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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!

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

Seeking for Light
Technically, ellipses are supposed to have spaces between the periods as well . . . like so, in which case having a space before and after makes sense (because this. . .just looks weird). However, almost no one seems to put the full spacing in nowadays, which leaves it rather up in the air about the spaces before and after. I generally either include all spaces (like . . . this) or omit all spaces but the final one (like... this—not having that final space looks odd to me, like I accidentally mushed the words together).

edited 22nd Apr '13 10:39:15 AM by Nocturna

 7302 demarquis, Mon, 22nd Apr '13 10:40:18 AM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
I've never seen elipses used any other way (than your second example).
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 7303 Crystal Glacia, Mon, 22nd Apr '13 10:42:05 AM from Cedarpointland
patience, young padawan
[up][up] Yeah, that's what I usually do, putting a space after ellipses and dashes. No English teacher or grammar textbook I've had has said anything about spacing with regards to those things.

edited 22nd Apr '13 10:42:23 AM by CrystalGlacia

"Well, I bet Casey doesn't have bad dreams." "Ripley... she doesn't have bad dreams because she's just a piece of plastic."
I think the spacing in between ellipses was a hold over from the early days of typewriters, like how you're supposedly supposed to put two spaces after a sentence. It's no longer necessary now because electronic fonts have much better kerning.

My story features teen characters. And naturally, teens swear. At the same time, I'm trying to avoid using "fuck", "shit" and "bullshit" as they feel - at least, in my mind - a little too offensive. At the moment, I'm debating between "ball sacks" and "fiddlesticks" as a character's cuss-of-choice.

Which one sounds better? Be it for imaginativeness, sounding funnier, or whatever?

edited 22nd Apr '13 2:11:07 PM by peasant

 
Balls sack. Just my personal opinion. Fiddlesticks sounds like a granny or one of those awkward teens that wants to curse but knows they can't.

I'm doing a webcomic that originally involved two main characters who operated starship in a space opera setting. Now, however I'm thinking of just focusing on one character because the other one isn't really developed past a simple back story. The problem is, the character I do have is highly-introverted and far from noble, and this other character was supposed to balance that out. Should I try and develop this other character, or should I just focus on the one I've got a clear picture of?

[up] Asshole and bastard are also good mid-level swears, used them all the time when I was in middle school.

edited 22nd Apr '13 11:23:34 PM by Ludlow

 
 7308 Morwen Edhelwen, Wed, 24th Apr '13 7:25:44 PM from Sydney, Australia
Tolkien freak
If someone had a nose pin since they were a baby, would it be possible for the area around their piercing to hurt in the cold?

edited 24th Apr '13 7:26:26 PM by MorwenEdhelwen

The road goes ever on. -Tolkien
Cheesus!
@Ludlow: I don't see why you'd need a balance character. Having a flawed protag is good, it opens up for development.

 7310 Marq FJA, Sat, 27th Apr '13 12:43:00 PM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
I'm working on designing a Standard Evil Organization Squad that consists of embodiments of the Seven Deadly Sinsnote , with the caveat that each one's signature Sin ties directly into their main role within the group, their personal way of fighting, and their appearance. I'm open for tips on how to portray that effectively, and especially would like suggestions on alternate facets of the Sins to avoid simply mimicking their most common and rather uncreative stereotypical depictions.

Wrath seems the easiest out of the bunch: A frenzied powerhouse drunk on Unstoppable Rage and battle lust, who alternates between close-quarters brawling and heavy firepower, with a rather obsessive love for all forms of violence, setting things on fire, and blowing stuff up. The Wrath of Fullmetal Alchemist, however, shows an interesting depiction of this sin.

Pride is obviously going to be the leader of the gang, The Dragon (perhaps even a Dragon-in-Chief and/or a Dragon with an Agenda) to whoever is the Big Bad they're serving, and the one with the biggest ego and force of will. Other than that, however, I'm not sure if I should make him a Jack of All Stats or a Lightning Bruiser who is a better, stronger fighter than any of the rest.

