Any tips from writers?

AuthorMessage
Commodore
Feb 29, 2012
892
Hello Pirates- here, have some tea and some rosewater hawklavas, maybe with some braided bread I borrowed from those Aquilans...

Today I was wondering if I could get some assistance, but from some writers of Pirate101 fanfiction. I'm working on one of my own, but no matter what I do, I can't seem to start it right.

The most decent summary I can provide is that it's about a pirate named Emma who lost her crew when she ended up as a prisoner in Monquista three years back, and now that she escaped she's determined to find them all. I can't seem to make the story flow right, or even start out with what I believe is a decent beginning. So, any tips?

See ya in the Skyways!
Sneaky Emma Everhart

Admiral
Jul 27, 2012
1190
Hmm. I would start thinking, Emma, about that first ship. You're a musketeer, from Marleybone, then? Were you serving as a midshipman (an apprentice officer essentially) aboard a ship on legitimate business? (Marleybonean navy, merchant vessel, fishing vessel) Were you on this ship because of your foster parents -- did they help you get a job there? Or, if you were captain, much the same question. If you were not on legitimate business, were you commissioned by Marleybone to act as a privateer? -- to attack and steal from foreign ships to weaken their dealings in Marleybonean skies (or skies Marleybone would like more control of). You might have been very young to be a captain, unless perhaps you took on the business of smuggling (perhaps this was a 'business' your foster family was involved in?), and you the captain of a small crewed boat (like a fishing boat) to sneak around. You might have 'piggy-backed' with a larger vessel to get into Monquistan skies. Smuggling would be an excellent reason to be there. After all, the chocolate trade controlled by the Monquistans [as a parallel to the Spaniards and Portuguese, who brought chocolate to Europe from the Aztecs. Apparently the Spanish women hit upon the idea of sweetening the drink, and it became enormously popular. In period, chocolate is pretty much exclusively a drink until the mid-19th C. In fantasy, you have more options]. Chocolate would be a highly lucrative object to smuggle into Marleybone, as well as saffron, ginger, cinnamon and other spices the Monquistans like to control the trade of.

So, decide how you get there. Then, you are caught. How? It could just be competence on the part of the Monquistans -- smugglers, privateers, or just plain foreigners are bad for their gross national product. Or a mistake from you or a member of your crew? Or were you betrayed?

Next - why did you escape? [but out of room]

Virtuous Anne Radcliffe

Admiral
Jul 27, 2012
1190
(continuing a bit), then Emma, why did you escape? Had you been knocked out or pushed off a cliff by an enemy, and the enemy thought you dead? (only you landed on a small ledge a few feet below the cliff) Did you run, thinking your crew was with you, only to find they were not? Did you panic? (and then you have the interesting addition of guilt to add to your story). If your crew was betrayed, did the betrayer spare you for some reason? Or was your foster family of sufficient clout that they were able to arrange your release, but could not for your companions (or conversely, did they manage to rescue you?) This sort of scenario adds to the guilt thing too.

Then we come to the present. If this happened 3 years ago, why are you going to the rescue now? Did you not have a ship and crew to effect a rescue until now? Has it taken this long, hiring and bribing contacts, to find out what happened to them? (not unlikely) Did you think they were dead, but recently found out they were alive? Have they been in a too secure location until recently?

So, now, your hapless crew: what happened to them? Have they been imprisoned? Have they been given criminal sentences of indentured servitude (essentially slaves) in some awful mines or somewhere else? Are they presently being transferred from one place to another? Any way you look at it, you've got quite a job for a rescue mission!

Hope this helped?
Virtuous Anne Radcliffe

Gunner's Mate
Dec 31, 2009
267
Highlander Fox of ... on Jun 22, 2013 wrote:
Hello Pirates- here, have some tea and some rosewater hawklavas, maybe with some braided bread I borrowed from those Aquilans...

Today I was wondering if I could get some assistance, but from some writers of Pirate101 fanfiction. I'm working on one of my own, but no matter what I do, I can't seem to start it right.

