Writing Wednesday: Closing Things Out

I’ve been working my way through Guardian III for what feels like forever, but I’m so, so close to the end of my current pass-through (so I can start the next, hopefully much faster one!)  I’ve been expanding my final chapter, which was originally written on the last day of NaNoWriMo 2016; there was a definite element of, “just throw something down and finish.”  So there was some work to do!

In the biggest change, I added an extra scene that I should have realized I needed years ago.  But it’s there now, so beta-readers won’t yell at me 🙂 that a crucial moment is missing.

For people who like to read the end of a book first, here’s just a glimpse of that newly added, nearly at the end scene.

**************

He stood on the stage of the Opera Garnier, the largest stage in Europe, and looked out over the rows and rows of empty seats.  They were barely visible in the shadows, with only a few safety lights burning.  It was still dark outside, though no light ever penetrated here anyway, and it was quiet in the Opera.  His mind filled in what his eyes couldn’t see in the dim light—the glowing red velvet of the seats, the gleaming gold of the decorations, the glittering, newly-hung chandelier hanging above, the sun in the sky of the Opera.

Writing Wednesday: Trust and Arguments

I did heavy revisions on another scene for my Phantom novel today.  Like some I revised a few weeks ago, I wrote this one early in the process of writing the trilogy, although I’ve been able to keep most of it as it was.

Even after years of working with these characters, they still surprise me sometimes.  In this scene, Erik and Meg have the kind of argument that starts about one thing and turns into something else, and probably is really about a third thing entirely.  The funny part is, I don’t think I properly realized until I revised it this week that it’s actually about trust.  At least, that’s a bigger part of it than I realized–along with two or three other things!

As I reworked the scene, some of the original lines of dialogue just didn’t ring right anymore…and pretty soon Meg was coming out with new things I hadn’t quite known frustrated her.

Erik, obviously, was even more unaware than I was.

Here’s an excerpt. 🙂

*****************

“Did you trust Christine?”  I demanded, a question I had never dared even think let alone ask, but that I had always, always wanted to know.  “More than you trust me?  Because you obviously don’t trust me.  Not enough to tell me your plan when the mob was coming, or to tell me you were still alive, or to believe the best of me when you overheard something that sounded bad.  You’ve never even told me what happened when Christine left, and I trust you enough to ignore all the stories saying you killed her!”

“Stop saying her name!”

That was the important part in what I had said?  That was the only part he heard?  Anger that had started red hot had turned into a cold fury that was even harder to control.  “I am not Christine,” I said, my voice seeming to come from outside of myself, even and steady.  “I don’t sing like Christine, and I’m not as beautiful as Christine, and I would never betray you like Christine.”

Writing Wednesday: Expanding the Story

After some short story work recently, I’ve gone back to expanding the opening of my third Guardian of the Opera book.  Things have been cut up and moved around and I set the opening of the book a week earlier than I originally planned, putting four new chapters in at the beginning.

Revisions.  They’re unpredictable!  I actually thought Book II would need far more structural revisions than it ended up needing; apparently Book III is balancing that out.

Adding more to the beginning gives me space to reintroduce a lot of characters and concepts, plus both Meg and the reader have to wallow in the Book II cliffhanger a little bit longer.  I also started Meg counting days, something we’ve more often seen from Erik!

Here’s a piece opening my new Chapter Two.

***********

I began counting the days since the day of the mob, since I had last seen Erik, since he might have died.  I counted even though I had no idea when it would be time to give up hope.  I had found the daffodil on the second day.  The Phantom’s body—supposedly—had been found on the third, and I had gone to Erik’s rooms that same afternoon.

On the fourth day I was sitting with several other ballet girls on the Opera’s front steps, dallying before it was time to go in for the morning rehearsal, when I saw Commissaire Mifroid crossing the plaza, walking towards the Opera.

A chill went over me as I looked at the policeman, in his dark coat, with the shiny buttons down the front.  It had been him, all along.  He had kept pushing, kept trying to find Erik, for months and months.  If it hadn’t been for him, Jammes never would have gone looking for information, for whatever favor she thought she could curry with the managers or Carlotta, the lead soprano, or with Mifroid himself.  Without Mifroid, my stupid mistake leaving the directions in reach wouldn’t have mattered.

With Mifroid, Erik might be dead.

And Mifroid might be the only one who really knew.

 

Writing Wednesday: Differing Perspectives

I’ve spent the last several days reworking one scene in my Phantom novel.  It’s a pivotal scene near the end of Book Three, and because of the way I wrote this whole trilogy, I initially wrote it…three years ago?  Four years ago?  The point is, it was actually pretty early on in the writing of the whole project, because I was writing out of order at that point.

Well, coming up to today, I found that my writing has grown since then, and much of that original scene didn’t feel right anymore.  I decided it would be better to just rewrite it than to try to revise, so I sat down and wrote through it again–in Meg’s point of view, as was the original.

Then I went to meet with a writing friend, we talked about our latest writing…and she wanted to see the scene from Erik’s point of view.  And the more I thought about it…she was right.  So I wrote it again–and now I’m working on a later bit of the same chapter that also needs to switch to Erik’s point of view.  So it’s been an interesting few days, building a scene from different angles.

For fun, here’s two versions of the same moment–first from Meg, then from Erik.

*************

The melody faded away in another bar, and it was good I was sitting down, it was good he had told me to sit down, because he had said—he had actually said…  My eyes were hot and my throat was tight and I had to say something but I suddenly didn’t know…

He looked up at last, but he still didn’t look at me.  He was staring very fixedly down the length of the room, gaze on his pipe organ but from the tightness in his face I didn’t think he was seeing it.

Continue reading “Writing Wednesday: Differing Perspectives”