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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

 7251 Sidewinder, Mon, 15th Apr '13 1:50:48 PM Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Sneaky Bastard
Could you field strip a bolt action rifle without the use of any major tools. How long would it take to do it. The rifle of late 19th century make, but no specific model.

Shadowed Philosopher
Well, from the etymology "field strip" I'd guess so.
Shinigan (Naruto fanfic)
 7253 Marq FJA, Mon, 15th Apr '13 4:17:24 PM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
Was "field stripping" a thing back then, though?
Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
 7254 Sabre's Edge, Mon, 15th Apr '13 4:48:54 PM from Project NAIL SPIKE
You should be able to. Late 19th-century bolt action rifles on the Mauser line were mostly designed to be disassembled and cleaned out without any special tools; as I understand it, the bolt is detachable immediately.
I might be that one witch who decides to flood the barrier with dimethylmercury.
@ Marq FJA

"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."

Sorry about misspelling it, but thanks, and what about Pavelov(na), is it an actual Russian name?
 7256 Sidewinder, Tue, 16th Apr '13 3:08:29 AM Relationship Status: Above such petty unnecessities
Sneaky Bastard
Found a video of someone stripping a Mosin–Nagant using only an old sock and a piece of wood (should make for amusing Noodle Implements). My problem was I saw a video of a gunsmith using a huge, specialized wrench to do his work, but apparently that fell outside the scope of 'field' stripping.

 7257 Marq FJA, Tue, 16th Apr '13 6:41:52 AM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
[up][up] "Pavelovna" is a patronym simply means "daughter of Pavel", which fits the standard Russian name structure of "given name + patronymic + family name". You can make a patronym out of any Russian name, by adding "-ovitch" (or "-evitch" for names ending in -y or a soft consonant) for sons and "-ovna" (or -evna, if it ends in -y or a soft consonant) for daughters. See here for more info.
Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
Do you guys write a rough draft of how you want a chapter of a story to go like, THEN polish it until it shines?

 7259 Marq FJA, Tue, 16th Apr '13 10:02:51 AM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
That would be one good approach, yes.
Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
 7260 Crystal Glacia, Tue, 16th Apr '13 10:23:33 AM from Cedarpointland
patience, young padawan
That seems to be the accepted approach.
Great men are forged in fire. It is the privilege of lesser men to light the flame.
 7261 Night, Tue, 16th Apr '13 1:12:34 PM from PSNS Intrepid Relationship Status: Drift compatible
Who you are does not matter.
I don't really do drafting.
"Let us look less to the sky to see what might fall; rather, let us look to each other...and rise."
 7262 d Roy, Tue, 16th Apr '13 5:26:12 PM Relationship Status: Hounds of love are hunting
I don't do it, but that sounds like a pretty good idea.

 7263 De Marquis, Wed, 17th Apr '13 5:01:41 AM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
The first thing I write is what I believe at the time to be the perfect, final draft of a scene, only later it turns out that it was only a really bad preliminary draft...
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
Do you guys conciously develop a theme for your stories or worlds, or do you let come naturally?
Let it come naturally.

 7266 d Roy, Wed, 17th Apr '13 6:48:55 PM Relationship Status: Hounds of love are hunting
Does anyone know any Eastern European countries that are currently under civil war or were until recently? Wikipedia doesn't really offer any clear answer.

Well, according to this wiki article the latest conflict would be the unrest in Kosovo, though that's not exactly a civil war.
 7268 Sabre's Edge, Wed, 17th Apr '13 7:08:08 PM from Project NAIL SPIKE
Former Yugoslavia. "Civil War" is one way to put it, though "general clusterfuck" is also acceptable.
I might be that one witch who decides to flood the barrier with dimethylmercury.
 7269 d Roy, Wed, 17th Apr '13 7:13:19 PM Relationship Status: Hounds of love are hunting
Kosovo, Yugoslavia, both sounds useful for my research. Thanks.

