Writing Echoes

Delijah's Writing Blog

Tag Archives: The Gadir Gates

The Gadir Gates Ending Report

I started toying with The Gadir Gates idea as a possible Adventure Writer’s Competition (the one I wrote Retriever for two years ago). Even if the results were pretty good for a first-time, there’s still a little bit of “…” feeling, because I am not completely sure of how fair it was – the scoring marks would have placed me among the finalists, but they did not, and that smells a bit weird to me. I learnt later that the panel is openly Christian, and probably the underlying UST that I had sprinkled Retriever with probably did not help the cause.

When I first came up with the setting for The Gadir Gates I had a few things in mind: mixing the story with oceanography, talking about an area that I knew, about an event I knew, and making it Christian-friendly.

Then the big block came, and I lost a lot of my interest in writing, so I kind of gave up on the story. A few months later I entered in a discussion about the laws of physics and tsunami wave propagation, and I thought “You know what would be cool? Writing an educative story about this.”

Thus, I decided to do it. I had finished Blood Moon (… I haven’t written about Blood Moon yet, have I?), so I moved onto this new old project. I thought that I would start writing, keeping the Adventure Writer’s Competition in mind, and see where the story led me.

I have learnt a few things since then XD. The first one, I am not good at writing religious people. The second, I totally kill the pace when trying to be educating. The third, I can still have fun writing. That was a plus.

The main character of the story is “Kumo” (= Spider), a Japanese computer technician who sells his services to search and retrieve companies looking for underwater treasures. Kumo accepts a job in Spain, searching for a legendary set of gates that protected the town of Cádiz from a tsunami in 1755.

He makes friends with a North-American diver nicknamed Strife and their Spanish liaison, Miss Angela. The three of them start searching for an alternative to these gates in their free time, not even knowing if it exists. For them, it is a past-time until, of course, they run into trouble.

In the end the story might be little adventure-ish and does not reach the novel category at 25,900 words. I don’t think it has more to tell, so I can’t make it a novel to enter the competition this year, but I had fun with it, which at this point I think might be even more important.

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111,111 Words

I hit a fun number (which is mostly approximate anyway) of words written this year and I thought I’d do a small update of what I have been up to lately. I built a little graphic (click the image for bigger), but part of it is retroactive, and thus the dates vs. words per day might be a bit whoozy before February 15th, as I grabbed the creation date of the file, the final wordcount and divided accordingly. It still can give a general idea of what I’ve been doing.

I’ve talked about Kuraokami already so I won’t go into that. Tokyo Shadows and Shorai are unfinished and will be revisited in another post. Also, the red bars reading “blog” are pretty self-explanatory, I’d say.

The Yuki Onna’s Prey is a short-story follow-up to Hyakki Yagyō set ten years after the original story. While I was writing it, I had a list of yōkai I wanted to use, but I never got an idea to bring the Yuki Onna up, until this. It’s a fun short story.

Some of the short stories can be found around the blog, you can visit the “Read” page for them. This year, I have written eight short stories / flash fiction under 5000 words. It seems that I have been focusing more on medium-length plots.

Blood Moon is a yakuza story (big surprise, I know) short of 30,000 words and that I believe it should be cut at least in 10,000. The real plot length is around 18,000, but was done sort of free-writing and has lots of repetition and awful narrative. However, I believe it can become something good with the appropriate tailoring.

The Gadir Gates, which I aim to finish soon, is about 22,500 and I don’t think it will surpass 25,000-26,000 words. I started this story to write out some frustration about science [geekery]. I think the teaching side became a bit too overboard so I will have to revise that before it is readable too. After I am done, however, I plan to go back to Tokyo Shadows, fix the structure and write the two-and-a-half chapters that I need to wrap it up.

I plan to tackle The Shikigami of Blood this Novembers, let’s see how that works as it still needs a lot of work. I would also try to get somewhere with Shorai, which I’ve started about five times by now XD

ETA: Never mind. My spreadsheet was wrong XD I forgot to add up The Yuki Onna’s Prey to the final count, so the actual number is closer to 117680, and if you count the blog entries (which I don’t, I just graph them XD), the number is 122999. Unless I forgot something else…

Yo! I heard you don’t like physics

Tough luck, I do. It has caused me some trouble in recent times, but there is something that I can’t stand and it’s people making up laws of physics – and I’m not even talking about sci-fi, I’m talking in real life, in an actual classroom. An elegant “I don’t know” is much better than bluffing your way out… especially if you have someone who can call your bluff.

