeping her word — but outside the star dressing room, where a couple of big cops tapped nightsticks lightly on their holsters like they were just spoiling for someone to start making trouble.

If Mr. Y took a fancy to try something, of course, it wouldn’t be that crude. Jos could have told them that, and Miss Daaé had to know it better than any. But if fixing up protection for her with the management made her husband feel warm and wanted — well, it was no business of his how the theater was run. For Jos Perlman, the job had ended at ten o’clock this morning, when he produced the missing artiste and her party at the door of McWhirter’s office, signed, sealed and delivered. Another foul-up cleared; another disaster averted. His specialty. He’d gotten a fat commission out of it, too... and if at half six that evening he found himself paying a backstage call at the opera house, then it was purely on his own account. Besides, he told himself, he had to make sure she’d gotten everything she needed after their little undercover exit.

Read more... )

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

In which Jos finally meets Christine Daaé, and she isn't — in several unsettling directions — entirely what he had expected.


Chapter 4: Ah, Christine!

Even caught flushed and off-guard in her morning wrapper with a cup of coffee in one hand, Christine Daaé in the flesh was quite some lady. As exquisite as the room that framed her — why, if he hadn’t had more sense, he might have thought the place had been designed express for the purpose. Hard to see how any man could have problems waking up next to that, Jos thought, unguarded... then took stock of the set unhappiness in her eyes that was a constant silent reproach.

Read more... )

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

In fact this chapter turns out to be shorter than the previous one, despite occupying considerably more pages in the book -- a combination of heavy crossing-out and shorter paragraphs, I think, but mainly the former!

Photo under cut )

And since I've been doing the alternating trick to help keep my concentration -- ten minutes typing up one manuscript followed by ten minutes typing up from another, so that I actually welcome the opportunity to find out what happens next when I get to return to the first one so arbitrarily interrupted by the alarm -- I've managed to get another chapter of the infinitely-delayed "Blue Remembered Hills" onto the computer as well, which means I'm now up to fifteen unpublished chapters. With hindsight it might have been more immediately useful to have worked on "The Daaé Case" instead, but since it's actually in the same notebook as this one it would have meant an awful lot of page-flipping and finding my place again :-p

I'm pleased with how popular this story seems to have been on fanfiction.net, though the third chapter seems to have been a little less so than the others; I don't know if that is because people are too busy with Christmas to waste time on the Internet checking for story updates, or because reviewing a story every day starts to feel like too much hard work, or whether (as I strongly suspect) any explicitly R/C material tramples over people's Erik-allegiances although they're happy enough to read about Raoul in isolation so long as he poses no threat to their preferred 'pairing'... not much I can do about that, since the events in question are canon!

This final chapter, of course, isn't canon, although to be honest it's based on about as much detail from Leroux as most of its predecessors, which extrapolate from a mere sentence or two of backstory in the novel; Leroux simply says that Raoul and Christine eloped to enjoy their happiness in peace, and doesn't say anything about what happened next, save that 'the lonely wilds of the North echo with singing'. One feels that after what they'd been through, there must have been a bit of angst involved.

(The Astrid's accident happened to a vintage pond yacht of my own, albeit when sailing on Boxing Day rather than Christmas Day...)


Chapter 4: The boat on the lake

In Sweden the winter had come early this year, and cold, and the deep pool above their house had been frozen over since the start of December, with the stream that flowed down through it silenced in its bright chatter over the stones outside the back door. But two days ago Raoul had been woken in the night by the first faint tinkle of the thaw beneath the eaves, and sensed a change in what he had come to know as the hard tang of frost in the air.

He had slipped cautiously from beneath the quilts, avoiding the cradle, and gone to kneel by the tiny window, listening for the murmur of moving water. He heard nothing, and Christine turned over in sleepy complaint as her husband slid back to share the warmth of their bed, shivering; but in the morning when she went out to rinse the pans the stream had begun to chuckle quietly again between ice-fringed banks, and when Raoul ventured out cautiously onto the tarn it was no longer safe for skating.

Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Managed to work an acknowledgement of Philippe's fate into the last chapter of my Christmas challenge fan-fic (I really need to hurry up on that one; even if I posted the four chapters daily I wouldn't be able to get them out before the 25th! Fortunately only the first chapter is actually eligible for the challenge, and it's reasonably standalone...)

It really didn't seem to make much sense to have a happy fluffy final chapter when one of the major characters in the previous chapter had died under traumatic circumstances in the interim. But it wasn't until Christine came up with an unfortunate comparison when trying to keep Raoul out of danger of drowning that this occurred to me. Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

A Ring Returned


Together, they dig a grave.
https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12245340/1/


(After a great deal of fiddling with the final seven words, I ended up posting the drabble more or less in the form in which it initially appeared here; none of the changes were really an improvement.)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Decided to try my hand at a drabble for the first time; I've never actually done it before, although I wrote a 150-word original fiction for a magazine contest once, which was arguably harder since I had to set up plot and characters from scratch! I ended up spending an endless amount of time counting and recounting words manually, since I really don't trust computer word counts for precise accuracy. ("Really don't" apparently counts as three words here...)

