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for the record: Black Sails

for the record: Black Sails

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Did not expect to find myself in a giddy, fic-writing, video-making fangirl's shoes again, but as they say, never say never. Seeing how this page is the index to pretty much everything I posted online other than picspams, I am adding here what I ended up writing/making recently.

If anyone should chance to see this and wonder about the source material, Black Sails is a series about Caribbean pirates in 1715-1720; not to be confused with the similarly themed silly, overblown, fantasy-filled film series ...this stuff is very realistic, is well scripted, very well acted and has great production values.

I learned of it because of Toby Stephens, but all that was quickly forgotten when I fell in love with another character. Speaking of well scripted, however, the writers' need to amp up the drama fucked up this guy's life to the point when it was ripe for a fix-it fic, and I gladly took the bait. The results are below :)

(should any RHBBC fans see this, you may want to check it out: if you liked Guy of Gisborne, chances are you will love Charles Vane)

Double Jeopardy, the big fix-it:



The Prize, a one-shot companion piece:



Music video - You Know My Name:


  • Hi Cheers! Long time no see. Hope all is well in your neck of the woods.

    I heard Toby Stephens on the radio back in 2015 talking about Black Sails and put it on my Amazon wish list where it remained up until a couple of weeks ago when I finally got around to ordering it. I'm up to ep5 and have to say I'm really enjoying it. And you're right that Charles Vane has a 'certain something'.

    I'm weaning myself off reading fanfic, but I might make an exception in your case as I've always enjoyed your writing. I'll finish watching the series first, though. And I'll skip watching the vid for the time being as I'm keen to avoid spoilers.
    • (forgot to log in, of course, then saw myself commenting as anon)

      Hi Jadey, great to hear from you! And I hope all is well with you and yours.

      Everything is reasonably all right on my side, thanks. I moved laterally into another company within the group about a year ago - same salary, relatively more work, but the work is more fun and means more short trips within Europe, which I like (but sadly, not the UK; I have not been back since mid-2012). My mother had to have hip replacement surgery last October and is still, relatively speaking, recovering, though it is a net improvement compared to a year ago; the relative upside is that I finally convinced her to move over to Rome, but it will take a year or two to get things organised.

      I am very glad to hear that you are getting into Black Sails! I must say it took until season 2 for the show to really hook me (then again, I watched the first two seasons in an overnight binge about a year ago), mostly because, and it is no spoiler to you by now, of being pissed off at Max screwing anything with a pulse and *really* exceeding my mental quota of an acceptable amout of female nudity in a show (male nudity, of course, is another matter ; ) ) ...but trust me, the show's writing quality goes up in season 2 and, it you take the big picture aspects, it gets more interesting again in season 3. I confess I envy you the chance to watch it all for the first time, and would *love* to chat about it when you have seen it. Here in Italy they might show it but the guys I regularly talk to have not heard of it :/

      Put very plainly, Vane is Gisborne with a better brain (but wearing the same tight leather pants, mind you :P) and with a total disregard for authority that means that he would never tolerate being bossed about by a dick like Vasey. Eleanor, on the other hand, is a mega bitch who makes Lady Marian look tame and innocuous... but then your mileage may vary, and if so, I'd love to talk that over too :)

      I'd love for you to read my latest fic-and-a-bit and to hear what you thought. I really should not beg or especially blackmail, but this is likely the last time I was tempted into fic writing - it took a "perfect storm" of (1) a guy who blew my brain, (2) the "good bad boy / heartless woman" combo that I find irresistible, and (3) an underlying plot that is the closest setting-wise and period-wise to my never-to-be-written original fic (on the upside, I was finally able to use my pirate book collection for meaningful plot research :) ) - much as it would be fun to find more stuff of this kind, the likelihhod is not exactly high. That said, writing it was a month of incredible exhilarating fun that will be a great memory; and it is kind of sweet to have come full circle with this one finally doing what I never did with the old original fic idea.

      What are you writing these days? Have you fully switched to writing original fic? Where do you post, Dreamwidth or elsewhere (and do you have links?) Either way, drop me a line here or on Yahoo - and remember to let me know what you thought of the show :)

      Edited at 2016-05-01 10:32 pm (UTC)
      • We're all good, thanks. The boys are growing up fast. Alex is now in his final year of high school (he'll be starting sixth form in Sept) and William is in his second year. Our holiday business continues to jog along, as do my aged parents.

