Random Questions Thread:

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Hello, fellow writers! Got any question that you can't find answer from Google or Wikipedia, but you don't think it needs a separate thread for? You came to the right place!

Don't be shy, and just ask away. The nice folks here, writers and non-writers, experts and non-experts, will do their best to help you.

The folder below contains links for special interest threads, mostly at OTC, but also from Yack Fest and Troper Coven.

    Special Interest Threads 

Also take a look at Useful Notes on various topics. They can be pretty useful.

Now, bring on the questions, baby!

edited 11th Apr '18 6:31:51 PM by dRoy

6726 ArsThaumaturgis31st Jan 2013 07:00:55 AM , Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
Then what would you call someone who founds a group, but is never a member of it per se?

Hmm... I'm vacillating a little on this matter, I find.

A quick dictionary search turned up such definitions as "a person who founds or establishes." and "a person who establishes an institution, company, society, etc"; for "found" it provides such definitions as "to set up or establish on a firm basis or for enduring existence". None of these seem to imply that the founder is necessarily a member.

My apologies that I'm not of more help on this — I fear that my vacillation is likely counter-productive, so for now I'll leave it here, I think.

edited 31st Jan '13 7:01:28 AM by ArsThaumaturgis

A Door to the Mists: Traversal, exploration, puzzles, and combat in a heroic-fantasy setting
Insert witty title here
Any of these look like a broken bird?

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~Russel Baker
6728 CrystalGlacia31st Jan 2013 03:39:44 PM from Cedarpointland
You could make any of those characters fit the Broken Bird character type if you wanted to; the type has no specifications for appearance. I mean, they're just portraits, all with the same bank of expressions. They're blank slates waiting for you, the writer who comes along and sees them, to give them a personality.
"Whenever I feel like I know how computers work, I go to class and leave feeling like I'm wearing my pants on my head, eating paste."
Insert witty title here
Forgive me for bothering you.

edited 31st Jan '13 5:36:52 PM by risingdreamer

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~Russel Baker

I don't think you'll find a standard, formalised term out there by virtue of the fact said person isn't actually, formally a part of the group and such an occurrence appears to be quite rare in real life.

Rather, I think a more descriptive approach might work better for you. For instance, he might be 'the mastermind' or 'the catalyst' to the group's formation. Or depending on the extent of his involvement, he could be 'the benefactor' of the group if he provided resources and finances. Alternatively, he might be 'the organiser' though that doesn't quite have a ring to it.

And if all else fails, and I think this works best and sounds the 'coolest', he could be described as one of the 'chief orchestrators' behind the group.

Hope you find something of use there.
6731 Madrugada31st Jan 2013 07:53:22 PM , Relationship Status: In season
Dreamer, there's no need to apologize. You didn't do anything wrong.

That said, Broken Bird is a personality type, and any character appearance could be one. Personally, going just by facial expression, I'd say

  • Actor 4, second row, third from the left has the expression that would make me think she could fit the personality type.
  • Same for Actor 5, second row, third from the left,
  • Actor 8, first row, third from the left, and second row, third from the left

Now look at those pictures and see what they all have in common: the eyes and eyebrows are shaped in a way that looks sad, the mouth is downcast.
...if you donít love youíre dead, and if you do, theyíll kill you for it.
6732 MorwenEdhelwen1st Feb 2013 07:09:09 PM from Sydney, Australia
Aussie Tolkien freak
Did the medieval fosterage system imply apprenticeship too?
The road goes ever on.
In a small rural village in modern day UK, is there anyone who would receive extra prestige or status within the local community aside from the local priest and/or doctor? For instance, some families in the US who can trace their heritage to the Mayflower or the founding of a town sometimes hold special status.

Do British villages hold similar practices? Or are most of said villages too old to trace family trees that far back?
6734 CrystalGlacia2nd Feb 2013 08:40:25 AM from Cedarpointland
Some villages still have court and census records that go back a thousand years or more, for starters. Every village is different; they might have local heroes and their descendants, or really anyone who did something good and memorable.

And I just had an unrelated thought- one of my characters gets shot in the jaw, right in one of his molars. Is it possible, like, at all, for that molar to shatter under any conditions? If not, what could actually happen to that tooth?
"Whenever I feel like I know how computers work, I go to class and leave feeling like I'm wearing my pants on my head, eating paste."
@ risingdreamer: We're here to ask questions, so don't apologize.

As for the actors, no.8 looks fine. Sad, but not too wangsty. Crystal has a point though, any of them would do fine with good writing.

Waiting for your RPG.
Words In The Heart Can Not Be Taken
[up][up] OH JESUS GOD OW

Yes, it would definitely shatter. Last year I broke a wisdom tooth while eating unpopped popcorn (turns out it had caries) and a bullet is considerably nastier than dried corn kernels. You're probably looking at root damage and bits of tooth left behind in the gum. Adjacent teeth might be chipped or cracked, too. Though after a shot in the jaw that sounds like the least of his worries - I hate to think where the bullet's going next.

edited 2nd Feb '13 6:18:13 PM by LongLiveHumour

Sanity is quieter, but madness is more interesting.

