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Writing a novel, need your help.

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  #1  
Old 22nd November 2006, 03:10
Jenken Jenken is offline
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Hello. Wanted: Experienced freighter people

Hi everyone. My name is Ken. I just joined this forum and am looking for men/women who have experience on freighter ships and would like to share. I'm writing a novel set aboard a massive freighter ship similar to the Emma Maersk. However, not having worked on any ships, my details are incomplete and I'd like to make the book feel authentic.

If anyone is interested in sharing what they know, I'd appreciate it. I can be reached via private message.

Thanks in advance and take care, all.

Last edited by Gulpers; 22nd November 2006 at 04:10.. Reason: email address removed from public forum
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  #2  
Old 22nd November 2006, 04:03
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gdynia gdynia is offline   SN Supporter
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Welcome onboard to SN and enjoy your time on site and good luck with your book.
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  #3  
Old 22nd November 2006, 04:18
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Gulpers Gulpers is offline   SN Supporter
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Thumbs up Welcome

Jenken,

A warm welcome to the site from Anglesey!
I hope you thoroughly enjoy the SN experience and get some offers of assistance from our members. We are not normally noted for being reticent when asked for advice. Good luck!

I've removed your email address from the public forum to avoid you receiving unsolicited emails from outside SN.
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  #4  
Old 22nd November 2006, 05:14
Keith Adams Keith Adams is offline
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I am somewhat concerned that you call them "Freighter Ships" and am curious
to know the era ... current (container ships) or the older ships of Maersk Line?.
Anyway... welcome aboard, I will jump in if you have specific questions.Snowy.
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  #5  
Old 22nd November 2006, 07:43
non descript non descript is offline
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Ken, a warm welcome to you. Thank you for joining the community, enjoy the site and all it has to offer and we very much look forward to your postings and hearing news of your quest. There is plenty of scope for assistance from the Members for you here. Bon Voyage
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  #6  
Old 22nd November 2006, 09:09
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Thamesphil Thamesphil is offline  
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Welcome, but I have to echo Snowy. The term "freighter" conjours up images of old cargo liners of years gone by. If you are writing about experiences on current ships and you are concerned about authenticity, I suggest that you familiarise yourself with correct shipping terminology and ship types.

I believe that Lloyds of London Press publish a small booklet called "Dictionary of Shipping Terms" (or at least they used to). It may be out of print but still very useful and can be had from various internet sellers. Additionally, Clarkson Research produces a larger text book written by Dr Martin Stopford, called "Maritime Economics". This can be purchased by going to: http://www.crsl.com/acatalog/Maritim..._Stopford.html

Cheers
Phil

Last edited by Thamesphil; 22nd November 2006 at 09:11..
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  #7  
Old 22nd November 2006, 09:27
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Hi-- I'm inspired-- I have a storyline- an hitherto unknown indigenous tribe from Papua New Guinea build a lunar orbiter and are the first to make intergalactic lurve with the people of Zooxidon6.

I've never been to PNG, nor into space--I know nothing of astrophysics, and I'm no biologist-- is "lunar orbiter" the definitive term?-- can someone with experience give me just a few pointers here?

Scepticism aside-- what is it that causes folk to decide to write about something of which they know nothing?

PS-- the term "larboard" is no longer used in the circles of those in the know, in case your research includes Alexander Kent et al. But you MUST use a few "aye me hearties", a well known phrase among simple freighter folk.

No doubt my response sounds harsh, but get real--I suggest that if you have the luxury of being one of the rare people to be published ,you write on something you know something of-- or you will no doubt join the long list of authors turning out a litany of laughable fiction complete with incorrect terminology.
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  #8  
Old 22nd November 2006, 09:31
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Welcome Ken to the site and good luck with your book.
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  #9  
Old 22nd November 2006, 12:19
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Ken,

I would echo Thamesphil’s comment and as an unbiased source of comment I would say that anything written by Dr Martin Stopford will be first class. He is to my mind one of the best economic writers in the industry.

Good luck with the writing.
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  #10  
Old 22nd November 2006, 12:41
Jenken Jenken is offline
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Thanks all.

First off, I will apologize for my laziness in using the term freighter. I simply grasped for the first word that came to mind. I have been researching the cargo industry, VLCCs, the piracy threat through the Malacca Straits, etc and failed in my first post to even use what I'd learned.

And, John Shaw's over-reactionary reply aside, your welcomes are most appreciated.

I'd like to make clear that my novel is not about a container ship. That's merely the setting. And while a large percentage of my readership on this book wouldn't know the difference between a TEU and the IMB, adding the little details enrichens the quilt, so to speak. You all have read books outside your knowledge area where you learned nothing of the trade practices, and still thought the book was fine. Because you didn't know what you didn't know. I could get by with that but I'd prefer to add an extra degree of authenticity, so that people who do know the industry can read it and nod their heads.

I'd like your help in getting the lingo right.

