Set Sail

I watched all three parts of this educational video today and boy was I transported. Not to the sea so much, but to grade school days when the teacher phoned it in and the AV crew rolled in the cart. I now wonder how many of those “watch this video” days were due to hangovers or general malaise when they pulled up to the school parking lot. I do not envy the educator.

I’ve been reading all about sailing and ships of the 1800s, but the terminology for me is only good when I can see its application. These videos helped me put all the pieces together so now I know what the first mate’s orders actually mean when he shouts them. Like a lot of novel research, I will learn much and include little.

The trouble with a couple of the books I’m reading is their insistence on mapping out every action on the boat with the proper terms. I’m all for proper, but a reader who wants to enjoy the story I’m telling shouldn’t need a cheat sheet with them to remember what “aft” and “leeward” mean. I may use the right terms sparingly when orders are given, but the rest of the time I’ll just say “at the back” or “downwind.” There will not be a quiz at the end of this book.

I managed to get some research in and hit my word count today, and it feels really good to be moving the story forward. Nathaniel begins his voyage on the merchant brig, the Betsey, where I get to introduce some new characters and his eventual beloved companions. I’ll be taking some extreme liberties with just about every aspect of historical accuracy regarding this ship, other than the name of the ship and that it met with the frigate Guerriere while at sea. Nathaniel will be boat hopping a bit and there’s some good action I want to capture that demands changes to true events.

I look forward to sharing an excerpt of the upcoming action soon and gather your opinions.

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