Scribblin’ With Pirates

Usually the Captain only posts stories, but today we thought we’d do something slightly different. We? I reckon most writers find they get a bit schizophrenic when they’re busy scribbling away. For me, writing is locked up in the voice of the character – if I can’t think and speak like Ignatius I can’t write for him either. Sadly that’s what’s happening today, though if I’m lucky and talk about him enough he’ll pop out and say hello. It may just be that I’ve been fairly prolific of late (for me anyway) and so he’s having a quiet pint of rum and awaiting his next big adventure.

The most recent stories have, I think, been some of his best for a while – The Cetacean Adventure went down well when I read it at Pub Poetry Nottingham last week. I’ve also recently written a pirate story from the perspective(ish) of one of the other characters. It probably doesn’t sound much different from the Captain, but it felt very different to write and I got it out in a single evening’s scribble: The First Confession of Monty McBuboe. He’s long been one of my favourite incidental characters – an inexhaustible source of leprous limbs and gags about them falling off. I plan to write more – the change of viewpoint gave me some new things and weaknesses to investigate.

More story ideas have been pricking at my brain (in its vat) for a while now, but I am struggling to finish them off. That often happens to me. It’s probably a consequence of my abysmal planning habits for writing. I know a lot of people do all this clever plotting and research and stuff which never fails to impress me and clearly pays off. It doesn’t seem to be how I write though… For me it’s an impulsive stream of brain gloop undammed by the first line of story which has disturbed my enwhiskeyed reverie. From there, with luck, it tootles forth into the world as a first draft. I then hack at it. Repeatedly, with my blade of editorial gibbery. Some tales take more slicing than others but I don’t stop until I’ve slaked its inky thirst.

I’ve got a first draft of the next Franklyn de Gashe story, The Theatrical Entertainment. It’s far from ready yet, but features automata, Shakespeare and some quite worrying dismemberment as well as the return of the time hamster. I like him because he has the potential to be so much nastier than anything in the pirate series. Alex Trepan should be back soon too, although that’s a series which is causing me serious problems with rambling; again that’s a result of my awful planning process. I’m hoping his brand of amnesiacal adventuring will be backed up by my improvised kind of writing style.

Next up though is a new band of characters directly inspired by a dream I had a few weeks ago. It started with a superhero family on their routine Sunday hike and ended with revelations about their leader’s suicide resulting in a brand new alloy and the extermination of every mint plant within 5,000 miles (HRLGRL, the Earth’s only assassin told him it could kill him). It was a weird enough dream to make me want to find out more about them. It’s going to be called Galaxy Team when I’ve found a voice to write it in. As yet I’ve been unable to write it as comedy, so I’ve been using a lovely Android app called Evernote which lets me record audio notes and scribble wherever I am. Getting out of the shower has proved to be an oddly fertile time.

So – that’s me for now. I have birthday cards to make and Galaxy Team to work on. See you later.

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2 Comments

  1. Quite looking forward to Galaxy Team.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about fancy plotting – the process is different for everyone, and a solid edit, I’ve found, is the real backbone of a quality piece, (as can be said of all the Captain’s entries.)

    1. Thank you sir! I’m always impressed by the slickness of your stories – especially given the thrice-weekly output and audio processing which has to be done as well. I feel shame…!

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