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

This is the chapter I remember having a lot of trouble with when it came to writing up the scene, as I'd imagined the whole thing from an omniscient external perspective, then had to decide whose viewpoint I could possibly use to recount it from: none of the characters are actually on the spot the whole way through. It's a similar problem to the one I would have with my Buquet-story several years later, but in this case I decided to show Erik and Cris eavesdropping through the omnipresent surveillance system rather than telling the story from the viewpoint of any of the actual participants; however, this then raised the question of how I was going to format Erik's little interjections, especially given the extremely limited options accepted by fanfiction.net (bold, italic and underline, basically)!

I think it works...


Chapter 12: A Disinterested Gift

Cris clutched at Erik’s arm, terrified eyes glimpsed through the pale silk of her hair as if through a lying veil of innocence, and he shook her off. She had never been a beauty; with her face blotched and red, she was more ordinary than ever. Just another silly, shallow-minded child, he told himself, trying to staunch the howling tide of pain that swept over him whenever he saw her look at the boy. Whenever he saw her pouring out that sweetness, that compassion, on youthful limbs and a foolish nose... why, it was long enough to provide noses for the both of them, Erik thought savagely. Perhaps he should propose it to her. It was ironic, after all, that one of her lovers should be so gifted and the other so deprived in that department...

“Please—” Desperate hands grasped at him again. “Erik, please — what’s happening to him? Oh, what have you done?”

“You’ll find it’s a question of what you have done,” he flung back, and saw her flinch. There was bitter satisfaction in it, though she still did not understand. But she would. Oh, she would see.

Read more... )

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I've been having quite a bit of trouble with getting an ending for my 'dancing at the masquerade' story — not assisted, of course, by the inconvenient fact that Christine turns out not only to dance with Raoul before their little argument (It's an engagement, not a crime!) but actually gets lifted by him at that earlier stage, which was what I'd been intending to use as the grand climax of the 'dance'.

I eventually managed to fudge the issue about all the dancing sequences shown in my part of the narrative actually being repeats of stuff they've done already, although I can't really do much at this stage about the problem of things happening in my story that don't observably happen on stage — Christine and Raoul stop dancing and argue again at least once, for instance, whereas in the musical it's just one long chorus routine. But since with the exception of the separation and reunion with which I had decided to start the story it isn't even really a narrative ballet scene, it's a bit tricky to make a coherent conversation out of it as it stands.Read more... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
More plot nibbles, now actually embarked upon (thanks to an extremely boring session chopping up many pounds of windfall pears — they were either ripe and full of bug droppings, or whole, underripe and extremely hard!)

The idea of Raoul surprising Christine by being good at dancing (having been subjected to mandatory lessons as part of his aristocratic education) is one that I'd had kicking around for some time, but never developed into anything beyond a vague idea that it would have to be at the masquerade. But while Leroux-Raoul and Christine never danced together in canon, Steve Barton and Sarah Brightman were both trained dancers, so their Raoul and Christine did dance (apparently more than in the current stage show). And in the course of my hours of pear-processing I managed to come up with some associated dialogue ideas that actually go somewhere; enough to make a scene, anyway.

What I hadn't planned for at that stage was Christine spontaneously getting naughty thoughts in the middle :-p
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

Well, I finally received one of the reviews I was holding out for on this (not sure if that was divine reproof for having doubted it or intervention for having mentioned it), so I now have no excuse whatsoever for not getting on with the next part...

Tweaked Raoul's reaction to the Phantom's death a little (previously he seemed to more or less ignore it). One thing that does strike me, reading over this after a lapse of time, is that it's really not made nearly so explicit as I thought it was that Gustave has taken up writing poetry in place of music :-(


Ch3: Some unknown grieving woman

Somewhere outside, a motor pulled up. Voices carried faintly through the window. Raoul glanced back up at the clock; down at what he had written, where a long blot straggled across the paper. After a moment he set his pen aside and tore up the unfinished page with unnecessary force.

He dipped the pen again, drew up a fresh sheet, and began to write, jerkily and with hesitation. Above the fireplace the ghost of a portrait looked down, as always. But it was not the shy young face painted by Boldini that was intruding upon his letter, but that of an older woman.

