And No… It’s Not a ‘Shipwreck’ Experience…

A glimpse of things in my day working with clients

Some of you might be interested in a little glimpse of things in my day working with clients (this one’s name–a scientist–is redacted in the following about their historical fiction project). And don’t let this post’s image fool you… it’s not a ‘shipwreck’ experience (though that is in their story)…

——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: do you have time for a quick chat Friday or Thursday morning?
Date: Mon, March 12, 2018 10:55 pm

Hey Dennis:

Skimming back through the early scenes it occurred to me with your navy background that you likely enjoyed reading through and writing the scenes on the ship. Not something you were going to skip over quickly. And there are a lot of details to inform the reader about that I find can make stories interesting. I hope our readers agree. I know many will. My older son has now read 1-20 too. He seemed to like what he was reading. He said he did not know how they were going to get away from all those sharks.



——– Original Message ——–
Subject: RE: do you have time for a quick chat Friday or Thursday morning?
From: <>
Date: Tue, March 13, 2018 5:52 am


I think good stories have ‘just the right amount’ of detail, some things you can skimp on and not hurt the story (helps not bog it down) and some you can’t. The writer—a good writer—will get those in proper balance, though in the drafting process it can be ‘trial and error’ as the story becomes more fleshed and shaped. And with a period piece like we’re working on, you have to write in such a way to get the reader into the scenes and settings that depict something they’ve likely not experienced and probably never will.

I’ve more time at sea than many writers and it’s a unique feeling (for me, especially when in the Mediterranean surrounded by such history). And scary when the sea and weather are against you (personal experience includes riding out a hurricane and lesser storms and man-made threats). And I’ve sailed on old wooden sailing vessels, including a dhow in the Persian Gulf. I once visited a shipyard/shipbuilder in the region who made them as had been done for centuries, no power tools and all hand-joined and rigged).

All things that made an impression and find their way into writing scenes like on the Salacia and its wreck in the Ionian and the four survivor’s rescue by the Mithras. And those scenes do a good job setting up the characters and feeds the readers bits of the plot in an interesting context and not an exposition dump. It gives a solid foundation for the story to further evolve in Rome and more reveals for the reader as the story unfolds.

I think the detail—not too much, not too little—we’re putting into this first draft is shaping a good story for readers. Thanks for sharing feedback with me as you have. So far, it sounds like your beta readers have enjoyed the first 28,000 words and we’ll keep them coming.


As a follow up to my reply: my client just emailed this about work done so far for his novel:

From: XXXX
Date: Tue, March 13, 2018 7:50 am

This style reminds me of Lord of the Rings where back story is usually introduced as the companions are traveling and noticing things around them.

PLEASE READ: This--below--is where intelligent comments are exchanged and threads of meaningful and thought-provoking discussion can take place. Some of my favorite stories I've written started with such exchanges and through them I've met some truly wonderful people. This comment section is a place where it's almost old-school in that responses--if one is needed--may not be immediate but will come. Kind of like postal mail correspondence, an easier pace that allows thoughtfulness and not knee-jerk fingers flying over keyboard replies, or something that comes out as top of mind, a stream of conscious superficiality. I hope to hear from and interact with you on anything I've written that sparks a thought or urge to comment.

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