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Author Topic: Stranded: A writing experiment  (Read 234 times)

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Offline yesiroleplayTopic starter

Stranded: A writing experiment
« on: March 23, 2014, 12:49:15 AM »
The basic idea is simple.  The year is 1840 and the sun never sets on the British Empire.  The newest area of English economic expansion is China, and the Empire is currently at war over the right to import opium into the port Shanghai, which the Chinese fervently seek to prevent.  The Americans are a commercial and military power in the Atlantic, but hardly a global player.  Ships out of New England and the Chesapeake bay carry gold and cotton and sugar and slaves at speeds prior generations would never have believed.

The Schooner Fleeting is an American-owned two-master of a prototype design that history will remember as the Yankee Clipper.  This ship left London on April 4th 1840, bound for Charlotte, North Carolina, Havana, the Falkland Islands, Rio de Janeiro, Valparaíso, and Shanghai.  Aboard were a cargo of English manufactured goods and several passengers booked to various destinations along the ship's planned route. 

What I'm looking for are people to be aboard ship when it capsizes and founders when caught in a mighty typhoon in the middle of the Pacific.  The cast of people that survive could come from England, The United States, or any port made prior to making way for Shanghai.

But we won't play our characters so much as engage in a collaborative writing experiment.  If you want to try to write a believable, fleshed out character that you don't feel you possess, or that you can disassociate from, then I want to hear from you.   In short, contrary to traditional roleplay, your character is not "yours" so much as s/he is "ours" - cooperatively owned by the writing ensemble that progresses the story.

Some characters I'd like to see:
The Right Reverend Gordon P. Haldwright and his lovely young wife Matilda.  - Gordon is nearly fifty, stern and domineering and on a mission to convert the heathen in China to the Episcopalian Christian faith.  His wife is the daughter of a parishioner and barely old enough to wed, but just as zealous as her husband. 

Beverley Adaams, his wife Catherine, their daughters Penelope and Helen, their infant son Beverley, and a contingent of family slaves.  The Adaams are thrid-generation Southern Aristocracy from Charlotte, bound not for China but San Francisco.  Their rather indirect route has to do with certain political deceptions and... well, lets just say I hope to add a bit of espionage and intrigue to the story through them.

Captain Horatio Yonkers - a Boston man in command of a Baltimore-owned ship.  He's bitter that he's not on one of the lucrative slave-runs from the west-African coast, but instead is stuck in a nearly-year-long voyage in the spice trade, where his share of profits will be much less.

Benito Javier - a Spaniard that boarded at Havana.  He's tried many times to get the Captain to make a stop at Santiago de Guayaquil, in Ecuador.  He intended to leave the ship in Valparaíso when his efforts proved futile, but some drama at the port kept him aboard when the ship sailed.

...
I need to stop now.
I'm not really sure how much interest this might generate, I guess time will tell.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 05:09:41 PM by yesiroleplay »

Offline Ciosa

Re: Stranded: A writing experiment
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2014, 12:51:31 AM »
*signs up*

Offline consortium11

Re: Stranded: A writing experiment
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2014, 06:54:45 PM »
Very interested.

Offline yesiroleplayTopic starter

Re: Stranded: A writing experiment
« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2014, 04:24:16 PM »
cool.
two replies is two more than I was expecting, actually.

We need to work out some details and a rough outline - add better and more character descriptions (gotta have a decent cast!)

very rough:
  • Act I:  A brief slice-of-life aboard ship.  Mostly to give voice to the characters and establish a "norm" for mood.  Doesn't have to be immediately prior to the Typhoon, but should be after they've departed the last port so all important characters are present.
  • Act II:  The storm and the foundering.  Probably an Act with three scenes.
    There would be differing pace and sub-scenes here, as the storm separates folk.  Some may arrive at the island before others, even during the storm.  Others might share a lifeboat or bit of flotsam on their way there.  Some might end up on a different but relatively nearby island...  kinda sandboxy and vague, I know.
    • Aboard ship at the height of the storm
    • In the water during and after the storm
    • Arrival at the desert isle where the rest of the story takes place
  • Act III:  A man-vs-nature survival story, with several disjointed scenes played out by the various groups of survivors.  This act would likely close as groups discover other survivors and merge into a community.
  • Act IV: This act would be about community dynamics.  Natives, probably individuals at first but eventually a village or rival villages, are encountered early in the act
  • Act V: Rescue!  Someone spots a ship.  Is it pirates?  A Chinese or Malaysian junk trading in the region?  One of the new Japanese whalers?  A war vessel of some European power?  A lost or adventurous western merchant?

Feedback, critique, suggestions all welcome!
« Last Edit: March 24, 2014, 05:21:07 PM by yesiroleplay »