Polls / To Hunt a Sub / writing

How I’m Doing on ‘To Hunt a Sub’

trident submarineIt’s been a decade since I started To Hunt a Sub. I took a break and wrote the sequel when I couldn’t find a publisher, then returned to a series I started fifteen years ago about early man (called The Evolution Files). After an aborted attempt to work with an agent, I returned to To Hunt a Sub. I couldn’t put it behind me until I put it out there for the world. I decided to fix its problems, then finish/publish my other two completed novels before moving on to a new topic.

I started that last year (more on that soon). I might be a month away from finishing my WIP, To Hunt a Sub–vastly different from ‘publishing’ it. By ‘finished’, I mean I’ve:

  • wordsmithed it
  • made sure all plot points follow
  • fact-checked it–important in this novel because it includes lots of details that will turn people away if I get them wrong
  • searched out all the examples where I mistakenly and.boringly:
    • used generic descriptions
    • used passive voice
    • showed rather than told
    • used filler words like ‘just’ and ‘that’
    • cleared out redundancies
    • made sure dialogue is relevant and tagged properly
    • made sure pacing befits a thriller (non-stop, lots of crises, faster as the book progresses)
    • added enough personal detail to make my characters likeable and interesting (that’s not something that came naturally to me)
  • double-checked chapter titles and numbers

I have a question for you-all: I cover topics that may be confusing or foreign to readers (like Trident Refit Facilities, magnetic signatures). Of course I explain them in scene, hopefully non-pedagogically, but I was thinking of adding links in the book to more thorough discussions on them for those interested, or simply images.

What do you think? Should I enhance my novel with interactive links? Or not? Vote below:

 I’m also working on a tag line. Does this one make you want to read the book:

A single mother, a washed-up SEAL, and an AI team up to save America’s Trident submarines.

 I sure could use your help on both of these polls.

Jacqui Murray is the author of dozens of books (on technology in education) as well as the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she is  editor of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education which you can find on Structured Learning (a collaborative publisher).

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44 thoughts on “How I’m Doing on ‘To Hunt a Sub’

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  6. For what it is worth and only because you asked.

    Love the idea of links but has to be done properly. Sharon’s idea of having a official website with all that information is fantastic. I love pictures in a book too, a single picture can save you a 1000 words in description. Or so I have been told.

    I hate the tag line though. Sounds like the opening to a joke instead of a Clancy style thriller. It is the single mom line that breaks it for me. I am thinking of a soccer mom in a mini van. She should be watching the kids and not saving the world. To me if you described her as something else “former CIA agent”, “news reporter”, “accountant”, “computer programmer” or whatever but give her some creditability in the opening and in the novel she can be your “single mom.” By then, I have already bought the book.

    Also, just a personal preference. Everyone has a Navy SEAL as the protagonist in their stories. Might be fun to be different and have his background as EOD, or Marine Recon. Same character, same background but a different career path.



  7. I tried to enter a comment at the bottom of the poll but apparently it didn’t take. Maybe use the words “artificial intelligence” instead of AI. Less to confuse especially since you’re already using SEAL. Perhaps also try to put the plight of the sub at the beginning of the tagline instead of at the end, and the single mother – find a more exciting description.
    Some authors have interactive web sites dedicated to their books. I like the ones I’ve found but finding them was a matter of luck on my part. An interactive web site might work for you if you indicate one is available at the end of your book. Or maybe a glossary/note section at the end of your book. I dislike footnotes in novels, especially in the body of the book, though Susanna Clarke did it successfully in Jonathan Strange & Dr. Norrell. It was one of the aspects of the book that intrigued my son.
    I think that books in future will include more interactive sites where interested readers can find info to enhance their reading experience.
    Can’t wait to see what you do!


    • I’m playing with moving the ‘sub’ part to the beginning. I think it’s a good idea–gets that out there right away. I also like the idea of the companion website. My minds churning through ideas on that! Thanks, Shari, for taking the time to think through this with me.


  8. I suppose you can have two files: one for print and one for Kindle. If the links are obtrusive, and fit into the flow of the text, those who are interested can click.
    I think at the back, an interview with you how the book came about might bean added feature.
    Al team up: I found this confusing as it didn’t read read to me. Had to read it several times to get the gist. Would A-1 team up help? Not really, if no-one know what it stands for.❤ ❤ ❤


  9. Personally I don’t like links because they pull me away from the story. Seems to me if anyone wants more information they’ll find it without you doing all the work – I’d prefer pictures as they give information and a place for my eyes to rest.

    The Tag line doesn’t pull me in because my reading interests lie in “relationships” rather than “sub-ships”.


  10. I read what you’ve accomplished with this writing project and I feel ashamed. I have such a long way to go on mine yet.😦

    I liked this idea of the poll. When and if I’m ever ready, I may do a similar poll.🙂


  11. I’m a traditional – hard copy only – book reader and so links wouldn’t work for me. I actually like footnotes, in smaller print, at the bottom.
    I felt the tagline was a bit too long and dull. I also related to what someone above said about warm, fuzzy, mammals. I would read a book called something like ‘Saving America’s Trident Submarines’ because it goes straight to it.


    • I have several books that include links, which as you say don’t show in print. Even though I represented them as bonus material in the digital copy, readers were angry over it. I had to completely change the way I presented them.


  12. Everyone knows what a housewife is and a Navy Seal but an AL team up? I don’t think everyone will know what you mean. Otherwise it sparks an interest to me.


  13. I don’t kindle, so the interactive feature would be wasted on me. On the tag line, a single mother, a washed-up SEAL (makes me think it’s going to be a warm and fuzzy marine mammal story–even with SEAL capitalized.)


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