So I do what so many other authors do. I turn to experienced people for help. After all, do you really think all the mysteries being churned out are just by ex-cops, PIs and the like? Or that Dan Brown was a cryptologist, theologian, and art history expert? They started out much like I'm doing right here, right now.

Once again, thanks in advance.

Last edited by Jenken; 22nd November 2006 at 12:43..
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  #11  
Old 22nd November 2006, 12:50
Jenken Jenken is offline
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Writing a novel, need your help.

Greetings. My name is Ken.

I'm writing a novel where the setting is a container vessel on the order of the Emma Maersk. I'm looking for anyone experienced in the industry who wants to help me ensure the lingo, trade practices, routines and procedures, etc are authentic.

My original post is here > https://www.shipsnostalgia.com/showth...ed=1#post90493

Please PM me if you'd like to help. Thanks in advance.
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  #12  
Old 22nd November 2006, 13:52
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Ken, I have merged your two threads to keep some order on the site - I trust that you are in agreement.
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  #13  
Old 22nd November 2006, 15:05
Peter4447 Peter4447 is offline  
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I find this a very interesting thread as it is said that we all have a book inside of us somewhere. I did come up with what I thought was a perfect nautical story once but, sadly, it never got down the slipways. I would, however, like to ask what SN members think in regard to seafaring stories as one book that I greatly enjoy is Brian Callison's A Thunder of Crude when a VLCC blows up at a Scottish oil terminal. I know that this is based in part on the events of Bantry Bay but Brian Callison did serve with Blue Flue and, as far as I am aware, only on dry cargo ships. Yet for all this, to my untrained eye, his book contains a wealth of detail regarding tankers and their operation. It never ceases to amaze me how people seem to be able to amass such detailed information. Is it just the result of painstaking research or is having a first hand knowledge of seafaring, regardless of the type of vessel involved a major factor?
Sorry I cannot help with information Ken but good luck with the writing.
Peter4447

Last edited by Peter4447; 22nd November 2006 at 15:12..
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  #14  
Old 22nd November 2006, 15:28
Jenken Jenken is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter4447 View Post
<snip>Is it just the result of painstaking research or is having a first hand knowledge of seafaring, regardless of the type of vessel involved a major factor?
Sorry I cannot help with information Ken but good luck with the writing.
Peter4447
It's a bit of both. Obviously having a lot of experience in one field can help provide authenticity for a book, but there's a danger as well. Details and items that an experienced author may find interesting or necessary can be detrimental to the pace of the book. Tom Clancy trends towards that line. No one will ever accuse him of skimping on detail. On the other hand, writers who hook up with a SME (Subject Matter Expert) may have the ability to weed out the intricacies and include just the gist of what needs to be conveyed.

I've written in areas where I knew my topic well enough to forego outside input. And then there's something like this project where my knowledge of shipping is slight and I'll need help.

Bottom line, nothing trumps a good story. Characters, settings, action are all fine but secondary to a story that keeps a reader turning pages.

Oh, and don't let that story inside of you go untold. That is my father's greatest regret, that he never set aside the time to write his stories. It's less about being published than it is telling something that needs to be told. Bang it out, even if only you and your close ones read it. You may find you enjoy the process.
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  #15  
Old 22nd November 2006, 15:55
daveyjones daveyjones is offline  
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Thumbs up writing a book

Hi Ken. I applaud your quest to write a book. Writing fiction is much harder than non fiction. As you pointed out Clive Cussler's novels are always well researched which gives authenticity to the storyline of his novels.
Im not quite sure if your intending book is going to be a fictional story on the Emma Mearsk or about shipping in general? Libraries have stacks of books on conventional and container vessels. Seamanship and seadog jargon can also be found through research on the internet.

Welcome aboard our vessel and I wish you well with your intended book.

Cheers Daveyjones
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  #16  
Old 22nd November 2006, 15:58
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Thumbs up Writing a novel.

I must confess, whilst initially in agreement with the early responses, I did find the good John Shaw's posting a bit on the harsh side. However, it's a good job we are all different otherwise what a boring old place it would be. Good luck with your writing.
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  #17  
Old 22nd November 2006, 20:24
benjidog benjidog is offline
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Hi Jenken.

Welcome to the site and good luck with your book.

You have already learned one thing about the MN - a good sense of humour and irony is required to keep you going in adverse circumstances.

I take it you are from the US - a country known for its irony deficiency.

Don't take the odd sarcastic remark to heart - the members here are a great bunch.

I will be keeping a look out for John's Zooxidon6 trilogy - I think it may have the makings of a best seller.

