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... )

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

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)

Ironically, although this final chapter is narrated from Christine's point of view it's really Gustave's backstory, just as the previous chapter was as much Christine's backstory as Raoul's...


Ch 4: Mort pour la France

Paris in the autumn was as busy as ever. The leaves on the trees were dusty as the streets and beginning to turn brown, and the sun through the windows of the tramcar struck hot on Christine’s cheek as it had not done all summer — or perhaps, she thought, adjusting her blue uniform cloak, perhaps it had, and she had not been in any condition to notice it.

She descended from the tram at the corner of the boulevard Mont-St-Fleury with a nod to the lady conductress — the war had changed many things — and began to walk rather slowly towards the little café further down. In the pocket of her dress, behind the red cross sewn at her breast, lay the letter that had brought her here, dragging at her steps like a weight from which she had believed herself cut free. She was tired: too tired to feel anything, she told herself, with a bone-deep weariness born of long nights of strain and endless exhausting days of labour over shattered bodies in improvised wards behind the lines.

There was nothing romantic in nursing; Raoul had been right — poor Raoul! But that reflex jolt of memory was nothing more than a dull echo now.Read more... )

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

Switching between the two sets of characters here leaves rather more of an unresolved cliffhanger at the end of the previous chapter than I'd realised!


Chapter 11: That Far Country

Dar watched the two offworlders in the shadowy light, wondering how much to tell them; how far he must betray his friend and that scarred, unhappy past. They’d given him a wild enough story of alien marvels, of teleport travel and miraculous escapes, and he was not entirely sure he believed it.

But whatever —whoever— they were, they would be new faces to Erik. They would have that moment’s precious advantage... and whatever tales they had heard, they were not in unthinking awe of the Ghost. They had not been terrorised, dominated and manipulated; they had not been moulded like the Organisation into an instrument aimed by Erik’s hand. And they had not seen Buquet’s body, broadcast one morning in all its splayed ragdoll ruin as a warning. As an object lesson, Erik had said blandly, when Dar, who’d had to deal with the Federation and the resulting enquiry, had dared to question the act.

The Ghost hadn’t been content to break Buquet’s neck. He’d broken practically every other bone in his body. Most of them, Dar thought, all too familiar with human debris, after death. Most of them.

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)
Saw the last episode tonight... a bit disappointed. (Relies on one of the devices I find least satisfactory in detective fiction, level with 'the narrator did it but isn't mentioning the fact'.)
And I really, really hope that Glamorous Female Assistant and Grumpy but Apparently Bedworthy Detective are not going to be pitchforked into an affair with each other in future instalments (but have little hope in that respect).

I never did read the book, although I've been meaning to for ages; maybe it's better. TV adaptations are rarely an improvement on the original, although Dickens tends to improve with focus and trimming :-p
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)


My Solanum now has little clusters of berries as well as white-and-gold flowers.
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)
I went to Ryman's to buy a replacement filler/converter for my 'spare' Parker fountain pen (the one with the stainless-steel barrel that I had at school, and which I use for writing-while-walking, since it survives being dropped better than the coloured barrels do). Those cheap piston fillers are basically disposable items; sooner or later, the gasket perishes and/or pulls out of the rod, and you get left with a filler that goes up and down but doesn't suck up ink. Which is what had happened to this pen, not for the first time.

I was shocked to be told that Parker are no longer manufacturing fillers (despite continuing to sell bottled ink; how do they expect people to use the ink?) and that the shop had now sold out. I was directed to the neighbouring branch, six miles away, which apparently had one left 'in stock'. A week later, when I had business there and had cycled over, I paid a call on the second branch of Ryman's. They had sold their last filler the day before.Read more... )


The Virginia stocks on my windowsill are coming to an end, and I've been weeding them out. I've also been removing the alyssum plants after the first flush of flowers has passed, since I now know that if you leave them they will happily flower from side-shoot after side-shoot and fill the entire tray from a single mature plant... and I had lots of seedlings!

