Act one, Chapter Three: 25

1st Mar 12:00 AM, 2013 in Act One: Chapter Three
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Act one, Chapter Three: 25
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Author Notes:

MsMegan 1st Mar 12:15 AM, 2013 edit delete
MsMegan
When I started this project, (before realizing that, really, Robin McKinley had already said all that needed to be said on the subject) I had it in my head that it would be prose. This is what this scene looked like in my first draft:

"The grey day gave way to an eerily still evening. After Beauty and The Beast parted ways at the dining hall, that stillness reached a breaking point and became a rumbling sky. It rained nearly every evening, after the garden lanterns went out. But tonight, no rain fell. Instead, lightning left its jagged mark across a yellowy-green horizon and rolling waves of thunder beached, receded, and beached again. The distant storm filled Beauty with an anxiety quite separate from the one she felt when she thought of The Beast.

She tried to read before her little gated fire, but found her eyes would not focus on the words. They strayed instead to the ominous skies beyond her balcony window. At last, after her tea had grown cold, she put her book aside and climbed into bed. Eventually she fell into an restless sleep.

Just after midnight, the storm finally broke. The heavy, hot air and slow-boiling night sky gave way to drilling rain. A flash of lightening, partnered with an almost physical crack of thunder, woke Beauty from her light slumber. She sat up, disoriented by the darkness and the noise, and the lingering threads of dreams.

Her mother had been standing on the bow of a ship with her arms spread, laughing, as if she did not see that the waves were reaching up for her. The sea, enchanting, deadly partner to her father’s business, was a whirl of foam below. Beauty, only a child in this jumbled dream, clung to the mast, and could not venture from it, as the ship pitched in the storm. Her dream-mother smiled over her shoulder and waved at Beauty, as a great wave rose high, higher. It crashed on the deck, and was not water, as Beauty had supposed, but a great number of seals instead. Beauty could not see her mother any more. As she ship rolled to one side, she seals slid and dropped off the deck, one by one, back into the spray. When they were all gone, there was only Beauty, hanging onto the mast and crying for her mother.

Then the storm, the real storm, had woken her. It was easy to see how it had seeped over into her sleep; the sound of pelting rain coupled with wind whistling between the gaps in the windows, and rattling furiously at the balcony doors made for a cacophony. Beauty untangled herself from the sheets and counterpane, and searched down the side of the bed for her missing pillows.

Now that she was awake, Beauty knew sleep would not return. She parted her bed curtain, and a little bedside lamp flickered drowsily to life. Beside it, she found a pale blue jacket neatly folded. She pulled this on over her night dress, and slipped her feet into matching slippers. She could hear the rain beating down on the roof.

She got up and walked over to the window. She stood quietly, watching the shifting mosaic that rain left on the glass, then let the curtain fall from her hand. She sat in her armchair by the fireplace. She picked up her book, restlessly flipped a few pages, then set it back down. She looked inside the teapot without much interest. She climbed back into bed and lay, still, for a few minutes, before tossing the cover aside again. Outside, the storm whined and raged, consistent in its intensity.

The Beast might be awake, she thought. She suspected that he was adjusting his schedule to better suit her, and was probably more the nocturnal sort. That left her weighing options. She did not really want to wander the castle alone at night. But neither did she want to stay in her room, awake, and uneasy, while all the world crashed down outside.

After rising a third time to walk up and down the carpet, Beauty decided it was better to seek out the monster she knew, rather than stay alone with the feeling that she was awaiting an unknown one.

Heart pounding, Beauty took the small bedside lamp in one hand, and held her night coat tightly about her with the other. She slipped out through the narrow door into the corridor. It was very, very black. As she walked, now and then, a candle would flicker to life, but only briefly. Even with her little lamp, the vaulted ceilings vanished into shadowy obscurity.

Thunder rumbled and Beauty felt the house shake beneath her feet. She pulled her robe tighter. She wasn't exactly sure where she was going. Still unfamiliar in daylight, the castle was a strange shadowland in the dark. The Beast, she thought, lives on the far side of the castle, opposite me. If I keep walking, I shall find him."
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Comments:

AbigailBrooks 1st Mar 12:12 AM, 2013 edit delete reply
AbigailBrooks
YES! She is going to explore! And she's nervous about it, but of course she would be, given the ominous storm and the ominous dark castle and the prospect of facing the ominous-looking Beast. My, I'm fond of that word tonight. In any case, I can't wait to see where she's going to meet with him. Can it be the library? Oh please I want bonding over shelves and shelves of books! On another note, panels 5-7 very much remind me of the webcomic trailer! (Grins.) Going through the dark halls to find the Beast. Excellent. I can't wait to see what happens next!

