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

6801 GAP13th Feb 2013 10:30:26 PM , Relationship Status: Faithful to 2D
Formerly G.G.
what would be a deconstruction 'victory is boring'?
"I am Hapu."

6802 SabresEdge14th Feb 2013 12:35:52 AM from a defense-in-depth
Show an affirming flame
[up][up]Try "adrift"; with the exception of a sea anchor being deployed (which is basically a big underwater parachute), a ship at sea not under power will drift rather than stop at one place.

[up]Look up history for plenty of examples: Won the War, Lost the Peace is a big subject. Just because you've formal control of opposing territory doesn't necessarily mean you've won, as plenty of insurgents and coutnerinsurgents have found out. And even then, victory at the cost of a crippled economy means plenty of exciting times ahead. An overconfident military or political leadership declaring "we've won" could quickly find itself overwhelmed by the consequences of that victory.
6803 LoniJay14th Feb 2013 05:18:52 PM from Australia , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
@Discar: 'Heave to'? They seem to say that sometimes in nautical fiction. Wikipedia says it can mean a way of slowing a sailing ship and fixing its course, or for boats under 'power', to come to a stop.

edited 14th Feb '13 5:19:39 PM by LoniJay

Be not afraid...
6804 SabresEdge14th Feb 2013 05:43:25 PM from a defense-in-depth
Show an affirming flame
"Heave to" is a command, if Aubrey-Maturin is any indication; the descriptor is "hove-to", i.e., "Surprise was hove-to under bare poles..."

e: oh dammit. Bare poles and heaving to are two different things, even if they have a similar purpose.

edited 14th Feb '13 8:04:25 PM by SabresEdge

What's the word for that speckle-y bumpy stuff on ceilings?
Popcorn ceilings colloquially or a textured/acoustic finish by builders, apparently.
You will not go to space today.
[up] Thanks!
Would a coroner be able to tell the difference between someone who was beaten to death with a length of wood and someone who was beaten to death with a stack of papers of equivalent mass and shape?
I'd say I'm being refined

Into the web I descend

Killing those I've left behind

I have been Endarkened
6809 SeptimusHeap15th Feb 2013 11:17:42 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
Assuming that "lenght of wood" means "with the long side of a pole", yes.
6810 Madrugada15th Feb 2013 11:35:34 AM , Relationship Status: In season
Yes, if he was looking for it. A piece of wood and a stack of paper rolled into a tight bundle have a different density and profile, and would leave slightly different bruising patterns. Most likely, he'd say "Beaten to death with a blunt instrument. Yes, it could have been a bundle of paper like that one." Coroners generally don't get any more precise about "what, exactly, was used" unless they have to.

edited 15th Feb '13 11:36:13 AM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
Insert witty title here
It's just me, or in Japanese culture, playing the koto would be considered something feminine? Or I could be wrong?

edited 15th Feb '13 7:02:24 PM by risingdreamer

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~Russel Baker
Insert witty title here
I wonder how ridiculous is to have this villain who thinks life is a play, she's a scriptwriter and if there's no one to play a role, she creates an alter to play the part.

She has several, knows everything her alters know and with enough effort, can mess with their memories, but can't directly influence their actions.
Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~Russel Baker
6813 MrAHR16th Feb 2013 05:11:25 PM from ಠ_ಠ , Relationship Status: A cockroach, nothing can kill it.
Ahr river
I think it's a fascinating thing to do, considering I'm doing something similar meself. tongue
Does anyone know much or have resources on rural policing in the UK? While obviously not every minor village will have its own police station, what kind of support would they get?

Would it be unusual for the nearest police station to have a local outpost/office at a sufficiently remote village? And if so, how well staffed would it likely be? Or more specific to my use, how under-staffed could I get away with? Would it be at all odd for it to consist entirely of a constable manning the desk to handle minor day-to-day issues?

edited 16th Feb '13 6:09:13 PM by peasant

What's the best way to make your main character experience another character that changes the story? Think of a man seeing an alien or something like that. No communication, but shock or something.

Right now all I have is the main character seeing a figure in a shadow.
6816 ArsThaumaturgis18th Feb 2013 05:41:41 AM , Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
I imagine that it could be done in quite a variety of manners, depending primarily on the specifics of the revelation, such as what it is that is being revealed. Glamour Failure comes to mind, or a character revealing a device that looks to have no human origin. If the character never looks human, then preventing a face-to-face meeting until the revelation might be useful: make them a Voice with an Internet Connection, or He Who Must Not Be Seen, for example. You might even get away with having them surrounded by an entourage at every meeting, which might even allow for tantalising glimpses here and there.