        It sounds as though you're happy in your job and all it entails.Talking of Europe, we as a family are doing a two week train trip through western Europe this August. We'll visit Italy, though not Rome, calling at Venice and Verona, after passing through Paris, Munich and Innsbruck. After Verona we're stopping off at Milan, Basel, back to Paris and then London and home. My stepson, who currently works in both France and Italy, will be joining us for part of the trip.

        I watched ep6 of BS last evening and have now come to the conclusion that Eleanor is indeed a bitch. Before that, I hadn't quite worked her out, figuring she was just doing what she had to do to survive in a man's world. I can't say I'm *hooked* on the series, but it's certainly growing on me with every episode and I'm invested enough now to go ahead and purchase the rest of the series.

        I'm glad the fic writing gave you a chance to call on your never-to-be-written fic (which you've talked a little to me about). I know you like your historical detail, so I've no doubt that there'll be plenty of that in your BS fics. I'm not much of a reviewer, but I'll certainly let you know what I think of your fics once I've read them.

        As to my own writing. After having recently written a handful of multi-chapter RH fics along with several one-shots, I decided to call it a day, at least for the time being, on writing fanfic. I've been writing RH, with a short interruption of Musketeers, fic for eight years or so now and felt I'd gone as far with it as I wanted to. There will always be stories to write, of course, and I'm certainly not ruling out writing more at some point, but I had reached a place where I was happy to leave it there.

        On the original fic front, I've barely got off the ground and feel very much like a newborn foal - wobbly, unsteady and not sure of my footing. A couple of years back I tried writing original fic alongside writing fanfic and didn't enjoy mixing the two. It's still early days to decide whether this is for me or not. At the moment, I'm simply experimenting. I've started a drabble series and have found, to my surprise, that I'm enjoying the challenge of writing a scene or story in 100 words. That series is over on FictionPress (the sister site of ffnet), as is my other (barely started) collection of fic (mostly flash fic at this stage).
        Link here: https://www.fictionpress.com/u/1016027/jadey36

        I've no burning desire at this stage to write a novel; indeed I've no idea what I would write in any case, though as a teenager I loved reading westerns and have always had this idea that I would write one one day. This original fic writing thing will either grow on me or I'll give it up as a bad job. Time will tell.

        • Glad that you and the family are OK. The boys are sure all grown up now, compared to when I first met you online!

          Do you know the dates for your trip yet? I will be away on August 13-21 but should be here before and after those dates, and if our respective plans allow, I might be able to go up to meet you in northern Italy, either Milan or Venice or Verona (or Innsbruck for that matter, though it is more of a question mark), especially if you are at any of these places over a weekend (August 6-7 or Aug 27-28). If you are going to Milan for more than a day, I'd very much recommend a day trip to Varenna on Lake Como, an hour's train ride from central Milan. It will be relatively busy in August, but it is simply too beautiful not to drop by.

          I know what you mean about Eleanor; do not remember precisely what she did in ep VI but by the time she kicked Vane out of his own ship in ep III over a matter where his intentions were better than she imagined, without even trying to let him explain, I wanted to smash her head in. In reality her behavior does veer between bona fide bitchiness and an apparently earnest need to do the right thing and/or survive in a cutthroat world by what means she has available, and at various times in seasons 1 and 2 my opinion fluctuated between one and the other; but in the final tally the bitchiness won out.

          As for the show in general, I am glad you are giving it a chance beyond season 1. I certainly noticed a quality leap between seasons 1 and 2, and again between seasons 2 and 3. Season 1 has its highlights (or highlight character in my case :) ) but IMO the treasure hunt took up too much of the plot, Vane's slave camp trip took him away from the swing of things for too long, and I was annoyed beyond words at fucking Max (literally, too :P ) - she is not a bad sort as a character, but I still am no fan; that said, I have to admit that she is less grating in later seasons. As for season 2, if you like Rupert Penry Jones (I am afraid I don't), you are in for a treat.

          I seem to find that fic writing, unfortunately, is not an indefinite pastime, so I know what you mean about seemingly having exhausted the options. I wonder if it is because we both tend to be relatively picky about the shows or fictional universes we like and so tend(ed) to give it our best, so that it is harder to get excited by other/new stuff and to invent fresh plots. I love writing so much that I find it sad, and yet cannot do anything about it - I've always had fairly short favourite book/TV show/etc shortlists and cannot write in a dozen fandoms as some others do; and your Robin Hood stories are such an epic masterpiece that I can see how embarking on another writing experience like that may be a challenge. By multichapter Robin Hood fics, do you mean Choice and Endgame, or have you written others since (and if yes, where are they found?)

