James Piper's Blog

April 14, 2017

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At 18:47 Office ... I barely remembered anything about this story... H as it really been three months? I guess it has. I put it out of my mind [so much so] that I barely remembered anything about this story. Not even the title. [Unreal!!!!!!] I had the general premise and an ending—enough I thought for a novel. What I lacked was a determination and desire to want to write it. Why bother… I wasn’t enjoying the process and I had no reason to believe the result wouldn’t be anything more than what’s gone before—nothing.
James Piper Kitchener, Ontario Post comments on facebook page. Follow me on twitter. Posted 2017/04/14 at 14h02ET in The Deep Blue Cage | Writing A Novel
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Published on April 14, 2017 11:04 • 19 views

April 12, 2017

November 25th, 2016 to March 5, 2017 Note: Unedited writings from my notebook for this novel. Square bracket items represent added comments.
At 15:53 Office ... And so began a three month odyssey away from writing this novel, The Deep Blue Hold....W herein I try to explain why I stopped working on this novel. The shortest answer is I gave up. The short explanation is I struggle with mental health issues (MDD, GAD, PTSD) that paralyse me at times. When it happens, I’m not able to do much of anything. Don’t want to do anything and that includes things one might expect to enjoy. For a while I spent time trying to create some thirty-second videos that would play a word puzzle like a crossword. Here’s the clue. Here’s the blank spaces. And after an interval, one of the letters would appear until all the letters appear. A bit of a crossword puzzle in that sometimes you come to a word where crossover words give you certain letters and you have to fill in the rest. A bit like that TV game show. A bit like hangman. The problem with this idea is that the time intervals are arbitrary and people’s ability to solve a puzzle varies. It would work if the reader could click to determine when the next letter appears or click to show the entire solution. Once I realized that’s the way it should work, I stopped. Without looking, I’m sure there are websites, apps etc. that already do this. Then I spent a number of weeks coding programs and using GiHub. I was writing in C, C++ and C#. Programming languages have a syntax similar to human language. Both are artificial, that is, made up. Both evolve. Most programming languages have authoritative bodies to govern the syntax and set rules, while the English language has no such authoritative body. The French try with their l’Académie française, but I don’t think it works. There is, however, one major difference, when writing a program you know if you get the syntax correct, there is certainty, but with English, you can only approach certainty. And so began a three month odyssey away from writing this novel, The Deep Blue Hold.
James Piper Kitchener, Ontario Post comments on facebook page.Post comments on facebook page.Follow me on twitter.Posted 2017/04/12 at 16h59ET in The Deep Blue Cage | Writing A Novel
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Published on April 12, 2017 14:03 • 12 views

April 5, 2017

Thursday, November 24th, 2016 Note: Unedited writings from my notebook for this novel. Square bracket items represent added comments.
At 15:53 Office ... This was a Chinese ship with Chinese officers. He didn't need some damn Dutch sailor to tell him how to run his ship....Y esterday was a day of distraction and writer’s block as I didn’t get too far. No new pages and nothing new on the story. Right now I’m stepping back to Tuesday, trying to get my mind around this story. Would it help if to read what I have. [Draft pages of the novel.] ____ Later. What I have is okay. It’s working. Of course it needs edits but that’s for another day. I think I worked out the broad strokes for Chps. 4, 5 & 6.