However, I find myself stumped when it comes to doing more than just personality/behavioral traits for Lust, Envy, Sloth/Acedie, Greed, and Gluttony. It is these that I need the most help with.

PS: This also ties in to a Kung-Fu Wizard-type villain in a different story who has multiple One-Winged Angel forms themed around the Seven Deadly Sins (sort of a Swiss Army Villain; compare Swiss Army Hero).

edited 27th Apr '13 1:28:16 PM by MarqFJA

Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
Cheesus!
Wrath: An Idiot Hero? As I see it, it isn't so much about violence as it's about "extreme emotions trumping logical thinking".

Lust: Extreme passion for something, using all means possible to reach it. A Blood Knight would fit nicely here, as in bloodlust.

Pride: Valuing individuality and sense of self. A leader that's democratic and tries to lead the team not through force, but faith in his talent.

Sloth: Apathy and selfishness. A Psycho for Hire who joins whatever side that can satisfy his wishes.

That's all I got.

 7312 Noaqiyeum, Sat, 27th Apr '13 10:14:48 PM from across the gulf of space Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
Sloth also stands in for despair and hopelessness. I can see an easily-influenced Nieztsche Wannabe in that role... which is not exclusive with a Psycho for Hire, per se.
D•R•Y•H
O•E•O•E
N•S•U•A
T•T•R•D
 7313 Sharur, Sat, 27th Apr '13 11:24:02 PM Relationship Status: RelationshipOutOfBoundsException: 1
@Marq: Well, I have to say that I like this concept, as well as your decision to not necessarily use the standard ideas. Here's what I have off the top of my head:

Pride: Yes, the leader of the group, due to diabolic TheParagonAlwaysRebels connotations. However, the name of the vice was originally "vainglory", so I think it should be more of a Master of None, with his/her threat coming from the others, which he or she should control(i.e. more than just command, some kind of compulsion). Alternatively, a Chessmaster, but with no means to put plans into action directly him or herself. For bonus points in either case, Pride should think him or herself a Jack-of-All-Stats. Appearance-wise, probably a dandy or fashionista, depending on gender. Pride is traditionally depicted as male.

Wrath: I feel there are only three ways to go about this:
  1. 1) wrath equals anger, and the described flaming bloodknight. #2 wrath doesn't equal anger, and is more akin to long standing hatred and malice, for which FMA's Wrath is an example. If you go this route, I personally suggest something like Grima Wormtongue, of the Lord of the Rings, perhaps with a poison motif/abilities/skills. If #3) A melding of the of the above two ideas. If it's a magic setting, I would suggest a volcanic-themed ability set, initially using smoke/poison gas and then erupting into fire and lava. I would consider this character more of a sadist than a Bloodknight, thinking ahead, spliting up the heroes, and reveling more in killing and crushing than in fighting. Or in otherwords, a Bloodknight wants a challenge, #3 wants a Curb-Stomp Battle.

As for appearance, in either #1 or #3 something themed like a (or an actual) military combat uniform of your setting(e.g. chainmail for a medieval setting, camouflage fatigues if a "modern" setting, power armor for future settings, etc.) Wrath is traditionally depicted as male.

Lust: I agree with Sunember that if Wrath isn't a bloodknight, than Lust should be one, and be subject to the OrgasmicCombat trope. In either case, I think Lust should be emotionally and "tactically" manipulative (e.g. causing people to abandon the plan, leave cover, charge and break the defensive formation, etc.). If you have magic (or sufficient techno-babble) in your setting, then Lust should emotion-influencing and inducing powers, pheromones, hormones, etc. If not, (or you have to many "castors") then use plain old psychology and seduction.

I feel that Lust and Wrath should have some kind of connection, mirroring the InterplayOfSexAndViolence trope, or the face of Helen of Troy launching a thousand ships. Appearance-wise, a female Lust should probably wear either a Stripperiffic outfit or a ChainMailBikini depending on wither or not she is a Bloodknight. A male Lust should be either a WalkingShirtlessScene or dressed like a Casanova, (and I have no idea what the latter would look like). Lust is traditionally depicted as female.

