Friday, November 27, 2015

Pirates Don't Just Say "Arrr"

So, I lied.  I have 45,500 words, not 50,000, but I'm well on my way to finish by Monday.

Research and world building for Peter Pan and his Neverland would be incomplete if it weren't for pirates.  Somehow, this isn't something I'd really plotted out, even up to the point I was a few days away from starting.  It wasn't until last week that it really occurred to me I was going to have to write other pirates besides Hook.  And they were going to have to be nasty.  And I would have to do some research about pirates and ships.  Because I know nothing about either.

True story.  We were watching Once Upon A Time and it was at the part where Hook decides he's going to be pirate and change the name of the ship to the Jolly Roger.   I was like "Where did he come up with that name?" to which my younger sister said, "that's the name of the pirate flag."

You learn something new everyday.  Most of the new things I learn come from my younger sister and I'm supposed to be the writer!

I started my research this week with a simple bing search for pirate history.  I do like google a lot more but bing gives me reward points and I can redeem them to feed my Starbucks iced chai tea habits.  As my brother says, bing is so much more inferior, they have to pay you to use it.  It's actually not that bad, but I digress.

The first things that come up with a simple googling, or in this case binging (hello, that's why they're not as big as google.  It just sounds dumb to say you're going to go 'bing' something), were references to pirate movies and a bunch of websites with pirate slang.  I read a bit of it which left me giggling more than informed.

When I picture pirates, I think of smelly, unwashed, missing teeth guys who can't speak the English language properly.  My pirates are a bit like that though I eased up on the smelly portion since I hate reading stories about dirty people, especially when they'll well written.

The word "pirate" has its origins in "per" which meant "to risk" and "pieren" which meant "to attack".  It became the Latin word "Pirata" (Sea Attacker).  The earliest mention of pirates seems to come from 14th century BC.  Basically, these dirty, smelly, moralless people have been around as long as there've been ships in the sea.

In the Middle Ages, Viking's became well known for their acts of piracy.

My pirates don't carry a lot of these origins since they are modernish people trapped in Neverland and resorting to whatever means they think are necessary but even so, I wanted to give them a feel of a swashbuckling pirate, as well as the slightly inept, sometimes funny feel of the pirates from the original Peter Pan stories.  Even so, they need to be dangerous and scary, something I've attempted to incorporate.  This comes into play a bit when Wendy ends up on a pirate ship full of guys who haven't seen a girl in a long time.

So, the pirates are blood thirsty, slightly inept, and just a bit funny but I wanted to inject a bit more personality into them than that.  There are more specific characters the reader will really come to know (Captain Hook, Smee, and a few select others), and while I wanted to carry over this fairytale/stereotypical pirate feel, I also don't want them to be the same tired cliches that've been read before.  They need to have hearts, purpose, and a desire that's more than looting villages and getting women.  

I think pirates bring out my bloody side.  Just today, I wrote this whole chunk where they get attacked by these flesh eating things and one pirate gets totally eaten.  That's a bit weird but the weirder part is...I actually, sorta, kinda, had a bit of fun writing it.  It was super easy, too.

Write again soon!

-Anna Leigh

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