The vacation day

We’re at a point in life where we like a recovery day after traveling, camping, or other events. We both used some vacation time for that today.

I had a bunch of emails, and some blog responsibilities to deal with. With this in mind, I slept in a bit, and worked on those projects until I couldn’t stand it any longer.

Then I read back through my MS, made some minor edits, and started forging ahead.

This story does the ebb and flow, like proper stories are supposed to, but because it’s a pirate tale, it seems kind of poetic. High adventure, then recovery, then back to high adventure. It’s almost like tides or waves in a way. I doubt readers will pick up on that, but it makes me happy to see it that way.

I am trying to include the comedic moments and character building sequences in the quiet times. It takes weeks to go anywhere at sea, and this is magnified in the age of sail. I don’t want to lose sight of that, but think I’ve done a fair job of speeding those moments along.

Today, the crew recovered from hangovers, did some training, and spotted a distant ship. They identified the ship as belonging to the big enemy and intend to show no mercy.

I’m trying to project the idea that even spotting a ship doesn’t mean battle engages immediately. There is time to plan and maneuver prior to the fight.

This led to some research into signal flags. This is a fantasy world, and I can make up whatever I want, but I have feelings about this. If it’s possible to ground readers in reality at any point along the way, it’s easier for them to absorb the fantastic elements of the story. Besides, I still have one huge fantastic element to introduce, so I don’t want to use all my ju ju up yet.

The flags being displayed between the captains are based in reality.

I also took the time to dig into the brass cannon issue. Apparently, they weren’t really brass, they were bronze. In that era brass and bronze were nearly interchangeable slang among the common folk.

Bronze cannon were every bit as large as steel. Many of them were made using bell casting methods, but others were cast solid then drilled. The problem with bell casting was voids in the barrel wall. These were difficult to fill, and drilling a solid gun eliminated that problem. Those voids would decrease accuracy, and were unacceptable.

The interesting tidbit was a preference for bronze over steel by many commanders. When a cannon fails, bronze tends to blow out. While dangerous, it pales in comparison to steel. Steel tends to explode and kill everyone around it. Don’t know whether I’ll use that info in the story or not. I need some time to dwell on it.

Of lesser importance was accuracy of rifled cannon. Brass will not hold up to rifling the barrel. A few shots and the cannon is ruined. Steel will hold up, and is therefore more accurate under those circumstances. Rifled cannon didn’t appear until just before the American Civil War at least in measurable numbers. The age of piracy was long since over.

Like I said, this is kind of a flintlock fantasy, so I can do anything I want here. Having the knowledge about the metallurgy and the rifled barrels allows me to create another grounding point. If you follow my other blog, Story Empire, you just read about the Plate of Peas. This is one of those points where I get to scrape some peas off my plate.

This coming battle will reveal some secrets about the crews’ enemies, and provide them with some opportunity. It will also allow me to unleash my newest character Serang, and I’m looking forward to that.

I’m not off again until Friday, and this is likely a good thing. I have time to dwell about all the goings on before I take to the keyboard again. This helps with plants and payoffs, and the lesser character arc of Serang. In fact, it’s almost a reverse character arc if there is such a thing. Readers will see her in all of her glory, then learn a few tidbits of her past later on.

I also need the time to work on the big land-based con they’re going to pull off based on info from this upcoming battle. It’s always good to think five or six chapters ahead.

Back to work tomorrow, and I’m sure I’m behind once again. I’ll try to get back to even before having Friday off.

Hope everyone had a great weekend, and has a great week going on.

20 Comments

Filed under Writing

20 responses to “The vacation day

  1. Sounds like you had a productive rest day. Sounds like the pirate story is moving right along, too. I think it’s good to pick your moments to shine. Having the flags grounded in reality just lets you do something magical later.

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  2. I’ve had to share that cannon bit with The Mister. That’s just plain interesting. Now I’m being subjected to conversation on Howitzers. Which I have apparently confused with Gatlin Guns. Go me. Anyway…
    We, too, need recovery after vacation. It’s crucial. Glad you had today 🙂

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  3. Really interesting thing with the cannons. You did mention it’s kind of fantasy, so that might help with the longevity issue. Can’t see it being much fun for the cannon having to be replaced every few chapters. Come to think of it, a lot of fantasy stories seem to ignore gear erosion.

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    • Most cannons don’t fail after the first firing. It does happen, perhaps one get’s damaged by shrapnel or something. Robert E. Lee was nearly killed by an exploding Confederate cannon.

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      • How long do the cannons usually last? Lee was definitely lucky there. Makes me wonder if there are any generals who weren’t so lucky.

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      • I doubt there is any data. People didn’t keep statistics back then, and OSHA wasn’t around either. Many were recycled into other projects, and I wouldn’t be surprised if many of those statues they’re taking down today weren’t made from bronze cannons. Bronze doesn’t rust either.

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  4. Sounds like a great way to spend your vacation day.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. harmonykent

    Sounds like a well earned and well spent vacation day, Craig, and that stuff on the cannons is fascinating! You’re digging up some good stuff for this story, and I can’t wait until you’ve published it! 🙂

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  6. It is interesting to read how you move from one research item to the next. The story sounds terrific.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m one of those people who needs a vacation day to recover after a vacation. I do that all the time!

    The story sounds like it’s progressing nicely and also that you’re getting to indulge in research along the way. I’m looking forward to meeting the crew!

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  8. I love the way you are blending reality with fantasy. Research can really pay off in a big way. Congrats on not being behind for one day. I’m still not there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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