Chp. 4 Captain on ship Chp. 5 Family back home Chp. 6. Leanne tending to her wounds
Time to brainstorm some ideas for Chp. 4. It’s dawn. People getting up for morning routine. There will be a change of watch. Cross checking containers… The captain will be getting up to start the day. He spent the night with *** [unknown name] *** – a young Malaysian woman of Chinese heritage. She’s a sex slave but that doesn’t come out directly. There’s 4 or 5 young women trapped on this ship. Most of the crew know about it because they use these women. [Writing about it, thinking about it revolts me and I question whether I should be writing this story. But you don’t write about it because you agree with it but because you want to point out the horrors. And as is my rule, I don’t write sex scenes. So no graphic details. Hint at it and let the reader’s imagination go to work.] But not everyone knows. Especially the second mate [actually first officer—I think]. And I had an insight. I was wondering if the ship’s owner knows about this. Probably yes. Part of the design. But it’s still hidden. In fact it’s below the superstructure. All the crews quarters and operation rooms are there. It’s like an apartment [or office] tower. As you go below deck, you get closer to the engine room. And tucked below deck, in what appears to be fresh water tanks, is compartments for the woman. Rooms. Washrooms. Living area. Laundry. So instead of a diesel tank, it’s water tank. And to get to it, you have to go through a recessed door in the the squash court. Or perhaps in the laundry room. Yes. I prefer that. I’m liking this [layout]. It’s making sense. Much more sense than I expected. And the entrance to this area is hidden. It has to be accessible. If someone searched the laundry room how would they not find the entrance. The metal floor has a cut out section that rises up by hydraulics inside. You need to punch a code into a box to get out. Otherwise you’re trapped inside. And there’s a camera to see from below to the laundry room. Enter the code. Press a button. A red light flashes and crew in the laundry room move laundry carts. Once that’s done, the floor rises, persons comes out. Floor goes back down [the hatch] with another press of a button. This I like and there’s another door in the companion way that is locked before coming up to the floor [from the women’s prison or cage. It’s a water-tight like door.] [I sketched out a an architectural drawing of the set-up. Side view and over view. Nothing I want to try to duplicate digitally.] [The whole set-up seems a bit something, perhaps too fake, but to admit that would be to say, don’t write the novel. Hmmm.] So. Chp. 4. He wakes up and goes up deck. Describe the situation and the layout and what is going on…he leaves the women trapped in this cage. [Onto writing draft pages.] ____ At 18:40 Yes! I’m feeling it. Back on track. I wrote Chp. 4. 5 pages. It felt good. I was in the scene and I was in the zone. It was a much better result than I expected. [After typing up the draft pages, I see I have 540 words for this chapter. That’s two pages. Seems too short. I’ll have to add more details. Even add more action.] I’ve downloaded a number of videos from Youtube on ships. Watch them. Notes. Get ideas. Ground the story in facts of the real world. Now. Time to work on Chp. 5. I have a rough idea of what it’s about. It’s back home in New England. The parents of Leanne. It’s night time. Early. Say 21h because it’s 6h in the Western Indian Ocean [Work out the right time for the time zones later]. The mother has a tablet and is browsing the cruise of her daughter. Facebook. Web site. Reading comments posted. Maybe she replies. But the nerves kick in and she wonders why there isn’t a new video posted. Then discovers storm [system in the area]. [Could be too much of the stereotypical mother hen, but what else can I do?] The husband, the dad, tries to reassure her everything is all right, but she has a bad feeling. Hence the wine and benzos [anti-anxiety meds, benzodiazepines]. That part is [such] a cliché. She’s complaining about her tablet—can’t get it to work. Can’t view anything and goes to her husband to get it to work. Maybe he’s on a laptop and she’s sees something on the screen. Or he quickly closes it when she enters the room. I don’t want to let it play out as a typical husband and wife going to bed scene. Here’s an idea. He’s in bed. Has his laptop up—online chatting—maybe a mistress. They have separate bedrooms. So intrigue about who he was talking with etc. And the wife enters to ask about the tablet. I was thinking she’s the one with the fortune and he’s a prof. Twist it up. Leanne is 27. Her parents were 30 when she was born so now 57 give or take. Still “working” but close to retirement. Not sure where their money came from. [Clearly don’t have much details on any of these three characters.]
James Piper Kitchener, Ontario Post comments on facebook page.Follow me on twitter.Posted 2017/04/05 at 18h09ET in The Deep Blue Cage | Writing A Novel
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Published on April 05, 2017 15:31 • 5 views
Thursday, November 24th, 2016 Note: Unedited writings from my notebook for this novel. Square bracket items represent added comments.
At 15:53 Office ... This was a Chinese ship with Chinese officers. He didn't need some damn Dutch sailor to tell him how to run his ship....Y esterday was a day of distraction and writer’s block as I didn’t get too far. No new pages and nothing new on the story. Right now I’m stepping back to Tuesday, trying to get my mind around this story. Would it help if to read what I have. [Draft pages of the novel.] ____ Later. What I have is okay. It’s working. Of course it needs edits but that’s for another day. I think I worked out the broad strokes for Chps. 4, 5 & 6.