Also, the text version of the scene is very interesting. It has some definite differences - like the seals and the confirmation that Beauty is, in fact, looking for the Beast. While you certainly write well, I think I prefer this visual version for both how striking the emotions in it are and for its ambiguity. Someday, perhaps you might consider releasing more excerpts to correspond with the comic - a behind the scenes look, if you will. Thank you for adding this one, in any case.

Until next time,
Abby
MsMegan 1st Mar 12:41 AM, 2013 edit delete reply
MsMegan
I'm addicted to the comma is what I am! This excerpt is probably circa 2009 or earlier and has never known the gentle touch of an editor, haha. Obviously, the story has evolved a lot since then.

I like including little peeks behind the curtain; doodles and notes and things... If people like 'em I might keep it up, if not, I guess I'll preserve the mystery and keep this stuff for the blog.
AbigailBrooks 1st Mar 1:20 AM, 2013 edit delete reply
AbigailBrooks
Oh, I don't mean spoil anything - just glimpses after the fact, ;). I think we're all enjoying the mystery quite a bit!
Stitchlingbelle 1st Mar 4:13 AM, 2013 edit delete reply
Oh, I agree-- getting the snippets and sketches and so on is one of the things that makes following a story in "real time" so worthwhile. It makes you feel a part of it, instead of just an observer. I think it's one of the cooler things about the internet, actually. I'd've kept up with all my friends without Facebook anyway, but getting to interact with the creator of a comic I'm enjoying as much as this is something totally different, and very special.

As for the comic! I love the panel of her hand as she gets up. And I love that she's going exploring in the middle of the night. Spooky! All the possibilities!
tsutsuji 1st Mar 7:38 AM, 2013 edit delete reply
I love this page, and I also love your prose. I think the excerpt is very well-written!
The Doodler 1st Mar 10:47 AM, 2013 edit delete reply
The Doodler
That last panel is awesome. Doubly so since it's only black and white.
cattservant 1st Mar 12:54 PM, 2013 edit delete reply
cattservant
Kitty Kuriosity!
wright1 1st Mar 2:08 PM, 2013 edit delete reply
Curiosity is one of the feline virtues :3

The text version evokes a convincing atmosphere, but I agree with Abby that the images allow for greater ambiguity; more nuanced shades of meaning.
Emma 1st Mar 3:49 PM, 2013 edit delete reply
I'm on the edge of my seat! Can't wait until Tuesday, as always.
Dyl 1st Mar 6:35 PM, 2013 edit delete reply
Very eerie!
Lostariel 4th Mar 1:40 PM, 2013 edit delete reply
I've been out of town, but this was so exciting to me when I got back! She's not just exploring... she's looking for him.
Kim M 5th Mar 5:42 PM, 2013 edit delete reply
What a difference the written version makes. I forget sometimes how much we're left to speculate---on Beauty's plans, her opinions of this world where she's found herself, on the nature of her dreams/nightmares---and it's particularly engaging to share those speculations with other readers and with you. But in the writing, so much is firmly explained. It's still highly enjoyable, but I find I rather prefer the comic. It possesses shadowlands of its own that I get to explore even as Beauty discovers more about the castle and her new host.
MsMegan 5th Mar 11:07 PM, 2013 edit delete reply
MsMegan
I have to agree, which is why I waited until the scene was more or less complete to post that prose excerpt. It's a huge challenge for me to not have exposition to carry things forward. It forces me to be more aware of the acting and framing. Then again, I've been working on this for so long, I sometimes forget that you Dear Readers don't know all the things I know!
AbigailBrooks 29th Jul 2:31 PM, 2013 edit delete reply
AbigailBrooks
And as predicted, Beauty is going to find the source of the light. This scene kind of reminds me of how the webcomic trailer started off - with her walking down a darkened hallway with a lamp. Of course, in that version she was wearing shoes. Silly Beauty, what if you step on something sharp? Mind you, I don't think the castle would let her bleed if it can help it....
sheshallnotbenameless 25th Aug 12:04 PM, 2013 edit delete reply
Interesting how the natural light--lightning through the windows--seems more ominous than the manmade (magic-made?) light of the candle and Beast's fireplace. Perhaps it's a testament to how someday, this castle might be more of a comfort than normal everyday life back at the farm?
Dedlea 11th Mar 12:04 AM, 2016 edit delete reply
That portion in prose, such a startling difference to the comic. It gives an entirely different impression of the tale, of the dream, which seems this way a memory. And Beauty's thoughts, her reasoning. Very different pace, and though I am now unsure which method of writing would be better suited to the story the comic does allow better, I suspect, to foreshadowing details and variations from the original without we the reader being aware.