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... )

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Chapter 2: Best of Friends

Most of the cadets — and ex-cadets — of the Borda had been billeted in an upper-level Administration building on the edge of Zone 1. The city was used to dealing with a periodic influx of Federation personnel, but rarely on this scale; the barracks reserved for Space Command had not been laid out in proportion to the cadet-ship’s capacity. The overflow arrivals, few of them able to believe their luck, had found themselves accommodated on a level of civilian comfort usually reserved for the staff of visiting members of the High Council.

The fact that they were obliged to share rooms two or three together was scarcely worthy of note to youngsters who were used to living on board in groups of five or six to a mess, but it did require a certain amount of tact where visitors were concerned. Especially those of the female variety.

Not that it looked as if he was ever likely to be the one privileged with that particular social dilemma, Rall reflected with a degree of bitterness, gathering up the few possessions he was likely to want for the day and preparing to vacate their shared room for his companion’s benefit. 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 )
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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)

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... )

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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)

And the other material I've been working on this week...

I'm amused to gather from reviews that what I hear as 'Americanisms' the US readers hear as 'period talk' -- appropriate for this setting, of course, but it certainly dates the material from which I obtained this vocabulary!


Chapter 3: Once Upon Another Time

“I guess... what we do don’t always look too good, when you step back,” Jos said slowly, measuring out words like sips at the rough liquor he still nursed. Round here the stuff could strip your throat numb, if you let it. But it numbed other things. “Not too good, or too wise, maybe. But then it comes hard when your fairytale romance has you all set to fight off the dragon to save the pretty maid, and you wind up as the prince in ‘Rapunzel’ instead.”

Read more... )

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

One thing I hadn't anticipated when I started writing this was that I was going to pick up a genuine French-speaking reader on fanfiction.net! I did do my best on the 'back-translation' for the French-tinged English here, but I hope the outcome isn't going to be too embarrassing...

The language problem is, of course, something that gets brushed under the carpet by Lloyd Webber for the sake of simplicity -- one can assume that Christine, Raoul and Gustave naturally speak French in their scenes together, and that Christine and the Phantom conduct their relations by default in their shared native language, but the reporters at the dockside can't possibly be speaking French when they shout questions at the little boy, and when Christine accosts Meg without recognising her she has no reason to suppose that this showgirl understands anything other than English either — nor Raoul in his rant to the barman. So apparently everybody is effortlessly bilingual.

Since my viewpoint character is obstinately monoglot, I, however, had to address the issue.


Chapter 2: Why Does She Love Me?

The husband. Which made him the one who signed the cheques. Connections began to come together with an almost audible mental click.

Jos had been steadily coming to the conclusion that someone had gone to a lot of trouble to whisk Christine Daaé out of Oscar Hammerstein’s reach — someone with influence on both sides of the law. But this husband of hers was another matter altogether. Hard to imagine anyone covering up for the likes of him... but when it came to enforcing contracts, he might turn out to be just the leverage the Manhattan Opera company needed.

Read more... )

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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... )

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Still on course for tomorrow's daily posting... just about...

But I found seven things this morning that needed changing in chapter 2 before I could post that to FFnet -- was it really only this morning? It feels a lifetime ago. But that's what you get for night after night of having to get up four or five hours after you finally got to bed :-(


Chapter 3: The girl at the opera

Comte Philippe looked up, with his fine smile, as his younger brother came rather sleepily into the breakfast-room. They had returned somewhat late from the Duchesse de Montémar’s ball the night before, and despite the Comte’s best attempts Raoul was not yet accustomed to keeping society hours.

His ship had returned to France at the end of September by way of Cape Horn, and the young man had been sent on leave with a commendation from his commanding officer that had been hailed by his brother with an almost embarrassing afflux of pride. But weeks of leave had extended to a month, and then one month into two, before he learned his next posting. The de Chagny influence could not move mountains; but it could, it transpired, achieve miracles where officialdom was concerned, especially when wielded by one so adept in the art as Comte Philippe. The Vicomte had been assigned aboard one of the most sought-after missions of the year: the relief effort in search of the d’Artois expedition, dispatched to explore the Arctic Circle some three years earlier and now overdue.

Read more... )

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I'm more or less on schedule for daily posting of the Christmas story in that I've just completed typing and proofreading Ch2, and completed Ch4 in manuscript (with a great deal of crossing out; angst is easier than happy endings, and there was too much model-yachting detail, lovingly laboured over for hours) this afternoon. Whether I'm going to be able to type, edit and proof the whole of Ch3 tomorrow evening, when I shall have rather less free time versus more words to deal with, is another matter!

(Yes, the title change from 'The' to 'An' is deliberate; 'The' fits the pattern, but it doesn't look right.)


Chapter 2: The invitation in Africa

The vast African sky, bright and quivering overhead, seemed to vibrate taut as a drum, and the palm-fringed coast was fit to wilt in the heat. La Tauride lay at anchor in the roadstead of Assinie, tugging a little at her cables beneath a gentle onshore breeze, and the endless surf broke on the beach beyond, where a handful of pirogues lay drawn up under the sun. Another darted swiftly between the waves, guided by a few skilful strokes of the paddle from a dark-skinned native stripped to the waist. From his vantage point at the edge of the knot of officers gathered on the deck, the young Vicomte de Chagny watched it come, discreetly easing the prickle beneath the collar of his naval uniform with one finger and conscious of a certain envy.

Read more... )

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I've almost finished the final chapter of this -- enough to have a good idea of where it's going, anyway, and I think I can safely enter the first chapter for its contest without the likelihood of needing to make any further amendments. It's so short that it barely qualifies as a chapter, and the second scene isn't much better; but they don't really belong together at all, and I don't think I can sensibly run them together as a single first chapter in order to enter them as a pair...

Raoul's December birthday has been a part of my head-canon for some time now in order to help with chronology. It had not previously occurred to me that this would imply that his mother's death fell just before Christmas, however, which would tend to drain any enjoyment out of the season in the minds of the rest of the family :-(

The title, of course, is pinched from my translation activities on Gefangene der Angst. (Well, it's better than 'Unhappy Christmases', I feel!) The chapter titles were an even more last-minute decision, but I think I can run them along the lines of 'the girl at the opera', 'the yacht on the pond', etc. 'The invitation in Africa'?


Christmas as it ought not to be

Chapter 1: The boy in the library

It was a cold, grey afternoon outside, and the neatly-clipped trees in their huge pots — each almost as tall as the boy who stood gazing out at them through the long windows — stretched away from the chateau towards an empty fountain that held only a thin layer of ice. The hands of the clock on the mantelpiece behind him, with its hurrying uneven tick, showed a little less than half-past three, but shadows were already gathering in the corners, and soon it would be too dark for the picture-book that lay abandoned on the hearthrug where he had left it, in front of an empty grate.

The window rattled a little on its hinges, and Raoul de Chagny pressed the tip of an upturned nose against the cold, smooth pane, feeling the draught stir the ends of his hair with icy fingers. He was a small, fair-haired child, and dressed from head to toe in black he seemed today smaller and frailer than ever.

Read more... )

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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)

I was re-reading my beloved battered copy of D.K. Broster's 'Mr Rowl', having shamelessly stolen her title for the purposes of my American story, and noticed for the first time the author's dedication in the preliminary material; I have no idea to whom it originally applied, but it did give rise to a somewhat wry smile in my hands!

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.

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