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Discussion Starter #1
Thriller Writer Needs Expert Help!!

Hello everyone - I need someone to tell me all about ocean sailing! Now aged 52 I last sailed over thirty years ago as crew on a rather old SCOD(South Coast One Design). I am a carpenter these days but I am also a budding author - aren't we all? I have been working on my first book, a thriller, for the last six years, having found the experience considerably harder than expected but also thoroughly enjoyable. I am not writing great literature, I am telling a story that I hope will be exciting and entertaining.

The book is a thriller, with a Maritime Security Consultant as the hero, fighting the good fight against the many and varied baddies who populate the world's oceans and ports. Hopefully, and perhaps a little optimistically, this will be the first in a series of books using my hero and his team throughout. This story is about a pirate whaling operation, and was inspired by an article I read some years ago about this unpleasant little industry. Not the official Japanese whaling fleet, which is virtually a pirate operation itself, but the other more secret, genuinely pirate whaling fleets, of which there are very few, perhaps just two or three serious operations, but which are responsible for the deaths of hundreds of whales, of varied types, every year, simply to satisfy the Japanese hunger for this meat. Excuse me for getting carried away - the book is not political, nor does it campaign against whaling. It just so happens that in this story the baddies are involved in this particular trade. I have never been an activist of any sort, I simply share the justifiale outrage of most people about the bad things that happen.

I have had the finished and complete story prepared for a long time now, and I have finally got to the point where I can say every chapter has been written at least once. Some chapters have had three or four drafts, and the book is definitely recognisable as a readable story with a beginning, a middle and an ending. In other words, the thing is finally a reality, with a decent prospect of being offered to the publishing world for their summary rejection, possibly, but more hopefully to be snatched up at first glimpse and swiftly turned into a best-selling paperback with film rights to follow shortly after. One of the requirements for all thriller writers is a powerful imagination, and I am in no doubt that I possess this attribute!

Working on the assumption that I will get published, I am now at the stage of filling in the great mass of technical detail that is required throughout the book, in a wide variety of subjects. Surveillance, computers, the whaling industry, the salvage industry, maritime law and so on - the detail has to be right, with the right language and jargon, down to the last little detail. My favourite authors are John le Carre, Frederick Forsyth, Patricia Cornwell and others of similar style - writers who have researched their subject matter in depth and offer really credible and detailed passages. Andy McNab is another writer who doesn't have the depth I like but does give superb detail. If one is going to describe a two-person covert surveillance operation, then it has to be done well, and it has to be gripping. Only by having a full understanding of the tecniques involved is it possible to do this. So I have been talking to as many specialists and experts in the fields I am covering in the book as possible.

I am posting this 'hello' message this evening in the hope of finding one or possibly more sailors who would be willing to answer my questions, which are likely to be lengthy and require lengthy answers. Specifically I am looking at a west-east Atlantic crossing, in a recently overhauled and rebuilt pre-war yacht, capable of being sailed over the ocean by a four-man crew, with all sorts of other relevant factors to be considered which need not be discussed right now. So, bluewater sailing experience in old boats using the latest technology would sum it up neatly.

I am also looking for someone with in-depth knowledge of the whalng industry, preferaably someone who actually worked on a whaling ship in some capacity. I realise this is not the best forum for this latter search, but mention it on the off-chance of striking a note somewhere.

The sailing part of the story actually takes up quite a small space - little more than a dramatic prologue and various references later on. However, I am determined to get this right, and I know from my own experience as an avid reader that any hint of a wrong note will very quickly lose whatever credibility the author might have, and without credibility this particular type of thriller is a waste of time. I am talking about an almost documentary style of writing in the technical aspects, which I aam confident is popular with readers but clearly has to be of the highest quality. So my questions are likely to be tedious and involved to answer, for which I make full apology in the hope that some sailor out there is truly proud of his or her knowledge and can think of nothing bettr than helping me out!

Any takers?

James Brett
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for saying hello

Really pleased to get a little welcome message, especially as I'm not even a proper sailor, not these days anyway. I did notice the lack of an offer to help out yourself! Don't blame uou really, I know for a fact that I am going to be asking some long and possibly complicated or even unanswerable questions about this ocean sailing business, which are going to need someone happy to give up some valuable spare time for me. Given that there is no guarantee of my getting published, no hope of financial reward, and only the faintest glimmer of a credit in the 'Acknowledgements' section, I am hardly in danger of having my computer burnt out by hundreds of red-hot replies from clued-up yachtsmen/women desperate to help! But I am sure there is a really experienced and knowledgeable sailor out there somewhere who would like nothing more than the chance to demonstrate said skills and satisfy my thirst. So - thanks for now and maybe we'll talk again if you have any thoughts?
 
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