Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Of Thunder And Lightening

I am still in the planning and researching stages of my French Revolution novel, and I have promised myself I will not write a stitch of real writing until I've finished. I can have that much self-possession, can't I? However, I can still work on characterization, and here we are with a glimpse of the villain of the novel: Renaud Tremaine. As he is perfectly capable and more than willing to do the honor, I will let him speak for himself. Merci, Citizen Tremaine.
 “Bah! Lost another hundred livres at cards. Mon Dieu!” The speaker slammed the door behind him and cast himself, prostrate, on a chaise lounge nearby.
“I would not swear by that name if I were you, Jeanclaude. The Committee of Public Safety mightn’t like it. There is no God now, save the Goddess of Reason.” Renaud Tremaine’s lip curled in disdain for the fool before him. He laughed, the bitter tones mocking yet challenging the young man before him. Jeanclaude took a lace-edged handkerchief from his pocket and with great deliberation polished his monocle.
Tremaine fastened his gaze on Pierre Jeanclaude, inspecting him like a butterfly on a pin. Every detail of the young man’s person was captured, memorized, and scorned by Renaud’s dark eyes—eyes that, did they reside under hair a different hue than that of a winter's sun, could have been called “fine.” Beneath the pale shock of curls, Renaud Tremaine glared at the world from the brooding depths of his eyes, with the unearthly effect of lightening and thunder.
Jeanclaude was a fool, just like every other weak-willed “patriot” in Paris this summer. Renaud picked at the stitching coming loose on his shirt-cuff and struggled to keep his passion from flashing forth in an oath and a blow to the face of the foppish Jeanclaude. But Renaud Tremaine had a reputation to keep up—a reputation as a rising leader in the Revolution. Cool, polished, debonair, ambitious: these were words that Renaud taught to cavort around him a dance of popularity. One misplaced remark, one hint of the passion crouching behind his thunderous eyes, and all would vanish back into the mist of obscurity he had risen from. Risen, like a phantom from a grave of disgrace, as his rivals liked to quip. Ah, but that was all changing. He had Citoyen Marjorie Larrieu on his side. He would not call her Sweet-Marjoram, as the enamored Parisian youths did. Bah! Sweet! She was a vixen if ever a woman could be, albeit his cousinship to this self-same Marjorie. He liked her—ah, of course he liked her. They were cut of the same cloth, that Marjorie and him. She, with her quaint witticisms and pretty airs, like a petted peacock; he with his aspirations for power and homage. Neither had reached their full potential yet. But together, and if no blundering fools like Jeanclaude came in the way, they could reach a height as of yet unattained by anyone. Marjorie and Renaud Tremaine, holding the reins of Paris in their collective hands. Feeling the emotions of the people quivering up the lines, able to turn the country any way with their supple fingers.
Renaud’s fingers shook and he clenched his fist to keep them still, casting combined thunder and lightening at the empty face of Pierre Jeanclaude. No, he had nothing to fear from that corner, he was certain. Marjorie loved herself too well to stoop to a union with such a swine. He would woo her and win her, and Paris would be in his hands. A happy thought, indeed


Rachel Hope said...

I am also writing a historical fiction novel, taking place in the late 700's in early england, I have also promised my self that I will not write another word until I have completed my research. I really enjoy all the history, do you ? I'm interested in knowing why you chose the french revolution is that a favorite time in history ?
I would love to know how you structure your novels, do you figure out a plot line first or do you jump right in and start writing.
Rachel Hope.
oh and I love the way you wrote this, do you read a lot of classics ?

Rachel Heffington said...

Dear Hope,
I do enjoy the research immensely! However, I will admit that all the politics involved in the Revolution make my head swim the teensiest bit. But I love history with a passion, and I love historical fiction, and if I know I am boosting my knowledge as well as my writing by researching, I can take pretty nearly anything. ;)
I chose the French Revolution mostly because it is a fascinating time in history and the way it all started is rather complex. I personally sympathize with the patriots up to the time of the war, and France did need a going-over, but they took it too far indeed.They swung from one side of the spectrum to the other and entirely missed the point. They became barbaric and heathen and absolutely horrid. Anyway, the plot for the story sort of jumped out as the perfectly believable plot for that time period, and I thought, Why not? :) As far as structuring goes, I vary novel to novel. The first novel I wrote had absolutely nothing but a bare-bones plot beforehand. Literally: "Children don't have mother, they decide they need to find a wife for their father, and thus have a string of adventures." :D Pretty simple. But I found that I had to work really hard to get a good, compelling plot going. For my most recent novel (Puddleby Lane) I plotted pretty much everything, and I am finding that is squelching my inspiration and I'm having trouble bringing the plot to life and fullbodied existance. :)For my writing style I think what works best is a little plot--enough to keep things organized--with room for inspiration and unexpected happenings. :) Thanks for the kind words concerning the writing of that bit. And yes, I do read a lot of classics. They have a special spot in my heart as belonging to the eras I love, and a class of writers who appreciated and strived for only the best in fiction. They are *always* worthwhile. :) Anyway, now that I've rambled on in a post-sized comment, I will leave off! If you have anymore questions feel free to email me at :)

Carilyn said...

I enjoyed this snippet! I could definitely read a book about these fellows! =)

Unknown said...

I too am writing a Historical Novel and I love History. My Historical novel is set in Berlin, Germany during Hitler's Thousand Year Reich (thank goodness it did not last that long). I love everything about England and I look forward to reading someday your novel Rachel Hope.

Anonymous said...

PAUL BETTANY in Victoria and Albert! OH yes; I love Paul =D
~ Mirriam

Anonymous said...

PAUL BETTANY in Victoria and Albert! OH yes; I love Paul =D
~ Mirriam