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  1. bluff
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    bluff New Member

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    Creative Writing on the Sea

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by bluff, May 24, 2008.

    Hey guys!
    I was hoping if I could get some ideas on writing about the sea. Its for a school assessment.

    I have ideas which need further development.
    I also need further creative ideas. The writing is mainly about the beach, the sea, and swimming in the sea.

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    Any ideas??
    I especially need help/suggestions with ideas which include metaphors and similies.

    Cheers!

    Much Appreciated!
  2. bluff
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    bluff New Member

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    Also, you could also refer me to any texts which include creative writing on the sea/ocean/beach/water ;)
  3. Al B
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    Al B New Member

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    There are many decent writers of nautical fiction, some obvious choices to read if you want to check out technique would be: Patrick O'Brian, author of the Aubrey/Mauturin series which the film Master and Commander is based on; James Nelson, who writes similarly themed books on the period in a more modern style; Richard Armstrong, who wrote a large series of nautical adventures which were very much in the style of Robert Heinlein's 'juvenile' novels, in that they were aimed at young adults, they are not childish however, so can still be enjoyed by an adult reader; Tom Clancy, whose writings I personally do not like, but a hallmark of his books is masses of technical detail, many of which feature submarines and warships, so if putting huge amounts of technical naval data in your tale is something you fancy, he'd be worth a look. You might not actually want to write about ships travelling on the sea, but reading books of that nature will obviously be one of the best sources for descriptive material on matters pertaining to water and the sea.

    Oddly enough, one of my ongoing novels does have a lot of nautical episodes in it, it being set during the wars between England and the Spanish/French alliance. It features a very long sea trip, which is part of the adventure, so the detail had to be correct.

    Because of that, there a few things I can warn you to watch out for, and some things which are worth noting that can assist your narrative. First, any lack of believable knowledge on sailing techniques or the ocean's terminology and behaviour would be a glaring error in your prose, so you need to do plenty of research on that, for example, I had to do a lot of research on the speed of ships and the routes they would take in the 17th century, so that I could write my tale with a believable passage of time, I was surprised to find that a ship of the size I was writing about would have been doing well to maintain anything over an average speed of six knots, but my research of logs and historical documentation confirmed it.

    I'd recommend looking at some sailing tutorial websites if you are not at all familiar with sailing (fortunately I am) as they will teach you many basic concepts about the subject, and even if not actually writing about sailing, you will learn a lot about the behaviour of the sea itself in terms of tides and currents, and that knowledge will show through in your writing. I also had to do a lot of research on combat between ships for my tale, and that's important because otherwise I might have been tempted to go off what I had seen in movies, which whilst often thrilling, is also often nothing like how things really transpired. So, again, getting a lot of technical books on what you intend to write about, or searching reputable online resources, is invaluable. A good example of where that might go horribly wrong without some decent research, would be to write about a submarine in the Persian Gulf, submarines do operate in the Persian Gulf, but they are usually not nuclear ones, because diesel/electric ones are actually quieter and harder to detect than nuclear ones, and therefore better in shallow water, and the Persian Gulf is mostly shallow. Without knowing that, through a bit of research, writing based on assumptions rather than research would mean ending up with a glaring error in the tale.

    Next, the English language, being formed by an island nation with a nautical tradition, English is absolutely littered with words and expressions of a nautical origin, and these could trip you up if thrown into your text incorrectly when writing on a nautical theme. things such as: 'without a clue', 'the devil to pay' 'taken aback' 'go by the board' 'in the offing 'at loggerheads' 'skyscraper' 'first rate' 'halcyon days' 'show your true colours' etc etc. All these have a nautical origin, and I've only listed a few, and they often have a technical basis and a strange route on finding their way into the English language; 'Admiral', for example, is actually an Arabic word, which means master of the sea, 'without a clue' and 'clueless', would originally have been spelled 'clew' referring to the ring attachment and clew line at the bottom of a sail which attaches it to the hull, so when a sail is flapping in the wind having not been secured, it is 'clewless'. also note the terminology there, in that I used the word 'line' rather than 'rope', which is important, there are very few instances when the word 'rope' would be used on a ship.

    There are quite a few websites dedicated to the origins of nautical phrases and words in the English language, do a search on google and you will come across them, and they are well worth a look to avoid making an error in your prose of which you would otherwise be unaware, and to help with inspiration too. It's amazing the amount of ideas it can spark for your writing when you read up on those origins, and many of the events in my own nautical tale were inspired in just such a way.

    Al
  4. bluff
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    bluff New Member

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    hey thanks for the reply!

    My creative writing assessment (for year 12) is based on the sea...
    I am writing about a person from a city who longs to go back to the countryside-where he originally comes from.
    I am basing it on the New Zealand countryside. The person is dreaming about going for a swim in the ocean in early morning. The beach and ocean is covered by early morning mist and native bush surrounds the area.

    The water is cold, but the person really enjoys the swim.
    [​IMG]
    (Picture from http://www.flickr.com/photos/sondyaustin/636993592/ Flickr by Sandy Austin Family)
    My inspiration is from this place!^^

    Any ideas which can describe the place well?
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I think the assignment really requires you to get in touch with your own creativity in this case. What you are asking is too central to the assignment.
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