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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.

Here are links for special interest threads, mostly at OTC, but also from Yack Fest and Troper Coven.

Now, bring on the questions, baby!

edited 11th Sep '14 8:51:55 AM by dRoy

 7226 Killer Clowns, Fri, 12th Apr '13 2:04:16 PM from the Midwest
Easily entertained
@Last Hussar: No, and if I knew any I could ask, I would have already done so.

This would be a lot easier if I weren't so socially awkward in meatspace. No pun intended.
 7227 Noaqiyeum, Fri, 12th Apr '13 2:04:58 PM from across the gulf of space Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the iit-thiingy
Depending on how far away the explosion, the water tank, and the victim are, and whether the victim is most concerned by the flames, the debris, or the shockwave, it's probably a better idea to simply hide behind the water tank.

edited 12th Apr '13 2:05:51 PM by Noaqiyeum

tiinker, Tailor, hunter!!!, wwhaler
d0ct0r, L4WY3R, MUTANT, C)(I-EF
STRONGman, wEAKMAN, JoKeRmAn, Th8ef
 7228 Sabre's Edge, Fri, 12th Apr '13 2:09:29 PM from Her Majesty's Occult Service
Here's the thing about shockwaves, though: they don't transmit well through the water-air barrier. An underwater explosion is extremely deadly if you're also underwater, because water is a great transmitter of shock; at the same time, though, if you're above the surface, you're much safer so long as you're not directly above the waterspout that will form. The inverse is also true. If the blast originates above water, it won't be transmitted very well through the water itself.
I might be that one witch who decides to flood the barrier with dimethylmercury.
 7229 montmorencey, Fri, 12th Apr '13 2:10:45 PM from the quaint town of Grimm, Bismarck and Gauss
So...yeah.
To hide behind the water tank, he'd have to jump 15 meters onto solid ground. I think he's better off inside it.

Concerns are the explosion itself (since he doesn't know how large the blast radius will be), but also shrapnel and falling to his death when the building (and the attached plateau) comes down. As well as being burned by hot water from burst pipes, steam etc.

[up] Ah, that's what I wanted to know. So jumping into the water tank seems like a pretty decent choice?

edited 12th Apr '13 2:11:59 PM by montmorencey

Complicated - because simple is simply too simple.
 7230 m8e, Fri, 12th Apr '13 2:15:43 PM from Sweden Relationship Status: Wanna dance with somebody
[up]x4

You could check youtube, there is a lot of videos of animals being slaughered/butchered.

edited 12th Apr '13 2:18:15 PM by m8e

Carpe by all means diem, but not all diem are worth carpe.
You might have to miss half of tomorrow to catch the whole today.
 7231 Noaqiyeum, Fri, 12th Apr '13 2:37:56 PM from across the gulf of space Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the iit-thiingy
[up][up] Given that clarification about where he is: yes. :P
tiinker, Tailor, hunter!!!, wwhaler
d0ct0r, L4WY3R, MUTANT, C)(I-EF
STRONGman, wEAKMAN, JoKeRmAn, Th8ef
 7232 Sabre's Edge, Fri, 12th Apr '13 2:48:45 PM from Her Majesty's Occult Service
Probably. He's probably overrating the threat of the blast (well, unless it's threatening to blow him off the roof), though. If it were deadly enough to really threaten him at that distance, then in as-the-crow-flies terms it's powerful enough to shatter the water tank 15m away, that is if the shrapnel it generates doesn't already do so.

Blast works in funny ways, though; it can refract or reflect in unanticipated directions, so that's not a certainty. Shrapnel travels in more-or-less straight lines, or ballistic curves if you want to be exact, but it'll threaten someone much farther away than the blast will. If the blast doesn't blow out the tank after he drops into it, he might have been better off just dropping flat to his stomach. Of course, if it does shatter the tank, your protagonist will be faced with the novel experience of being washed out on a wave of shattered glass, but it's better than being pulped by overpressure.
I might be that one witch who decides to flood the barrier with dimethylmercury.
 7233 montmorencey, Fri, 12th Apr '13 2:56:54 PM from the quaint town of Grimm, Bismarck and Gauss
So...yeah.
Oh, I like that being washed out idea...I was thinking about how to get him out of there again dramatically. [lol]

But why glass?

