Why I Write: Behind the Scenes with Katherine Bone

Writers write.  That’s what we do best.  If we weren’t writing, I imagine we’d be telling stories or acting them out one way or another.  Writers are more like unfulfilled actors, sporting a bit of stage fright.  And so, imagine, if you will, a library with no writers in sight.  Hard to envision, isn’t it?  Lord knows, I’ve spent my fair share of time doing research.  But hey, just go with it.  Pirate!  In the middle of the library, children gather round in expectation that one of their favorite stories will be told.  The reader, a volunteer or library worker, sports a black eye patch and a beleaguered pirate hat.  Her mouth is quirked to the side with a brilliantly portrayed, “Arrrr, matey.”  Laughter abounds!   Yep, that would be me.  😉

Thankfully, I don’t have to appear occasionally at libraries because I write.  You see, I adore tales of adventure, mayhem, heroism and romance.  Just to be clear, pirates encompass all these and more.  Why?  Because.  They.  CAN.  Pirates, or the men and women, who become one for one reason or another, buck against systems to live by self-imposed guidelines or codes.  They don’t follow society’s dictates because they CHOOSE not to.  And if that means hanging from a gibbet, then make merry.  At least pirates lived life with no regrets, an occasional stash of gold, and a good supply of rum.  Well, I figure, so CAN I.

Writing about pirates is the real treasure.  Everybody loves a bad boy.  Bad boys are playgrounds for heroines who fight diligently to keep from falling head over heels in love.  Henry Morgan, Jean Bart, William Dampier, Captain William Kidd, Thomas Tew, Edward Drummond, John Roberts (the real Dread Pirate Roberts), and Edward Low were the best of the bad roving the seas.  (I wrote an article about them.  If you want more information, you can find it on my website: www.katherinebone.com.)  Sadly, all met wretched ends.  But as a writer I CAN take tidbits of these characters, meld them into stories with adventure and romance at the heart, twist motivations, add in vengeance, sprinkle a bit of mayhem, and voila!  Story gold!  Worth their weight in rum, wouldn’t you say?

This is why I write.  I write to take a reader somewhere they’ve never been.  I CAN take a reader back in history, or somewhere extravagant, and wield classic storylines into a Celtic knot without having to worry about dangling from a gibbet.  I CAN break the rules.  I CAN defy convention.  I CAN create passion or snuff it out.  I CAN take two people with nothing in common and entwine their fates like hemp rope.  I CAN and DO because I write.

Yes, I’m what you might call a modern day pirate.  I don’t attack off the coast of Somalia or pirate books on the Net.  I’m not limited to libraries or stages.  I HAVE pages and pages of empty white space at my disposal and a compass, my muse, pointing to what I want most— a bestseller.  Characters appear and guide me through the looking glass on the wildest journeys, sailing me to unknown horizons.  In the meantime, I’m supplied with a hearty dose of rum and treasure is dangled before me— hunky alpha heroes, my specialty.  Drink up me hearties, Yo ho!

Yes, “It’s a pirate’s life for me.”  Why do I write?  Because I CAN and CHOOSE and DO.  And guess what?  You CAN too!  Now, gird your loins and pack up your effects.  Set your eyes on that horizon and set sail for sights unknown.  Write because you CAN.  DO it because you CHOOSE.  Pirate!

As a writer what are rules you like to break?  They’re more like guidelines anyway.

As a reader, what instances can you pinpoint where rule-breaking works?  Snaps compass.  And really bad eggs.

Katherine Bone

DUKE BY DAY, ROGUE BY NIGHT 10/29/12

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14 Comments

  1. Fun post, Katharine. Thank you!
    -R.T. Wolfe
    Black Creek Burning, Sept 24

    • Hi R.T.! So glad you enjoyed my post. Are there any rules you like to break? ❤

  2. I love pirates, Katherine. Mostly I love the mythological, fictionalized stories of pirates – I mean, really, dudes without teeth who’ve not bathed in a year? *shiver* – but pirates are right up there with Old West Cowboys for me.

