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Old 09-05-2018, 07:41   #61
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Re: I wrote a book!

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Originally Posted by Sailor647 View Post
Congrats on getting your book finished! I used the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon to read the first seven chapters.

The way it reads, you might think of writing it as a screenplay. But if you do, write it in chronological order and don't use the flashbacks.

There are a couple of glaring mistakes that diminish the credibility of the book. Since this was posted on a cruising forum, I focused on the accuracy of the sailing parts.

"There was still daylight, skies leaden, wind thirty knots or more judging by the size of the swells and the wind-driven spray. Sails were up, the wind driving them hard onto the rocks. No way to get them down, not now."

Then later....

"They'd been forced into a bad anchorage last night, the wind howling in the rigging and threatening to push them onto a lee shore. He'd stayed awake through it all, checking on the anchor, watching their position, ensuring they stayed safe. He had been exhausted, and he'd started to trust her. That's why he'd agreed to get some sleep while she took a turn at the helm. "
  • You wouldn't have both (all?) sails up (plural, so it's more than one) in thirty-plus knots of wind. You'd likely have only a reefed main.
  • Sails were up driving them hard into the rocks. Wait, what? It says they were forced into a bad anchorage, wind howling in the rigging; that he checked on the anchor. They anchored with the sails up? Holy cow! In thirty knots of wind? Unbelievable! This guy must be related to Robert Redford in "All is Lost."
  • Typically, a person doesn't "take a turn at the helm" at anchor. They might "keep watch" to make sure the anchor doesn't drag.

"When the weather was bad, they'd stop for the night, trying to find anchorages that were both convenient and secure."
  • What happens when the weather is good? They just keep sailing?
  • Sailors plan their routes based on the available anchorages along the way. Finding an anchorage isn't an afterthought of bad weather coming in. Competent sailors plan their passages to include safe anchorages. Forget convenience. Is your main character incompetent?
  • They would also know the weather forecast in this day and age. Or at least they should.

The sentence structure is correct, as is spelling and punctuation.

The pacing is really quick, and often feels rushed. More description would help slow it down.

This is a great book for the young adult, junior high school market.

This is a solid first effort. For your next project, it would be worth hiring an editor to give it a fresh look with that all important "second set of eyes," preferably someone who has solid knowledge of the subject matter.

A lot of people dream of writing a book, but only a few actually put the work in and see it through. Good job!

Best of luck to you!
Thank you so much for your feedback! I've taken note of it all and will correct where I can. Most of your feedback indicates confusion in the narrative, so I need to look at revising that to ensure others don't get confused as well. I can see how snapping back and forth in time could cause this, so I know I can improve on it.

To clarify, the reference to the anchorage was an explanation of what had happened the previous night, why Ian was tired and had gone below to let her sail during the day of the accident. They were not in an anchorage when they hit the rocks, she was sailing, while he was in the quarter berth sleeping.

It's a good question about the sails. I was imagining a reefed main and a reefed #1 jib, to maintain balance on a broad reach. I didn't want to get too far into those details in that section, however, as I felt it would take away from the urgency of what was happening. I may reduce wind speed so that no one else trips on that. Having 30 kts (vs 20kts for instance) is not critical to what happened. I think any knowledgeable sailor can imagine having both sails up on a broad reach in 20kts.

For the sailing/anchorages I have them trying to make as much time as possible northward since they are going to Alaska too late in the season - most people would go in May or June to give themselves time, these characters are leaving in the early fall. It's not a smart move, but they are young and impulsive .

So they are sailing/motoring nonstop unless the conditions require them to take shelter. I'm very familiar with sailing in the area described in the book, and this is not an unrealistic way to approach things. It's not how I would do it, but it's quite plausible. There are anchorages _everywhere and lots of places to take shelter. Storms brew up quickly so you tend to plan a day or two in advance, not much further, when it comes to weather. This is not a blue-water passage, it's all inside passage, sheltered water, high latitude, sailing. I am not trying to imply Ian is incompetent, though he is maybe a little crazy... Amy is less crazy but also far less experienced and is reliant upon Ian's judgment.

In terms of the writing process, it was read by half a dozen advance readers as I wrote the chapters, so I got a lot of feedback during the actual writing, then by another half a dozen once it was done. Then I spent two months with a professional editor working on the small stuff (grammar, etc) as well as the large stuff (narrative, cohesion, etc).