          In my case with Jeopardy and Prize, I had a pretty self-contained plot that took about 45K words between the two stories, which is why I was able to type it up in a month. Talking about historical detail, I was hugely helped by a very detailed real account (Captain Charles Johnson's book published in 1724) where I was able to borrow significant plot twists from the real Charles Vane's life, down to dialogue lines - at times I felt I should list him as co-author :) If you get to the point of reading Jeopardy, you will see the extracts from Johnson's book that I re-typed after the relevant chapters (alternatively I can send you the stuff with all the notes in Word).

          I read your short stories on FictionPress and started reading the drabbles; it never fails to impress me how much you manage to convey while using words sparingly, without delving into stylistic flourishes - it is very elegant writing, and the short story/drabble format really shows it off. I loved the surprise twists at the end of some of the drabbles, too! I wonder if there can be a way to string these, or similar mini-stories, along an overarching framework/plot, however loose, e.g. by using a common observer/narrator, so as to bring them together into a longer book that could be published - assuming that you would consider it.

          Edited at 2016-05-03 03:31 pm (UTC)
  • I would have been delighted if we could have met up, but unfortunately our dates don't correspond. We'll be in Innsbruck on the evening of the 12th August, arriving in Verona on the 15th, then on to Venice and Milan and onwards. Our departure from Paris is on 20th August. We knew we could only fit in so much on a two week trip and Alex, more or less, mapped out our train route as this was his idea in the first place. However, Rome may well be on the cards for 2017, so maybe then. Thanks for the tip about Varenna, by the way. I'm not sure our timetable will accommodate it, but I'll bear it in mind.

    I've not seen Rupert Penry Jones in anything and just googled him. Can't say his pics do anything for me, but maybe his character will prove interesting.

    As I mentioned, I had a brief foray into writing Musketeers fic and thought I might really get into it. I still enjoy watching the series, but the writing ideas kind of floated away and then I went back to RH and stuck with it. I suppose I was in my comfort zone and while I was still enjoying writing it I had no wish to move on.

    Yes, Choice and Endgame, but I also wrote four other shorter multi-chapter fics: It's Not Over (which started life as a one-shot), Heart of the Matter (a sort of G/M fic except it's not), and Outlaw Guy - a (surprise, surprise!) Guy-centric fic - who would have thought! That started life as a one-shot in response to a prompt and then quickly became a series. After Choice and Endgame, that was my favourite fic to write. They're all on my ffnet page, here https://www.fanfiction.net/u/1738302/jadey36. Also at AO3, same user name.

    As with all my writing - and my original writing seems to be going to same way - I don't plot, so all the above I more or less made up as I went along, the endings coming to me during the writing or sometimes not until I got to the very end! It probably means that some of the stories are a bit haphazard structure-wise, but I can't seem to write any other way.

    Thanks re my original stuff. I don't feel I'm anywhere near where I want to be on the short story front, but I have got into my stride with the drabble writing now that I've written a good many.

    I wonder if there can be a way to string these, or similar mini-stories, along an overarching framework/plot, however loose, e.g. by using a common observer/narrator, so as to bring them together into a longer book that could be published - assuming that you would consider it.

    Giving them a more cohesive structure has crossed my mind, but I think for the time being I'll continue 'playing', writing whatever comes to mind and trying out different genres, pov, etc. But, yes, something to think about in the future, possibly.

    • Too bad re: the dates! But I suppose that week is when everyone has some sort of getaway planned. Be prepared for heat and crowded trains, though :/ And yes, if you do manage to plan a trip to Rome, or elsewhere in Italy, for next year it would be great to catch up. I am usually away the week around August 15th and for about 10 days around Christmas and New Year, usually up to Jan 6, but other than that, save for long weekends and short trips, I am here and should not be going anywhere in the foreseeable future. And if you should need or want to get any tips regarding the Italian places I mentioned (Verona, Venice, and Milan), by all means let me know; I've been to Verona once but remember it quite well, have been to Venice a few times, and lived in Milan for a year and a half.