Envy: I would think that Envy should be either be based around mimicry or illusion/disguise (or shape-shifting, to achieve on or both of the former), with former being focused on him/herself. Other skills include (group) infiltration, acting, impersonation and possibly assassination and identity theft. May either be excessively vain or have body/identity issues and hate their appearance.(See also, Vanity below)

  • If you're willing to go outside the scope of the traditional seven, you may want to make Vanity a seperate entity. In which case, Envy should focus mimicry, while vanity has illusion, but they should share the other skills. Appearance-wise, Vanity should be, well, extremely vain about their appearance: high quality clothes, jewelry, etc., while Envy is more subdued: Envy wants to change while Vain flaunts who they are. The two would definitely have a (probably antagonistic) relationship, and due to their skill match-up probably have to work together extensively. Funevil grin.

If you are willing do this extensively (and possibly get rid of the "7" iconography, although see below for combining Greed and Gluttony), Wrath could similarly be split up into Anger for the flaming Bloodknight (#1), and Malice as the more shadowy, poison-like counterpart (#2 or #3), will even the possibility of a third, Hate to fill the #3 slot, and the below Sloth can split into "lazy" and "despair/apathy" incarnations.

Greed: I feel that Greed should be about obtaining things, or holding on to them. So either extra/stretching limbs, teleportation (to steal things), gravity control(pulling only)/suction abilities, etc. (and yes this opens up the possibility of karmic death via grabing a "bomb" or equivalent). A non-magic setting should probably be thief-type character, or either the corporate/banker or sneak-in-and-grab-things variety. Appearance-wise either "thief clothing" of your setting, the aforementioned corporate wardrobe, or something that showcases their acquired wealth.

Gluttony: I don't feel that gluttony could be made distinct from greed as its specializing from the general money/things to the more specific food. Therefore I suggest merging it either into the above Greed or the "lazy" version of Sloth below. Appearance-wise is of course (traditionally) morbidly obese, possibly with food stains on their clothes, although you could invert this to make Gluttony, and/or whatever it is combined with, skin-and-bones thin, to show the "it gets no nourishment from all that it eats" theme. A possible character trait is to make Gluttony et. al cannibalistic, in a I'll eat anything manner, even people. Or an omnivore, but that's been done before, such as FMA.

Sloth: This can be done two ways, "lazy" style and "apathy/despair" style.

-Lazy: If their's magic in your setting, than lazy should be all about slowing/stoping his or her foes. Ice, gravity, timefreeze, etc. If there isn't magic, then Lazy Sloth should rely on (pre-planted) bombs, mines, and traps to dispatch foes. This version doesn't mind if they accomplish things, they just don't want to do work.

-Apathy/Despair: Either an ineffectual minion, or an OmnicidialManiac who wants to kill everything because its all doomed or nothing matters.

edited 27th Apr '13 11:48:37 PM by Sharur

"Do not be too eager to deal out Death in Judgment, for not even the very Wise can see all Ends." -JRR Tolkien
 7314 Sharur, Sat, 27th Apr '13 11:24:20 PM Relationship Status: RelationshipOutOfBoundsException: 1
Is using italicized text a good/commonly recognizable way of indicating the changing in tone/inflection/pitch/lilt/etc. (I don't know what the technical term is) that occurs (in English anyway) when someone is being sarcastic? How about using quotes?