Even after all that work, I have learned that it is _never done, and never perfect. Every time I read chunks of it myself I find problems I want to fix. It used to be that I'd read a chapter and find twenty things I wanted to fix. Now I'll find one or two, so it's gotten progressively better. I've stopped re-reading it for a while, however, since it just sparks my OCD tendencies

I really appreciate your feedback. No one has pointed out these points of confusion before and if you are confused by them, I'm sure others will be as well - so it is very valuable to me. Thank you!
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Old 09-05-2018, 13:56   #62
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Re: I wrote a book!

I read the first chapter in the preview and I have a couple of comments...

"30 knots of wind" and "The fog came in so quickly" ... in the BC I know, both at the same time isn't going to happen. Maybe rain obscured visibility ... but they had a chartplotter on board, poor visibility is not an excuse for hitting a well charted island.

While watching the water rise in his boat as it bashed against the rocks ... never in the description of his thoughts was the idea of calling a MAYDAY on the radio mentioned ... they were only 10 miles from the main regional town, with coastguard radio repeaters, it may be a wild island, but it's not particularly remote.

Once he had made the decision to abandon ship ... there was no mention of any kind of grab-bag ... or even desperately grabbing for one or two survival items that might help, or even thinking about it ... a handheld VHF (you can still call MAYDAY from land) ... a firestarter (both for warmth and signalling) ... some food (they hadn't eaten all day) ... a piece of string (useful stuff) if that's all that was in reach ... anything ... they were heading into a serious survival situation, anything would help.

Despite the convenient hollow tree for shelter, I'm surprised the only thing that kept them awake at night was strange noises ... northern latitudes, late-fall, cold, hungry, no fire, no bedding, soaking wet clothes ... and not a hint of hypothermia.

The trouble with naming the island as a real non-fictional island, is that it comes with real geography ... Why were they there at that time of day in that kind of weather? If they were hoping to reach shelter somewhere like Cascade Harbour, they were already looking at arriving in the dark in high winds (bad planning), why were they in such a hurry that they didn't decide to stop in Port Hardy that afternoon instead? Or were they planning on sailing through the night? If there's one part of the inside passage that you really don't want to do fatigued, at night, in heavy winds it's the passage round Cape Caution ... they could so easily have been recovering from the previous night's ordeal resting somewhere safe (either in town or at anchor) waiting for the storm to pass before taking on what I think is the hardest part of the whole trip ... well worth waiting a few days for reasonable weather and a rested crew.

nevertheless, now that they've been shipwrecked there and given up hope of attracting help, I'm curious as to what kind of adventure awaits them.
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Old 09-05-2018, 19:04   #63
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Re: I wrote a book!

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Originally Posted by Kelkara View Post
I read the first chapter in the preview and I have a couple of comments...

"30 knots of wind" and "The fog came in so quickly" ... in the BC I know, both at the same time isn't going to happen. Maybe rain obscured visibility ... but they had a chartplotter on board, poor visibility is not an excuse for hitting a well charted island.

While watching the water rise in his boat as it bashed against the rocks ... never in the description of his thoughts was the idea of calling a MAYDAY on the radio mentioned ... they were only 10 miles from the main regional town, with coastguard radio repeaters, it may be a wild island, but it's not particularly remote.

Once he had made the decision to abandon ship ... there was no mention of any kind of grab-bag ... or even desperately grabbing for one or two survival items that might help, or even thinking about it ... a handheld VHF (you can still call MAYDAY from land) ... a firestarter (both for warmth and signalling) ... some food (they hadn't eaten all day) ... a piece of string (useful stuff) if that's all that was in reach ... anything ... they were heading into a serious survival situation, anything would help.

Despite the convenient hollow tree for shelter, I'm surprised the only thing that kept them awake at night was strange noises ... northern latitudes, late-fall, cold, hungry, no fire, no bedding, soaking wet clothes ... and not a hint of hypothermia.