Amusingly, I managed to retain my usual procedure of launching into the sitation first and only working out where the plot was going to go afterwards -- very much not recommended in the case of a hundred-word limit, I imagine, but fortunately the very first 'image' that occurred was Raoul's thoughts about this joint task marking the real start of their marriage, which provided me with a theme for the story beyond the mere grave-digging scenario ;-p

Not the most original scene in the world -- 'Christine comes back to bury Erik', with or without Raoul, is a fan favourite -- although this one is a little more Raoul-centric than most. And a little less Erik-friendly than the original concept, since I needed to tie the end back to the theme and couldn't spare room for Raoul's perception that the dead man was blessing their future together...

I still need some kind of title and summary before I can post it to fanfiction.net. "Their future together began beside a grave"?




It would have to be a shallow grave. Raoul brought the pickaxe down wearily yet again, and when Christine laid small hands to the shovel he had not the strength to stop her.

This, then, was the true start of their marriage; this shared selfless labour, and not the quick patter of the priest. The bride would not gain a ring, but return one.

Erik was some days dead, he thought, but the sunken features were no more ghastly than in life, and he had closed the eyes before they could trouble Christine. And with that death, life could begin.
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

Written for the Halloween Challenge at the Writers Anonymous forum on FFnet -- or, to be more honest, this is the scene I was planning to write as an in-fandom 'Halloween Special', and which I thought I might be able to shoehorn into the terms of the contest. I'm not really sure it will qualify (and certainly won't win on the stipulated grounds of 'how well the theme is incorporated'), since it's basically nothing to do with October or Halloween but just a retelling of the canonical graveyard scene from Leroux's book -- which, for some inscrutable reason, the author chose to present in the form of an after-the-fact police witness interview, thus stripping the Hammer Horror potential from the distinctly unnerving events actually implied to have taken place!

I have spent a good deal of effort on dithering as to whether I ought to take it up to the end of the chapter by including the last two scenes or not, or simply cut it off for better horror effect with the discovery of Raoul's apparently lifeless body as the finale. I was pretty much certain that the latter was the better course of action, but with the epilogue busy constructing itself in vivid impressions in my head, I made the mistake of deciding to write it out and then to ignore it. Unfortunately I enjoyed inventing Antoine far too much...

So I've more or less decided to enter the whole thing for the contest, which effectively constitutes a genre shift from pure horror to more of a focus on Raoul and Christine's relationship with one another and with her father. At least, that's my story and I'm sticking to it :-p
Horror/Romance won't do as a category, because there really isn't any bar Raoul's remembered frustration, but I think Horror/Family can be made to fit if we consider the quasi-foster-sibling relationship they have at this point.


This Mask of Death

“...je ne sais point jusqu’où s’en fut mon imagination, ni où elle s’arrêta...”


It was a cloudless night, with the moon riding cold and distant above, and the world was in the grip of a hard frost. Snow had fallen to veil the barren ground, and the ancient granite slabs that kept their sentry-watch across the moor — like so many cairns piled by the hands of giants — wore wind-blown drifts of white between their stacked stones, as if korrigans dwelt within and had stopped up the draughts with handfuls of snow in lieu of heather. But the biting breeze that had sprung up at sunset had long since ebbed to silence, and the high heath lay frozen and unmoving beneath the moon. Only the waves tossed endlessly in the bay far below, hissing with age-old hunger against their pallid fringes of sand.

And in the graveyard at Perros-Guirec, where the hill ran down to the sea, a shadow moved amongst the dead.

Read more... )

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

Final and even more fragmentary sections; I spent a bit of time trying to make it a little clearer what was going on and to tie it together better, which pushed the word-count just about over a thousand words. It really does come across as a bit rushed, though... and I suspect, going on reviews so far, that the fanfiction.net readers are going to feel short-changed by the total absence of any Phantom-related action. (That aspect hadn't even occurred to me while writing; set it down to my customary complete lack of interest in that direction.)

Yann barely even thinks about the Phantom here -- his jealousy is entirely concerned with his supposed aristocratic rival, or in other words his canon self. The whole 'Lyre of Apollo' confession and its consequences has been pretty much swept under the carpet... which is reasonably accurate to canon, since Raoul doesn't learn the truth until the day before Christine's abduction and spends most of the intervening period being jealous of an imagined rival, but does leave out a major and memorable element of the original: the bit that most people think of as the main part of the story :-(


4. Les Amants

Buffeted amid the chaos and panic of the Opera, Yann was desperate for help... and no-one would listen to him. But then, they never had. His own utter insignificance had never been driven so brutally home to him as in the past weeks, since Perros.

Read more... )

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

Wonderful inspiration this morning: I'd been worrying about how to make sure Christine gets paid if she plans to leave immediately after the gala, given that her contract presumably commits her to perform in the full opening season. I'd also been irritated by Lloyd Webber's sloppy dating, given that the real Manhattan Opera House opened in December 1906.

Then I suddenly remembered that Hammerstein had other opera houses elsewhere in America: why not send Christine off to Philadelphia instead while awaiting the real opening time? Admittedly this would involve redating the story to 1906 instead of 1907, but then that one wasn't my error in the first place!

Finally I checked the facts... and found that, sadly, the Philadelphia Opera House was actually opened two years after the Manhattan Opera, in 1908 :-(

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