FIRST ASSIGNMENT: write your story statement.
Continue to control her own destiny as a captain of her pirate ship and save her crew from imminent dangers as the crackdown on piracy intensifies.
Story statement: (other options)
When a captain of her own pirate ship learns that her lover and partner in plundering Edward Thache, a.k.a. Blackbeard, is brutally murdered, Calaryssa Auldworth is determined to preserve her freedom and save her crew by carrying out Edward’s audacious plan to attack a Spanish Galleon.
When her lover and partner in plundering Edward Thache, a.k.a. Blackbeard, is brutally murdered, Captain Calaryssa Auldworth is determined to carry out Edward’s audacious plan to attack a Spanish Galleon, thus achieving the wealth to set her crew free. She’s determined to continue to control her own destiny even as the crackdown on piracy intensifies, without realizing that she is being hunted as a particular target in this war.
SECOND ASSIGNMENT: in 200 words or less, sketch the antagonist or antagonistic force in your story. Keep in mind their goals, their background, and the ways they react to the world about them.
Alexander Spotswood, governor of Virginia, is driven by the need for attention, recognition, and power. He needs praise from the Board of Trade and from the Admiralty. He wants control of the trade and merchant market across the colonial Atlantic seaboard. Anti-piracy has become an obsession for him because he feels what is stopping him from achieving his goals is that one particular pirate, Calaryssa Auldworth.
Unaware of his true motivations, spite and jealously as she is the woman who jilted him many years earlier, the story he tells is that Calaryssa and her lover Edward Thache (Blackbeard) are interrupting the Virginians’ profitable coastwise commerce, and believes they are influencing that backwards North Carolina province by bringing in foreign goods into their economy.
Spotswood hires Royal Navy mercenaries to illegally enter North Carolina waters to kill Edward and his crew under the guise of stopping piracy. For all his noble aims and straightlaced talk, it has not escaped Spotswood’s attention that Thache’s reputed hidden treasure might be his for the taking, so his real aim is to capture Calaryssa because he knows she is the key to locating that treasure, (a treasure she doesn’t think still exists).
Through his evil schemes he aims to obstruct Cal’s progress by employing a spy to pose as a deckhand on her ship in hopes to gather information before ultimately capturing her. But when Spotswood learns what her plans are, he seizes the opportunity to steal the Spanish prize from her. He has resources to employ spies.
THIRD ASSIGNMENT: create a breakout title (list several options, not more than three, and revisit to edit as needed).
The Treasure of Calaryssa Auldworth
The Tales and Treasure of Blackbeard’s lover
FOURTH ASSIGNMENT: -
- Develop two smart comparables for your novel. My apologies for going over the two required- I love reading
Fanny Campbell, The Female Pirate Captain by Maturin Murray Ballou
Written in 1844 (I know, too old). This story is about Fanny Campbell, a female pirate captain, who goes to sea to rescue her fiancé. The similarities in this story to mine are themes, Fanny dresses like a man and signs on as a deckhand, Fanny cleverly takes over the entire crew of the ship and becomes commander and turns its crew into pirates. The storytelling methods are different (single POV) and similar (told in present day) paired with action and suspense (Americas fighting against England). Setting is very similar: A sloop traveling on the Atlantic, traveling south to Cuba (Cal is in the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic). The tone of the story is similar to mine, it is an adventure, fun story with underlying obstacles that are filled with tension.
Hamnet By Maggie O’Farrell
A proper historical fiction, set in Warwickshire, England. Similarities are the protagonist. Agnes is wild, a strong female character, doesn’t conform to societal rules, she’s unlike any women, and is bold. She takes deliberate action and moves through the story actively. Maggie O’Farrell takes historical evidence and creates her own, beautiful story. The setting is much earlier than mine, and is in a small, rural community. The tone is serious, but the mood changes throughout the novel as we progress through the different plotlines.
Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys
I would compare this book to my setting. The story takes place in Dominica, which is the island directly above Martinique, during the early 1800’s. The themes are similar and discuss race (slavery and ethnicity) and Caribbean history. Other themes explore the relationship between men and women, specifically a patriarchally controlled society. The storytelling method is told in one POV (mine is multiple POV), and begins a short while after the Slavery Abolition Act (mine is during the slavery era), so the protagonist is relating her experience as a wealthy daughter of a plantation owner who has to face a community of recently freed slaves. The tone is tense, somewhat somber.
Blood & Sugar, Laura Shepherd-Robinson -Not a similar theme, this is a historical crime thriller set in London, 1781. Storytelling methods are similar, multiple POV told in alternating timelines (backstory) that coincide with the present. The setting is similar, it takes place in England, on the docks that has nuances similar to mine, shipping, ships, docks, greedy merchants, and the English slavery industry (sadly, no pirates), oh, and corrupt royal appointees/officials.
Jamrach’s Menagerie Carol Birch – This book is very exciting and cleverly done. It is about a boy named Jaffy who is asked to go on a three-year whaling expedition in the East Indies and the crew are faced with a violent storm that sinks the ship. The setting is similar, on the docks, on a ship and at sea. The novel has similar themes which are about friendship, sacrifice, and survival. It is told in the first person. The tone is fun and exciting.
Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier- This novel is set in the English countryside in the early 1800’s. The protagonist, Mary Yellan, is a very strong, determined female. She also is bold and very independent, she never relies on men and cleverly figures out secrets and works her way out of dangerous situations. She fights against a violent, bully, her sister’s husband who is – well, I won’t say, you must read the book The narrative structure is simple and straightforward (linear).
Daughter of Fortune Isabel Allende -strong female character.
Master and Commander – setting is similar, ships, sea, fighting.
Treasure Island- setting is similar (pirates on an island looking for treasure, characters are colorful and the story is very exciting!
Haven’t read but on my shelf:
The lost Apothecary Sarah Penner- 18th century London. A strong female character, Nella, who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. The storytelling methods are different in that the story bounces back and forth from the 18th century to the present time and is told in the first person (at least the first 20 pages are). Great hookline: A forgotten history. A secret network of women. A legacy of poison and revenge. Welcome to The Lost Apothecary…
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus- The protagonist is a strong, female character. Tone is humorous.
FIFTH ASSIGNMENT: write your own hook line (logline) with conflict and core wound following the format above. Though you may not have one now, keep in mind this is a great developmental tool. In other words, you best begin focusing on this if you're serious about commercial publication.
Calaryssa Auldworth, pirate captain of her own ship sets out to secure her crew a life free from the dangers of an overzealous antipiracy campaign. In pursuing a Spanish galleon, it becomes clear she must vanquish opponents, including Alexander Spotswood, while struggling to recover from the murder of her lover and partner in plundering, Edward Thatch, a.k.a. Blackbeard while managing to protect her crew of pirates.
A young woman pirate captain is driven by a desire to be in control of her own destiny and save her crew by attempting an audacious and dangerous attack on a Spanish treasure ship.
SIXTH ASSIGNMENT: sketch out the conditions for the inner conflict your protagonist will have. Why will they feel in turmoil? Conflicted? Anxious? Sketch out one hypothetical scenario in the story wherein this would be the case--consider the trigger and the reaction.
Next, likewise sketch a hypothetical scenario for the "secondary conflict" involving the social environment. Will this involve family? Friends? Associates? What is the nature of it?
Conditions for Inner Conflict: When she is doing something she’s completely determined to do knowing it will harm or put her crew in grave danger.
But, it also brings up internal doubt where she questions her ability and wonders whether she will be able to do what she has set out to do.
Conflict: Being challenged vs self-doubt. (Determination intertwined with self-doubt).
Conflict with society and conflict with her crew comes from the same source: her stubbornness and determination clashes with her better sense, and it causes conflict with the crew she is putting in unreasonable danger.
When she is told not or shouldn’t do something and does it anyway knowing it will put her crew in danger, she knows they are not prepared, physically or mentally (nor trained to the standards of the Spanish navy) for this magnitude of an attack on a Spanish treasure galleon.
