Titanic was called the Ship of dreams.. and for my daughter (The Robin) and I, it certainly was. As part of our research into our combined novel, we decided to venture down to Belfast to take a deeper look into where Titanic was built and indeed, Titanic itself. The Titanic quarter in Belfast to me was simply breathtaking. For years I had been obsessed with Titanic, but despite all my knowledge of studying Titanic over the years, nothing could compare to the knowledge and experience that I had in Belfast.
As a child, I always envisioned myself aboard the Titanic, and going down to the wreckage. I remember my Uncle showing me a book, full of photographs of the shipwrecked Titanic when I was four years old, and I was mesmerised, this was the point where my obsession with the R.M.S Titanic began, and this was the moment I had decided in my young mind, that I would travel to Titanic.
Life had other plans however, and at this point, I have been unable to fulfil my dream. This trip to Belfast however, got me as close as physically possible to Titanic itself. From the museum and tour, to the SS Nomadic, to the Dry Dock, it was absolutely amazing and a real eye opening experience as to what both building the Titanic and sailing on the Titanic must have been like.
From a writer’s perspective, this was a irreplaceable experience. We had the most amazing opportunity to stand and listen to the audio of a numerous amount of survivors. Their tales and experiences was both a sombre and enlightening experience, and gave me some real insight into the plethora of emotions they experienced on that tragic night.
There was also some fantastic insight into how each of the different classes lived within Titanic and the conditions they would have faced. All this information will hopefully help us to build proper characterisation as well as a realistic setting and backstory. When writing about something as sensitive as Titanic, I believe real care must be taken to not just make this another fan fiction wherein the situation is reversed, or the characters are vital to saving as many people and so on.
I want this to be as true to actual events as possible, that means that the personalities, backgrounds and descriptions of the characters has to fit both the period and the class they belonged to. That also means their fate will be tied to those of the same class. The reason I am so focused on realism for this novel, is to be able to convey both the levity and emotion of Titanic, and everything that happened from the moment the first passengers boarded, to the moment the ship sunk, and beyond.
We have not yet decided what will be the ultimate fate of our characters, primarily because we believe that far more research is required from both of us to be able to do this as perfect as can be.
In the 1997 film by James Cameron, an elderly Rose Calvert starts off her survivor’s tale by saying “Titanic was called the ship of dreams, and it was”. My daughter and I fully agree with that statement, and hopefully one day, we will be able to go down to Titanic to pay our respects and realise our dream. For now, the focus is on writing our novel to the best of our abilities and to make it as realistic as possible. The Titanic was the ship of dreams, and it was, and to my daughter and me, it still is…
Until next time,