For context, a female character who is new in the local metropolis, and a cleric of a minor deity in the panteon, has indebted the king of the city-state, who sends his personal guards to protect her in the city, and bring her to the palace to be rewarded. The guards sarcastically joke about her being added to the royal harem, while in reality (and these trusted guards know this, but female, point-of-view character does not) the king is a Chaste Hero, and the royal harem is a front for his adviser/spymaster and secret spy network. The king has arranged for the spy master to give the female character training on how to navigate and survive the vicious and sometimes lethal politics of the various clergies and temples jockeying for position. She is (unknowingly) in danger, as she is more or less the only member of her temple's clergy in the city, has all but no power or influence, but the king (who is not an idiot, but is VERY impulsive) has publicly announced his personal indebtedness to her, so she is considered a threat.

edited 27th Apr '13 11:46:54 PM by Sharur

"Do not be too eager to deal out Death in Judgment, for not even the very Wise can see all Ends." -JRR Tolkien
 7315 Marq FJA, Sun, 28th Apr '13 3:06:17 AM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
Wrath: An Idiot Hero?
We're talking about villains, here.

As I see it, it isn't so much about violence as it's about "extreme emotions trumping logical thinking".
That could be same of pretty much any of the other Sins.

Lust: Extreme passion for something, using all means possible to reach it. A Blood Knight would fit nicely here, as in bloodlust.
Passionate desire, you mean? Well, that risks overlap with Greed (desire for possessions) and Gluttony (desire for consumption). I think that's why Lust is almost always narrowed down to "Desire for Pleasure" (though the better depictions don't limit it to sexual pleasure; wearing extravagantly comfortable and soft silk clothes can count as an expression of Lust, for example).

Pride: Valuing individuality and sense of self. A leader that's democratic and tries to lead the team not through force, but faith in his talent.
Said talent being a silver tongue, for example?

Sloth: Apathy and selfishness. A Psycho for Hire who joins whatever side that can satisfy his wishes.
That Psycho for Hire sounds more like an embodiment of Wrath than of Sloth.

However, the name of the vice was originally "vainglory"
Actually, "Vainglory" (vanagloria) was a predecessor to "Pride" (superbia), and was folded into Pride as one form of it, which makes sense.

#2 wrath doesn't equal anger, and is more akin to long standing hatred and malice, for which FMA's Wrath is an example.
Really? I haven't read the manga or watched the anime yet, so I can't tell, but from what I've seen of his profile, nothing pegs him as such.

If you go this route, I personally suggest something like Grima Wormtongue, of the Lord of the Rings, perhaps with a poison motif/abilities/skills.
Grima Wormtongue seems like a fit for Envy, actually.

I agree with Sunember that if Wrath isn't a bloodknight, than Lust should be one, and be subject to the Orgasmic Combat trope.
Are you sure you're not looking for Combat Sadomasochist instead of Blood Knight here?

I don't feel that gluttony could be made distinct from greed as its specializing from the general money/things to the more specific food.
Gluttony does cover more than food; it's Desire for Excess (Consumption), after all, and that extends to drugs and any form of addiction... and not necessarily ones that are taken orally, e.g. being hooked on an intravenously administered Psycho Serum.

-Lazy: If their's magic in your setting, than lazy should be all about slowing/stoping his or her foes. Ice, gravity, timefreeze, etc. If there isn't magic, then Lazy Sloth should rely on (pre-planted) bombs, mines, and traps to dispatch foes. This version doesn't mind if they accomplish things, they just don't want to do work.
So The Minion Master is a good choice for Sloth Embodied?

edited 28th Apr '13 3:06:29 AM by MarqFJA

Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
 7316 Noaqiyeum, Sun, 28th Apr '13 12:55:54 PM from across the gulf of space Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
the it-thingy
Actually, thinking about it, Grima Wormtongue would be a better association with Lust, I think. That is his motivation for betraying Theoden. And it would be a very unconventional interpretation, as well.
D•R•Y•H
O•E•O•E
N•S•U•A
T•T•R•D
 7317 Marq FJA, Sun, 28th Apr '13 2:26:40 PM from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
O' Allah, save Egypt
... Yeah, Grima is definitely Lust, and his physical unattractiveness actually works to support that by being appropiately fitting for his inner evil.
Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ ḥukm al-ʻaskar
 7318 matti 23, Wed, 1st May '13 5:21:01 AM from Australia
Matti23
Clashing FTL Drives