If it's a new character, you could simply have them enter the room; if you want the encounter to be less direct or more ambiguous, trees might make for good cover, as might the glare reflected by snow, or a thick fog.

edited 18th Feb '13 5:43:17 AM by ArsThaumaturgis

A Door to the Mists: Traversal, exploration, puzzles, and combat in a heroic-fantasy setting
6817 fishsicles18th Feb 2013 09:02:20 AM from Down The Curtain , Relationship Status: Pining for the fjords
An Ex-Troper
Would there be anything in particularly notable about the appearance of a corpse that had just spent a few hours in hard vacuum?
Not nearly a good enough singer for the Choir Invisible, and the Basement Room With A Synth Invisible is much less prestigious.
6818 SeptimusHeap18th Feb 2013 09:04:29 AM from Laniakea , Relationship Status: Mu
That all the blood vessels would be inflated and the airways collapsed.
6819 MarqFJA18th Feb 2013 09:36:38 AM from Saudi Arabia , Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
One Vision, One Purpose
And the eyes and the nasal and oral cavaties would be completely dry.
Where there is Distress, therein lies a Story. Where there is a Story, therein lies a Will. Where there is a Will, therein lies a Soul.
Insert witty title here
How convenient is this: Emyd's father, Quair, was a magical researcher for an academy that taught magic, science and combat (focused mainly on science, though). Quair decided to study a world (Ar Ciel) with a very unique magic and took Emyd with him. Stayed there two years but left upon finding out said magic was Magic from Technology.

Forward three years. Emyd runs away from home, Quair is upset, of course. Unrelated to that, a scientist named Emeria decides to continue Quair's research in Ar Ciel.

Forward eight years, Emyd is back, Emeria's still researching Ar Ciel, Quair is happy his son is back but eventually goes missing. A friend of Emeria's decides to visit her in Ar Ciel and asks Demyx to act as a guide as he's familiar with said world.

Only to find out Emeria has also gone missing. They don't know that yet, but Quair and Emeria's disappareances are connected.
If someone wants information on how an animal died, do they call a vet? A coroner? A veterinary coroner?
I'd say I'm being refined

Into the web I descend

Killing those I've left behind

I have been Endarkened
6822 MorwenEdhelwen19th Feb 2013 03:27:14 AM from Sydney, Australia
Aussie Tolkien freak
In my Urban Fantasy "Middle Earth meets the 21st century" YA project, the heroine is a sort of Eowyn type with a dash of Aragorn, as she knows nothing about her family's real heritage, and has an English teacher who's kind of like Wormtongue and has a crush on her. What are some ways that a teacher could act inappropriately with a student?
The road goes ever on.
6823 Madrugada19th Feb 2013 07:03:22 AM , Relationship Status: In season
DA Student: a vet would be the best bet. There may be such things as Forensic Veterinarians, but I can't really imagine that there would be enough call for their services for anyone to have a practice dedicated to it. But the owners of expensive animals, like racehorses and show horses and such would probably want to know why their million-dollar critter died in the stall over night, or dropped dead on the racecourse.

edited 19th Feb '13 7:03:35 AM by Madrugada

...if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you for it.
What would be the short and long term effects of being knocked out from a car-crash for a day or so from a head injury, then not getting proper treatment for about a week. There is only minor bleeding in the main story, and the injury would happen to the very top of the head. Would the character have memory loss, or some other psychological problems?

Cuts, bruises, and any skull damage wouldn't matter past 7 days.
[up][up] I agree with Madrugada. Though, it's also important to bare in mind the mode of how an animal would typically die in the event of foul play. Namely, it would often be poison of some kind. As such, it would often fall to lab technicians who would run blood tests for the likely poisons. A regular veterinarian might get called in by the police to consult on the animal's symptoms prior to death to help narrow the search.

Otherwise, it would probably mostly fall to the physical evidence that the police find at the scene rather than on the the animal's remains itself.

P.S.: Anyone able to help about my question on rural policing in the UK? Specifically, what's the arrangement like for small, rural villages far away from a major town? Would they have their own on-site officers or would they have to rely on officers from the nearest town being called out to respond to a report/crime/incident?

edited 19th Feb '13 2:38:52 PM by peasant

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