Inner conflict scenario:
She finds out Edward was planning to do the heist without her, (unbeknownst to her, he thought it too dangerous and didn’t want to risk her and her crew’s lives). This triggers and maddens her, almost freaks her out. She doesn’t like to be told what to do, or kept from doing something she wants to do, or told she shouldn’t do it. But also, self-doubt begins to set in, and she begins to wonder whether she was capable enough, that maybe Edward thought of her as a hinderance. She realizes that nearly every plunder she did, Edward’s ship was nearby, and maybe her success was all due to the towering presence of Blackbeard, and not to her capability.
When she finds out about the new Spanish efforts and when told that it’s too dangerous and she can’t and she shouldn’t do it, she reacts defiantly, “I will do this.” Throughout her life she continues to be that defiant, stubborn, and disobedient person, mainly because it’s in her nature and partly because she was labeled by her father and the nuns at her school as an insubordinate, unruly, disappointing, bad child who was not capable of doing any better anyway. Her father and society labelled her and as a result, she gets stuck in that belief. There is a conflict between the good parts of her, strong willed and determined, with how society labeled those traits as bad and unruly. This has created strong self-doubts (can I do this? Am I a good enough captain?) and worry (am I putting my crew in danger?) and guilt (I should have done more. I shouldn’t have left Edward on the Ocracoke inlet- I should have fought to save him). She doesn’t see herself as her crew sees her, extremely capable and intelligent.
Secondary conflict scenario:
These conflicts are almost exclusively life and death matters for a pirate.
Marcus, an officer in the Royal Navy, is bringing back Cal to Virginia. They each think of the other as “the bad guy”. An opportunity arises for her to escape imprisonment on Marcus’s ship when there is an imminent attack by Edward Low, a cruel and dangerous pirate. She has grown enough feelings and empathy towards Marcus and his crew to know she would not be able to live with herself by abandoning them to the slaughter Edward Low will bring.
Cal no longer has Edward’s backing, her crew knows this. They are loyal to her. But without Edward they are afraid.
There is a conflict she doesn’t know about. She must contend with the Royal Navy, the colonial forces, and the Spanish all patrolling at sea. But working against her are the background machinations of Spotswood, causing some of her best plans to mysteriously fail.
She finds out that Philip of Spain has appointed José Patiño as intendant of the navy and his chief goal has been to rebuild the Spanish navy by replacing the old galleons and created a special academy for training naval officers and crew.
And it’s not just Cal who is racing against time … hurricane season is coming.
FINAL ASSIGNMENT: sketch out your setting in detail.
Primary locations: Island of the coast of Venezuela, Martinique, Guadeloupe, The Delight, Cartagena, Ocracoke, Williamsburg, Block Island.
Island of the coast of Venezuela:
Very rough terrain overgrown with dense forest and tangled vegetation, hot tropical weather, snakes, unusual insects, wild creatures and the Caribs who are less than happy with the arrival of Cal and her crew.
What sets Martinique aside: Maroon settlements, runaway slaves, a place for pirate trading, taverns/cabarets, money, lots of rum being produced, and beautiful scenery. French occupied, French speaking people mixed with cultures from African regions. Tensions between the slaves and prominently European dominated industry (sugar and rum). Political tensions and rioting.
Light pouring from the sun, reflecting on the shore, and clinging to the buildings and trunks of the palms, the sun is always shining during the day, even in November, when it is considered the start of summer. The northern mountains rise and ramble behind the town like a protector. In the foreground are the dense woods interspersed with the splendidly green rolling hills, which surge up, then swoop down the wayside from the small white houses and establishments with the silver-gray roofs that border the shoreline. Standing high above the flowing hills, an almighty mountain, almost spiral-like, slowly emitting from its mouth an ominous billowing mist, which sometimes is hidden underneath a canopy of clouds.
