The Pirate Unbuttoned or Ravished At Sea

The Pirate Unbuttoned or Ravished At Sea

Draft # 5 –Why I can’t Write the Great American Romance Novel

Ramona rubbed her chafed wrists, gingerly stepping down from the mizzenmast where she had been displayed like a captive chained to the mizzenmast. “What do you intend to do with me?” Her cheeks burned red, salt air and salt spray having had their way with her for several hours. The swarthy pirate captain slowly licked his the blade of his cutlass

I can’t do this. I’ve tried, I really have, but I just don’t have the whatever it takes to churn out the sort of romance novel that clogs the shelves at airports and sit in stacks at vacation rentals. I’m terminally sentimental as any who have heard me gurgle through even the most ham-handed happy ending can attest. I’m a sucker for a good romantic comedy, and am generally able to buy some pretty threadbare plotting in order to see true love triumph. I’m not very keen on ravishings, however, and the notion of seduction at sword-point makes me very uneasy.

The most I can manage is to lump around a few self-consciously contrived descriptions:

“Klaus, a common gardner, bowed as the Countess stepped from the carriage. Maria Hassenpfeifel von Strep was in no mood to be trifled with. The journey from Salzburg had been uncomfortable, the company unbearable, and her unquenched appetites had reached terminal unquenchability. As Klaus lowered his head, Maria noted the span of his shoulders and the intriguing bulge of his calf as he stooped awkwardly before her.

“Have that man brought to my chamber,” she ordered, rapping Matilda her lady-in-waiting with the edge of her fan. “I have much to teach him in the finer points of submission to his betters.”

….. …………………………………………………………………………………………………………….

“I think I may have made a terrible mistake,” Harrison admitted. “This capsule is designed to accomodate but one astronaut, and I did not see you here until the portal had slammed shut.” Captain Temptation O’ Hara looked up at the intruder, noting the tautness with which his galactic track suit pulled across his chest and the intriguing bulge of his quadriceps fempris as he scrambled above her free of gravity.

O’Hara laughed softly. “Well, we’re only moments away from the cyrogenic long sleep, and we’ll be awfully busy on Proserpena, the newly discovered tenth planet, so why don’t we get to know each other before we’re iced down?”

Despite the freedom in floating free, it was obvious that Harrison’s galactic trousers had become painfully constraining. “I’ll be down in a minute. I have to change into something more comfortable.”

“Don’t bother,” O’Hara chuckled, tugging him to the ceiling, “I’m ready to fire my boosters right now

…………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Jodi had only been the firm’s art director for a week when she was summoned to the chairman’s office. He stood facing the floor to ceiling window overlooking Central Park, turning slowly as Jodi entered. His Italian loafers crafted from the hides of unborn impalas gleamed as he faced Jodi. His elegantly tailored suit coat was unbuttoned, allowing her to notice the crisp white linen shirt straining across his chest. She noted too the intriguing bulge in the pocket of the newly loosened jacket.

Her imagination racing, she approached the chairman’s desk with a mix of caution and excitement.

“You wanted to see me, Mr. Poundbetter? She was short of breath; her question seemed an invitation. Her face reddened as the chairman rose and crossed to her, extending his hand.

“I just wanted to welcome you to the firm…” he began, but Jodie squeaked, “So firm.”

………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

A circus is no place to begin an affair, Melody thought as she approached the living area known as Clown Alley. The invitation had come in the second of half of yesterday’s show, when Ruffles, a robustly hulking actor sporting a bright red clown nose and a mop of straw hair came to her section of the bleachers. Other clowns lumbered gracelessly in floppy shoes and loose one piece garments; Ruffles enacted the role of comic weight lifter, tossing barbells like flavor straws. Shirtless, his lower torso bound only by a tightly cinched diaper, Ruffles posed for a moment before Melody, selecting her as the audience member treated in viewwing a cascade of abdominal muscles, a virtual 32 pack, nudged into an abdominal ballet. Melody assumed his torso had been greased as the circus lights played on his expanding chest; even more intriguing? The bulge slightly to the left of the cleft he displayed in turning away from Melody, his caboose writhing like a snake on a gridle.

………………………………………………………………………………………..

When I think of the really good novels that bring romance to life, anything by Jane Austen and a couple of Brontes, for example, I’m aware of the power of mind behind the narration. Yes, there are moments that cause reckless swooning, but it’s the indelibilityof the central character that really makes the novel substantial. That is not to say that the central character is not without flaws. Austen admitted that she began writing Emma as a complicated character, going so far as to say, “”I am going to take a heroine whom no one but myself will much like.”

She liked a challenge and so do I. I’m putting the ravishing pirate on the gangplank and dropping him to the depths of the ocean, to remain captive in Davey Jones’ Locker. Rather than maim a genre I don’t understand, I think an appropriate challenge might be in creating and supporting a character I don’t much like. Coming soon, to a Cogitator near you, the first installment of The Man Nobody Could Stand.

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