July 5, 2014

Do-It-Yourself: Detailed, Deviant Pirate Backstory

Hello! As I get into the spirit of National Novel Writing Month, I've been developing backstories for all of my novel's characters. It's been lots of fun creating their pasts to fit their presents and later define points in their futures.

It got me thinking: What about our pirates? And so I set to work coming up with something for my own character based on the P101 storyline.

Destiny Devereaux began with two good eyes. When her parents died, she was left aboard the ship in hiding, drifting into Grizzleheim with the masts barely intact. After learning basic skills with a sword, she snuck into a very elite mission of the bears, wolves and ravens combined: To fight the first Armada ship that sailed into the peaceful port. At this time, there was only one fleet for exploratory purposes only, and Destiny fought with her tribemembers to keep the clockworks out. Within the battle, she was taken captive and held until Boochbeard and Gandry broke her out, issuing her an eyepatch for her most major injury.
Did this illustrate my stovepipe-topped character roaming Valencia? Seriously? While this has some added content, I made a few changes to make my pirate's backstory unique and 100% my own. I derived these details from three things: My favorite world (Cool Ranch), my pirate's clothing style (Cool Ranch/Marleybone), and a fascination that I think such a character would tote along (clockwork engineering due to being captured by the Armada).

Want to give it a try? Here are a few things that you can include:

Pirate101 Storyline:

  • Why did your pirate's parents die how they did?
  • Why did your pirate grow up where they did afterward? 
  • Why did your pirate get captured by the Armada, and why does their class suit them?
  • Was your pirate rescued by Boochbeard and Gandry?
  • Has your pirate done anything different besides pirating?
  • How is your pirate regarded in other worlds? 
  • Besides plundering, what does your pirate do in his/her spare time? 
  • What does your pirate wear? Is there any story attached to this? 
  • What are your pirate's unique skills and assets? Weaknesses? 
If you can at least think of these points, you may be able to put together a more complete story of how your pirate came to be, maybe even if their story deviates from the main story. I feel that doing so connects me even more to my playing character and I can connect anything she does to something she's done before. Plus, this is a fun exercise/practice if you like to write and want to include more detailed characters. 

  • Don't like a fixed idea? Change it. Get rid of it. Do what you feel fit for your pirate to create something unique. 
  • Does your pirate have a prefix (Dead-eye, Bloody, Charming, etc.)? How did they get it? If your pirate does not, why not?
  • Think about things more specific to your character's playing class if you're stuck. Swashbucklers, for instance, aren't likely to frequent the places that Witchdoctors do. If your Swashbuckler does, come up with a good reason for it - anything that you feel is valid flies.

Have you come up with a backstory? Type it up and leave me a comment! In a future writing post, I will feature all the submitted backstories. 

I hope you've benefited or at least have had your mind tickled by the questions above. Are there any more that you see fit? Let me know! 

Upon being captured by the Armada, Destiny found within her cell something clockwork and twitching: a bird. She rushed towards it, thinking it to be desperate for attention. Instead, it lashed out at her in artificial fear, creating the wound that would damage her eye permanently. Destiny then remained quiet in her cell, waiting for any sign to escape. Upon hearing piratey-Polarian tongue above, she took the lack of guards attending to her to make her big escape, clinging to driftwood in the skyway and once more drifting along, this time with slightly more directional skill. She wound up in Cool Ranch and was taken in by a medicine chicken.
To give back to the growing Cooper's Roost, Destiny began working as an 'assistant thinker' under Rooster Cogburn, rising to a position of power and slightly more swashbuckling skill. When crime began to die down, she became friends with Thackary Evans, a researcher at Junction. He sent her with papers to Marleybone where she, with word from Cogburn, worked as a detective under Bones. On the streets of Marleybone, she learned finer skills. When the war approached Marleybone, Destiny was immediately reminded of the clockwork bird. Carefully using a cover story involving Evans' research, Destiny left Marleybone, stowing away on a Pirate ship, hiding on several galleons until one sailed through Avernus. She frequents Sivella Academy, studying clockwork engineering within the Laurentine Library. 

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