Friday, May 25, 2007

Yaaarh! There be pirates, matey!

Now that the latest installment of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is upon us, I'm getting ready for the inevitable.

"So, are you going to write a historical with a pirate hero?"

The answer is "No."

Privateers, maybe, but pirates? No. Although I've learned to "never say never" in this business, it will likely always be "no."

And here's why:

In my formative years, I read a book called THE MASTER MARINER by Nicholas Monsarrat, who also wrote the much more well-known THE CRUEL SEA, about two British ships in World War II trying to escape a u-boat wolf pack.

THE MASTER MARINER is about an Elizabethan seaman who's punished for an act of cowardice by being doomed to sail the seven seas for all eternity. Interesting premise, eh? I thought so. Unfortunately, two things stand out for me about this book, neither one of them good.

The first is that I never, ever got a sense of what the cursed seaman felt about his experiences. I got lots of history, lots of information, but very little emotion, and that was very disappointing to me.

The second was that I got too much history about pirates and some of the things they'd do to their captives. I don't know if these things were all true, or poetic license, but it was enough to ensure that I could never see pirates as anything but vicious, blood-thirsty, torturing, rapists.

The other thing that would keep me from writing a romance set aboard a ship -- and this from somebody who was in the Naval Reserve -- is the claustrophobic nature of the setting. Sure, it would up the tension, but there's just something about the close confines of a rocking wooden vessel that makes me cringe.

So there'll be no buckling of the swash from Margaret Moore, me hearties. At least for now.

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