Chp. 4 Captain on ship Chp. 5 Family back home Chp. 6. Leanne tending to her wounds
Time to brainstorm some ideas for Chp. 4. It’s dawn. People getting up for morning routine. There will be a change of watch. Cross checking containers… The captain will be getting up to start the day. He spent the night with *** [unknown name] *** – a young Malaysian woman of Chinese heritage. She’s a sex slave but that doesn’t come out directly. There’s 4 or 5 young women trapped on this ship. Most of the crew know about it because they use these women. [Writing about it, thinking about it revolts me and I question whether I should be writing this story. But you don’t write about it because you agree with it but because you want to point out the horrors. And as is my rule, I don’t write sex scenes. So no graphic details. Hint at it and let the reader’s imagination go to work.] But not everyone knows. Especially the second mate [actually first officer—I think]. And I had an insight. I was wondering if the ship’s owner knows about this. Probably yes. Part of the design. But it’s still hidden. In fact it’s below the superstructure. All the crews quarters and operation rooms are there. It’s like an apartment [or office] tower. As you go below deck, you get closer to the engine room. And tucked below deck, in what appears to be fresh water tanks, is compartments for the woman. Rooms. Washrooms. Living area. Laundry. So instead of a diesel tank, it’s water tank. And to get to it, you have to go through a recessed door in the the squash court. Or perhaps in the laundry room. Yes. I prefer that. I’m liking this [layout]. It’s making sense. Much more sense than I expected. And the entrance to this area is hidden. It has to be accessible. If someone searched the laundry room how would they not find the entrance. The metal floor has a cut out section that rises up by hydraulics inside. You need to punch a code into a box to get out. Otherwise you’re trapped inside. And there’s a camera to see from below to the laundry room. Enter the code. Press a button. A red light flashes and crew in the laundry room move laundry carts. Once that’s done, the floor rises, persons comes out. Floor goes back down [the hatch] with another press of a button. This I like and there’s another door in the companion way that is locked before coming up to the floor [from the women’s prison or cage. It’s a water-tight like door.] [I sketched out a an architectural drawing of the set-up. Side view and over view. Nothing I want to try to duplicate digitally.] [The whole set-up seems a bit something, perhaps too fake, but to admit that would be to say, don’t write the novel. Hmmm.] So. Chp. 4. He wakes up and goes up deck. Describe the situation and the layout and what is going on…he leaves the women trapped in this cage. [Onto writing draft pages.] ____ At 18:40 Yes! I’m feeling it. Back on track. I wrote Chp. 4. 5 pages. It felt good. I was in the scene and I was in the zone. It was a much better result than I expected. [After typing up the draft pages, I see I have 540 words for this chapter. That’s two pages. Seems too short. I’ll have to add more details. Even add more action.] I’ve downloaded a number of videos from Youtube on ships. Watch them. Notes. Get ideas. Ground the story in facts of the real world. Now. Time to work on Chp. 5. I have a rough idea of what it’s about. It’s back home in New England. The parents of Leanne. It’s night time. Early. Say 21h because it’s 6h in the Western Indian Ocean [Work out the right time for the time zones later]. The mother has a tablet and is browsing the cruise of her daughter. Facebook. Web site. Reading comments posted. Maybe she replies. But the nerves kick in and she wonders why there isn’t a new video posted. Then discovers storm [system in the area]. [Could be too much of the stereotypical mother hen, but what else can I do?] The husband, the dad, tries to reassure her everything is all right, but she has a bad feeling. Hence the wine and benzos [anti-anxiety meds, benzodiazepines]. That part is [such] a cliché. She’s complaining about her tablet—can’t get it to work. Can’t view anything and goes to her husband to get it to work. Maybe he’s on a laptop and she’s sees something on the screen. Or he quickly closes it when she enters the room. I don’t want to let it play out as a typical husband and wife going to bed scene. Here’s an idea. He’s in bed. Has his laptop up—online chatting—maybe a mistress. They have separate bedrooms. So intrigue about who he was talking with etc. And the wife enters to ask about the tablet. I was thinking she’s the one with the fortune and he’s a prof. Twist it up. Leanne is 27. Her parents were 30 when she was born so now 57 give or take. Still “working” but close to retirement. Not sure where their money came from. [Clearly don’t have much details on any of these three characters.]
