View Full Version : The pocknell, chapter 1

December 14th, 2010, 06:17 PM

December 14th, 2010, 08:43 PM
Before I comment, may I ask how much time you've spent at sea on a fishing boat?

December 14th, 2010, 11:09 PM
i have spent no time on a ship that large, but i have spent a very small amount of time on a small boat

Bilston Blue
December 15th, 2010, 12:01 AM
OK, first impressions on the story: the crew of this boat is in for one hell of a ride.

Aside from the story though, the piece is too wordy in places.

'Pouring down from the skies, the rain drummed at the ocean.' Your readers know the rain pours from the skies.

'...highly visible, bright, orange suits.' To suggest that bright orange suits are highly visible is stating the obvious.

In the second paragraph the we see 'the Pocknell sailed on,' and in the same paragraph 'she bravely fought on.' Paragraph four: 'The vessel made her way to the fishing grounds.' Paragraph five: 'As she journeyed on...' It becomes repetitive, constantly telling the reader the ship is progressing, and does nothing to move the story forward.

'A nervous voice barely shouted.' Is it possible to barely shout? I'm not sure what you're trying to get across here, a stifled shout perhaps, or something else? Also, I'll use this sentence to highlight how you can show the reader the voice is nervous, instead of telling them. Write about the voice cracking, or breaking, or something else to describe the nervousness in the words, instead of merely saying the voice was nervous and expecting the reader to trust you.

A final point, and one which stood out a mile. Think carefully when writing about situations you're not familiar with, do some research. You say that fishing mid-Pacific was a daily thing, though the Pacific is approx. 10,000 miles north to south, and 12,000 miles east to west, and that's some boat that can reach mid-Pacific to fish and return home again by nightfall, and do the same trip on a daily basis. I'm not being pedantic here, it sticks out like a sore thumb.

All said and done, I would like to know what happens to the poor chap who went overboard, and to the rest of the crew.

Good luck


December 15th, 2010, 04:55 AM
hoddsykins - I suspected as much. Your imagery fails, also your dialogue. I would suggest further research. I would also suggest you write about the small boats you have been on. That would be good practise. Most lobster boats are small, and if you have spent a good deal of time on such boats you can draw from your own experience in imagery and dialogue.

By the way, there are no doorways, walls, floors, or stairs on a boat or ship of any size. Google for 'nautical terms'.

And you might want to check on the kind of weather that's more typical for the central Pacific. The storm you describe is the type found in the North Atlantic. Also, I question whether any fisherman would try to set or recover traps in such a storm.

I notice in checking that Bilston is rather landlocked. Where have you had experience boats of any sort? Draw back a bit, get more practise writing about what you know, and do a lot of research including reading novels set at sea. Three Years Before the Mast and Captains Courageous come to mind as good introductions to life at sea, and of course, if you have time, Moby Dick. Don't worry that they are about different times and different places. The sea and seamen have been the same for all time.

If you can find a copy of it get Manual of Seamanship for Boys and Seamen of the Royal Navy 1904. I googled and found a couple of places where it can be bought. You might find a copy in the library.

Whatever you do, keep writing.

December 15th, 2010, 03:31 PM

the others before me have shown you things that need to be fixed. It would take a bit of rewording, a bit more research, but hey, that's what a writing site is about - others helping others.

Lobsters are normally captured off the coast. though I remember seeing their Great March, where tail to feelers they follow each other in strings of many. its pretty cool to see.

One thing that will strengthen this piece more is the lessening of 'ing' suffixes in this story. I was told to limit the amount of 'ing' to begin a sentence, in fact I look for every possible way not to use 'ing' at the beginning of any sentence. But 'ing' words are present/action moving ie The rain was pouring yesterday - is passive and the ing just puts the present into the past where it doesn't belong. the same sentence thought without 'ing' The rain poured yesterday or 'had poured'(for perfected past) cements it in the past but intensifies the rain and moment.

lil things, but this is a draft so its expected

thanks for the read

You seem to have a story to tell, so don't give up on it, just refine it more


December 15th, 2010, 06:56 PM
hoddsykins - The point about lobsters living mostly in shallow waters was one point I deliberately ignored, not wanting to destroy the whole point of your story. . But it's true. Lobster fishing takes place mainly in coastal waters, on the continental shelf, and lobster boats usually are not big boats. In Belize most lobster fishermen use large skiffs, 20 to 30 feet, powered by outboard engines. Some dive onto the lobster beds and pick them up by hand, but in water too deep for that they use traps. Those that dive use a weighted five-gallon pigtail bucket with a line from the handle up to the boat. When they get the bucket filled they swim up to the boat, then pull the lobsters up. Lobster is a major fisheries export here.

You might want to rethink your entire story line and do some more research and reading, then have another go. You have two of the abilities needed to write fiction - a desire to write, and a good imagination. On that score you are ahead of me. I have the desire to write but lack the imagination. If it dosen't happen in front of my face I have a hard time writing about it. That's okay for a reporter, not so good for a fiction writer.

You also have a good overall command of language. Do us a short bit drawn from your own experience, and let's see how you handle that.