Arrrr, so you want to be a writer, do you matey?

I simply had to share this.   6 Reasons being a Pirate is like being a Writer by Chuck Sambuchino is a very clever, instructive piece on writing. Anyone pounding away on a keyboard for their day job, or pursuing creative ends of prose at the edges of night, will like this concise list of essential elements for “a good story.”  Chuck Sambuchion writes:

Here are 6 things I learned from a pirate about writing.  It turns out pirates and writers need the same things in their arsenal. Every pirate (and writer) needs:

1. A hook: Hooks grab the reader in the first few sentences or can be found at the end of a chapter to keep the pages turning. EXAMPLE: “Captain Hook stood on the edge of the plank. Below swam a wide-mouthed crocodile chomp-chomp-chomping at the air between Captain Hook and the sloshing sea…”

2. An anchor: A ship is afloat without an anchor. Your anchor is the story question. The story question keeps your writing focused. Will Hook make it out alive?

3. Navigation tools: A pirate needs to know how to navigate the genre. Know your story structure.  A play structure is going to be entirely different from a picture book structure. But each will have:

  • A well developed main character
  • A setting full of sensorial language, (Why use lily-livered language when you can write like a salty pirate?)
  • A story question that includes several attempts at a solution
  • A story answer that involves a physical and an emotional ending.

4. A plank: Every story must reach the point where the main character’s toes are hanging over the edge of the plank with nowhere left to go. This climax should have your reader feeling that sorry bloke’s anxiety. Tic, Tic, Tic!

5. A cutlass: A pirate has to be willing to use his cutlass. Once your story is written cut, cut, cut, down to the briny bones of a swashbuckling seafaring story.

6. A treasure: When your reader closes the book make sure he leaves with a treasure he will want to come back to again and again.


Chuck Sambuchino is an editor and published author who runs the Guide to Literary Agents Blog, one of the biggest blogs in publishing.   6 Reasons being a Pirate is like being a Writer is found on Writers Digest at:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *