Last March I hastily scribed a short story about Stede Bonnet, the so-called gentleman pirate, for Shimmer‘s special pirate issue. The issue’s guest editor, John Joseph Adams, aka JJA to F&SF submitters, summarily rejected it — alas — but I can take some solace in observing what a good collection of tales he did accept. My copy just arrived, and I’ve really enjoyed it. You can order yours here, but in the meantime please enjoy the following preview, courtesy of Mary Robinette Kowal, before continuing on with my meanderings about Mr. Bonnet:
Anyway, after it was rejected by the Tri-lettered One, I popped “A Gentleman and a Pirate” in the mail to Shawna McCarthy at Realms of Fantasy. She, in turn, sat on the tale for some months until, at the end of August, she sent me a one-line rewrite request. Though she enjoyed it, she said that the end “fell flat.”
So many projects have intervened that it was only today that I worked on the fix. It was a bit more substantial than a tweak at the end, but I’m pleased with it. The first paragraph (which is actually unchanged since first draft):
Long after the last of the young women left the shoreline still stabbing tears from their cheeks, long after the sun had passed over the spire of St. Michael’s and sent its shadow reaching out toward the spinning birds of the harbour, long after darkness had brought the last sails to port and settled a day-weary quiet over much of Charlestowne, Major Stede Bonnet rose, coughing and splashing, to stand, waist-deep, in the rising and falling tidal waves, just yards from his drowned grave.
I’ll send it back to Realms tomorrow. Once more unto the breach, dear tale!