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Frank Delaney | Pieces of Eight – Rules for Writing about Pirates
Author Guest / September 19, 2014

Frank Delaney, author of the faithful sequel, JIM HAWKINS & THE CURSE OF TREASURE ISLAND, outlines some do’s and don’ts for landlubbers 1. Get your Ship Together. Make sure that you know the difference between a barque, a barquentine and a brigantine; a sloop, a schooner and a ship of the line. The world has few areas where your lack of knowledge will be as ferociously challenged. Nautical experts, and they truly are experts, lurk by every wharf and canvas locker waiting to hoot derision – and perhaps even brandish a cutlass -­‐ at the uninformed, under-­‐researched pirate writer. 2. It’s Never Plain Sailing. Get to know the canvas -­‐ length, depth, breadth. What’s the difference between “square-­‐rigged” and “jerry-­‐rigged”? How do you distinguish between topsail and staysail? And then there’s square topsail. And foresail. And never, never, never describe how a pirate ship is rigged until you can name the type of vessel and draw a sketch of how she’s rigged. 3. Not Knotted? When your Standing Part has a Friction Hitch and you look to a Stopper or a Bend, a Double Overhand would complicate things too much, and a Butterfly may bring tears to your eyes. But…