I'll have to think about that one.

(Dropping flat on his stomach is not an option he'd go for, since he would be worried about the platform coming down, too. Not that he's be doing a dreadful lot of thinking in those couple of seconds he has to make his decision...)

edited 12th Apr '13 2:59:12 PM by montmorencey

Complicated - because simple is simply too simple.
 7234 De Marquis, Fri, 12th Apr '13 2:58:47 PM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
So, if I understand correctly, your character is on a platform 15 meters in the air, the explosion is originating from a point on the ground somewhere behind him, and there is a water tank flush with the surface of the ground 15 meters directly below him?

You really need to check the physics on this one. I think Sabres information may only apply if the shock wave has somewhere to go- that is, it will move through the air instead of being transferred to the water as long as there is more air for it to expand into. You're scenario involves a water tank entirely surrounded by the earth. I'm thinking the shockwave will transfer from the dirt to the water in the tank pretty effectively. However, he will be better protected from shrapnel.
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 7235 montmorencey, Fri, 12th Apr '13 3:00:13 PM from the quaint town of Grimm, Bismarck and Gauss
So...yeah.
No, it's all up in the air. The city is built on bleachers and platforms; the water tank is one level deeper than the one my character is currently on. Which is why falling is such a huge concern.

edited 12th Apr '13 3:01:20 PM by montmorencey

Complicated - because simple is simply too simple.
 7236 Sabre's Edge, Fri, 12th Apr '13 3:07:36 PM from Her Majesty's Occult Service
Oh, well, I'd assumed glass because when you said "water tank" I was envisioning this aquarium-like structure, conveniently placed. Iron- or steel-lined water tanks, now, those are typically cylindrical, usually laid parallel to the earth along their long axis, and you'd be pretty hard-pressed to find one that's deep enough for him to jump into without seriously injuring himself. Not to mention, they typically are sealed shut.
I might be that one witch who decides to flood the barrier with dimethylmercury.
 7237 montmorencey, Fri, 12th Apr '13 3:15:56 PM from the quaint town of Grimm, Bismarck and Gauss
So...yeah.
It's open in my setup for world and event related reasons. I haven't that one entirely figured out yet, tbh, but that's a world building issue. It's not very important how it's usually done IRL, since other world and I took some artistic license with the architecture. Part of that are huge water tanks that look like those cylindrical thingies you see a lot outside of factories that process something. I have no clue what they do there, I always imagined some of it must contain liquid.

edited 12th Apr '13 3:18:41 PM by montmorencey

Complicated - because simple is simply too simple.
 7238 Last Hussar, Fri, 12th Apr '13 5:44:09 PM from the place is here.
The time is now,
Clowns- it doesn't have to be socially - walk into a butcher's shop. A proper butcher will be better than a supermarket meat counter.

As it happens I know someone who rears pigs (though he takes them to be professionally slaughtered/butchered). I'll ask how long a large pig takes.
Do the job in front of you.
I need a drink
I've decided to try my hand at writing some original fairytales using some of the tropes and concepts found in the genre while adding a sense of scope and scale à la The Hobbit or Bone. One idea I have is for a story arc concerns a young girl with a blue cloak. I haven't quite worked out the particulars, but a jealous witch curses the girl's love and his brothers and turns them into a pack of wolves.

The witch issues a challenge to the girl in order to lift the curse; should she last three years without shedding a single tear, her love and his brothers will be free and given their human forms back. Similarities to tales such as The Six Swans aside, what I'm most worried about are the similarities people will inevitably draw to Little Red Riding Hood, what with the appearance of a well dressed heroine and wolves?

An alternative I have is to have the witch transform the love to a bear and have his brothers, believing that the bear as devoured their brother attempt to hunt him.