I'm just thinking up a sci fi story and was wondering if anyone could solve a problem I had. My Sci Fi universe has 2 different types of FTL drive, a Warp Drive and a Wormhole Drive. The longer the wormhole drive is active the longer your jumps. It creates a tunnel that gets longer and longer and the universe of the story is represented as kind of "spherical bubble" so you can imagine the tube being able to reach further and further. The Wormhole generator is carried within the starship and generates a spherical bubble that grows to encompass the spaceship. The warp drive immediately starts moving you in a given direction by distorting space.

I was wondering how you could make it so that you couldn't just leave your wormhole drive on whilst travelling with the warp drive. This has caused a problem because now the heroes should be able to instantaneously wormhole out of a fight as soon as they meet trouble after "saving" up their wormhole drive. I try to give explanations that kind of make intuitive sense in a very general way eg. The warp jammer machine in the story unevenly induces distortion in the space around the enemy ship to prevent them getting the shape of space needed to warp. Hyperspace and subspace as places with different laws of physics do not exist in this story. You can travel deeper and more shallow to the bubble but the laws of physics are consistent everywhere. Psychic powers do not exist. Communication is by quantum entanglement.

The power limitation explanation doesn't work as the story covers many generations of a exponentially growing civ and they go from having 1/100 of the galaxy to 3 galaxy clusters under their control and millions of dyson swarms per galaxy. This is a pretty hard problem and I was wondering if anyone could figure out the solution.

 7319 Septimus Heap, Wed, 1st May '13 5:25:27 AM from Muggio Valley, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Puʻu ʻŌʻō
Replied in the first topic you posted in.

 7320 De Marquis, Wed, 1st May '13 5:39:36 AM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
Well, the obvious solution is to suppose that the wormhole remains open, at both ends, while it's being used. That way, your opponent can always enter it behind you and continue the chase. If they can use their own wormhole device to power the tunnel, they don't have to worry about it collapsing on them.

Which makes me curious- what happens to a ship if the wormhole tunnel collapses on them while enroute?
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
 7321 Septimus Heap, Wed, 1st May '13 5:50:19 AM from Muggio Valley, Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
Puʻu ʻŌʻō
I suppose it's either split apart or kicked out in one of the wormhole outlets.

 7322 matti 23, Wed, 1st May '13 5:53:33 AM from Australia
Matti23
If the wormhole tunnel collapses then it pinches off in the middle or as close to the middle as possible. Stuff in the tunnel "resists" a collapse but if something is in the way the "elasticity" of space will pinch stuff off. Everything in the tunnel then gets pushed to either end. If something is at the other end then they get pushed together. Many objects get crushed under the sheer force from the "elasticity" of space time and the collapsing tunnel. If an object is somehow able to be held in place blocking the exit and neither object is compacted sufficiently then space will be held in a distorted shape until the objects clear the location. The area will have a partial bind ended wormhole with an object wedged in it.

edited 1st May '13 5:56:23 AM by matti23

 7323 demarquis, Wed, 1st May '13 7:27:35 AM from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
It sounds like it shouldnt be that tough for someone to escape from a collapsing wormhole, then. In which case, it makes good sense to chase the heroes into the wormhole they just created, greatly reducing it's utility as an escape route.

Problem solved?
“Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”
Cheesus!
Or the warp drive greatly distorts the wormhole itself, making it easier to collapse, thus making travelling with both drives on too dangerous.

 7325 d Roy, Wed, 1st May '13 9:07:55 AM Relationship Status: Hounds of love are hunting
So, I am a writing a novel set on Constructed World, but the main setting is a nation that resembles current America and the British Empire, while the the town where everything happens is a miniature Australia, what with being founded by convicts and filled with dangerous wildlife.

In a setting like this, how much sense would it make that out of 6 core characters, 3 of them are former commandos? The said characters' current jobs are; police officer, attorney, and a nurse.

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