    As for rules I like to break..oh, all of ’em. I’m not much for rules, either…for me, writing is all about the execution not the rule-following. 🙂

    • Hi Kristina!! Thanks for posting today. Another pirate lover, the kind that looks beyond the vile qualities to see what lies beneathe. Muahahahahaha! Lest we never forget we’d have to do the same for a cowboy whose been in the saddle for weeks on end, getting cozy with cows and sheep. LOL!

      I LOVE an adventurous writer!! You go, girl!! We’ll break those rules like Jack breaks out of jail and cowboys break horses. 😉

  3. I used to be a horrible rule breaker with point of view. I’d clip along, engaged in the plot, and completely forget whose head I was in. Frankly, as a reader, nothing pulls me out of a story faster than awkward point of view shifts. Lots of bestselling writers can get away with it, but for me, a hard and fast rule of good romance is to maintain deep point of view. The only way I’ve found to do that effectively is to be in one character’s head per scene. I may switch pov within a chapter, but I’ll always do a scene break if I do. Perhaps I’ll be more flexible when I make the bestseller lists (in my dreams), but for now, this rule is JOB ONE!

    • Hey Susan!!! (waving) I see head hopping all the time too in bestseller books. This is something that used to bother me, the inability for a new writer to do it and get away with it. You see comments on this kind of thing in contests all the time. But I think it can be done smoothly, given the right writer is doing it. For me, I’ve chosen to stick with the character’s POV. I’ve learned that works best in my case.

      Who knows? The two of us may be breaking our own rules someday. Wouldn’t that be some kind of awesome? 😉

  4. Avast! Ahoy! Ok, so I followed an alliteration rule right there…wait..let’s add Aye-aye! There, I broke it. Great post, Katherine. I love your modern pirate writer philosophy. Rules I like to break? Well, I do enjoy a heroine with an unexpected potty mouth. And a hero in an undignified situation…like getting his butt stuck in a kiddie chair. Not sure if that’s actual rule breaking, but I suppose I don’t think twice about ‘going there’. Not worrying about keeping all scenes ‘awww-worthy’ helps me write faster. Hey! Did you know that tomorrow is International Talk Like a Pirate Day? 🙂

    • Laura, ye scallyway ye!!! Ye know I know that ye know that tomorrow be the day we’ll talk the talk and walk the walk. I wait an entire year for this day to come and by undead monkeys, it’s arrived. I’ll be givin ye a nod when the dawn breaks.

      As for rule breaking, write from the heart, girlie. That be where ye’ll find yer treasure be stored! 🙂

  5. I loved this post, Katherine. Methinks you have a talent for bloggin’, lady! What rule do I enjoy breaking the most? Fragment sentences. There is a time and a place for them in my novels, and I adore them. But I use them sparingly, always sparingly.

    • Aw, Deborah, you’re the greatest!!! Thanks for the compliment on my blogs.

      Fragment sentences are awesome!! I love using them too, but the darned computer keeps trying to tell me I’m an idiot. I cannot stand those squiggly lines. Gets my dander up, it does.

  6. I think that’s why I don’t like pirates. Or didn’t. They break rules. Rules are important, to be followed. (Do I sound like the fun kid? NO!)
    Great post.

    • Arrrr!!! Hey Lynn!!! (waving a flag of truce) Heehee! It’s Talk Like a Pirate Day! 😉

      Like you, I like to have rules. It’s the adventurer inside of me who likes to tempt the boundaries of society via my stories. I’m as normal as they come. Sigh. So glad I get to play dressup in my head.

      Thanks for posting!!!

  7. Love your title and can’t wait to read!

    • Jen!!!! Thanks so much for complimenting my title. I’m excited you’re excited about my book. Woot!!! I hope you enjoy it!!!!


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