The trouble with naming the island as a real non-fictional island, is that it comes with real geography ... Why were they there at that time of day in that kind of weather? If they were hoping to reach shelter somewhere like Cascade Harbour, they were already looking at arriving in the dark in high winds (bad planning), why were they in such a hurry that they didn't decide to stop in Port Hardy that afternoon instead? Or were they planning on sailing through the night? If there's one part of the inside passage that you really don't want to do fatigued, at night, in heavy winds it's the passage round Cape Caution ... they could so easily have been recovering from the previous night's ordeal resting somewhere safe (either in town or at anchor) waiting for the storm to pass before taking on what I think is the hardest part of the whole trip ... well worth waiting a few days for reasonable weather and a rested crew.

nevertheless, now that they've been shipwrecked there and given up hope of attracting help, I'm curious as to what kind of adventure awaits them.
I see you are from Vancouver Island and it sounds like you know these waters well - that is super cool. I love your comments and love the fact that you are thinking through the details of the shipwreck. Without giving away anything (no spoilers) you will find out in Part 2, why the shipwreck happened when we revisit the scene from Amy's point of view. The fog is not meant to follow normal rules, I'll just leave it at that for now .

In terms of not grabbing anything as he abandoned ship, I had to do that to further the narrative. I attribute it to panic, but I had to make sure they arrived on the island with little to help them. I think it's plausible. He is in a panic-inducing situation after all.

Yes, they were planning on sailing through the night. They have been pushing as hard as they can, only stopping when they need to. The season is meant to be early fall, not late fall - I imagine it taking place in September. So it is potentially stormy, but not deep into the cold-wet season yet. It is late to be on the way to Alaska so they are trying to make the best time they can.

Regarding the first night, I imagine it as an uncomfortable night but didn't want to dwell on it too much. The strange noises are the crucial part in terms of advancing the plot.

I think you have the same confusion regarding the anchorage as the previous commenter did, and re-reading it I can see why. I've edited that part a few times and something was lost in a recent revision. I'll touch it up so it's clear that the action is the during the day and he is reflecting on why he passed the helm to her before the wreck - it was due to a sleepless previous night.
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Old 14-05-2018, 07:06   #64
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Re: I wrote a book!

I’ve made a few changes to chapter one to address the feedback and so that the timing of the shipwreck is not confusing. You can see the updates in the look inside feature on amazon or in the sample.
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Old 14-05-2018, 10:29   #65
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Re: I wrote a book!

Way to go on completing your novel! I've always wanted to write a book but never had the time to devote to it. Maybe one day when we are out on the water.

Cool that you are getting tons of detailed feedback here.
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Old 25-05-2018, 11:45   #66
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Re: I wrote a book!

Read the book, I am no editor or master of English Literature but I surely did enjoy the book and would buy your next one. Found it hard to put down, was always wondering what the next page held. Jim
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Old 25-05-2018, 13:50   #67
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Re: I wrote a book!

Hi,
I read your book on kindle.
First of all - congratulations, you have put in a lot of effort and it shows.
I am an avid reader (~2-3 books/month) but mostly non-fiction, so your book was a refreshing deviation.
The pace of the book was fast and I think the story calls for it.
I have found one typo in Chapter 15, 2nd to last paragraph - in the 3rd sentence, the 4th word should be "his" rather than "has".
I am going to hold further comments so that I don't spoil it for other readers.
Again, great job on your first book and good luck in the future, you should keep writing.
-Darshan
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Old 26-05-2018, 06:42   #68
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Re: I wrote a book!

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Originally Posted by lovinlifebda View Post
Read the book, I am no editor or master of English Literature but I surely did enjoy the book and would buy your next one. Found it hard to put down, was always wondering what the next page held. Jim
Thank you Jim, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! I love the fact that it was a page turner for you, that is very gratifying
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Old 26-05-2018, 06:44   #69
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Re: I wrote a book!

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Originally Posted by moored View Post
Hi,
I read your book on kindle.
First of all - congratulations, you have put in a lot of effort and it shows.
I am an avid reader (~2-3 books/month) but mostly non-fiction, so your book was a refreshing deviation.
The pace of the book was fast and I think the story calls for it.
I have found one typo in Chapter 15, 2nd to last paragraph - in the 3rd sentence, the 4th word should be "his" rather than "has".
I am going to hold further comments so that I don't spoil it for other readers.
Again, great job on your first book and good luck in the future, you should keep writing.
-Darshan
Thank you Darshan, I appreciate the comments and I’m glad you enjoyed the book.

The best reward I get for all the time I spent writing, is to see people read it and get something out of the experience.

Cheers!
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