Nanowrimo D-5: Undefeated Synopsis

Well, 5 days for Nano and counting!

I am almost ready to start. There are some things still to fix, but nothing that cannot be solved through the writing or even during the revision. And, well, most of it will need to evolve, anyway.

I offer you the 'synopsis' of Undefeated, that is, what you'd read on the back cover (I am thinking it may have a proper term, but I cannot recall which one).


Fate tampers with the paths of Francisco and Jaan, estranged brothers, to get them together again in the most dramatic circumstances, the England Venture of the King of Spain, His Most Catholic Majesty Philip II.

Francisco is a veteran soldiers from Betanzos who's serving in the Tercio of Flanders under the command of don Alexander Farnese, Duke of Parma, fighting to recover the lost provinces after the raising of the Dutch protestants, led by William of Orange-Nassau.

Jaan, born in Flanders, is a failed Medicine student who, after going back to the parental home, is forced to embark in the Spanish Armada that, commanded by don Alonso Pérez de Guzmán el Bueno, Duke of Medina-Sidonia, leaves at the end of July, 1588, with the mission of protecting the cross of Duke of Parma's army from Flanders to England, where --by the force of arms, if necessary-- will compel the heretic Queen Elisabeth to return to the True Faith and desist in her backing of the protestant rebels in Netherlands and Zealand.

However, the Venture won't reach any of its goals, and only through great suffering and works untold will manage the brothers to get together again, almost by a miracle.

What do you think? The Spanish version reads much better, to be sincere.

Anyway, I'll let you know how this goes...



Measurements Conundrum

Can you possibly guess what was the best (by far) consequence of Emperor Napoleon's worse nightmare?

Yup, you guessed: the metric system.

Those unblessed with traditional measurement systems (which, well, it's just the USA, Libya and Burma) know perfectly well what I mean. But, well, most countries still keep some traditional measurement units in common-day use, although not in any formal written texts, except, maybe land surfaces. UK and other Common Welth countries still use pints, pounds, and so on, but...

Anyway, when writing Historical Fiction, when we have to describe any measure we know we are in deep trouble. How much was a talent worth? A gold talent? A silver talent? And where? In Persia, in Athens, in Alexandria? In Rome?

And, well, armies walked pasasangs, stades, miles (roman miles? nautical miles? which ones of the many kinds of miles?). And here we have the fun of weights: grans, talents, grams, gallons, tons --yes, some look like volume units, but they were pretty much all fussed up and you never exactly know when a primary source is using one or another, and if when describing other peoples' units, they use their meaning or the author's meaning or which other one!


Now I'm exploring the fun of lists and lists of food supplies, medicine supplies, water and wine and vinager volumes, number of cannon balls, with different weights, diameters, for cannons (and other strange-named weapons, like falcons, falconettes, culverins, and others) for the different type of ships (which, well, was also an exercise of imagination, becasue you could find ships described as urcas from almost 900 tons to 60 tons, and they are all tucked together... !!!).

BTW, how many tons? Castilian tons, volumetric tons? Similar, but not quite...

And the trouble, the fact that you have to manage about 130 Spanish ships and more than 200 English ships! So many facts, names, data, measurements, crew sizes, number of cannons, displacements, sails and whatnots!


I can firmly say that measurent (and monetary systems) are the suckiest aspects of writing Historical Fiction.

But, somehow, we'll manage.




El Felicissima Armada

"I sent my ships to fight against the English, not against the elements."

Phillip II (1588, allegedly),
King of Spain, Naples, Sicily, Portugal and the Algarves

Well, finally I'm showing off:

During Nanowrimo 2007, I'll be jumping 21 centuries to the future, and I'll be writing a Historical Novel (not Science Fiction, eh?) about the events of the:

Spanish Armada (so-called "Invincible"), what Spaniards called la Empresa de Inglaterra (the England Venture) and el Felicissima Armada or Gran Armada (the "Happiest" Armada, actually a Fleet, or Great Armada).

Do not think, however, that this will be a Victorian Era novel: it will be a Phillipian Era novel! (Let's end with the British-centric POV, shall we? :-) I'll be fending off the Black Legend (wikipedia) as well: I'll try to be true to the past.

Alright, what do you think? This was my first HF idea, so many years ago. I even started to write it, but it's a pretty daunting venture (pun intended), and I preferred to get some experience writing before getting my hands on this one. Besides, I have so many wonderful ideas when studying my favorite time periods well before now (specially my preferred Near East cultures!) that I have a couple of pretty interesting novels I will be finishing, anyway. Eventually.

But, November will be a time for fire and powder, gales and battles, hardships and illusions. November will be the time for glory.

I do hope to make a good one about this, I have a couple of novel ideas about the storytelling, and everybody I have talked to has thought it sounded pretty good, we'll see.

Be ready (be warned), from now on, to read on this blog, about sails, cannons, muskets, and most things seafaring related.

And now, a beautiful (if rather partial) gift by Dutch painter Philippe-Jacques de Loutherbourg, which depicts the Battle of Gravelines (courtesy of Wikipedia):

Defeat of the Spanish Armada, 8 August 1588 (1796)

Be well, KALLISTI!

PS- please note that the Spanish name is correctly written, even if armada is feminine, they did used the masculine form of the determined article, el (don't ask me why, it's in the records)... I think we should be historically true when it doesn't get in the middle of understanding; I mean, my overuse of Old Persian names for satrapies and peoples is probably way too much, but this must be right... :-P


NaNoWriMo 2007

Well, new Fall and new Nano!

I have signed up for NaNoWriMo once again.

My novel will be Historical Fiction, with working title Undefeated (in Spanish, Invicta), which is not very informative (yet) but it has some strength, uh? ;-)

I'll let you know more about it when I get closer, and fear not, I'll keep on my other novels, it's just that I need a fresh start, and this is my first HF novel project ever, it's a kind of a debt.

besides, this November looks promising: I'll be oh so busy!

(hehe, but seriously...)

Anyway, anyone interested, I'm Excalibor over there, add me to your buddies list and I'll be there... :-)

Cheers and KALLISTI!