Toward the end of the book, there’s a scene in which a ship is captured on the high seas. Once I visualized the scene, or at least knew what I wanted to happen, then the hard work began and it wasn’t writing it. It was researching the ships and weapons to be used, figuring out the tactics by both the attackers and defenders and then choreographing the events.
To do that, I needed a sketch. Things like distances between ships, radar detection horizons, visual horizons, time of day, phase of the moon, all became important. Using a sheet graph paper, I laid out what I thought was the “formation” of the ships in the scene. With an old fashioned compass, I drew range rings in thousands of yards around the “target” ship.
Then the hard part began. Once you have two ‘things’ in motion, you have relative motion. Add in five ships, four rubber raiding craft and helicopters and you have lots of relative motion.
What went on the chart were velocity vectors (speed and heading) to plots of the movement of the ships relative to each other. Now that I had that solved, the next problem was to create a timeline outline who does what and when.
Now that I knew were all the ships were going to be at any one time, then it was easy, well not easy, easier to write the actual take down of the merchant ship. Getting information on the warships was easier than finding data on a merchant ship along with enough specs to include as needed similar to the one I wanted to use and then find pictures. It took two hours to find a ship, specs and useful photographs!
So with the pix of the merchant ship next to my laptop, I could actually start writing the scene! It's the main passage in a chapter called “Takedown.”