There’s not a lot of recorded history on pirates. Pirates are so larger than life and so blown out of proportion, even in the literature of the day. During that time, everything was exaggerated even then. So it’s hard to tell what happened, what was true, and what wasn’t. So it gives you a lot of leeways.
Read fiction and non-fiction from that period about various subjects, not pirates. It will help you build believable worlds, characters, dialogue, and descriptions to write a good pirate story. Pirates have been done to death, the same as vampires. List all the conventional things you’ve seen in pirate movies/books.
How to write a pirate story?
From pirates to gold doubloons, pirates have a romanticized image that has persisted for a long time. A General History of the Pirates was written in 1724 and detailed the lives and actions of multiple pirates during the golden age of piracy. The writer, who is unknown and still debated, exaggerates events and personalities yet gives a detailed enough depiction to give us the standards of piracy. Buried treasure, The Jolly Roger, and Noble Eyepatch originated here.
Over the centuries, the story’s lies and cliches have grown even more outlandish. Stories like Pirates of the Caribbean and Treasure Island cemented those concepts into the public’s mind. We have the pirate as a staple in our historical consciousness. So, it’s easy to understand the appeal of these pirates. As a pirate’s story lover, I try to write about them. So, I will discuss 7 important tips to write a pirate story for your adventure book or movie. Let’s go!
1. Set a category
Pirates did many things in history, and not all pirates have to be this way. Many pirates back in history are considered to be quite dangerous and ruthless. So when you’re creating the pirates in your book, you need to consider how realistic you want the pirates to be. Do you want them to be more dangerous pirate characters who might destroy places or steal items? Or do you want these pirates to be more fun and adventurous similar to the characters in one piece?
Whichever way you do it, consider how close to history you want these pirates to be or how much you want to add to make your story more unique and different from the regular pirates. Your story might only be loosely based on the historical aspects of pirates. Or, you may choose to go fully into depth on the history of the pirates and use that inspiration in your book to give your characters a powerful goal.
2. Give a goal
Why do your characters want to be pirates? Giving your character a vital goal is essential because it helps your characters always strive towards that main goal and always take action throughout your book. A character without a goal creates a story that feels flat and pacing that feels slightly strange.
So always ensure that you give your characters goals, whether they’re the main, side, secondary, or whatever. For your main character, this goal is going to be necessary. Maybe there’s another group of bad pirates who took someone important. So your character’s main goal might be to cross the sea and get this person or item back.
Note: Whatever your character’s essential goal is, consider a goal and how your character might achieve it throughout your book.
3. Make a strong inciting incident
The inciting incident is what forces your character to take action. So if you think about an inciting incident, something that occurs that forces your characters to take action. That’s an excellent way to push your characters in the story and make your character’s goal more urgent. For example, your character might have a time limit for their goal. Maybe they have to achieve this goal quickly.
Otherwise, something bad is going to happen. Or maybe a dire situation occurs that forces your character to need to do this. I recommend looking at your overall story and thinking about what would need to happen to push your character into action and force them to do these things to achieve their goal in the book.
4. Develop a conflict
Creating conflicts over the story related to them being a pirate. In order to keep your story interesting, there should always be a problem that your character needs to solve. The only time in your book where there should be no problems is at the very end when you’re tying things up and finishing your book.
In the meantime, as your character goes through your book, there should always be conflicts they need to solve. For example, there might be a specific item that goes missing that’s important. There could be conflicts in the forms of other characters, maybe other pirates who are dangerous and are trying to hurt your character. When there’s an obstacle, it pushes your character to do better, learn more, and grow as a character in general.
Note: If you’re stuck on your story and don’t know what to do next, consider if there’s a conflict to push your character forward.
5. Set an exciting location
One important attribute of the pirate genre is that it leaves many opportunities for exploration. If you have your characters crossing the sea on a ship, there are many opportunities for various islands, cities, and locations that your characters can explore.
So I recommend that when creating your pirate story, you give lots of locations, whether across the sea or in your character’s town, that your character can discover. It could even be something as simple as places underneath the ocean.
When developing your story, write down a list of locations your characters could discover or even draw a map. Maybe you could draw a map of all the different places your characters can find as they’re going on the ship across the ocean or discovering new places when their town.
Note: Keeps your story very interesting. Your pirate character is constantly finding new places with interesting artifacts, exciting history, and a bunch of interesting characters to discover.
6. Add new addition
Exploration can be fascinating, but it can get tedious if you constantly have your character discover new places. But none of them add up to the purpose of your book. That’s why there must always be a purpose when introducing new locations, objects, or characters. They should always add something to the primary goal of your book.
For example, if your character discovers a new location, maybe they find something that’s a clue to how they might achieve their primary goals. In the book, they might discover an artifact that helps them gain new powers and abilities. They might find a character who wants to help them on their quest. So whatever it is, whenever your character is going to a new place or a new location, or if they discover a certain object, it should have a bigger purpose in your book.
- Don’t only introduce objects or locations to have a location or object.
Otherwise, that might slow down the pacing of your book, and your readers might wonder why it was there in the first place. But if you give each location an object and character a specific purpose in your book’s main goal, it will help that story to be a lot more compelling in the long run.
7. Set an end goal
Characters on a page to becoming far more realistic is when you give them their art meanings in their lives that they want to achieve throughout your story but typically create an end goal. Consider what needs to happen to effectively end your story because the pirate genre is usually paired up with adventure, and it usually has a lot of exploration. It can be hard to know how your story should end.
You might continue to write your book and wonder, what effectively ends the story, and eventually, your story will have to end. So I highly recommend that from the start. You have an idea in mind of how you intend to end it. You must think about what event needs to happen to end this story in one piece effectively. So think about what your character needs to achieve and what needs to happen to end the book.
Bonus tip: Edit your story
Add a few adjectives, and describe a little bit more about what is happening in your story. If you said the pirate ship came to the beach, that’s a good sentence but a bit boring. So instead of saying the pirate ship came to the beach, you could say: The vast dark pirate ship arrived at the beach to find its gold treasure. It makes it a lot more interesting for the reader.
Sometimes when we’re writing and rushing, we forget a word or put a word that doesn’t fit. So that’s the next thing that you’re going to do. You’ll try to make sure that all of your sentences make sense. If I wrote a sentence that said, The pirate had green teeth, that doesn’t make sense. So check to make sure that you have sentences that make sense.
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