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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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)
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)

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... )

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Chapter two of "In Regret, Always" completed: i.e. typed, heavily tweaked in places in an attempt to make it work better, and proofread for transcription errors (in that order!)

It eventually came out at 5,800 words, which is probably the longest single chapter I've done -- actually longer than several of my existing multi-chapter stories in their entirety. If it hadn't been for the framing structure I'd probably have elected to simply to split it at "an equally brave lie", but I had enough trouble getting in and out of the frame in order to split off the first half of the scene (an extra 3,500 words; just as well I did :-p) In any case, I seem to remember that chapter 3 in the manuscript is going to be even longer... 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'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)

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)
Various 'extra bits' that I created in response to readers who wanted to know what was going on behind the scenes; it would be nice to say that these characters are created with a depth and attention to detail that runs deeper than what actually makes it onto the page, but I'm afraid that, like the backstory in the actual text, these are mostly details that 'emerge' as and when it occurs to me to look at them, in other words that I make up as I go along...
Read more... )
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)
Just as I thought I'd reached the bottom of my queue (and might even consider approaching the Double Agents de Chagny) I seem to have been afflicted with another "Love Never Dies" fanfiction idea! So much for my chances of asserting that I had finished with that show, having already rewritten most scenes in it at least once and some more often than I like :-p

Enter Jos Perlman, junior dogsbody for Hammerstein's organisation and would-be gumshoe in search of a missing soprano... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

This has of course been done to death already... but here’s my own ‘repurposing’ of the finale to ‘Love Never Dies’, inspired by some discussion of the latest (Hamburg) production.

This is not a version of the characters I particularly endorse — but it’s one I can see Andrew Lloyd Webber accepting, at a pinch!

(And I still don't care for the present-tense viewpoint, but it's the best I can manage in order to convey a 'script' format in this context. I confidently expect this to be my last foray in that direction.)


Redemption

Meg’s voice cracks in betrayal.

“Christine — always Christine!”

The tenuous threads of hope — of understanding — that the Phantom’s voice had sent spinning out around her are ripped asunder, and she springs back as if from a closing trap. The gun is levelled between them. It fires.

Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
After some intensive work today (I took it with me on a couple of walks), "Meg Shoots the Phantom" is finished! Not bad going for only a couple of writing sessions -- though the whole manuscript is only about 1500 words by my reckoning :-D
Anyway, I'm quite pleased with it -- the rearrangement of existing events and lyrics is quite clever, the running time is I think consistent with the existing score, and I can picture it actually being performed. As a piece of writing it's something of a stylistic experiment, of course, but I'm not sure how many people are likely even to notice that.

And it has a proper title: "Redemption", which is what the Phantom is notably lacking in the current version of the scene!

It doesn't avoid one of the basic problems with the plot, which is that Christine gets handed over between one man and another without an apparent agency of her own in the matter, and it's sickeningly sentimental about the Phantom (who is portrayed as rather more noble, in my view, than is consistent with his character in the rest of the show), but both of those are the result of my attempt to come up with a version of the ending that is consistent with Andrew Lloyd Webber's apparent intentions for "Love Never Dies" and one that he might theoretically actually implement. I was slightly nervous about giving ALW a guest appearance in the final paragraphs, as it seems a little too much akin to Real Person Fiction and a little presumptuous to shoehorn a reaction onto someone, but there is a certain tradition of that in this fandom. (And at least I was civil about it!)


Hm, I wonder how I'm going to tag a one-word story title for blogging purposes...
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Various relevant excerpts from the Hamburg review -- so that I don't have to slog through translating it again -- with a disclaimer that my Russian is extremely rusty, there are chunks omitted, and there may be misunderstandings.

(Incidentally, I have to say that I've always loved the way the Russians spell "Raoul" in Cyrillic with a 'soft sign' ь at the end. I'm not sure it particularly reflects the French pronunciation -- it's more akin to appending a 'y' sound to the last letter -- but there's something very endearing about the convention!)

Read more... )
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
I've just spent most of the evening applying my twenty years' rusty Russian to an online article about the Hamburg staging of "Love Never Dies", having been tempted into it from Tumblr on glimpsing the tantalising statement "мне показалось, что она не любит Призрака" (I get the impression that Christine doesn't love the Phantom)
It's wonderful what a bit of motivation can do...

http://operaghost.ru/lnd_hamburg.htm

Yet again, independent confirmation that Raoul (whom the reviewer concludes this Christine no longer loves in the romantic sense either) comes across in LND despite the author's intentions as a far more interesting and sympathetic character in his relationship with Christine than the one-note Phantom does, and indeed that Lloyd Webber has in effect written the piece as Raoul's tragedy and not, as he supposes, as that of the Phantom. How did the composer manage to do this without noticing?