Sainte Pierre is a small port town with the sort of people who possess a certain instinct for friendliness. They enrich their modest and difficult lives by trading with one another and with the pirates. Most live in little whitewashed houses with gray shutters with pink and red flowers in old, discarded pots and bowls. Some hide far away from the authorities because they are escaped slaves. They live in small, maroon settlements in crooked, battered houses and they only come down from their mountain retreats to do some bartering with the locals. There are clusters of fugitive slaves hidden in the hills who have gardens resplendent with vegetables. Many of the townspeople keep gardens with cabbages, cucumbers, parsley, and other vegetables and herbes. They make a living by selling or bartering at the local market or in the street. Some make coral or beaded necklaces, knitted hats, and cakes. They love the pirates who come and trade with them their prizes of rum, fabrics, stoneware, silverware, guns and powder, cutlasses, and extravagant things the villagers would otherwise not have had the money for. Martinique enjoys a prosperous economy, heavily reliant though on slavery and the production of sugar and rum.
Conflicts in Martinique: Uprisings and rioting by people against slaveholders and colonizers. Uprisings have been orchestrated by members of a secret society called the Gauolet who are enslaved and free people of color. Le Coco, a wild and fun cabaret, is the center place in the village where all sorts of people go for various reasons but mainly for community fellowship. And Madame La Pallu’s son, an officer in the militia, is completely against the disgraceful, diabolic goings on at Babet Binture’s cabaret, Le Coco, and is set on doing anything he can to ruin her.
Island tensions: One master, after he had flown into a rage, set a cabin with his slave girls on fire, leaving them for dead. Calaryssa’s friend Babet Binture, an enslaved woman, is suing for her freedom. There is conflict with the Superior Council of Martinique and with La Pallu’s son, both extremely disgusted with Babet’s establishment and complain that she fences goods, supports prostitution and gambling in her establishment.
The island of Guadeloupe is shaped like a bowtie with a few islands scattered below, including Cal’s favorite, the Îles des Saintes where the water is a beautiful turquoise, and the sand is soft and white. There are palm trees that shade the island from the bright, hot sun. There are mosquitos and iguanas. It is hidden and safe from French, Spanish and English authorities and there are no people, no establishments to hinder the pirates. It is peaceful and far from the main island. There are lots of fish, coconuts, mangos, nuts, and fresh water. When she is not at the wild tavern in Deshaies where the barman, Francisco has a hidden secret and all sorts of things up his sleeves, Cal and her crew can be found careening the ship while also sunning and swimming in the soothing, cool water.
A schooner rigged as a Brig with two tall masts and a mizzen spanker. The crew are from all over the world and includes slaves Cal has stolen in order to free. This mix of cultures, beliefs and languages makes for dynamics and tensions unique to pirate ships (although the spoken language on deck is that of the captain’s).
Cartagena Bay is Spain’s principal entrepôt for goods and primary outlet for exports, notably gold and emeralds. Spanish fleets stop here before and after the Portobelo fairs. Dishonest leaders, royal appointees and smugglers deliberately sabotage the defenses and the mercantilist commercial policies. Secret and illegal trafficking of goods.
Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina A small strip of land on the outer banks of North Carolina where Blackbeard and his pirate friends hang out. Governor Charles Eden fences for Blackbeard. And the colonists welcome the pirates.
Oak and cedar trees cover parts of the small island, distinguishing it boldly from the pebbles and sandy beach areas. Cal stopped and stood motionlessly for a moment, taking in the coolness of sea air imbued with scents of wild rose and damp grasses. This little inlet reminded her so much of her earlier years in Cornwall with its rustic feel and beautiful, spacious countryside filled with woodlands and patches of marshland. She heard ducks in the distance settling in for the evening.
Williamsburg, Virginia: A stanch conservative province with a controlling, militarist, unjust, inquisitorial arrogant governor, Alexander Spotswood. He resides at the Governor’s palace in Williamsburg Virginia, official residence of the Royal Governors. Not a welcoming place for the pirates and the colonists are rather pompous and stuffy.
Block Island, Rhode Island: A more liberal province, a new governor who supports pirating and is keen to give pardons. A community that welcomes pirates and their goods. This small island south of the mainland Rhode Island is where Edward and Cal have a cottage and were planning to retire. It has dramatic cliffs with long, sandy beaches and beautiful, overgrown woodland surrounded by the green countryside.
Downs_ NY Pitch Seven Assignments.docx