Regards,

Brian
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  #18  
Old 23rd November 2006, 11:33
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Harry Nicholson Harry Nicholson is offline
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Hello Jenken, I read what you say with interest. Best wishes for your book. I left the sea in 61 so I won't be much help with the VLCC's not having got above 12000 tons. But teacher at the creative writing class I go to wants us all to produce a draft novel. So I'm having a go. Reached 11,000 words so far and its taken me over. As it's set in the mid 16th century on the banks of the River Tees in Northern England I don't have too much first hand experience of what it was like to be a landless agricultural labourer in those days and district. But I'm having a great time doing the research and the story seems to be starting to write itself. Its all very interesting, like how do you get across the tidal river at Thornaby (onTees) in 1565 when there is no bridge and you have no money for the ferryman? And would a country girl, after only the second kiss, place the young man's hand on her breast? Answers to me on the back of a £5 note.
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  #19  
Old 23rd November 2006, 13:02
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following on from John Shaw, i understand what he is saying even if a bit harsh but it brought back memories of a Texan i once new who was working in the oil fields over here 30 so years ago now, well if he saw cowboy films on the TV here he would be for ever commenting on how far away from the truth things where, what we considered a cowboy to be and what he knew to be true to be totally different to reality. Phew said my bit.
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Old 23rd November 2006, 13:07
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harry Nicholson View Post
And would a country girl, after only the second kiss, place the young man's hand on her breast?
I think she would-- listen to Fairport Convention "The Hiring Fair" (written by Ralph McTell,so you could visit his version too).
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  #21  
Old 23rd November 2006, 14:45
Jenken Jenken is offline
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Originally Posted by jim barnes View Post
<snip> a Texan i once new who was working in the oil fields over here 30 so years ago now, well if he saw cowboy films on the TV here he would be for ever commenting on how far away from the truth things where, what we considered a cowboy to be and what he knew to be true to be totally different to reality. <snip>
The key there was how many viewers were saying the same thing as him and how many shrugged and accepted the fictional version. All writers go beyond what they know at some point when they write because there are always elements to the story that they don't have first hand experience with. In this information society it's a naive approach to believe someone must have done a certain task for years to write well on it. It limits the author.

I don't recall Michael Crichton ever extracting reptilian DNA from amber but that whole Jurassic Park thing worked out pretty well for him.

Anyway, this is an interesting forum and you guys have a well of knowledge that can only make my book that much more authentic. For those who have PMed me, thank you once again.
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  #22  
Old 23rd November 2006, 15:13
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Hugh Ferguson Hugh Ferguson is offline  
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"On" or "In" a ship

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenken View Post
Hi everyone. My name is Ken. I just joined this forum and am looking for men/women who have experience on freighter ships and would like to share. I'm writing a novel set aboard a massive freighter ship similar to the Emma Maersk. However, not having worked on any ships, my details are incomplete and I'd like to make the book feel authentic.

If anyone is interested in sharing what they know, I'd appreciate it. I can be reached via private message.

Thanks in advance and take care, all.
How is it possible to go to sea "on" a ship. One couldn't imagine anyone saying that he/she had gone for a trip "on" a car. It would just sound ridiculous. For an engineer, in particular, to say he has gone to sea "on" this, or that ship sounds even more ludicrous. There he is right down in the very bowels of a ship:he/she, of all people, is unquestionably "in" the ship.
Can we make it a rule in Ships Nostalgia that one goes to sea "in" a ship.
(p.s. and if you do not believe there ever were female engineers read the book, Victoria Drummond:Marine Engineer.
Yours, Hugh Ferguson.
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  #23  
Old 23rd November 2006, 18:28
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Hi Hugh
perhaps going to sea on a ship comes from "signing on" , strange how terminoligy gets disjointed at times. However good luck to Jenkin with his novel, i'am sure he will get all the help he requires as and when he needs it.
We all like a good sea yarn, so the more people that pick up the pen the better. I strongly recommend him to join the Society of Authors, they have been a great help to me. (visit www.dockland.fsworld.co.uk)
PS. Victoria Drummond: Marine Engineer. is available from the Institute of Marine Engineers.
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  #24  
Old 23rd November 2006, 20:36
Peter4447 Peter4447 is offline  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hugh Ferguson View Post
How is it possible to go to sea "on" a ship. One couldn't imagine anyone saying that he/she had gone for a trip "on" a car. It would just sound ridiculous. For an engineer, in particular, to say he has gone to sea "on" this, or that ship sounds even more ludicrous. There he is right down in the very bowels of a ship:he/she, of all people, is unquestionably "in" the ship.
Can we make it a rule in Ships Nostalgia that one goes to sea "in" a ship.
(p.s. and if you do not believe there ever were female engineers read the book, Victoria Drummond:Marine Engineer.
Yours, Hugh Ferguson.
Hi Hugh
This is a hoary old chesnut in the RN. In my day the lower deck nearly always referred to serving ON a particular ship whilst the officers always referred to serving IN a particular ship. Grammatically the officers were correct, so perhaps that is why they were the officers!
Peter4447
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  #25  
Old 23rd November 2006, 20:50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter4447 View Post
Hi Hugh
This is a hoary old chesnut in the RN. In my day the lower deck nearly always referred to serving ON a particular ship whilst the officers always referred to serving IN a particular ship. Grammatically the officers were correct, so perhaps that is why they were the officers!
Peter4447
Hopefully both serve IN submarines
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