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Random Questions Thread:

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.

Please don't use this thread for open-ended questions that are likely to inspire/require extended conversation, or discussion. Make a dedicated thread for it, or use the most appropriate of the special interest threads linked below. Thank you.

Now, for any questions involving particular fields, here are the links to the appropriate threads, mostly at OTC, but also from Yack Fest and Troper Coven:

edited 8th May '14 2:40:56 PM by dRoy

 7151 Crystal Glacia, Mon, 1st Apr '13 7:51:49 AM from Cedarpointland
patience, young padawan
Could emotional abuse and/or stressful situations cause a prepubescent child to start teething his toys a year or so after outgrowing the habit?
 7152 Madrugada, Mon, 1st Apr '13 7:59:37 AM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
Yes. Children react to ongoing stress with any of a number of responses; reverting to chewing on toys or thumbsucking after having stopped previously would not be unusual.
'He strutted across the bedroom, his hard manhood pointing the way' sounds like he owns a badly named seeing-eye dog. 'Sit, Hard Manhood!
 7153 Crystal Glacia, Mon, 1st Apr '13 8:01:18 AM from Cedarpointland
patience, young padawan
That's what I thought; just wanted to make sure it made sense. Thanks.
 7154 De Marquis, Mon, 1st Apr '13 9:26:16 AM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Au Contraire, Mad. There are many types of mystery genres that typically have extremely simple plots, examples are "locked room" mysteries, "cozies" and "noir". Most stories of those types have plots that conform to well established patterns, so much so that you can predict with fair certainty exactly how the story will end. That doesnt prevent them from being entertaining stories, the greater the skill of the writer, and the more interesting the characters, the better the story will be. That said, a plot should be exactly as complicated as telling the story requires, and no more.

edited 1st Apr '13 9:26:29 AM by DeMarquis

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
Cheesus!
I aimed to let the characters know they're in the world of a story, and deconstruct that situation.

I am still doing it, but tuning it down so that it's a bit more enjoyable, at least to me. Thanks guys. And I should probably cut down on my complexity addiction soon ><

edited 1st Apr '13 10:01:19 AM by sunember123

 7156 MCE, Mon, 1st Apr '13 12:32:49 PM from Elsewhere
Grin and tonic
Assuming some kind of advanced healing, what would be the most likely way a body would recover from full thickness (Third degree) burns? I'm assuming the skin would start to regrow underneath and gradually the burned skin would fall away.
Cheesus!
Well, first you need to disinfect the wound. Then the dead skin will form a barrier of sort protecting it. After it is removed, the skin'll regenerate. Again, I'm no doctor, so expect Critical Research Failure.

Dead flesh is an environment where microbes can thrive and is inferior to skin as far as barriers go. Since it gets in the way of growing cells and it'd be terrible for it to rot on your body and it might lead to systemic infection, it would normally be best to remove it. If small/shallow it can fall off on its own. (Er... if you want to research debridement, consider blocking images if you're easily nauseated.) In a modern world, the leftover wound would be treated with antibiotics if anti-infection magics aren't included in the advanced healing, since infection is a major risk factor with burns; this is a regular thing and not a one-time disinfection. If it's advanced science healing I'd expect a version of a skin graft, still, but something more superpower-like would probably follow typical magichealing procedures after that. You'd expect some flesh to fall away, I'd guess, but if there's a large amount you'd want to remove it surgically (unverified source indicates getting rid of dead flesh is one of the first steps in natural healing as well, it'd seem). Scar formation depends on the specifics of your magic/notmagic. With advanced healing superpowers it'd still be a good idea to have skin grafts if hospital-level care is available.

... I was going to link some videos but they're all pretty gross. Youtube does seem to have professionals talking about the burn recovery process, though.

edited 2nd Apr '13 10:41:18 AM by greedling

You will not go to space today.
 7159 MCE, Tue, 2nd Apr '13 2:13:12 PM from Elsewhere
Grin and tonic
[up] Related question, can extreme heat crack bones? The character I had in mind suffered multiple broken bones along with his burns.
I don't really know if that'd be a major issue but a quick google finds a bunch of papers on how thermal damage is an issue when drilling bone and stats like keeping bone at 50°C for 30 seconds will start causing necrosis, so I suspect that if the bone was subject to extreme heat, any physical cracks or breaks wouldn't be the thing anyone is most concerned about.

There seem to be experiments where intense dry heat applied to bone can make it brittle, but at that point the tissue surrounding the bone alongside the bone itself would probably all be dead and you're looking at amputation rather than worrying about splints and such. If the injuries are more important than the cause, I'd go with having blunt force trauma causing any fractures, or at least some sort of non-thermal physical stress.

edited 2nd Apr '13 3:12:49 PM by greedling

You will not go to space today.
[up][up] While somewhat nauseating, something to consider and/or bear in mind is what happens to meat when you cook them - especially with an open flame; such as a BBQ or a campfire. Often, even in the worst burnt foods (which should be well beyond the worst case scenario of a survivable/salvageable wound), the bone tends to remain largely intact. In fact, if you are really keen to be certain (as opposed to simply taking artistic license and doing what you want), you could quite easily buy a chicken drumstick, light a fire, stick the former into the latter, and check the results yourselves.

