Creativity & Pirate101
Today we have a guest blog from a highly creative Pirate101 community member. Virtuous Anne Radcliffe is an avid fan fiction writer and took some time today to discuss her thoughts about creativity through gaming.
I had never written fan-fiction before discovering Pirate101. As a scientist and teacher I had written scholarly works, but in Pirate101, I found the desire to immerse myself further in the thrilling storyline by creating elements of the story for myself. In so doing, I joined a large company of people, children and adults, who do likewise.
The setting first inspires. The game starts engagingly in a fantasy Age-of-Pirates setting, complete with tall ships, antique buildings, period-style puppet shows, and wonderfully historically-inspired clothes. Each world has its own colors of sky and land, its own peoples and intriguing histories, and its own stirring music to accompany your adventures. I am tickled by Professor Challenger’s quest in which you possibly discover a new animal phylum; delighted by Galen’s elixir to combat melancholy, deftly incorporating the ancient idea of the four humors of the body; thrilled to fight alongside Admiral Nelson – just to name a few examples.
This setting provides a splendid playground for the mind. Is your pirate disciplined and polite because she grew up in Mooshu rather than the wild streets of Skull Island? Does your character wear frockcoat and breeches fashionable in Marleybone and Skull Island, or does she like the jackets and trousers of Cool Ranch? How is your dinner different in Monquista than Aquila? Character development blossoms easily from these inherent prompts.
The story of Pirate101 is most captivating. It starts with high drama, rescued from a most sinister -yet fascinating- foe, mingled with playfulness in the form of your rescuers. Your adventures immerse you into echoes of history and many great stories. The Pirate101 story is richly textured and coherent, yet much is left open to imagination. Thus the story invites personal invention, whether art, poetry, or prose.
My invention came as I considered Anne Radcliffe, a ‘virtuous’ pirate, part d’Artagnan but more Elizabeth Bennet — with a sword! Who ever heard of a virtuous pirate? In Pirate101, you can be. There is ample opportunity within the storyline to imagine your pirate in many ways. You can be a scoundrel who does good deeds almost by accident; an innocent victim of circumstance; a Robin Hood of the skies, accepting your outlaw status to benefit the poor and oppressed. You can be a scruffy street urchin or a well-bred young lady (or gentleman).
Ultimately, however, it was the themes of Pirate101 that really brought me to write. Themes of justice and mercy, love and sacrifice, parents and children, loss and endurance, justice versus revenge, courage and hope, loyalty and honor, the conflict between what seems right and what is right – these all come from the plots of Blind Mew and his team. With such themes inspiring reflection, stories just popped into my mind, both playful and serious.
I wrote my stories, and that would have been the end of it, had my youngest daughter not pestered me to submit them as fan-fiction. I admit, I don’t have my Anne’s boldness — it took me months to get the nerve to do so. I’m glad I did, for this new creative venture has been so very exciting for me.
Still, writing fan-fiction has definitely been a learning process. I won’t pretend that my works were always accepted at first, and I don’t expect that they always will be. I have much to learn about the craft of writing. But it also has been great fun. One-Eyed Jack has been kind. Joining the outpouring of fan fiction has been a privilege and a testament to the inspiration of Pirate101.
Dr. Deborah Rochefort aka “Virtuous Anne Radcliffe”
If you’re interested in reading Virtuous Anne Radcliffe’s stories and the fan fiction works of other writers, check out our Pirate Fan Fiction pages at Pirate101!