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If I were Vicomte (ch3)

The chapters are still very short, but this one is actually longer than the previous one. (The fact that it's two scenes run together helps.)

Unfortunately, once we get Yann as far as Christine's dressing-room we start running into sections of the story that have already been described in greater detail in canon, so at this stage my version starts skipping wildly; in effect, the idea is that everything happens just as in canon from this point, Yann simply interprets it differently from his counterpart.

3. L’Officier

La Royale was good to the young Breton sailor. Yann proved quick and obedient, and self-possessed and nimble aloft. He drew the approbation of his officers without incurring the enmity of the sous-officier set over him, and found himself promoted; first among the seamen, then — after completing his first voyage around the world — among the cadets.

No allowances were made for his lack of education, and he was expected to study alongside the rest. Yann set his teeth and puzzled out mathematics and navigation along with the duffers of the class, taking a fierce pride in the speed with which he overhauled these schoolboys. It was at this time that he began to cultivate a moustache.

In the winter that he turned twenty-one he was a slim, bright-haired young man with a boyish freckled face, confident in his profession but shy among women, with whom his lack of experience put him at a disadvantage. In his leisure hours he read voraciously, in an attempt to remedy the deficiencies in his education. When one of the senior lieutenants proposed a party of pleasure to Paris among the young officers in port, since Yann’s ship was laid up for repairs for the next several months he for one accepted eagerly.

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An inescapable image

I'm being haunted by the memory of a pre-war novel I flicked through in a station waiting room on holiday a couple of weeks ago: I skim-read it pretty rapidly (exceedingly rapidly towards the end, partly because I was in a state of shock and partly because I was severely running out of time) and I don't remember in the least what it was called or who the author might have been. And I don't imagine there's another extant copy in the country, so I'm never likely to encounter it again...

Apparently it was the last volume in a trilogy (yes, they had them back then) and in the previous two books the heroine had progressed from being a 'fallen woman' out to ensnare a rich elderly husband to falling genuinely in love with his son and eloping with the young man. And they conduct a sort of tentative courtship during their honeymoon (which begins with her being horribly seasick for days on the trip up to Scotland on a slow tramp steamer!) while her husband tries to convince her that she is safe and he really does return her love, no matter who she was in the past and no matter what her original intentions towards him were. But all the time there is an unexplained trouble hinted at in the background.

And then just when they seem to have come together and be happy at last, a package arrives in the post from one of her old associates whom she now regards with hatred and fear. Her husband sees this as a sign of reconciliation to their marriage and insists on sending back a friendly letter, but she refuses even to open it. And when she finally does, late at night and some time later, it contains a loaded gun and a note saying 'You know what to do with this'.
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If I were Vicomte (ch2)

I'm still not particularly happy with the first chapter of my Hammerstein-story, despite having rewritten three pages of it to cut out most of René and add in old Oscar himself. My suspicion is that it's a boring info-dump — and while I'm usually pretty good at those, the trouble is that this time no-one has any reason to care about any of the characters involved, Jos, McWhirter or René. So it's effectively just a massive plot summary to describe 'how Christine managed to go missing in the middle of New York', as told from the point of view of characters who didn't actually witness it :-(

It's frustrating, because I still think the idea in itself is original and promising; the experience does at least have the merit of making this preceding story seem better in contrast, even if this one is pretty fragmentary!

2. Matelot

It was three years before he saw Christine again, and when he did it was under very different circumstances. His father’s boat, caught by unseasonal gales, had put in at Toulon, and there the boy had caught the attention of the navy. Well-grown and muscled for his age, and handy on the water, Yann Le Coennec was just the type of sailor on whom the fleet had had its eye for centuries immemorial, and the long and the short of it was that young Yann had found himself enlisted almost willy-nilly into the Marine National — the service which he soon learned to call ‘La Royale’, the nickname for the navy time out of mind.

Yann accepted it with a shrug, as he accepted most things these days. But when he found himself with a few days’ embarkation leave a brief flicker of independence woke, and he turned aside from the long road back from his dépôt to call at the little house in Perros-Guirec.Collapse ) This entry was originally posted at, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

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Hammerstein research

I've just spent a considerable time trying to establish exactly what opera with which singers really did open Oscar Hammerstein I's Manhattan Opera House: one source claims that it was "Norma" (hard to picture Christine Daaé rehearsing the role of Norma) but in fact it seems to have been another Bellini opera, "I Puritani", with the obscure Polish soprano Regine Pinkert in the lead. (In fact it looks as if this may have been the end for her of a career that started in 1892.)

But sadly for Andrew Lloyd Webber's plot, this opening night was actually December 3rd 1906 -- so Christine could hardly have been engaged "to open his new Manhattan Opera House" in summer 1907! Perhaps I should theorise that it was actually the start of a new season that she was supposed to be promoting... or simply feel at liberty to imitate the historical inaccuracy of the source material :-p

I thought I'd successfully patched last night's plot holes, Collapse )

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Plot holes

I finally got round to listening to some of the relevant bits of the Australian Version of "Love Never Dies" to check out the details of my Hammerstein-plot (still unnamed), and discovered to my annoyance that there are casually mentioned background details in the arrival dialogue that blow holes in my intended plot! It's supposed to be two whole weeks before Christine's scheduled opening night at the Manhattan Opera House, for one thing, which makes a mess of my plans for one quick performance and getting her out of Mr Y's temptation range thereafter. And apparently Raoul had been promised that Oscar Hammerstein would actually turn up at the dockside to receive them in person (seems rather unlikely), which makes nonsense of my already-written explanation for why the legitimate reception party failed to turn up, allowing Squelch, Fleck and Gangle to take Hammerstein's name in vain...

