Thursday, May 17, 2012

Will Scarlet, meet Anne Drew

Just finished a Young Adult novel by the name of Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen.

5 out of 5 stars. Actually, I'd give this book 6 stars, but that might be understating how much I love this book. I am going to buy it- seriously, read this book- then BUY A COPY. Or maybe this will be Everyone's Birthday/Christmas/Whichever comes first gift from me.

I picked this book up at the library yesterday, saw the title and thought it was an intriguing looking cover.
Here's the summary:

"Will Scarlet is good at two things: stealing from the rich and keeping secrets- skills that are in high demand in Robin Hood's band of thieves, who protect the people of Nottingham from the evil sheriff. Scarlet's biggest secret of all is one only Robin and his men know...that she is posing as a thief; that the slip of a boy who is fast with sharp knives is really a girl.

The terrible events in her past that led Scarlet to hide her real identity are in danger of being exposed when the thief taker Lord Gisbourne arrives in town to rid Nottingham of the Hood and his men once and for all. As Gisbroune closes in and puts innocent lives at risk, Scarlet must decide how much the people of Nottingham mean to her, especially John Little, a flirtatious fellow outlaw, and Robin, whose quick smiles have the rare power to unsettle her. 
There is real honor among these thieves and so much more- making the fight worth dying for."

So I might be a little "Girl disguised as boy" type-story obsessed right now. I might be more than a little infatuated (or madly in love with) with Robin Hood. I got hooked at a very young age on the tales of the Robin of Sherwood (drat you- Errol Flynn).
Let's just say my desire to shoot a bow did not come from the Hunger Games.
Ever since watching the BBC television version of Robin Hood, my desire for a strong Marian has be satisfied. Even more so with the introduction of Jacque- the Saracen who joins Robin's band (and was not in the original stories). I was content. I was happy. Those women fueled my longing for the strong female leads lacking in the traditional re-tellings of Robin Hood.

Scarlet just blew them out of the water. Totally out of the water. Maybe because I can relate to Scarlet's character much more than I could to Marian or Jacque's.
Scarlet has secrets that Robin practically has to pry out of her.
Scarlet has a strong sense of loving other people (taking care of the people of Nottingham), but she can't come to grips with people loving her.
Scarlet only sees her own faults and doesn't feel she can atone for them.
And so many more things I can relate to. 

BTW- this is the BEST portrayal of Gisbourne as a villain that I have ever seen. In the BBC television show he's great, but he's got a very human side to him that you can't help but latch onto and buy into his "tortured bad boy with a soft spot" persona. Scarlet's Gisbourne makes you scared for your life. I love a good villain!
I also love the fact that A.C.G. uses the name of John Little instead of Little John. I like John Little better and he's such a player. It's fantasticly different from the normal brawny portrayal. He's still brawny.
And Robin, oh my dear Robin. Still the love of my heart. Still frustratingly amazing as ever. Why isn't he real? Alright now, girl moment is OVER (or else Anne will make me post this on my personal blog).

In a world where women were told what to do and how to behave without any say in the matter, her feeling of hopelessness at her old life (which was brilliantly layered and hinted at) is almost suffocating. Something that I totally feel when I even think about not being able to have a say in anything.

Maybe Anne ran away so that she could find her lost brother, but maybe she ran away from something more. Maybe my Anne Drew, like Will Scarlet, is not as simple as those early portrayals of Marian, merely being Robin's decoration.
Maybe there are darker secrets that lie beyond my facade as a simple cabin boy searching for her brother. My character will, by all means, be much lighter than the secretive and dark minded Scarlet, but I have found an inspiration in A.C. Gaughen's telling of this Lady of Sherwood.

Now where's that red ribbon?

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The first knots

Yesterday I learned/mastered several knots.

I learned:
Figure 8
Double figure 8
Square Knot
Granny Knot
Highwayman's Knot
Clove Hitch
Money's Paw

The hardest one to learn was probably the Money's Paw. I actually made it harder in my head to figure out, ergo confusing myself thoroughly until things finally clicked into place. Then I felt very smart and dumb at the same time.

I like tying knots. I also like having an Eagle Scout for a best friend because that means that I don't run out of knots to learn and I can use his expertise whenever I've got a question.
I actually only needed to learn the Figure 8s and the Monkey's Paw, but once I mastered those I wanted to know a lot more. Hopefully I'll keep expanding my knot knowledge base and have a veritable arsenal of knots. That would mean that I need rope. Hmm....Maybe Anne will carry around a piece of rope to practice with. I think that could be useful.

I'm big on "is it useful?" right now. Especially concerning my character. I don't want her to not have fun little details, but I don't want to overwhelm Anne with too many bobbles.

Right now I'm working on a book review/essay on Tudor women from the book "The Tudor Housewife" by Alison Sim. It's a brilliant book with so much information. Very well written and I don't know how I'm going to be able to choose what is important and what can take a backseat in my essay. It's 126 pages of factual, engaging information that I loved reading.

Monday, May 7, 2012

A Little Note from the Author

Here is the obligitory post about 'Why I am writing this.' Hopefully most of this will go in the Blog Description- so check that out before reading this blog.

This blog is going to be partially a fictional account, from the standpoint of a fictional person, from a real time period. My goal with this blog is to help me understand a character and the world around her. I'll be portraying this character in a bit of Street Theater (Where you walk around and talk to people).
This is a daunting task. Walking around and talking to people is something I'm pretty good at. Walking around and talking to people in Shakespearean English with an accent and keeping in character....we'll see if I'm good at that. I've yet to be completely at home with improvisation.
Hence- this blog to make sure I at least know what I'm talking about and what I'm doing, and what I should NOT be doing.
Since I am striving to learn more of the historical side than the creative- that creativity does tend to come much more naturally. Many of these post are going to be historical bits that I am learning about the time period, about Queen Elizabeth, about the life of sailors and the things they did. Most of this is in the name of research and wanting to be as convincing as possible.

BTW- my character is a completely fictional female sailor from Elizabethan England. Other than Grace O'Malley, I haven't been able to find any accounts of female sailors from that era. My Library is a bit lacking in that area.

As I form my character, Anne Drew (Anne Drew= Andrew....please laugh), there might be a few post of background and where she wants to go. Hopefully as I get into the actual Street Theater- there will be an account of that too!

What I know about Anne Drew right now.
She's a young woman who has run away/run to sea. What did she leave behind? I don't know.
Why is she on a ship (a place where woman are clearly not supposed to be)? I have no clue yet.
What position on the ship does she hold? Probably a Cabin Boy, one of the Mates, or just an ordinary Sailor. I'm liking the idea of Cabin Boy more and more.

Now you know a  little about what's going on. If you want to learn plenty of nautical/historical stuff- with a little bit of fiction included, you found the right place!