James Piper Kitchener, Ontario Post comments on facebook page.Follow me on twitter.Posted 2017/04/05 at 18h09ET in The Deep Blue Cage | Writing A Novel
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Published on April 05, 2017 15:31 • 6 views

April 2, 2017

Sunday, April 2, 2017
Syntax—Grammatical rules for a language. Sin Tax—Taxing legal human behaviour but ignoring the illegal ones. Syntax Sin Tax Post comments on facebook page Follow me on twitter. Posted 2017/04/02 at 14h46ET in Words, Homophones.
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Published on April 02, 2017 11:56 • 7 views

March 31, 2017

Friday, March 31, 2017

You’d think BONE would rhyme with GONE but no. This is the English language after all. But BONE does rhyme with LOAN so we’ll spell it BOAN. It will take some time to update all the existing writings but it can be done. Meanwhile, if you smash up your car, the insurance company will allow you to get a LOANER and if you happen to meet the right person you may get a BOANER. boanPost comments on facebook pagePosted 2017/03/31 at 17h28ET in Words.
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Published on March 31, 2017 14:03 • 36 views
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 Note: Unedited writings from my notebook for this novel. Square bracket items represent added comments.
At 14:51—Office ... one needs the discipline to get things done and hence the first things first motto...T ime to work on my novel. Feeling some dread and trepidation. Not what I want to be feeling. Ugh and double ugh. It’s doubt about the story. Doubts that I can do it. Doubts that people will read it. And so on. All the usual things. Doubts that I should be even doing this. At 16:12 Sidetracked with a crossword and listening to a podcast. I think it’s my attempt at self sabotage. Certainly not a way to get this novel written. It doesn’t help that I can’t see Chp. 4. I don’t see the scene. I need to see the scene and I’m wondering where the hook is to start it. Lots of questions about this chapter… I could just start at some point and go to the end point, see what happens. That’s what I often do. But it doesn’t feel right. Something is missing. [In the scene.] It’s morning. We’re on the ship. The focus is on the girl—nope I meant to write the Captain. Trying to think through the scene and I’m struggling. It’s pissing me off. Maybe I’m trying to force something that wasn’t there. I had an image of the captain on a rampage. Storming through the ship to get something he wants. But it might be too soon. What if I write it from her POV. Hmmm. And where on the ship in this place where they keep the women. It has to be hidden. I know. They store diesel on board to power the engines. They have used one of the tanks. That’s possible. Or as I said, they use a series of containers that never leave the ship. It’s like a connection of different cottages. It might seem too obvious but… [It turns out I allowed myself to get caught up in something tangentially related and didn’t get much done. This is where one needs the discipline to get things done and hence the first things first motto.]
James Piper Kitchener, Ontario Post comments on facebook page.Follow me on twitter.Posted 2017/03/31 at 18h11ET in The Deep Blue Cage | Writing A Novel
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Published on March 31, 2017 13:28 • 5 views
Wednesday, November 23rd, 2016 Note: Unedited writings from my notebook for this novel. Square bracket items represent added comments.
At 14:51—Office ... one needs the discipline to get things done and hence the first things first motto...T ime to work on my novel. Feeling some dread and trepidation. Not what I want to be feeling. Ugh and double ugh. It’s doubt about the story. Doubts that I can do it. Doubts that people will read it. And so on. All the usual things. Doubts that I should be even doing this. At 16:12 Sidetracked with a crossword and listening to a podcast. I think it’s my attempt at self sabotage. Certainly not a way to get this novel written. It doesn’t help that I can’t see Chp. 4. I don’t see the scene. I need to see the scene and I’m wondering where the hook is to start it. Lots of questions about this chapter… I could just start at some point and go to the end point, see what happens. That’s what I often do. But it doesn’t feel right. Something is missing. [In the scene.] It’s morning. We’re on the ship. The focus is on the girl—nope I meant to write the Captain. Trying to think through the scene and I’m struggling. It’s pissing me off. Maybe I’m trying to force something that wasn’t there. I had an image of the captain on a rampage. Storming through the ship to get something he wants. But it might be too soon. What if I write it from her POV. Hmmm. And where on the ship in this place where they keep the women. It has to be hidden. I know. They store diesel on board to power the engines. They have used one of the tanks. That’s possible. Or as I said, they use a series of containers that never leave the ship. It’s like a connection of different cottages. It might seem too obvious but… [It turns out I allowed myself to get caught up in something tangentially related and didn’t get much done. This is where one needs the discipline to get things done and hence the first things first motto.]
