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

I've been holding off on getting round to editing and posting the final chapter because the page stats on fanfiction.net have been offline for the last week, and I rather like to have some idea of how many people are actually reading my work — it's a big disincentive — but of course there's no reason why I shouldn't post it here in the meantime... (where there are no page stats anyway and it basically serves as an extra proofreading stage!)

I've done quite a bit of fiddling and written some extra material for the end — I hope there's a bit more foreshadowing of Erik's appearance now — but I'm still not sure the death scene has come across as I initially envisaged.

Chapter 3 — Paris

Ships had come and gone in the great bay at Brest Roads, over the years. Raoul had become an uncle three times over as his sisters burgeoned into contented domesticity and families of their own, and had grown out of his shy childhood into a quiet but determined youth. He and Philippe had had a trial or two of wills already, for all their mutual affection; but under Mr. Jackson’s tuition he had been preparing his mathematics to enter upon the rigours of navigation in that nautical training on which his heart remained set, and at this juncture the Comte had more than once been consoling himself with the prospect. Naval discipline might do wonders to curb the boy’s impetuous streak, and with their mother’s excellent understanding and sound judgement he bid fair to shine in the ranks of the cadets. There had been an admiral among their ancestors, after all: the great Chagny de La Roche, who had held high office under Richelieu and brought confusion to the Spanish off Cadiz.

Read more... )

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

I realised belatedly during the writing of this that I'd taken a certain amount of liberty in allowing Philippe to be present at Perros-Guirec and meet Christine as a child, when there's no sign in Leroux that he ever knew anything about Raoul's childhood friendship with the Daaés at all, let alone visited the village. But in a story told from Philippe's viewpoint it does make life much easier if the narrator can be present for the events he is required to describe... and in any case, these scenes were fairly central to my concept of the story's ending by that stage!

And unless Philippe was totally detached from his brother's upbringing at that stage (again, Leroux is somewhat contradictory on that point) I would assume that Philippe must have known that something was going on, given that we are told Raoul was over at Perros-Guirec to play with Christine just about every day that summer — surely their aunt must have mentioned it.

The other thing I'm conscious of is that I haven't shown the 'classic' Raoul/Christine relationship here, with the two quiet, reserved children roaming the lanes begging for stories. I did mean for Professor Valerius to refer to it, but in a flashback narrative I had to cut back severely on direct dialogue, which is just too clumsy to handle (and threatened to unbalance the scene by comparison with the summary format of the rest). So the surviving allusion is pretty elliptical :-(

And I can't really see Philippe welcoming that kind of friendship with open arms, as it's far too close to what he has seen in his father. The two children have both had abnormal childhoods in the exclusive company of much older adults, and I feel that both sets of grown-ups would probably find common ground in the wish to see them romping on the beach. So I'm guessing that a certain amount of that sort of childish play did go on in addition to the ethnological research :-p

Chapter 2 — Brittany

It had been high time in any case that something was done about Raoul’s education. Philippe had resolved to take the boy in hand himself; discovered all too quickly that beyond reading, writing and figuring, the child was little more than a country bumpkin whose native wit failed to cover a head full of fables and a state of lamentable ignorance. Héloïse, who had always had the run of their father’s library, had volunteered along with Suzanne to help remedy the deficiencies of his governess and to teach him a little social polish. But as winter wore on into spring, the two sisters were soon caught up in lessons of a far more pleasurable kind — a de Chagny match was still a marriage worth having, and the new Comte had acquaintances who were not averse to becoming suitors for such an alliance — and old Tante Marguerite down in Brest had seemed at the time to offer the perfect solution.Read more... )

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

The 'Philippe-story' turns out to fall quite nicely into three chapters split chronologically: one covering Raoul's birth and the death of their father, one covering Brest and Perros-Guirec, and one dealing with the remaining 'present-day' material.

So after a couple of last-minute panics and edits (including the realisation that I'd named one of Raoul's sisters 'Laure', exactly the same name that I'd used for the gentle girl who becomes his daughter-in-law in To Ease Your Troubled Mind -- my concept of the characters was pretty similar, and my subconscious supplied the same name!) here is the first chapter... what I haven't got yet is a summary for fanfiction.net publication!