The most decent summary I can provide is that it's about a pirate named Emma who lost her crew when she ended up as a prisoner in Monquista three years back, and now that she escaped she's determined to find them all. I can't seem to make the story flow right, or even start out with what I believe is a decent beginning. So, any tips?

See ya in the Skyways!
Sneaky Emma Everhart
Hey, Emma! It's brave of you to ask about this, and I'm sure you'll find tons of other tips besides mine. However, I do have a few pointers:

You want to establish a prominent point of view and stick to it. Most of my stories are in third-person. You can go two ways with third-person. You can either stick to the mind of one character to be able to jump between the thoughts of others as you go. Typically, I try to stick to my MC (main character)'s thoughts, but I do travel otherwise as needed. First-person tells the story from one character's point of view, using words like I, we, our, and us without the use of quotations. You can either stick to one character, like I said, or jump between others. My tendency is to stick to one and have that character make false assumptions. If you want more reaction and emotion, this will be the way-to-go, though I find it harder.

For good beginnings, you have to find a part that grabs your readers right away. For me, it was a pirate attempting the impossible - climbing a stormgate-approaching Armada galleon. If I have the time, I write out all the scenes first and then find a spot to start, using all before it as flashbacks. In A Survivor's Word, I was lucky enough to generate a starting point without this method, though in my personal works, this is something I do a lot.

For flow, I say to write out the entire thing first. I know it sounds like a pain - you might not like it, or there might be a part that you cannot stand...No, just write it out. Once you have an idea of how things start, go, and end up, you will be able to find the flow which you seek.

As for miscellaneous tips, I encourage you to:
  • Create vivid descriptions
  • Give your characters personalities that are both interesting and bearable
  • Spell-check, have a peer edit, and word count
  • Update a plot of what goes on, just in case you want to return to a spot later

If anything else on beginnings, make the reader want to know more. For instance, why was Destiny climbing the galleon? Where is it going? Why is Remmy on deck? Surprise me!

Best of luck,

D.S. Devereaux

Pirate Overlord
Mar 10, 2009
6079
Highlander Fox of ... on Jun 22, 2013 wrote:
Hello Pirates- here, have some tea and some rosewater hawklavas, maybe with some braided bread I borrowed from those Aquilans...

Today I was wondering if I could get some assistance, but from some writers of Pirate101 fanfiction. I'm working on one of my own, but no matter what I do, I can't seem to start it right.

The most decent summary I can provide is that it's about a pirate named Emma who lost her crew when she ended up as a prisoner in Monquista three years back, and now that she escaped she's determined to find them all. I can't seem to make the story flow right, or even start out with what I believe is a decent beginning. So, any tips?

See ya in the Skyways!
Sneaky Emma Everhart
I remember a tip in my English class in college. You make an outline with the basic ideas and plot points. Having a computer makes this so much easier now as you don't have to worry about making enough space for your new notes. Once you have the outline, then you start putting in sub points or ideas you have for solving dilemmas or adding points of interest. Just sit and look at it and brainstorm. Add things even if you think it sounds silly or won't work as this is just the outline and not the work. Then once you have all your stuff set up; just look at each section and start 'telling' it weaving in details as you go. I don't remember if my teacher recommended doing it in timeline order or not. (Oh yea she did mention that making a timeline can help things out too, as a timeline is kind of a type of outline anyway.) I have noticed that doing the outline/timeline does help me organize my thoughts and I come up with some new ones as I brainstorm. And I highly recommend having lots of your goodies and teas on hand to keep the body sustained while you delve into your creative soul. Hope this helps.

Commodore
Feb 29, 2012
892
Oh wow. O.O I need to think things through a little more... Yea, it's a third person story, thought it'd be easier to write. Then again, rough drafts are things I constantly forget...

I fixed the plot now, it makes more sense- as for what about, you'll have to see. ;)

Anne, thank you for pointing out what I didn't notice when writing out the plot at first and all the stuff about it. Destiny, thanks for the pointers and assistance for the plot and detais, and for giving an idea of good plot points. :) Chrissy's Blessings and Giggles, thank you for the tips!

Overall, thanks to all of you! -hugs and gives tea-

Ciao!
Sneaky Emma Everhart