James Piper Kitchener, Ontario Post comments on facebook page.Follow me on twitter.Posted 2017/03/20 at 17h49ET in The Deep Blue Cage | Writing A Novel
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Published on March 31, 2017 13:28 • 5 views

March 29, 2017

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016 Note: Unedited writings from my notebook for this novel. Square bracket items represent added comments.
At 20:44—Office ... Lost at sea, she's rescued by a ship and wished she had never set foot on it....N othing new on this story. Nothing came to me while I was sleeping or when on my errands. I thought something would come about, but nope. So be it. I have two chapters written. Not sure if they are any good but they are there. And so Chp. 3 to write. And I don’t see the scene because I’m not sure what should happen. The question is what is the cliffhanger. Nope. 3 about her, not the ship and crew. And I’ve already written the last line of the chapter. She wakes up and feels immense pain. Not sure if I should mention blood in the water. This chapter or the following. So it’s early dawn or not quite sunrise. And she’s in the cockpit unconscious. But how do I write it from her POV if she’s out. Hmmm. I can do it but should I do it? And I don’t want to go into her mind as a dream. I’m not going write about any type of dream. I don’t like them [in stories]. Too fanciful [weird, surreal] and a cheap trick. Keep it grounded in the real world. I know I can have her go in and out of consciousness. [That makes more sense.] At 21:49 That went well. I wrote 5 pages for Chp 3. I had something to go with and went with it. In reading it I see the first part is summary hence a touch boring but it’s short. You can’t write everything as action. There’s going to be summary [somewhere at some point]. And I stayed in her POV. She was conscious but intermittent. In the chapter it was a period where she awakes but we end with her discovering she has a gashing [maybe I meant gash] on her head then blacks out. What now for Chp 4? It’s the crew and ship. They don’t know she’s out there. (Quick note. I did enjoy writing the chapter. I was in the moment and felt better as a result. I think that’s a god thing. It’s encouraging as I want to keep writing. In fact I wanted to keep writing more of the chapter but I’m consciously [purposely] keeping them short. That’s the way I’m crafting this story. [And it departs significantly from my previous novels where chapter lengths varied from a few pages to tens of pages.] Time for some food and I will continue. At 01:30 I’m feeing mentally good at the moment, but also a bit exhausted. The was was some exercise. I had good results working on the novel. I wrote Chp 3. I enjoyed the process. [I’m repeating myself.] And now I want to get back to it but I’m feeling tired and exhausted. Muscles are aching. So I’m torn. Go to bed or push through? I probably can’t do either. [Wherein I needlessly get sidetracked…] I used the Panini press to make dinner. It worked but I actually “pressed” the fajita… It was an interesting result. Warmed, compact, and the shell a bit crispy. Usually I make them with soft shells. The one had beef and cheese and I unrolled it to add sour cream and salsa. Not the best approach. For the 2nd I added the sauces before cooking. Ugh. It leaked out the ends. So neither worked. Ugh. This notebook isn’t my journal. I’m writing in the wrong place. At 02:15 Back to the novel. It’s not unusual for a European captain to work on ships all the over the world. [By that I mean employed by ship owners all the world.] At the moment I envisioned a Chinese crew, at least Asian because the ship is run by Chinese. But what if the 2nd mate [or first officer] was Dutch or Norwegian? Possible. And it would better explain why he’s not in on it. And why he would help and why he would end up dead. [Well, maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t.] And here’s a reason he’s on the ship. Insurance. He’s got experience on ships. The insurance a customer would have to pay to ship with a Chinese shipping company is [would be] higher. Jettison insurance. Possible. Most insurance comes from Western companies They can offer better rates with a Dutch captain but for show, for pride, the Captain is Chinese. So that’s possible but it telegraphs his involvement. So I’m not liking any of this. I had an image of her in the infirmary on the ship recovering. She wants to get in touch with her family. They allow, don’t allow it. Fake it. They could say they are awaiting her arrival in Hong Kong. No way to get in touch before hand. Perhaps the 2nd mate does ty but others sabotage… One thing to work out is how to keep the 2nd mate from find things out. It almost feels like a comedy. Ugh. Maybe he’s only given watch. No wandering around to