Fresh memories, these, from the near side of the howling swathe of steel that had swept across France. Her face danced between him and the phrase he sought, marked with lines of unhappiness and held high in defiance. He crossed out a word, cursed under his breath, and tried another.

Read more... )

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

Well, after all the excitement over the initial chapter of "In Regret, Always", the second chapter got precisely eighteen visitors and one review (so much for "please update soon"). I ought to be grateful for the one loyal reviewer (who has reviewed just about everything — except "Blue Remembered Hills"! — since the start, when she was for some time my only person doing so) but... it would be nice to know whether people inherently object to the plot, or the experimental structure, or just don't find it that interesting :-(

Time to try again with the next update on the next story... I think it does pay to write either longer stories or one-shots in this fandom; people seem to like epics, and one-shots don't require much commitment. At any rate, my one-shots seem to do relatively well. (It couldn't possibly be anything to do with the longueurs of my writing, could it? ;-p)


Chapter 10: Happy Highways Where We Went

Rall dreamed of loving Cris, and woke smiling, with the vivid warmth of that memory almost close enough to touch. He lay quietly on the hard pallet, drowsing, reliving the clumsy, exquisite miracle of each kiss behind closed eyes. The ghost of her mouth under his moved against parted lips; drew away in shy disbelief, and gave itself again with an eagerness that brought a stab of sheer joy now in remembering.

She had wanted him.Read more... )

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

I actually got a 'Please update' review on this the other night :-)

Not that I don't appreciate the involved, coherent, multi-sentence reviews I get from my regular reviewers, but there's an ironic cachet to discovering that you're apparently reaching the mass-market readers as well!

I'm currently trying to juggle three stories at once - this one, "Blue Remembered Hills" and my still-untitled "Gone With the Wind" one-shot, which is supposedly complete but I'm not entirely happy about (it feels very unfocused and random). So things are feeling a bit hectic. And it's slightly worrying that the more recent the material, the less happy I am with it; I actually found myself reading ahead in "Blue Remembered Hills" in preference to checking over this chapter...


Ch2: Make an end

Eight days of leave had done little to ease nerves rubbed raw by shellfire and snipers. A burnt coal fell through the grate with a rattle sharp as a rifle-shot, and Raoul had to stifle a sharp, instinctive movement that brought him halfway to his feet. The sleeve of his uniform caught against the decanter tray as he sank back, sending the glasses clattering together, and he was barely in time to field the nearest as it toppled. Thought caught up with reflex a moment later, still flinching in anticipation of the averted crash.

He stared down at the tremor in his hand, unsteady now as if it had been a grenade and not a wine-glass snatched from mid-air. There had been a time, once — a distant lifetime on the far side of this last winter — when violence had been an affront and not a familiar part of the world. A time when it was still something one expected to happen to other people.

Read more... )

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

I'm not sure this is as good as I thought it was when I started, but... well, I'm stuck with it now.


In Regret, Always

Eight years ago, Raoul left a letter for his wife, took Gustave, and set off to leave Coney Island. Now, as the clouds of war hang over France, the echoes of that night still haunt them all.

Ch1: The final wrong

It was still cold in this first spring of the war, despite the afternoon sun, and a bitter wind crept over the Paris rooftops and rattled the long shutters of the Hôtel de Chagny. There was a fire in the grate of the Vicomte’s study, as if to banish for a few final hours the memories of months of rain and freezing mud, and from the mantel above there came the sleepy ticking of the clock; but from time to time, as his pen paused for a moment in its steady travel across the page, the gusts outside seemed to hold the echo of great guns in Champagne and the Ardennes.

Raoul’s face held lines of strain now in addition to the bitter marks that belied his age, and the bright uniform of scarlet and sky-blue that had served France so well in parades and regimental balls had been discarded for the drab blue of this new way of fighting. Every so often, in an unconscious gesture, he would reach up to run two fingers round the inside of his collar. The uniform tunic was trim enough, but it had begun to hang a little loose on his frame, and there were hollows under his eyes that eight days’ leave had done nothing to redress.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)

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 )
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)

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)

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... )

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... )

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