My tumblr
If you're shot in the mouth, you're likelier to lose half of the jaw altogether than suffer damage to just one tooth. Unless you're using military-grade ammunition, most civilian bullets expand on impact. Of course, depending on the circumstance (e.g. distance, type of gun, etc) the average handgun would expect to be stopped by hefty pieces of bone like a spine or if there's lots of soft tissue (e.g. brain) but should be able to punch through thinner pieces of bone such as the mandible/lower jaw (though it might be stopped by the other half of the jaw as the bullet exits the mouth).

edited 3rd Feb '13 1:11:06 AM by peasant

6738 CrystalGlacia3rd Feb 2013 07:07:26 AM from Cedarpointland
Well, he was being gunned down for betraying the Nazi Party in 1945, so I want to say it was some kind of machine gun. He dies anyways after several more rounds to more vital parts of his body, then comes back thanks to a Deal with the Devil. And in a literary context that borrows from dream interpretations, having your teeth fall out or get damaged usually precludes feelings of weakness. It's not that vital a detail, but it's the stupid, small shit like this that's easy to get wrong. So, thanks, both of you.
"Whenever I feel like I know how computers work, I go to class and leave feeling like I'm wearing my pants on my head, eating paste."
6739 MrMallard3rd Feb 2013 02:23:54 PM from Australia, mate
As rare as dolphin's teeth
Say you get a job working at an auto place because you need to pay the bills, and work your way up to tinkering with cars. You're pretty good at it, but you want to go back to school so you look for another job. Is there a job where one could apply the skills of a part-time mechanic without all the work, and make enough money part-time to pay the bills?

The character is a guy who got stranded in a new state and needed to find accomodation for him and his sister. He picked up the job at the auto place because he was good with machines and stuff, and while he starts off just doing odd jobs he gets promoted to working on cars. He needed to go back to school but keep the decent income so he could keep the rent paid and the like, without the longer hours and tiring work.
And I can't think of one thing in this whole wide blessed world
That's more dangerous and frightening than you when you get bored
6740 LoniJay3rd Feb 2013 03:40:51 PM from Australia , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
Not sure about a job, but in my area they have programs where you can train for a job while still attending school. I did one in library services. You take Wednesdays off school and spend them working, and you get paid.
Be not afraid...
[up][up] Why not simply state that he works part-time at the garage and have it that he makes just enough to scrape by? Seems like the most elegant solution to your situation.
6742 MorwenEdhelwen3rd Feb 2013 09:52:51 PM from Sydney, Australia
Aussie Tolkien freak
Is there any legal way a kid who was abandoned as a baby in a passageway can stay with the person who found him and took him home?
The road goes ever on.
6743 SabresEdge4th Feb 2013 01:23:38 AM from a defense-in-depth
6744 TeraChimera4th Feb 2013 09:01:01 AM from somewhere out there
Cool Celtic Composition
Humans need to expend about 70% or so of their energy simply maintaining their body temperature. On the other hand, reptiles don't need to do so, as their body temperature is dictated by the environment. Would a reptilian species with roughly the same proportions as a human need to eat a lot less than humans because of this?
"The Uncertainty Principle isn't about uncertainty and it isn't a principle; other than that, it's perfectly named." — David Van Baak
Shadowed Philosopher
Yes, but they'd also be subject to the usual disadvantages of being cold-blooded, e.g. not being able to tolerate cold temperatures nearly so well, and being lethargic in any surrounding-air-temperature less than your body's preferred operating temperature. Also I'm not sure if being cold-blooded is compatible with having a complex brain; the brain is fairly vulnerable to temperature shock, IIRC.
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
6746 MorwenEdhelwen4th Feb 2013 03:43:43 PM from Sydney, Australia
Aussie Tolkien freak
Does anyone know if it's plausible that an Australian public high school would have a game club run by students, or is that an American/Canadian thing? (Then maybe I should set it somewhere there).

The road goes ever on.
6747 LoniJay4th Feb 2013 03:51:32 PM from Australia , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
What do you mean by a 'game club'?
Be not afraid...
6748 MorwenEdhelwen4th Feb 2013 08:46:42 PM from Sydney, Australia
Aussie Tolkien freak
I mean a role-playing games club.
The road goes ever on.
6749 cityofmist5th Feb 2013 09:37:45 AM from Meanwhile City
turning and turning
[up][up][up]If it helps, no British school would ever have one of those.
Scepticism and doubt lead to study and investigation, and investigation is the beginning of wisdom.
- Clarence Darrow
6750 LoniJay5th Feb 2013 02:26:30 PM from Australia , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
My experience (in an Australian private school) suggests to me that students could start a club if they wanted to, as long as it wasn't something dangerous or whatever. My school had a Warhammer 40K club that, as far as I could see, ran on minimal teacher involvement beyond having the librarian present to keep an eye on them.

I guess it depends on how much organisation it requires.
Be not afraid...

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