check out how things are going. That’s possible. [but highly unusual.] Nothing terribly original has happened in the first 3 chapters. I need to get it happening in Chp. 4. We learn something about the woman trapped on the ship. Here’s something I’m seeing. The captain wakes up and there’s a girl in bed. He takes her to a ‘cell’ and locks here in. That would be unexpected. And how to present it in the least offensive way possible? I don’t want people to be revolted. Turned off. Disgusted. Hard to say how people will react. There’s a lot worse happening and reported in the news. These days the boundaries are pushed. People can deal with it. And it would create a train wreck in anticipation. What I mean is they now know bad shit is happening on the ship. And certainly in the blurb that is hinted at. “Lost at sea, she’s rescued by a ship and wished she had never set foot on it.” Already have thought about the marketing. Has to be that way. Back to Chp. 4. So it’s dawn, morning on the ship. The captain is waking up. He’s in his cabin. With him is a young Asian girl. She’s naked in bed. Sleeping. He has to get her out and back to her cell. Getting locked up. That’s the twist to end the chapter. And what if she’s not supposed to be in bed still. She should have left. He barks her out. Someone else has to take her to the cage. That means a shift in POV. That’s okay. I don’t personally like the Captain being mean to this woman. It’s something that’s not in me. But it shows the nasty side of him. [Show he’s a baddie.] Would there be a cabin steward? Maybe. Normally the captain would take her, but he’s rushed. And what clothes does she put on. A pair of mechanic overalls and cap. Hide her body to a certain extent. [These days, a commercial ship is not the sole domain of men. There are women crew and officers. And in the military. The chief engineer for the HMS Invincible (Royal Navy aircraft carrier) Major (I forget her name) is a woman. Major position of responsibility. And bravo to her.] The other question is where do they keep these women. It could be the captain wasn’t in his quarters. He was in the special area. He’s still going to leave her locked up. That’s another approach. That makes more sense. I’ll go that route. Not happy with my output rate. If have 75 chapters with three pages per that’s only 225 pp. Need at least 250pp I think. 80 is 240pp. 85 is 255. Right now it’s been 1 chapter a day. Three months to complete. Need to pick up the pace. Need to write a least 2 chapters a day. [And with the three month hiatus, the time table has shifted. Less concerned about going all out but instead focusing on getting it done right.] I have the details for Chp. 4 [in my mind]. And I know Chp. 5. More with Leanne as she struggles to deal with her wounds. It ends when she finds the first-aid kit and everything is a mess and useless. Then she has to get off her distress beacon that’s the next chapter 6. I think 6 should be about her family back home. They are checking her status, the mother, and knowing something isn’t right. Some back-story. Leanne has sailed and raced sailboats all her life. Dreams of the Olympics but couldn’t beat the men. She joins a crew on an around the world trip. That was a success. Then she tried to do a solo around the world but first did the race across the Atlantic. That was a success. Onto the round the world. It failed. Why? She became ill. Discovered it was cancer but she licked it. [Cliché]. Now this second trip. She had something to prove. [Why? To herself? To her parents? To other sailors? Need some interesting motivation there.] She wants respect. She wants the pride of saying she did it. Another reason. [I guess I did think of it. But really it should be because she loves being at sea. That would be the best motivation. It reminds me of a quote from the movie Cool Runnings where the John Candy says, ‘If you’re not good enough without a gold medal, you’ll never be good enough with one.’ In other words: Be humble and enjoy the journey.] On the crew race, perhaps someone was lost at sea in the “roaring forties.” Life [two words I can’t read and it’s my own handwriting!] and washed away and no chance of finding him. [Based on real events.] That could be something that haunts her. Realizes it could have been her. Maybe it was bother, boyfriend. Being near the spot brings her near [nearer the person]. Maybe she wanted to drop a wreath. [Maybe she has suicidal ideation.] Now who is the family back home? Moneyed. Instead of money from a company, maybe it’s money from some type of patent. Maybe a drug. AI. [Artificial Intelligence] Something to do with farming or food or… Something that had helped people. I want that to create sympathy. And money is needed for the ending. [Also explains the ability to spend so much on sailboats and equipment.]