      Rupert Penry Jones is considered a heartthrob for reasons that, frankly, escape me; I find him too smooth, almost effeminate, and as you know, I tend to love long-nosed, sharp-eyed, thin-lipped creatures with nice broad shoulders and narrow hips :P The role I know to be one of his better-known ones is that of an MI5 operative in a couple of Spooks seasons; if you saw Richard Armitage in Spooks from the start of season 7, he gets blown up in a car explosion in 7x01. His character in Black Sails season 2 is, in fact, quite appealing, and the plot arc is interesting, but I kind of wish the character were played by someone with more overt sex appeal... BTW let me know when you are done with season 2 as I have a couple of burning questions to ask in that regard that would be spoilery at this stage ;)

      I am curious about your post-Endgame RH fics! (I realise that they likely take place before the Endgame timeline, but cannot think of a proper term) I think I remember reading the one-shots back when they were one-shots, and am intrigued to see how you developed them. I have a pretty contained list of Black Sails Vane/Eleanor fics to read in the next few days (it is a small fandom nowhere near as prolific as RHBBC; but at least there are four or five good writers in it) - and after that I will definitely read your post-Endgame stories. I think my "new" love for Vane has made me remember my "old" love for Gisborne ;)
      • I came into Spooks late (when I became aware that RA was in it) and must have just missed seeing RPJ as I don't remember his character.

        I don't know how many episodes I have left of s1, but I'm up to the third disc in the box set, so I guess not many. I ordered s2 yesterday. I'll let you know when I get to the end.

        I think my "new" love for Vane has made me remember my "old" love for Gisborne ;)

        Outlaw Guy may further rekindle that old love if and when you come to read it.
        • On a totally unrelated subject... are you watching Game of Thrones by chance? It seems as if everyone is crazy for it, and I have neither read the books nor seen a single episode. I did get curious enough at one point to have found and read plot summaries online but was not sufficiently drawn to it. A big part of it is that I have a mental block on magic; the moment I stumble on dragons and witches my brain shuts off. But also it seemed too violent and kind of too shades-of-grey, both in terms of the characters' pervasive moral ambiguity and in the EL James gratuitous smut sense. Not sure if I am missing out on something good... what is your take on it?

          And continuing the unrelated subject theme... have you ever tried making sense of Tumblr? If yes, any success? or any wiki-type place you might know of that could explain to a newbie how the thing is organised? I tried looking it up about 5 years ago while in my UK politics craze phase, was totally confused, and now I heard that the most active Black Sails community is based there and am curious to check it out but unsure if I will end up as baffled as I was back then...
          • Yes, I'm watching GoT (on dvd, though, so am a year behind everyone who has access to Sky Atlantic). I've also read all the books (I think I started reading them soon after I started watching the tv series, though I managed to not overtake the series and so avoided possible spoilers.

            If I had to give GoT (both the books and the series) marks out of ten, I'd give them both a nine for the first 3-4 series and the first 3-4 books, and then probably an 8 thereafter.

            I read the first three books in quick succession and thought the writing excellent. The writing didn't diminish in the subsequent books, but the thing started to get a bit sprawling, with too many characters and sub-plots, in my view. The books are written with a character heading for each chapter, which I quite like. But as the character numbers swelled and more chapters were headed up by lesser characters, so I found myself wanting to skip those chapters and just read the characters that I'd come to know and love. For the sake of completeness, however, I didn't skip them.

            Like you, I wasn't sure I wanted to watch something with a magical element. On giving it a go, however, I quickly found that it leans much more heavily towards medieval, albeit made up medieval, and less so on dragons and witches. Yes, both feature, but they don't feature largely and for the most part work. For me, the characters are the thing. If I get invested in them then I can forget the odd niggle. And there are some strong and very likeable, and some very dislikeable, characters in this. I would almost watch the series for Peter Dinklage's character and acting alone as it's highly watchable and he's a fantastic actor. There is violence, and pretty graphic at that. GRRM is not a 'fade to black' writer and nor are the writers/producers of this show. I can tolerate blood and guts pretty well, but there are a few scenes where I had to look away because it was just too damn real. The somewhat gratuitous nudity (though it may have been written in the books, I forget) lessens as the series goes on; I suppose it's a case of been there, done it. Because I like the rest of the show, I'm willing to forgive both the unwelcome violence and the in your face nudity. It's annoying that GRRM takes so long to write new books, as the series has now overtaken the books, though I guess he's given them a very good steer on where he wants it to go.

            So, to answer your question in a nutshell, I'd say that you are missing something that is, for the most part, good to damn good. Would I rate it higher than Black Sails? Hmm, it's very different, so that's not easy to say. At the moment, I'm enjoying Black Sails more, but maybe that's because it's new to me and I've now watched five series of GoT.