The late-coming anemone is now dying as well without ever having reached full growth, the one with the damaged stem has withered, and the others have not only failed to bloom but aren't looking all that vigorous either. I'm afraid that as house-plants (and as a gift) they were a complete and utter failure.
igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)

Yet more stuff archived here for reference so that I don't have to keep searching through unhelpfully-named messages in order to locate my own analysis again...

I don't think that Christine in the musical ever does decide to spend the rest of her life underground in order to save Raoul; I think that her kiss is an attempt to find a third option beyond the two that the Phantom offered ("love me and he lives, refuse and he dies"). In the novel, of course, the threat and the situation are both somewhat different...

But I always assumed that what she is trying to do in the musical is to show the Phantom that "he is not alone" — that his face is not an insurmountable barrier to contact with humanity as he claims to believe. I don't believe that her kiss is supposed to be an acceptance of his bargain or a signal that she will marry him: there are easier and more reliable ways of telling him that! The kiss appears to be a rejection of both choices and an attempt to win his sympathy by demonstrating empathy — it's the classic 'communicate with your kidnapper and force him to see you as a human being so that he will find it harder to kill or torture you' tactic.

She isn't accepting his proposal (which she would have done with words of hatred and resentment); she is showing him that it is possible for someone to display enough pity to bestow a kiss of her own free will and without blackmail even upon someone who looks like him, and therefore that his face does not make him irredeemable.

I always assumed it was obvious...

Erik says "Will you marry me? Yes or No?"
Christine says "You poor thing, have a kiss" -- which is neither Yes nor No, but is greater sweetness and pity than he would have got from the Yes answer.
And the result is that he then shows pity and humanity to her by sparing Raoul, which I imagine is what she hoped for but presumably could not possibly be certain of.


I've never seen the final lair scene as Christine's choice to stay with Erik -- it never even occurred to me that anyone would make that assumption until a fan mentioned it as a casual belief a few months back. Erik says "Make your choice", but Christine *refuses* to play that game. She *doesn't* choose: if she wanted to say Yes she would say it with tears and loathing, as she does at the start of the scene. If she wanted to say No she would hurl it at him.

What wise, clear-sighted Christine does is to evade the question altogether: her response is neither to accept the trap or to give her tormentor an excuse to take his revenge. Erik says "Yes or No?" Christine says "Oh, you poor thing -- here, have a kiss."

And it works. By showing him that he is part of humanity, she gets him to see her as someone whose happiness he cares about, and not as a possession.

It's the classic kidnap gambit, really: instil empathy in your captors and get them to see you as a person. It's ideal. Under the impossible circumstances it's *brilliant* -- and it's very Christine. She forgives her enemies, and in so doing she wins freedom by her own resourcefulness.

igenlode: The pirate sloop 'Horizon' from "Treasures of the Indies" (Default)
Archived for my reference, so I don't have to go looking all this stuff up again...

Interestingly, 'tu' does get used in Leroux -- Christine and Raoul are both very well-brought-up, but they occasionally slip when yelling at/to each other: "tais-toi donc, Raoul!" "Eh bien, dis, maintenant!" "Christine, aie pitié! Je vais mourir dans la forêt... loin de toi!" "Raoul! souffres-tu?" "va donc, Christine, ma femme adorée!"

Erik calls Christine 'tu' contemptuously from the moment she unmasks him, having been very respectful before (but on isolated occasions 'the Voice' declares "Va maintenant, Christine Daaé, tu peux apporter aux hommes un 'peu de la musique du ciel'!" and "Ton âme est bien belle, mon enfant, et je te remercie"): Christine mostly calls him 'vous', but in the final moments she descends into yelling at him: "me jures-tu, monster, me jures-tu sur ton infernal amour..?"

Erik and the daroga call each other 'tu' throughout. Christine addresses Maman Valérius as 'vous', but seeks and delivers comfort with 'tu': "Tu sais, la Voix est partie!" "Ne le crois pas, bonne maman, ne le crois pas..." Maman Valérius calls Christine 'tu' and Raoul 'vous' (though she addresses him as "monsieur Raoul" rather than "M. le Vicomte"). Philippe calls his little brother "tu"; Raoul calls the Comte 'vous'. The directors appear to call each other 'tu', somewhat unexpectedly.

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