James Piper Kitchener, Ontario Post comments on facebook page.Follow me on twitter. Posted 2017/03/29 at 19h43ET in The Deep Blue Cage | Writing A Novel
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Published on March 29, 2017 15:05 • 5 views
Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016 Note: Unedited writings from my notebook for this novel. Square bracket items represent added comments.
At 20:44—Office ... Lost at sea, she's rescued by a ship and wished she had never set foot on it....N othing new on this story. Nothing came to me while I was sleeping or when on my errands. I thought something would come about, but nope. So be it. I have two chapters written. Not sure if they are any good but they are there. And so Chp. 3 to write. And I don’t see the scene because I’m not sure what should happen. The question is what is the cliffhanger. Nope. 3 about her, not the ship and crew. And I’ve already written the last line of the chapter. She wakes up and feels immense pain. Not sure if I should mention blood in the water. This chapter or the following. So it’s early dawn or not quite sunrise. And she’s in the cockpit unconscious. But how do I write it from her POV if she’s out. Hmmm. I can do it but should I do it? And I don’t want to go into her mind as a dream. I’m not going write about any type of dream. I don’t like them [in stories]. Too fanciful [weird, surreal] and a cheap trick. Keep it grounded in the real world. I know I can have her go in and out of consciousness. [That makes more sense.] At 21:49 That went well. I wrote 5 pages for Chp 3. I had something to go with and went with it. In reading it I see the first part is summary hence a touch boring but it’s short. You can’t write everything as action. There’s going to be summary [somewhere at some point]. And I stayed in her POV. She was conscious but intermittent. In the chapter it was a period where she awakes but we end with her discovering she has a gashing [maybe I meant gash] on her head then blacks out. What now for Chp 4? It’s the crew and ship. They don’t know she’s out there. (Quick note. I did enjoy writing the chapter. I was in the moment and felt better as a result. I think that’s a god thing. It’s encouraging as I want to keep writing. In fact I wanted to keep writing more of the chapter but I’m consciously [purposely] keeping them short. That’s the way I’m crafting this story. [And it departs significantly from my previous novels where chapter lengths varied from a few pages to tens of pages.] Time for some food and I will continue. At 01:30 I’m feeing mentally good at the moment, but also a bit exhausted. The was was some exercise. I had good results working on the novel. I wrote Chp 3. I enjoyed the process. [I’m repeating myself.] And now I want to get back to it but I’m feeling tired and exhausted. Muscles are aching. So I’m torn. Go to bed or push through? I probably can’t do either. [Wherein I needlessly get sidetracked…] I used the Panini press to make dinner. It worked but I actually “pressed” the fajita… It was an interesting result. Warmed, compact, and the shell a bit crispy. Usually I make them with soft shells. The one had beef and cheese and I unrolled it to add sour cream and salsa. Not the best approach. For the 2nd I added the sauces before cooking. Ugh. It leaked out the ends. So neither worked. Ugh. This notebook isn’t my journal. I’m writing in the wrong place. At 02:15 Back to the novel. It’s not unusual for a European captain to work on ships all the over the world. [By that I mean employed by ship owners all the world.] At the moment I envisioned a Chinese crew, at least Asian because the ship is run by Chinese. But what if the 2nd mate [or first officer] was Dutch or Norwegian? Possible. And it would better explain why he’s not in on it. And why he would help and why he would end up dead. [Well, maybe he does, maybe he doesn’t.] And here’s a reason he’s on the ship. Insurance. He’s got experience on ships. The insurance a customer would have to pay to ship with a Chinese shipping company is [would be] higher. Jettison insurance. Possible. Most insurance comes from Western companies They can offer better rates with a Dutch captain but for show, for pride, the Captain is Chinese. So that’s possible but it telegraphs his involvement. So I’m not liking any of this. I had an image of her in the infirmary on the ship recovering. She wants to get in touch with her family. They allow, don’t allow it. Fake it. They could say they are awaiting her arrival in Hong Kong. No way to get in touch before hand. Perhaps the 2nd mate does ty but others sabotage… One thing to work out is how to keep the 2nd mate from find things out. It almost feels like a comedy. Ugh. Maybe he’s only given watch. No wandering around to check out how things are going. That’s possible. [but highly unusual.] Nothing terribly original has happened in the first 3 chapters. I