If you're still interested, consider looking up this Wikipedia article. Depends on how intensive a war you're looking for, the insurgencies there could meet your needs; the most infamous of the conflicts probably being Chechnya.
 7271 Ars Thaumaturgis, Fri, 19th Apr '13 9:59:18 AM Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
I'd like to check that I have the right name for something.

I'm describing a piece of jewellery, a large, heavy item of more-or-less solid construction that rests on the shoulders, sweeps down the chest and, to a lesser extent, down the back. I imagine that it would be put on and taken off by lifting over the head. It's similar to items that I seem to recall seeing in ancient Egyptian dress, similar to these; some of these "ancient Egyptian aegises" look as thought they may be something like what I'm after, but the angles presented leave me uncertain.

The best name that my searching has thus far turned up is "gorget". I'm more familiar with the term being applied to a piece of armour, and the closest ornamental items that I've found to what I'm describing look pretty much like fancy versions of the armour, which leaves me rather uncertain of using it for the item that I'm describing.

Does anyone have a better word for this, or confirmation that "gorget" applied properly here, please?

 7272 Madrugada, Fri, 19th Apr '13 10:50:30 AM Relationship Status: In season
No, gorget really doesn't fit what you're describing; originally it was a collar that did not extend down onto the chest, then it became a collar with a plate or plates that did extend onto the chest, and now, it's most often used (outside of a historical context) to refer to only the decorative plate — the collar is gone.

You could use the Egyptian term, "usekh", or the Byzantine term "superhumeral". This is a clear image of an Imperial Byzantine superhumeral -- the collar that drapes down over the woman's shoulders and chest. It extends down over her back the same way.

edited 19th Apr '13 10:51:57 AM by Madrugada

'He strutted across the bedroom, his hard manhood pointing the way' sounds like he owns a badly named seeing-eye dog. 'Sit, Hard Manhood!
 7273 Marq FJA, Fri, 19th Apr '13 4:02:39 PM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
What Elemental Powers would be appropiate as natural affinities for magic-using vampires? And which would probably be completely off-limits for being anathema to the vampire condition? For example, how would it make sense for a vampire warlock to wield fire-elemental spells, if the setting's vampires suffer from a mystical vulnerability to fire?
Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
 7274 Killer Clowns, Fri, 19th Apr '13 4:05:09 PM from the Midwest
Easily entertained
[up]Water and ice seem logical and can be conveniently paired: water for its connection to blood, and ice because Evil Is Deathly Cold.

As for a vampire warlock wielding an element to which vampires are vulnerable: if the vulnerability is merely practical and scientific (e.g. dried corpses burn fast), it actually makes a great deal of sense to learn to use magic that can help you incinerate the competition. But if the vulnerability stems from a metaphysical or mystical source (e.g. fire is related to the dreaded sun), then it stands to reason a vampric warlock would struggle to wield such, or do so only in a corrupted form.

edited 19th Apr '13 4:10:06 PM by KillerClowns

 7275 Ars Thaumaturgis, Fri, 19th Apr '13 4:29:49 PM Relationship Status: I've been dreaming of True Love's Kiss
[up][up][up] Ah, thank you. I was afraid that it was something like that, and am a little concerned about those names meaning little to readers (the Egyptian name especially). I'll think on it, but I may end up simply describing the thing and having done with it.

Thank you for the help! ^_^

[up][up], [up] Actually, I'd be inclined to give vampires difficulty in learning water-magic, given the traditional trouble that such creatures could have in crossing running water.

They might, however, use it as Killer Clowns suggests, in corrupted form: they have power over stagnant water, and vampire mages can force running water to stagnate, both in order to harm others (via disease or drought) and in order to allow them to cross.

(Of course, your vampires may not have the "crossing running water" weakness, but I still think that pure, vital running water seems ill-suited to vampires.)

As to affinities, I'd suggest earth (death, stagnancy, the grave), and perhaps echo Killer Clowns in suggesting "cold". The corrupted water magic suggested above might work by forcing water magic to behave as earth magic, twisting it away from its true nature.

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