I’m up to chapter 6 of my next novel, about 16,000 words written so far, and writing is picking up momentum nicely. Now that the characters have taken over the story I’m just typing it in, downloading from the brain rather than have to think about what happens next. Sometimes they add an unexpected twist. This is the fun part of writing for me; the main story line has been developed and a main character, in this case Anne Bonny, just runs with it. It’s a historical piece so the significant events of course have stay true to what actually happened, but it’s great to see how the characters handle it once their personality has been well developed. Here’s an excerpt from Chapter 5:
…Still hugging Anne, James Bonny eased down onto the davenport and slid her sideways on his lap. “I just had a meeting with the governor,” he said proudly. “A soldier sought me out while we were loading the boat for tomorrow’s run and told me that Governor Rogers wanted an immediate audience with me.” He brushed a lock of hair behind Anne’s right ear while smiling obliviously into her expressionless face. “Imagine that. The governor, himself, wanted a meeting with me!”
“What did he want?” Anne’s voice was gruff and she stiffened her body.
“He told me that England has issued a bulletin to all the governors to be alert to growing Jacobite sympathies throughout the colonies and to arrest anyone who might be complicit and send them to London. He also told me that he’s concerned about rumors of unrest with the former pirates here in New Providence, so he’s hired me as an informant to keep him appraised of the goings on. As long and I can fill him in on the who’s and the what’s, there’s going to be a lot of money coming our way.” He looked quizzically at his wife. “Money, Anne. For us.” He enunciated slowly, confused by her lack of excitement at his spectacular news. “Lots of money for all of the things we want.”
Anne placed her hands on James’ shoulders and pushed him away as she rose to her feet. “You mean to tell me that you’ve agreed to be a spy for the very man who’s responsible for shattering our dreams?” She was incredulous. “And that you now want to rat out your friends?”
“It’s my civic responsibility, Anne.” James stood up. “Yours too, you could feed me a lot of intelligence from the pub.”
He reached out for her, but Anne swung her right elbow towards him. “Don’t you ‘civic responsibility’ me,” she snarled. “We came here to be free of all that. Damn it, James, we came here to be pirates. What about that life you promised me, eh?” She dug her trembling fingers into her fiery hair.
“The world has changed, Anne, and those days are no more.” His voice remained infuriatingly calm. “It’s time for us to be a part of the new way of things and start to enjoy a civilized life.”
“Are you listening to yourself?” Anne’s Irish ire was up and she released her inner banshee. “You’re a traitor to everything we ever wanted.”
“You talk like there’s actually a choice to be had.” James held the palms of his hands out towards his wife and slowly shook his head. “Nobody’s going to be able to have that life anymore.”
“There’s always going to be adventurers out there, you coward. Real men who aren’t going to cow to anybody’s rules.” Anne blurted out, then immediately wished she hadn’t.
“That’s right,” James nodded. “And the governor is going to pay me handsomely for their names.”
“Well you’re not getting any names from me. Look,” Anne rapier flung her right index finger at him. “You go back and tell your new boss that you don’t want to be his mole.”
“I can’t do that. What would I say?”
“I don’t care what you tell him. Tell him you had a surge of conscience. Tell him that your wife threatened to divorce you if you did.” Anne suddenly bit her lower lip; those were unplanned words, but they felt true. She looked down, gulped, and fell silent…
That last piece of dialogue certainly wasn’t something I’d planned for, and it has provided a nice additional twist as the story proceeds.