need to get it happening in Chp. 4. We learn something about the woman trapped on the ship. Here’s something I’m seeing. The captain wakes up and there’s a girl in bed. He takes her to a ‘cell’ and locks here in. That would be unexpected. And how to present it in the least offensive way possible? I don’t want people to be revolted. Turned off. Disgusted. Hard to say how people will react. There’s a lot worse happening and reported in the news. These days the boundaries are pushed. People can deal with it. And it would create a train wreck in anticipation. What I mean is they now know bad shit is happening on the ship. And certainly in the blurb that is hinted at. “Lost at sea, she’s rescued by a ship and wished she had never set foot on it.” Already have thought about the marketing. Has to be that way. Back to Chp. 4. So it’s dawn, morning on the ship. The captain is waking up. He’s in his cabin. With him is a young Asian girl. She’s naked in bed. Sleeping. He has to get her out and back to her cell. Getting locked up. That’s the twist to end the chapter. And what if she’s not supposed to be in bed still. She should have left. He barks her out. Someone else has to take her to the cage. That means a shift in POV. That’s okay. I don’t personally like the Captain being mean to this woman. It’s something that’s not in me. But it shows the nasty side of him. [Show he’s a baddie.] Would there be a cabin steward? Maybe. Normally the captain would take her, but he’s rushed. And what clothes does she put on. A pair of mechanic overalls and cap. Hide her body to a certain extent. [These days, a commercial ship is not the sole domain of men. There are women crew and officers. And in the military. The chief engineer for the HMS Invincible (Royal Navy aircraft carrier) Major (I forget her name) is a woman. Major position of responsibility. And bravo to her.] The other question is where do they keep these women. It could be the captain wasn’t in his quarters. He was in the special area. He’s still going to leave her locked up. That’s another approach. That makes more sense. I’ll go that route. Not happy with my output rate. If have 75 chapters with three pages per that’s only 225 pp. Need at least 250pp I think. 80 is 240pp. 85 is 255. Right now it’s been 1 chapter a day. Three months to complete. Need to pick up the pace. Need to write a least 2 chapters a day. [And with the three month hiatus, the time table has shifted. Less concerned about going all out but instead focusing on getting it done right.] I have the details for Chp. 4 [in my mind]. And I know Chp. 5. More with Leanne as she struggles to deal with her wounds. It ends when she finds the first-aid kit and everything is a mess and useless. Then she has to get off her distress beacon that’s the next chapter 6. I think 6 should be about her family back home. They are checking her status, the mother, and knowing something isn’t right. Some back-story. Leanne has sailed and raced sailboats all her life. Dreams of the Olympics but couldn’t beat the men. She joins a crew on an around the world trip. That was a success. Then she tried to do a solo around the world but first did the race across the Atlantic. That was a success. Onto the round the world. It failed. Why? She became ill. Discovered it was cancer but she licked it. [Cliché]. Now this second trip. She had something to prove. [Why? To herself? To her parents? To other sailors? Need some interesting motivation there.] She wants respect. She wants the pride of saying she did it. Another reason. [I guess I did think of it. But really it should be because she loves being at sea. That would be the best motivation. It reminds me of a quote from the movie Cool Runnings where the John Candy says, ‘If you’re not good enough without a gold medal, you’ll never be good enough with one.’ In other words: Be humble and enjoy the journey.] On the crew race, perhaps someone was lost at sea in the “roaring forties.” Life [two words I can’t read and it’s my own handwriting!] and washed away and no chance of finding him. [Based on real events.] That could be something that haunts her. Realizes it could have been her. Maybe it was bother, boyfriend. Being near the spot brings her near [nearer the person]. Maybe she wanted to drop a wreath. [Maybe she has suicidal ideation.] Now who is the family back home? Moneyed. Instead of money from a company, maybe it’s money from some type of patent. Maybe a drug. AI. [Artificial Intelligence] Something to do with farming or food or… Something that had helped people. I want that to create sympathy. And money is needed for the ending. [Also explains the ability to spend so much on sailboats and equipment.]
James Piper Kitchener, Ontario Post comments on facebook page.Posted 2017/03/20 at 17h49ET in The Deep Blue Cage | Writing A Novel
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Published on March 29, 2017 15:05 • 4 views