Your Questions About For Those In Peril On The Sea

February 1, 2014

Linda asks…

How to add more events to my story?

I have the basic outline of my story, which is about a girl running away from a killer. Inside this, I need to add more events and characters, but I don’t know how.

admin answers:

My own novel ‘Deirdre, the Wanderer’, is about a 15-year-old running away from parents who emotionally abandon her. Originally this book was a foil (sort of an opposite) for another one I wrote in which the heroine suffers a lot emotionally (broken heart, stress, having no dad, losing a dear friend to cancer, etc) so I wanted to put Deirdre through a lot of more tangible angst. During the course of the story (and its sequels) she gets punched, nearly raped, abused, beat-up, sick, drunk (with vomit), drugged, shot, and subjected to perils such as storms at sea and being stalked by Somali pirates. Weird as it sounds, it actually got pretty fun to write (it’s only a fictitious character!). You know– what else can I do to her today? :)

The emphasis was on what would REALLY happen to a 15-year-old stuck out in the real world, with no more family to shelter her. She has to work, earn real money, play for places to live, buy food, etc. What kinds of jobs can a 15-year-old get? And she skips the US for The Bahamas; so what can she get as an illegal alien? (Exotic dancing? –it’s in there.) So the story turns out to be a pretty realistic account of a naive little girl’s growing-up in the ‘real world’; and Deirdre turns out to be one of my most popular, articulate and likeable narrators ever.

So think about what would REALLY happen to your character if she had to leave home, unable to trust her friends, in abject fear for her life, with no idea of what to do or where to go. If it were me, I’d keep moving– but moving, out in the open, risks her getting noticed. Staying put, hiding, is safe– till the killer finds out where she is. So her ‘plan’ (and, really, she shouldn’t really be clever enough to make a good one too quickly), has to include a combination of both ideas. She can crash with friends– but that puts them in danger. She can strike out alone, into the world, like a runaway (think Hermoine in Book VII), but whilst that saves her family and friends from having to do with her, it cuts her off from them being able to help her.

Best of all, she can, after suffering through this exodus for a while, contrive some kind of plan to turn around and counterattack, to hunt her hinter. This– if delayed long enough, say about to 2/3 of the book, might make the best reading. ‘Vulnerable little vixen seeks vengeance on evil villain’ –that’s always a story worth reading!

For now, outline the types of scrapes she will get into. Write them fast, even just briefly– ‘train wreck; Emma saves small child, scrapes leg, visibly tears jeans. Avoids coppers. Two days later, scene in fish store, runs into past teacher. Awkward convo, teacher lends her 20 quid. Buys hat as disguise.’ And keep the ideas coming, more, more more. You can flesh them out later.

Make sure that we like her, pity her, want her to succeed. There should be humour as well as scary bits. She should have personality quirks and faults that frustrate us, because we will know better and wish we could tell her or show her what to do next. She will make mistakes that we would not have made. And she will be stronger than she believes she can be, tougher, braver, more resourceful and luckier, and that will make us cheer for her.

Make sure she never escapes anything very easily and never gets too badly beat-up either. If he shoots at her, he misses; but she falls into a creek, or something. If she hides in a skip, she has to get out before the tip truck comes for it. If she meets up with an old friend, that old friend knows the killer’s family. If she steals a car, it breaks down (I used that in a ‘Deirdre’ sequel). Stuff like this will keep the reader on edge, keep the plot moving, and allow you (if only in later edits) to add in, each time, some clues as to her future and include the assets (like in a video game) she collects that help her in her eventual coup de grace. Because, you know, we already know that she has to facilitate, either indirectly or, much better, directly, the baddie’s demise. If that doesn’t happen, it just won’t do it for us.

Now get to work! :)

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Donna asks…

A power driven vessel overtaking my ship and don’t following colregs?

In that case what action shall i take to avoid collision.?overtaking vessel not following any rule and she is right astern of my vessel?

admin answers:

The regulations also say ” Notwithstanding anything in these regulations , it is the duty of every officer to avoid collisions at sea ”

You will have already got her identity and made a full entry in the decklog Time , position , courses , speed when you first noted she was possibly approaching on a collision course .

So , you call her on the radio hailing channel , over and over .

Call your captain to the bridge ( if you are not him ! )

You make a Collision warning broadcast to your own crew , and shut all watertight doors and hatches .

You increase your speed , if possible , to reduce the closing speed .

You sound your siren , repeatedly .

If your loudhailer is man enough you call her on that , repeatedly .

You flash your bridgewing searchlights at her bridge ,

You fire white collision warning pyrotechnics if you have them .

And if she ignores all that , then , in the last resort ,

you dodge to Port or Starboard ( usually you will know in which direction your own ship will turn quickest ) by making a hard over rudder turn to start skidding that way , increase your speed , and then reverse your helm hard the other way , to bring you back onto your previous course , so you have made an S shaped sidestep , which should put your opponent on a parallel course , but on your quarter rather than dead astern of you .

In doing that you MUST make the siren signal indicating you are turning and you MUST keep hailing her via radio and Loudhailer to tell her what you are doing .
Also dont be afraid to give her direct orders , telling her that she will imminently collide and to cut her speed and turn away at once .

In an Alert situation your own crew should already be drilled so that extra officers and hands are available on your own bridge , assign one of these to keep making a second by second timed record in the deck log of every broadcast , warning and action taken .

If you are in such peril that you have to turn to attempt to get out of your way , then I would also put out a general PAN call on the radio hailing frequency saying you are taking drastic avoiding action and naming the guilty ship and ask anyone receiving to note position , time , ship ID.s ,and asking listeners to standby for a possible imminent Mayday .

And then you commence Praying .

Lisa asks…

Have you seen Whale Wars on Animal Planet?

I just watched like 5 episodes today and it was so interesting. It felt like you were on the vessel with them fighting, idk im weird but

I’m surprised I never heard that stuff on the news is this footage new?
What did you think about the show?

admin answers:

I have recorded it on DVR for the past 5 weeks. It is crazy that the US don’t seem to care about getting involved. It doesn’t even make the news here. We have become so involved in fighting our human wars and hunting terrorist (saving our own azzes), we have forgotten about saving the whales. Last night on CNN Planet in Peril they touched a bit on the subject of shark fin hunts where the fins are removed then the shark dumped back in to die. Our population has become too large to continue these types of actions. The laws placed to protect the whales are clearly being bent and sometimes broken in the name of profit. Although the Sea Shepard’s push to and beyond the edge of piracy, I strongly believe they are the whales only hope. I wish them safe and successful.

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