An unselfish wish made on the horn of a unicorn will come true. Our wish? To support the writing community by giving constructive tips and criticism through submissions. Check out the submissions tab for more information. We can survive the crucible of fire together.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Workshop #14 Pirate Jenny

When a pirate ship sails into the harbor, seventeen-year-old servant girl, Jenny is intrigued. She’s never met a pirate before and the thought of sailing away to find adventure thrills her.

When the pirate captain enters the tavern, Jenny is surprised that the captain is a woman and even more surprised to find out the Red Lady pirate is the mother who abandoned her as an infant.

The murderous Red Lady pirate has returned to claim Jenny. She wants the two of them to make a life on the open seas.

Jenny’s romantic version of life as a pirate is quickly changed when her mother’s band of pirates pillage and burn the village leaving only bodies in their wake.

Horrified at the thought of killing and becoming like her mother, Jenny runs away only to be found by the pirates.

Now Jenny must protect a young girl kidnapped by her mother and pretend to go along with her mother’s schemes in order for the two of them to survive.

11 comments:

Huntress, aka CD Coffelt said...

I feel a bit disjointed. Continuity is vital and I just don’t see it here. So much information is lost when the flow isn’t as smooth as it should be. Every sentence needs to connect with the one before and after it. After you give it another whack upside its query-head, I’d like to see this again!

Carl Hackman said...

When the captain enters the tavern, Jenny is surprised to find it's a woman and even more shocked to discover the pirate leader is the mother who abandoned her as an infant. The murderous swashbuckler has returned to claim Jenny and wants the two of them to make a life on the open seas.

A few changes could pull this query together very nicely. One thing that stands out is the number of times pirate is used in the query as well. I have tweaked the second and third paragraph to give you an idea of what I mean. Please take my comments with a pinch of salt.

Kathleen said...

Thanks,the combining of those two paragraphs has helped tighten it.

Charity Bradford said...

You can definitely tighten this and Carl gave you a great start. Whenever you say the Red Lady you don't need to say pirate right after. That will help with some of that repetition.

Is this adult, YA or MG?

Why was the girl kidnapped and why is Jenny determined to save her? Build up what Jenny wants, why her mother stands in the way, and what will happen if Jenny doesn't get away for good. That will help clarify things and make us care a little more.

This could be a great story along the lines of Treasure Island, but for girls.

Liz Blocker said...

I think Carl nailed it by combining the first two paragraphs. My first thought on reading this was that the hook is that the pirate captain is Jenny's mother, and THAT'S what I want to be grabbed by right away when I'm reading. Starting with the ship detracts from that a bit.

Other thoughts for tightening:

Avoid 'murderous - you're giving away the next bit of conflict with that word. Intriguing? Powerful? Mysterious?

The intriguing Red Lady pirate has returned to welcome Jenny into her life on the open seas. Jenny is thrilled by the idea of becoming a pirate - that is, until her mother murders an entire village of peasants.

And so on :)

storymultiverse said...

I'll add my support for the comments articulated by others - combining the shorter paragraphs makes things less jumpy and more cohesive. One other suggestion is that the last line could be tweaked slightly to give it more punch. Maybe something about having to find a way to escape, or outwit, or defeat the Red Lady somehow?

Kara said...

Saw this at #PitMad and obviously it stood out enough to me to remember it! It's a cool idea. The first two sections seem strong to me- you've introduced Jenny and the Red Lady very simply. I would change the third section so that it tells about Jenny accepting the offer to sail with the pirates.
The young girl comes out of nowhere, is there a better way to bring her up? Is she really important enough to be mentioned? My thought from over here is that what is really important to mention is that she is working against her mother, and what will happen if she doesn't succeed (or what happens if she does.)
Good luck!

Liz A. said...

Does Jenny go along willingly (at first)? Or does the Red Lady kidnap her? I'm not sure from this.

Tiffanie Lynn said...

I agree with all the comments before me, but the greatest problem (I believe) is the flow. The ideas don't move smoothly from paragraph to paragraph. It leaves me disoriented and not 100% sure what's going on.

mshatch said...

I think the young girl would work better as a little sister. That way Jenny is truly invested in saving her. She's got no one else.

That said, I agree with what everyone else has said, including Charity's comment about this being like a Treasure Island for girls.

Raluca Balasa said...

Just wondering: why is Jenny's mother coming to claim her now, after all this time? And how did her mother find her? What does the Red Lady want with Jenny? She doesn't seem the maternal type who wants to make up for lost time, you know?

You've said that Jenny wants to save this little girl (though more explanation as to the girl is needed), but what are the Red Lady's goals? Villains are just as important as protags. Everything a protagonist needs - personality, goals, loves, fears - a villain needs as well. Explain what the Red Lady is really trying to accomplish, and you'll have a natural place to go from when detailing Jenny's goals(which will be opposite from her mother's).

That said, I adore the idea of Jenny's lost family being a pirate captain! This definitely makes me want to learn more.