Should I be at all concerned?

Theres sex and death and human grime in monochrome for one thin dime and at least the trains all run on time but they dont go anywhere.
 7240 Crystal Glacia, Sat, 13th Apr '13 6:25:01 AM from Cedarpointland
patience, young padawan
I don't think so- readers should be able to recognize your thing and Little Red Riding Hood as distinct -but if it still worries you, you could look at your story and see if having the boys turn into another animal would alter it too much.
 7241 De Marquis, Sat, 13th Apr '13 10:25:15 AM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
You're unlikely to be able to avoid comparisons to some myth, since there are so many of them, and they cover practically every story conceivable. For instance, your second version is very similar to the myth of Callisto. I wouldn't worry about it, just put your own unique spin on it. People who are into this sort of thing will understand.

edited 13th Apr '13 10:26:14 AM by DeMarquis

“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 7242 Marq FJA, Sun, 14th Apr '13 3:07:41 PM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
Say, suppose that a Second Chinese Civil War ends with the modern PRC breaking into numerous splinter states, including the original PRC government as a Vestigial Empire. What possible splinter states could form up, and where in China would their capitals most likely be? Is a revived Imperial monarchy somewhere viable?

edited 14th Apr '13 3:07:55 PM by MarqFJA

Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
 7243 Sabre's Edge, Sun, 14th Apr '13 3:52:21 PM from Her Majesty's Occult Service
Hmm. That'd be uncertain, but traditionally the Yangtze and the Yellow Rivers were borders between states. The eastern seaboard is China's industrial and commercial powerhouse; Shanghai, Nanjing, Hong Kong, as well as the big manufactories inland, will be the centres of gravity. Of course, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia will be among the first to try to struggle free: their staying in China has historically been tied to Imperial strength in Beijing, and should the current dynasty weaken to that extent, they'll be among the first to (try to) leave.

The thing is, though, that historical Chinese warlords based their power off agriculture. Current China is an industrial country. That will throw a monkey wrench in any attempts to simulate things.
I might be that one witch who decides to flood the barrier with dimethylmercury.
 7244 Morwen Edhelwen, Sun, 14th Apr '13 4:49:16 PM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
Is anyone willing to be a beta reader for something I'm writing?
The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
 7245 Tera Chimera, Mon, 15th Apr '13 7:06:29 AM from somewhere out there
Cool Celtic Composition
Would it be possible for someone slightly stronger than average to pull a set of elevator doors apart, assuming the elevator was operating normally?
"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
If the elevator is operating normally, the doors will automatically open if there's any obstruction or (I think) if the actuating motors encounter high resistance. Though if the door is already closed, it may or may not be possible to get any purchase.
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
 7247 Sabre's Edge, Mon, 15th Apr '13 11:34:29 AM from Her Majesty's Occult Service
Most of what I've seen have two people prying open the door with crowbars. Maybe a single superpowered individual could do it, but don't bet on it; the make and age of the elevator would factor into things: a newer elevator with safety mechanisms might be easier to pry open than the default, as might an older elevator with worn-out machinery.
I might be that one witch who decides to flood the barrier with dimethylmercury.
Anyone know if "Maria Pavelovna Sidorva" is an acceptable name when writing fiction?
 
 7249 Noaqiyeum, Mon, 15th Apr '13 1:25:26 PM from across the gulf of space Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the iit-thiingy
Is there a reason it would not be? Such as, needing the reader to remember the entire thing?
tiinker, Tailor, hunter!!!, wwhaler
d0ct0r, L4WY3R, MUTANT, C)(I-EF
STRONGman, wEAKMAN, JoKeRmAn, Th8ef
 7250 Marq FJA, Mon, 15th Apr '13 1:28:29 PM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
I think he means grammatically, in which case... I only question the surname's construction. If the root is "Sidor", then it should be "Sidorova", as there is no "-v(a)" suffix for patronymics or surnames.
Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
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291 292 293 294 295 ... 452


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