Yes. I just compared burning human flesh with BBQ chicken. You're welcome. grin

edited 2nd Apr '13 3:44:48 PM by peasant

 
Rather than nauseated that made me hungry. It's a good point though.
You will not go to space today.
YOU CANNIBAL!! evil grinevil grin

edited 2nd Apr '13 3:48:58 PM by peasant

 
 7164 risingdreamer, Tue, 2nd Apr '13 4:49:05 PM from Peixeroland
Insert witty title here
Character is a cheerful and friendly cellist on his twenties. What exactly could he be doing on a Noir setting?
Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~Russel Baker
 7165 Crystal Glacia, Tue, 2nd Apr '13 5:34:57 PM from Cedarpointland
patience, young padawan
Based on what you've given us to go on, what makes the most sense to me is that he plays cello as part of some sort of ensemble at a bar or nightclub- not everyone in a noir setting has to be a depressed cynic -but if you want something more helpful, we need more details than that. However, he may not play in a bar/nightclub ensemble for reasons that you haven't given us. You need to take a look at your character, get inside his head, and see if that makes sense for him. Why might he choose against such a career? You mention that he's a cellist, but that could just be a hobby or a holdover from his past; he might not see music as particularly lucrative and choose to do something else, still calling himself a cellist as part of a self-identity. But that's just me.

Remember: always try to come up with an answer yourself first, then ask questions. Learn to recognize what you can take liberties with and what needs research. Use everything you know about your own work, since at this point, you're the sole expert on your work, the world you've created, and its inhabitants within. We aren't. It is your story, your characters first and foremost.
 7166 De Marquis, Wed, 3rd Apr '13 6:04:06 AM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Cheerful characters in noir settings are generally there to be betrayed.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 7167 MCE, Wed, 3rd Apr '13 12:50:41 PM from Elsewhere
Grin and tonic
A cheerful character in a noir setting? That sounds like a person who would have their cheerfulness questioned but keep going. Perhaps they would gain loyal friends in the process. Imagine their upbeat attitude had kept a person from slipping into depression, now imagine that someone hurt them and what their friends would do to that person...

Also thanks for the burn question answers, for broken bones I might add a concussive blast competent, the guy does need to get thrown off a tall building and into another one anyway.
 7168 Madrugada, Wed, 3rd Apr '13 1:06:27 PM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
A noir setting is generally cynical, not unrelievedly bleak. Why on earth do you think that a noir setting can't have any cheerful characters?
'He strutted across the bedroom, his hard manhood pointing the way' sounds like he owns a badly named seeing-eye dog. 'Sit, Hard Manhood!
 7169 Morwen Edhelwen, Thu, 4th Apr '13 1:31:49 AM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
Would it be possible for someone's abusive foster mother to be nice to everyone except the kid and even treat the kid nicely, except when her temper flares and she turns abusive?
The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
 7170 Khantalas, Thu, 4th Apr '13 2:31:08 AM from ((Not actually a creepy adorable little girl.))
Creepy adorable little girl
It is entirely possible, I would say. It doesn't even have to be a foster mother.
"Be mine, dear big brother."
 7171 Morwen Edhelwen, Thu, 4th Apr '13 2:46:22 AM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
@Khantelas: Thanks.
The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
 7172 risingdreamer, Thu, 4th Apr '13 9:43:07 AM from Peixeroland
Insert witty title here
@Crystal Glacia - I really like your suggestions? Specially the one about playing the cello being a hobby. It's for a Noir RP with the characters we used in another text based roleplay (he's a cellist because it's an important part of his characterization in the other RP), and while I got the setting, I'm kind of slow to get things, sorry. But you also have a point about that.

@Madrugada - You're right, sorry.
Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it. ~Russel Baker
 7173 Madrugada, Thu, 4th Apr '13 9:54:03 AM Relationship Status: In season
Zzzzzzzzzz
No need to apologize. Just something to remember. It's easy to use thumbnail descriptions for styles and settings as "all there is to it." But most style and settings are as complicated as you want them to be.
'He strutted across the bedroom, his hard manhood pointing the way' sounds like he owns a badly named seeing-eye dog. 'Sit, Hard Manhood!
 7174 d Roy, Thu, 4th Apr '13 7:40:52 PM Relationship Status: Getting away with murder
What are some way to make a tall guy look shorter? I think slouching makes you look at least few inches shorter. The character in question is 6'4", and would it be possible to make him look somewhere around 5' 6"?

Seeking for Light
No. There's no way to get a guy that tall to look that short, at least not without getting into magic/techo-phlebotinum. I have a friend who's 6'4" and slouches because he doesn't like his height; at most it makes him appear around 6'0".

edited 4th Apr '13 9:24:35 PM by Nocturna

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