Random ramblings of a writer

Time goes by so fast! I haven’t posted here for a while as I am suddenly busy with writing tasks. I’ve got the second Da Silva novel, The Werewolf of Lisbon, to go through before I send it to my editor. I’ve landed a ghostwriting job for a 25,000 word piece. And then, of course, a story idea pops into my mind and demands to be set down on paper.

But I haven’t been entirely neglecting topics to write about here. Just never expanded any of them into something long enough to occupy a single post. So here, in no particular order, are my random thoughts from the past couple of weeks.

Eyepatches are cool

When I had my short sight fixed I was very disappointed that I didn’t get a black eyepatch. There’s no denying that it it gives a character panache and a certain louche charm, whether it’s Long John Silver or Nick Fury. The late Marie Colvin, whom I admired tremendously, knew that perfectly well when she adopted one after losing one eye!  It wasn’t until a few pages after Captain da Silva had hijacked the story Cats & Architecture that a demon deprived him of an eye… but at that point I didn’t realize that he was going to want a lot more stories told. Seriously, if I’d deliberately set out to write a series about a sea-captain, I probably wouldn’t have gone for that cliché!

The Captain rules

The captain is more in control of his/her own destiny than any other person. When you are the captain of a ship, all decisions are yours: you have no-one to appeal to or to blame. Whether the shop sails the oceans or the depths of space, the captain is “Master under God”. That’s why it’s the captain who has the adventures, not the admiral, and that’s why the captain makes one of the best dramatic protagonists. He can be as eccentric as you like, he can be a goodie or a baddie, but he’s the one in control.

Characters have a life outside of their novels

I always wonder about how involved other writers of series get with their characters. It was said of Dorothy Sayers that she was in love with her detective Lord Peter Wimsey, and I’m pretty sure that Thomas Harris was in love with Hannibal Lecter by the time he wrote the third novel about him. I’m more inclined to “be” Captain da Silva, and as such, there’s a lot more going on with him than ever appears in print. It’s not just back-story, it’s things that happen day by day. Sometimes I do write them down, mostly I don’t. If they are vignettes that could be part of a larger narrative, yes. But largely, they are just a part of the character and his memories.


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