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Title page dedication

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!



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A Ring Returned

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.)

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Drabble

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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Concert performance

The concert went off quite well, the main issues being that (a) I forgot part of my costume and (b) didn't leave enough time to warm up my voice before I left home -- I was assured we would be able to warm up after the safety talk at the hall, but in fact we weren't!
Both of these were largely a result of the fact that I spent the final hour before the concert working feverishly to get This Mask of Death successfully uploaded for the fanfiction.net challenge, which I'm afraid probably says something about my priorities; ultimately, I'm a writer, not a performer.

In the event I managed to sing adequately 'cold', probably due to having been doing a lot of practice in the days beforehand; this time, however, the wobble did convey itself from my knees up into my voice, and I'll never know if that was the result of inadequate preparation or the stress of being billed as a solo performer with weeks of rehearsal rather than simply stepping in to take an emergency solo after a couple of days' intensive study, as in my previous experiences.

Some surprise was caused when I turned out to be the only performer to want to sing without a microphone (I've never been expected to sing with one), with some surprise being caused to me when I was asked nonetheless to step up and perform just six inches away from the object, despite having been informed that it wasn't switched on! I honestly wasn't sure if the result was due to the hall's being extremely resonant, or to my voice getting amplified, but I was assured that the mikes weren't in fact on. In which case I dread to think what it would have sounded like with them on...
(And it's not, so far as I'm aware, that I have a particularly loud voice, so the other students clearly weren't projecting at all; a totally different technique.)

Unfortunately I turn out to look like Eddie Izzard in stage make-up ;-p
Still, I managed to get back into my old concert clothes one more time, with rather less difficulty than last time in fact. Internet tensions have an unfortunate effect on my digestion, which does have a significant effect on my waistline :-(

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This Mask of Death

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.

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Facial tic

Apparently I've acquired a twitch in my right eye when I sing; I've checked in a mirror, and it's true :-(

Since I can't feel it, let alone control it consciously, the only thing I can do is try to make sure no-one sees me sing in close-up :-(

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Hammerstein... complete?

I think I've actually finished the Hammerstein-story (which I'm really going to have to find a title for).

I came across the New York Times report on the real first night at the new Manhattan Opera, which ironically enough makes it plain that my hypothesis about the Opera House not being ready and the gala having to be postponed would have been entirely historically apt -- it wasn't really ready for the grand opening as it was. However, the idea of Christine going off elsewhere for several months to escape the Phantom threat wouldn't really wash after I'd made such a plot point of the moral imperative to get her there on the night she was due to sing for the Phantom instead, so in the end I just had her rely on his promise to let her and Gustave "go free" (even though in canon and even in this story he obviously didn't keep to that intention for very long; he was trying to trap Raoul by the small hours of the following morning, i.e. rather less than a day later!)

Anyway, I was able to pinch lots of ideas about what the Manhattan Opera and its clientele were actually like from the contemporary reportage. :-)Collapse )

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If I were Vicomte (ch4)

Final and even more fragmentary sections; I spent a bit of time trying to make it a little clearer what was going on and to tie it together better, which pushed the word-count just about over a thousand words. It really does come across as a bit rushed, though... and I suspect, going on reviews so far, that the fanfiction.net readers are going to feel short-changed by the total absence of any Phantom-related action. (That aspect hadn't even occurred to me while writing; set it down to my customary complete lack of interest in that direction.)

Yann barely even thinks about the Phantom here -- his jealousy is entirely concerned with his supposed aristocratic rival, or in other words his canon self. The whole 'Lyre of Apollo' confession and its consequences has been pretty much swept under the carpet... which is reasonably accurate to canon, since Raoul doesn't learn the truth until the day before Christine's abduction and spends most of the intervening period being jealous of an imagined rival, but does leave out a major and memorable element of the original: the bit that most people think of as the main part of the story :-(


4. Les Amants

Buffeted amid the chaos and panic of the Opera, Yann was desperate for help... and no-one would listen to him. But then, they never had. His own utter insignificance had never been driven so brutally home to him as in the past weeks, since Perros.

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A double dating problem

Wonderful inspiration this morning: I'd been worrying about how to make sure Christine gets paid if she plans to leave immediately after the gala, given that her contract presumably commits her to perform in the full opening season. I'd also been irritated by Lloyd Webber's sloppy dating, given that the real Manhattan Opera House opened in December 1906.

Then I suddenly remembered that Hammerstein had other opera houses elsewhere in America: why not send Christine off to Philadelphia instead while awaiting the real opening time? Admittedly this would involve redating the story to 1906 instead of 1907, but then that one wasn't my error in the first place!

Finally I checked the facts... and found that, sadly, the Philadelphia Opera House was actually opened two years after the Manhattan Opera, in 1908 :-( This entry was originally posted at http://igenlode.dreamwidth.org/86446.html, where there are comment count unavailable comments.