Occasionally while working on revisions, I find myself thinking I need to add something and then, happily, find that I already have. I’ve been over and over this story so many times now, it’s hard to remember at times what’s been written and what’s only been thought! This happened to me recently, as a beta-reader recommended that I add in a Joan of Arc reference in the scene when Christine tells Meg that an Angel of Music has been speaking to her. I couldn’t quite find a spot in the conversation–and then as I read on, found that I’d already done it at the end of the scene!
Here’s a glimpse at Meg’s reaction to the news, including that Joan of Arc reference.
I was a good Catholic girl and I believed in angels in the abstract—but to believe that an angel was speaking audibly to Christine in her dressing room, and giving her advice about how to improve her singing? I was more likely to believe that the Ghost was really a ghost, and I didn’t even believe that.
Besides, when there’s a man lurking around an opera house, possessing an amazing voice, an ability to walk through walls and strong opinions about music, you don’t have to look far to find an explanation for an angelic visitation involving singing lessons.
It was that likely conclusion that was keeping me awake more than the uncertainty. Should I suggest the idea to Christine? But the thought of telling her made my stomach hurt. And besides, I was only guessing that the Angel was the Phantom. Perhaps I shouldn’t upset Christine if I wasn’t sure. Even at the time I knew I was trying to convince myself of a way to avoid an uncomfortable conversation, but the half-decision still let me fall asleep.
We didn’t speak of the Angel the next morning, parting on the most cheerful of terms, and the whole idea seemed no more plausible while I was sitting in Sunday morning mass. Angelic visitations had precedent, true, but angels had had more important things to say to Joan of Arc than recommendations on singing techniques.