So you will have to excuse me, but I like physics, and I know a thing or two about the dynamics of fluids, and how a wave works- that includes both tsunami and wind-waves. I’m not the hugest expert ever, of course not, but I know a few things.

\frac{\partial\rho}{\partial t} + \frac{\partial(\rho u_x)}{\partial x} + \frac{\partial(\rho u_y)}{\partial y} +\frac{\partial(\rho u_z)}{\partial z} = 0

I have been surprised about the amount of misconceptions and problems that I’ve heard about physics in general and fluid dynamics in particular. Of course not everybody goes around talking about Navier Stokes equation XD

I’m going to try a little experiment though, and write about what I know. A town I know, about a topic I know. Might come up as a novel, might end up as a short story, but there will be science, and waves and physics. It will probably come up boring as hell, but hey, maybe not.

Kumo is a computer expert hired to investigate the archaeological and geological records of the tsunami caused by the 1755 Great Lisbon Earthquake in southwest Spain as part of a bigger crew. Their clients believe that some kind of barrier or gate, built by the ancient Phoenicians that inhabited the area centuries before that, could have stopped the tsunami – a system of catacombs may exist under the Cádiz Bay, and it might just be hiding a treasure or two…

Lisbon earthquake (1755)

It was the first of November of 1755, about 9:50 a.m. when a fault broke under the Atlantic Ocean between Madeira and the Iberian Peninsula (estimated coordinates 36ºN, 11ºW). The magnitude has been estimated in 8.8, and the duration of the shaking was 6 and a half minutes. Twenty minutes later, a tsunami washed over the east coast of Portugal, the south-east coast of Spain and the east and north-east coast of Africa. The highest waveheight seems to be about 13 metres (some historical sources say up to 30 or even 40 metres), and the number of tsunami waves (run-ups) was to 51.

 
This is what has been historically called “The (Great) Lisbon Earthquake and Tsunami of 1755” due to the great destruction it caused in the capital of the Portuguese realm. It completely dynamited the country’s colonial race and had great impact in the European society at the time.

It is less known how it affected the city of Cádiz, a small peninsula in the south-west of Spain. The wave arrived about an hour after a “soft” tremor was felt, and washed through the city. Local legends say that everyone who tried to escape through the narrow sandbar that joins the city with the mainland were swallowed by the sea, and only the Governor’s order of closing the City gates prevented more deaths (although the toll is estimated to be “thousands”).

Although the number of wave run-ups was over 50, according to the local legends, there was only one wave that actually flooded Cádiz. In the church of La Palma there is a plaque that commemorates the event:

En el año mil setecientos cincuenta y cinco, primer día de Noviembre, la tierra en violentos vaivenes de un temblor se estremecía enfureciendo al mar sus movimientos por los muros de Cádiz se subía preparando entre horror, ansias y males, el último castigo a los mortales. Un sacerdote saca fervoroso el guión de la imagen de la palma; DE AQUÍ NO PASES, dice al mar furioso; y al punto al mar se vuelve y todo calma. Por este caso tan notable y prodigioso esta ilustre hermandad, con vida y alma de Dios y de María, en honra y Gloria en gratitud erigió esta memoria.

Which roughly translates to: “In the year of 1755, first day of November, the earth shuddered with violent movements, angering the sea with its movements. Over the walls of Cádiz the sea climbed, preparing among horror, anxiety and evil the last punishment for the mortals. A priest brings out in fervour the image of the Virgin of La Plama; DO NOT PASS THIS POINT, he tells to the furious sea; and immediately the sea retreats and calmness comes. For this notable and portentous case, this brotherhood, whose souls belong to God and Mary, in honour and Glory wrote this thankful note.”

There are many legends related to the 1755 Cádiz tsunami. There are also many facts. It was not the first and it will probably won’t be the last. The question that remains is, did the waters unnaturally retreat? And if they did… how and why? It’s probably worth mentioning now that the two promontories that flank the entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar are called the Pillars of Hercules, and that they marked the end of the known world, although there were rumours of land beyond them… maybe Atlantis?


Nope, I’ve not gone postal… yet. I am indeed planning to write something that involves this. I’m just not telling you because… I don’t even know what it is about yet XD. Meanshile, this is how the beachfront of Cádiz looks:

Also… you have any clue how hard it was not to write “YOU SHALL NOT PASS” up there? LOTS.

References:
Historical Tsunami Database NOAA
El Tsunami de Cádiz