I'm still very much trapped in Phantom Mode at the moment, whilst trying to maintain momentum on my other 'ships so they don't fall out of my head in the process of finishing "Whisper". Ideas for the ending are coming thick and fast of late and I'm having a bit of trouble keeping up. I very much appreciate being able to write during daylight hours (as opposed to two in the morning), but honestly, brain, why must you always do this when I'm at work?!
The thing that worries me is it's taken about three years of sporadic writing (mostly at work) and heavy editing to get to where I currently am with the story, and the ending is now practically writing itself. Admitttedly, I'm a little rusty in both the fandom and the process, so it's not as easy as it might have been; these days I'm still in awe of "Cradle" and its 100K words in eight months, as "Whisper" currently stands at a piddling 13K. It's still an impressive number - I mean, that's more than a dissertation - it just looks a little swamped by the magnitude of the Buffy epic. ;)
I digress; my worry is that the ending will look rushed compared to the rest of it. I already want to write an epilogue once it's finished, mostly because the ending, whilst satisfying, leaves a lot of unanswered questions. I formulated the perfect end to the story almost at the outset of writing it, once I'd gathered together the bare bones of its admittedly scant plot (...er, not in that way, get your brains out of the gutter!), and I don't want to ruin that ending to pander to readers' whims. Equally, however, after what the story goes through, I don't want to leave them hanging on a tentative promise. The epilogue will provide further closure to the ending, as well as an element of fluff which is (unsurprisingly) missing from the angsty narrative of Christine's journey.
My final chapter actually goes against the grain somewhat of what I wanted to achieve. Erik only appears in the first chapter in flashback and that was going to be the only mention of him, except thanks to the 25th anniversary show I now want to include the choice scene as well - again as a reminiscence. Indeed, even this had not been my intention; initially I only wanted a scene where Christine undertakes her last performance before leaving for England, whereby she sings her heart and soul out to the heavens as a final parting gift to Erik. That particular image struck me with a surprising power (for her audience, she produces the purest soprano note; in her head, it's nothing but an anguished scream). It's just that the choice scene is so integral to the Erik/Christine relationship, and I should include it as a matter of completeness.
It would, however, be the only sequence in the story (I nearly said "book", then - wishful thinking much? :P) which is a true rehash of actual events. The first unmasking sequence is mentioned briefly in chapter 1, just as the rooftop scene is mentioned later on, but in both cases I let the fandom's own knowledge fill in the gaps and action. For some reason, I now feel compelled to describe the choice sequence - from Don Juan onwards - in great detail; part of me thinks it's superfluous to do so, but I'm oddly driven to continue now I've started.
I'm thinking I should finish it anyway and then give it a final read through; if the last chapter jars too much against the earlier narrative then I'll snip it or scrap it. In all honesty, the entire thing needs raking over by a beta-reader. winter_jasmine gave me some very helpful feedback and made me realise an oversight in the focus halfway through, but it would be useful to have someone go over the whole, finished product in its entirety. I've been staring at the bloody thing for too long to have any perspective. ;) I'm considering a post on phanwank to see if anyone might be up to the task. It seems a little over-elaborate a gesture, considering I'm only likely to post it on FFN, but my mind will be more at ease if I know the story is perfect. After all this time, that's the least it deserves...
To make matters worse, I think my one final chapter will actually end up being two, as last night I had yet another idea to bring to the ending, whereby Christine - having not told anyone of her plans to leave - writes letters to her friends and colleagues explaining her imminent absence (she flees immediately after her performance). I scrawled some stuff on paper last night (which is weird enough as maybe 90% of my Phantom fic has been typed up directly) and got through the first three letters to Raoul, Meg and Mme. Giry respectively. In addition there will be letters to the managers (Andre and Firmin), Nadir Khan, and - despite the futility of it - Erik himself. Again, it was an image that struck with blinding clarity just as I was getting into bed, having given up on the story for the evening...
It's quiet today so I should probably work on the rest of the final/penultimate chapter, but I've managed to get this far in the story without jumping ahead of myself, because I know full well that's a recipe for disaster as far as filling in the gaps is concerned. The ending has been perfectly coalesced in my head for this long, so a few more days or weeks won't hurt.
I suppose there's nothing stopping me from starting the epilogue, though. *smile*
Well, that was a lot of words about nothing, wasn't it? At least when I was writing all the time I didn't feel the need to ramble excessively about it. :P
In other news: work is being mildly annoying, still, but I can't be bothered to moan about the same old stuff. Also, I have ten days of my twenties left (meh) and I'll do a Facebook entry about drinks and whatnot. commoncomitatus, I need to send you an email also. Watch those respective spaces.
Over and out.