Since it also raises big questions in canon about what the Phantom did to the real Hammerstein to prevent him from coming indignantly to look for his missing star (well, even bigger ones than those which already prompted this story), I'm tempted to put that particular detail down to a misunderstanding or to Raoul's elevated expectations of his family's importance to the Americans :-(

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LND story seen from a third-party viewpoint?

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

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Lush Sunblock bar

This summer I've been using the Lush solid Sunblock. It wasn't actually what I went in looking for (I was much more interested in the idea of their powdered sunscreen, since I hate the greasy feel of your average suntan lotion), but it was the only high-SPF product they had; I don't sunbathe for fun, and my general idea is not to tan at all, though by the end of the summer I generally end up with a noticeable and somewhat ludicrous difference between weathered face and hands and pale body.
(I'm someone who has received the astonished comment -- from a Ghanian -- of "so that's why they call you white people" when she caught sight of my midriff!)

For some reason the Sunblock is marketed as a shower-on product, though I really don't understand how that is supposed to work on something that appears to be basically a non-water-soluble cocoa-butter base, and would surely make a nasty greasy mess of the towels. Also, I prefer to wash after going out in the sun and getting all sweaty and hot, not before.
But the sales assistant advised me simply to use this product like one of their massage bars -- run it over the skin until it melts at body temperature, then rub in the resulting oils -- and this seems to be what everybody who reviewed it on the Internet ended up doing. Collapse )

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If I were Vicomte (ch1)

After much procrastination, I finally managed to get this typed-up over the course of a couple of days by virtue of running a 'changeover' scheme with the other stuff I was supposed to be transcribing; every ten minutes an alarm was set to go off on my computer advising me to switch material and start typing in the other document! Of course this theoretically meant that the original task took twice as long as normal, but in practice it didn't seem to make much difference (nobody noticed), presumably because the change in source material helped prevent me from getting as bored as usual.

I currently have it split into four chapters, roughly according to chronological jumps (although the last two scenes are separated by a not insignificant period). The main trouble is that the scenes get shorter and shorter as the story goes on, with the last two even when paired together still coming in at under a thousand words, while the first chapter is about two-fifths of the total length all on its own. But the only other sensible division would be to run all the 'adult-epoch' scenes together, and there really is a sizeable shift across this material, both in time and in Yann's relationship with Christine.

Weirdly, I seem to have averaged a lot more words per page on this story than in the previous story in the same notebook; still, four chapters is a lot for a story that's only just over 5,000 words in all. Especially as the previous one was published as a single 3,800-word chapter! (The cynical approach on, of course, is to upload across as many chapters as possible in order to accumulate maximum reviews and keep the story boosted back to the top of the fandom listing...)

Still wondering what 'category' to put this under and whether it's humorous at all; I'm tempted to do Angst/Humour.

If I Were Vicomte

1. Jeunesse

The sun shone bright across Trestraou’s sands on the day the wandering fiddler came, and the wind raced across the wide bare sweep of that great strand with nothing to halt it but the church high above and the handful of cottages down by the shore. The fiddler and his little daughter had roamed from village to village for weeks, playing and singing as they went and refusing all payment save a bed of straw for the night and a dish of fresh milk in the morning, and much talk had been made of it thereabouts. But to the barefoot children who scuffled amidst their fathers’ nets, the big man with a fiddle-case slung over his shoulder was simply a stranger in a place where no new face was seen from one season to the next, and they watched him from a distance and with wide eyes.

The newcomer and the little girl came down to the shore and stood hand in hand, gazing out across the unmarked sands that stretched away beneath that vast overarching sky. Collapse ) This entry was originally posted at, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

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More flowers

More new flowers from the second tray: this one seems to be a nemisia. And this one appears to be some kind of corn-cockle. Possibly. Except that it doesn't have hairy leaves or stems - and those twisted flower-buds with the bulge at the end are very distinctive... I think there may be some more ageratums growing in the first tray, but if so they didn't do nearly so well as the two in the second tray; almost all of them have withered and died at a young stage, one looks as if it has pulled through (though still much smaller than the ones planted later) and one may have a healthy new leaf coming. Otherwise we have some wallflower-like things, and the love-in-the-mist-like things which have been sitting in the understory doing not very much -- I thought they might perk up now that everything above them has died back, but not so far. This entry was originally posted at, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
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There is no Phantom of the Opera

I decided not to split this into two chapters. The place I had in mind ("He did not think he could ever feel like this for anyone but Christine") doesn't really work as a chapter division, since it's in the middle of Raoul's thoughts about his feelings for her, and the logical place (after "sweet and round and wrinkled as a winter apple") is too close to the end of the story; the second chapter doesn't have enough substance.

I note that Carlotta is busy suspecting Raoul of secretly being the Phantom, while this version of Raoul seems pretty suspicious of Meg!

There is no Phantom of the Opera

Raoul-Achille-Honoré — youngest and most recent of the Vicomtes de Chagny — was not given to flights of fancy. A trifle impetuous maybe, perhaps even as naïve as his scoffing friends liked to claim, but for all his youth he was a man grown, an educated man in a world of rational thought, and he did not believe in ghosts. In particular, not ghosts that laid claim to such very tangible possessions as an opera box or twenty thousand francs in cash... or that, bare minutes ago, had looped an all-too-solid rope around a man’s neck and thrust him into that ghastly dance of death as a warning.

Christine’s face had been ashen at the sight, and he’d choked down horror of his own; but she’d needed him, and he’d rushed unhesitatingly to her side. He would have offered her the comfort of his arms — of his home, if she would have it — but she’d caught at his hand, drawing him instead into this wild flight.

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