The Sons of Éléonore

Raoul de Chagny had never known a mother... but his brother Philippe had never been able to forget her. And when he plunged down beneath the Opera in pursuit, the past went with him.

Chapter 1 — Chagny

Lost and furious in the dark below the Palais Garnier, Philippe de Chagny no longer knew if he was going to fall upon his little brother’s neck and weep when he finally caught up with him, or simply strangle the wretch. It was a mingling of emotions with which he had become all too familiar of late where the young Vicomte was concerned; tonight, however, much as he loved the boy, he had to admit that Raoul really had surpassed himself.

Only Raoul, in the first place, could have contrived to instil confusion into a perfectly ordinary intrigue with a pretty opera-singer by reviving the phantom of a boy-and-girl affair between a pair of children in a Breton village. Only Raoul, with an infuriating mixture of obstinacy and innocence, could have failed to recognise in his enchanting Miss Daaé a conniving minx who’d had her Vicomte dancing on a string for months. And only Raoul, in league with that confounded girl, could have managed to botch up their elopement in a manner calculated to inconvenience to the maximum not only his long-suffering elder brother but the audience and employees of an entire opera house.Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Right, I've written an extra paragraph to cover Philippe's boyhood with his mother, added in material to cover Chagny de La Roche and Philippe's non-recognition of Christine at the Opera (thank goodness for margins... but a pity both of those fell on the same page!) and tried to clarify the ending better. I have a title — The Sons of Éléonore — and half a summary ("Éléonore de Chagny was always closest to her eldest son Philippe. But her death left him with an infant brother and a family in ruins...")

The summary needs more work: I think the theme of the story, so far as it emerges, is of Philippe gradually learning to love his brother and then further managing to accept his choice (and then dying; oops!) But otherwise we're pretty much clear to go to typescript :-)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Finished the story now provisionally known as "The Sons of Éléonore" yesterday (well, it sounds better than "Éléonore's Boys", which was the first tentative suggestion!)

Things to look at:

  • I'm not sure about the end (I probably need to make it more clear what is actually happening, and try to avoid implying that Philippe associates Raoul with murder!).
  • Philippe's adoration of Éléonore probably needs to be more established before she dies, since at present I feel it is only introduced afterwards.
  • Can I work in my Richelieu-era Chagny de La Roche head-canon? It was supposed to get mentioned at some point, but got forgotten.
  • And do I need to make explicit the point at which Philippe recognised the grown-up Christine as the daughter of the fiddler at Perros? (I don't think he can have done so at the time of the gala, although Raoul does.)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
F. de l'Opéra's Phantom timeline (based around the dates mentioned in the book): notably, the masked ball took place just before the start of Lent, and the new managers take over on January 10th.

For the purposes of my Philippe-story, I'm assuming that Raoul was born in December or thereabouts, thus making him only just twenty-one at the time of the gala (and allowing him to be twelve at the time of his father's death, be under his sisters' care for a few months, move in with his aunt, and still be only twelve throughout the summer with Christine ;-p)
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
I've definitely started a new story now (several days' steady progress :-D)

Based on the idea of writing Philippe de Chagny's last moments as he searches vainly for his brother beneath the Opera, but it's basically a retelling of the relationship between the brothers de Chagny from Raoul's conception onwards, the whole thing being done in flashback. (And in consequence all in the perfect tense, which is getting a bit awkward.) I'd hoped to write this while I was on holiday, and took a pen and notebook with me, but I never really got enough peace of mind until the last day when I did a solo walk... and came up with about half of it there and then, establishing the rest over the next couple of days. Giving Raoul's older brother something of an Œdipus complex was an interesting explanation as to why he hasn't married (and not one of the two or three I'd previously come up with!), and also as to why he resents Christine so much (Raoul is effectively desecrating their mother's memory by putting this hussy in her place). It was an unintended offshoot of the idea that it might be more interesting to have a domineering mother and an ineffectual father, though, since by default people assume that Raoul takes after a gentle mother...Read more... )


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