The mysterious plant that looks like basil undoubtedly is basil. And the feathery things that have grown tall but still haven't flowered are suspiciously reminiscent of fennel -- could that packet of "Little Miss" assorted flower seed possibly have got mixed up with their packets of assorted herb seed?more identifications )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

Scruples of Honour

Ashley Wilkes has known Charles Hamilton all his life — but the one time the boy needs him most is the one time he has no right to intervene.

The worst of it, Ashley thought, with the rueful withdrawn smile that was as much for his own frailties as those of the world about him, was that he understood all too clearly just what his cousin Charles was going through right now. Understood him probably better than anyone else in the County... and better by far than the woman he was to marry. Vivid, vital Scarlett O’Hara, who had bookish Charles Hamilton’s betrothal ring on her finger and his young heart most definitely in her pocket — and who would not know Keats’ stout Cortez from Byron’s Corsair, or, if asked, give a fig for either.

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)
More work on the Ashley-fic; I now have it typed up (2500 words) and I think I've fixed the problems I was having in switching from Honey's section to the end. (Honey was intended to be part of it from the start -- I remember thinking about this bit when scraping past stone walls on long bus-rides in the Isle of Wight -- but I was failing to get across Ashley's basic dilemma where her involvement is concerned.)

And I had the brainwave of transplanting two paragraphs wholesale from the end to the middle, so that my Ashley-viewpoint allusion to Scarlett's confession actually followed directly on from his earlier reference to it ("the humiliation of what she had done"). I was having so much trouble with that unanchored line that I'd actually decided to switch it to "what he had done", since in the context it was just looking like a typo. Now we get to see exactly what it was that she had done :-)

I think I've got a summary and a title: "Scruples of Honour". Or maybe just "Scruples"?
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
I discovered hierarchical tags by observing other people's journals :-)

Spent the afternoon laboriously loading and editing, one by one, every single one of my eighty-plus journal entries categorised under the 'fiction' tag, in order to recategorise them under, say, fiction: blakes-7, producing a neat little list like this: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)
Well, I've now got a couple of thousand words of possibly-completed (not sure I'm happy with the ending) "Gone With the Wind" one-shot. What I don't have yet is a title -- or a summary. And for something that was supposed to be about Charles Hamilton, I have to say that there seems to be an awful lot of backstory for Ashley in it...Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

Erik really should have answered his messages...


Chapter 9: On the Move

Someone was knocking at the cabin door. Blake groaned and rolled over to look at the chrono on his wrist. Half an hour late for the morning watch: he’d overslept—

The jolt of realisation sent him upright in the unfamiliar bunk and reaching down for his boots before he was fully awake. His head struck hard against a too-close ceiling that should not have been present. Beneath his feet there was only a lurch into open air.

Not his cabin. Not the Liberator after all.

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)
https://www.fanfiction.net/s/12429881/17/

Well, that's one explanation of "Beneath a Moonless Sky" :-P
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

Fanfiction.net stats July 2017 (private link for my own convenience, if anyone's reading this!)

So much for the time when I used to be able to wait each month for the day on which all of my stories had received at least one hit — this is the first time since February 2016! And as I upload more and more stories, these rare occasions will presumably come further and yet further apart...Read more... )

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

I'm seriously running out of time on posting this one before I disappear, but I can manage to give it a few hours here before the mandatory pre-FFnet reread..

I'd forgotten just how much E/C I'd put into this story in the hopes of attracting the 'mainstream audience' -- at this point, we're practically in classic "Christine is Erik's prisoner and is learning to love and pity him" territory. What with that and "In Regret Always", I seem to have been paying a lot more attention to Christine's relationship with the Phantom recently than I have for a long time!


Chapter 8: The Land of Lost Content

The third time Cris woke from the nightmare, it was dawn, and light was flooding across her face.

She curled up shivering, attempting to stifle the whimpers. Every time it was the same. She woke... only to exchange the dreamed horror for one that was real. She was trapped here, trapped in a tomb— with a monster who loved her.Read more... )

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