            Tumblr: I've not got an account and, like Twitter, never wanted one. I did google some RH tumblr accounts way back when, but, like you, I found it all very confusing. Perhaps I didn't make an effort to work it out, idk, but I disliked it, thought it annoying and quickly decided that I couldn't be arsed to follow anyone or try to work out how it ticked. There must be plenty of layman's explanations on the net detailing exactly how it works, or maybe just by typing what you're looking for and working your way through it, you'll work it out for yourself. I suppose, as with Facebook and the like, you'll either love it or hate it. My suggestion would be to find the Black Sails community you've heard about and take a look at it to see if it appeals (as with Twitter, I expect you'll have to trawl through a lot of dross to find something both readable and worthwhile, but I could be wrong).

            If you do find a good Black Sails community, do link it here so I can have a look. I won't be joining it, though; life is too short!

            On the subject of Black Sails, I've now got s2, so will start watching that soon and in due course read your fic.
            • Sorry for dropping off; I picked up a rather nasty case of flu in early May, and had to deal with the consequences for two weeks more or less until this past weekend.

              You have intrigued me with Game of Thrones; it is one thing observing what seems to be a mass-infatuation fan following from a distance and another having a first-hand stamp of approval that is as sound and thoughtful as yours. It was obvious that it is a cut above the likes of Harry Potter or Twilight or Hunger Games, where the following is largely teenage-driven, but I continued obstinately avoiding it: first it was the fantasy element that put me off, then the fact that the characters keep getting killed off – I am ridiculously tenacious / cautious in that respect and do not feel like falling for characters that may kick the bucket at any moment. But between your thumbs-up and my increasing awareness of the injustice of judging something without having either read or watched it, I suppose I will, at some point, at least watch some of season 1 (that, apart from being a logical starting point, has an added incentive in the shape of Sean Bean) for a more informed impression… not sure when, but I’ll get to it eventually. At the very least, I ought to see if any of the characters catch my fancy; with the show in its sixth season I should then at least have a good idea of how long a character I may like (other than Bean who, I know, buys it at the end of s1) has managed to hang around ;)

              As for Tumblr, now that I got into the habit of occasionally scrolling through a dozen or so satirical / political Twitter feeds (without subscribing to Twitter), taking a second look at Tumblr just now has been somewhat less confusing – but also explained and, unfortunately, confirmed my initial aversion: Tumblr is a sort of hybrid / halfway option between LJ-type platforms and Twitter, and it was the Twitterishness that I hated at first glance back then, with the content posted in lots of small, shallow, graphics-heavy, minimal-creativity tidbits that encourage an immediate reaction or reblogging but are not suited to more substantial posts and meaningful discussion, and worst of all, seem to push users towards constantly watching the feeds, making it harder for a lurker to occasionally poke in. I took a very quick look now and although I saw a few blog names that seemed interesting, I gave up within ten minutes: 99% of the content seems to consist of screengrabs and gifs, and discussion seems non-existent. Maybe if I subscribed and followed a few blogs, I’d come across interesting stuff; but it reminds me too much of the law of diminishing returns, having to dig though mountains of screencaps for a few lines of teenage roleplay ficlets. So I suspect I’ll stay out :(

              • I had flu a couple of years back, so I know how debilitating it is. The first two weeks I could barely function, and it took at least another two before I felt even close to normal. I hope you're well on the mend by now.

                It's true a lot of characters have kicked the bucket in GoT, many of them major ones. Actually, I (sort of) don't mind this element, as it certainly keeps you on the edge of your seat. I can't say there's any character that I've *fallen for*, but there are some strong characters that I'm really fond of (funnily enough the what I suppose you would class ugly ones, though there's also something almost sexy about them, if that makes any sense). There are a handful of characters that I can well imagine will make it to the end, but I wouldn't place bets on it!

                99% of the content seems to consist of screengrabs and gifs, and discussion seems non-existent.
                That's what I found and why I decided that I could happily live without Tumblr. Shame, as when I first heard about it, it sounded as though it might have potential.

                I've watched the first two episodes of s2 now, so I'm up to the part where Flint wins back command, clever sod that he is. Time's a bit short at the moment, though, because Alex is sitting his GCSEs (first one today) and I tend to be the one on call for revision help in the evenings, which frankly hurts my brain as it's some years since I did exams.

                Edited at 2016-05-23 04:07 pm (UTC)
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