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Re: Sailing boats must have names

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Posted by Alex Forbes on November 21, 2016 at 13:57:43 user Pitsligo.

In Reply to: Re: Sailing boats must have names posted by Magnus Smith on November 21, 2016 at 02:06:34:

No 100 points for me; I had to search them out. Clever references, though!

Elver, Grig, and Glass are pretty darn good, too. I might go with Elver, Grig, and Glut, to avoid using a name that's also a commonly used word.

Yes, AR could have provided such a list at the beginning, but then he'd have been expected to use the names throughout --else why would he have told us about them? Letting things like that drop away unused is bad form, as a writer. It doesn't add enough richness to the story to warrant the way it slows the story down.

That's all just a guess. Yes, he could have done it in a way that wasn't disasterous:

"They watched the dinghies pass, two ahead of Goblin, one astern, spooling out wakes straight enough John could find no fault in them.
"Elver", Titty read the departing transom of the first dinghy. And then, puzzled, "Glut."
"Grig," added John, watching the third, confident Swallow would have pointed just as well and wishing she could have the opportunity to try.
"Puddingheads," Roger confirmed his judgement.

The trick is, could he have set it up so that the opportunity to see and note the dinghies' names significantly added to the story, rather than just slowing it down? He had a lot to do, to get the Swallows gloomy, then put right, then on their way out to Secret Water, all of which was mostly preamble to the main storyline, so it needed to move as quickly as possible. Later, with each of Eels in their own boat, there was no advantage in using boat names as shorthand to refer to a collection of people, so he may have decided it wasn't worth the complexity.

And I could have all of that completely wrong, but I'm 700,000 words into a nine-book / 1m+ word fantasy series I'm writing, with over 450 named characters, so the principles of not confusing my (future) readers, and keeping the story moving forward, have become very important to me.


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