I was on a Zoom critique meeting yesterday afternoon and had an a-ha! moment. We were working on each other's chapter that had been submitted. I had been submitting chapters of my latest sci fi novel, Voyage of the Sea Dragon. (Or some such title...) The setting of this one is a repurposed LA class submarine. This story isn't supposed to be a thriller. As I mentioned, it's sci fi and will have an alien or two, something else wonky (but I'm not going to give that one away).
The basic premise is that a scientist and a high ranking naval officer manage to take a decommissioned U.S. submarine and convert it to scientific research. Yes, there are some naval personnel as well as the scientists (someone's got to run the boat).
I have done some research, read submariners' stories and tried to make this setting as realistic as I could. I also wanted to not have to spend pages explaining things that are commonplace on all modern subs. So I was questioned on how submarine toilets worked, (the crew would call them heads) since I was telling about how an uninitiated character experienced a mishap with said head. I realized I am walking a very thin tightrope. I have never been on a submarine--any submarine. And yet I want you all to feel like this is a real and dynamic place. I don't want part of the suspension of disbelief to be the setting as well as the aliens. This is probably the biggest stretch for a novel I have done, but I have loved working on the draft. And thank goodness for critique partners who let me know when I need to change something, explain something, or add something.
I have also been very fortunate to have found a YouTube channel called Smarter Every Day, where the host was able to spend time on a nuclear submarine, specifically the USS Toledo, an LA class submarine. I have some research to do!
Let me know of your writing 'stretches.'