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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

Yomegami Sanely Insane from Out of Nowhere
Sanely Insane
May 7th 2019 at 4:20:27 PM

What sort of geographical effects would a large flood have?

By "large," I'm talking something a little under The Great Flood levels; enough to flood large areas of the land, but not everything.

Nukeli The Master Of Fright & A Demon Of Light from A Dark Planet Lit By No Sun Relationship Status: Showing feelings of an almost human nature
The Master Of Fright & A Demon Of Light
May 7th 2019 at 10:10:52 PM

[up] Plants would rot and die, and soil, sand, rocks of every size, etc. Would slide downhill. Depends on if the water rises/crashes in slowly or very fast

~ Two names in Archive Of Our Own: Nukeli & Roverlord ~ (Should've created the account as 'Roverlord', because it seems i can't change my name
Andermann Relationship Status: Desperate
May 8th 2019 at 8:13:15 AM

What's the difference between Speed, Agility and Dexterity in term of stats?

To my knowledge, speed is the overall movement speed, agility is the ability to maneuver, and dexterity is the ability to perform tasks with precision.

I'm afraid to write, but I like to imagine.
Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
May 8th 2019 at 9:13:48 AM

Again with the vague questions. Those terms mean whatever the system using them wants them to mean. It's as simple as that.

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DeMarquis Who Am I? from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
May 8th 2019 at 11:29:12 AM

A single event flood, or a periodic one?

I do not compromise—I synthesize.
Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
May 8th 2019 at 11:50:30 AM

Any large scale movement of water causes erosion (well, any movement at all, but we're talking floods specifically). The major questions then become: where is this water coming from, and where is it flowing to?

If it's in the form of rainfall, then it would initially follow the paths of existing waterways before overflowing them and climbing up over the landscape. You can look at the effects of previous flooding events for what this would do. As the waters rise, man-made structures and vehicles would be washed away in greater numbers, all following the quickest path to the oceans. Topsoil erosion would occur, with vast quantities of mud carried along by the waters. Expect significant loss of plant life, and the mass drowning of animal life. When the waters finally recede, you'd see a landscape reshaped by the movement of all that topsoil. Rivers could change course, new hills could form, old hills could be removed. The general geological structure of the landscape wouldn't change much, but new layers of sedimentary rock would form from all the transplanted material. We can identify and track ancient floods by examining such rock.

If it takes the form of sea level increase, then the water would rise inland from the oceans, washing in and out with the tides to sweep plants, buildings, and soil away. Imagine the land being scoured by a scrub brush repeatedly. You can see the kinds of damage this causes in the aftereffects of major hurricanes and tsunamis. Depending on what's causing the flooding, the water could recede or not. Arctic warming causes permanent sea level rise, whereas tsunamis and hurricanes are temporary.

Note that, unless you are adding water to the world via some sort of phlebotinum (magic, science, acts of God), all of this would have to come from somewhere. If it rains for forty days and nights, that water can't just spontaneously appear. Many things can cause this sort of catastrophic rain event, but some of the most popular candidates are large meteor impacts in the ocean that throw up vast quantities of water into the atmosphere. These could also have tectonic effects (earthquakes, tsunamis). As the planet warms (due to anthropogenic climate change or more natural causes), you would see a combination of glacial melt causing sea levels to rise and more energy in the atmosphere overall, accelerating the water cycle and driving heavier rains across the entire planet.

Edited by Fighteer on May 8th 2019 at 6:42:29 AM

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SeptimusHeap from Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
May 8th 2019 at 12:04:49 PM

A large flood would also leave noticeable deposits such as giant ripples that look like dunes and hills, debris such as far-flung rocks and sea animals, deeply cut valleys and fan-like deltas where water was channelled and slowed down and lakes in closed depressions.

A lot depends on how large scale the flood is, what your world looks like and how long it lasts.

PresidentStalkeyes 'Tyanut'sya k nebu...' from Novosibirsk Station
'Tyanut'sya k nebu...'
May 8th 2019 at 2:47:28 PM

Not sure if this is the right place to ask, but does anyone know any examples of a futuristic/sci-fi Native American society in fiction? Something like a First Nations equivalent of Wakanda. I know the Modern Mayincatec Empire trope exists, but as the name suggests that only covers Pre-Columbian Civilizations from Central America - I was thinking more along the lines of the Pacific Northwest.

For context, I'm developing this sci-fi setting featuring an interstellar human civilization, and in the 'outer systems' most colonies were formed independently of each other by wildly different groups, often those considered marginalized elsewhere. One such colony is populated predominantly by people of Native descent (particularly the Kwakwaka'wakw, Haida, and Coast Salish), who crashed there in a colony ship sent from Earth over 100 years beforehandnote . They dismantled what remained of the ship and repurposed the tech on board to build a functioning settlement, and remained isolated there for the best part of a century before humanity at large eventually arrived at the system.

Given that history, I'd reckon they'd have a lot in common with Wakanda, minus the having to stay hidden from wider society part, and in terms of tech levels they're not any more advanced than anyone else in the setting, but that's still far more advanced than where we are in reality.

Edited by PresidentStalkeyes on May 8th 2019 at 2:46:00 PM

Space Russian Cyborg Clone Agent Ladies With Electric Knuckle Cannons? [Art by Spunky]
Yomegami Sanely Insane from Out of Nowhere
Sanely Insane
May 8th 2019 at 3:01:35 PM

The flood in question was a one-time event that swallowed up a good part of a region; while it didn't completely drown all the land, it covered enough to nearly wipe out the local civilization. What I'm currently thinking happened was that it burst forth from one central location, like a tsunami, and then rushed towards the lower parts of the land/towards the sea, as water is wont to do.

Something I probably should have mentioned was that this event took place long before the story proper begins; somewhere in the range of a thousand years. So I was more looking for the effects on the shape of the land, as chances are a lot of the other effects would have faded due to the passage of time.

As far as that is concerned Fighteer and Septimus answered my question fairly well. Thank you very much!

Sadly I don't have an answer for [up].

MarqFJA Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus from Saudi Arabia Relationship Status: Shipping fictional characters
Fiat justitia, et pereat mundus
May 8th 2019 at 6:29:49 PM

What's the difference between Speed, Agility and Dexterity in term of stats?

To my knowledge, speed is the overall movement speed, agility is the ability to maneuver, and dexterity is the ability to perform tasks with precision.

Those are the specific meanings of each of these word when not synonymized with each other, yes.

Again with the vague questions. Those terms mean whatever the system using them wants them to mean. It's as simple as that.
Come on, man, it's obvious that the question more or less amounts to "how do I differentiate between these three terms if I want to use them as separate stats?" It could've been worded better, admittedly, but passive-aggressive cold shoulder-ing isn't the appropiate response either unless he's been deliberately drowning the thread with unnecessary vagueness despite being advised against doing so.

Edited by MarqFJA on May 8th 2019 at 4:32:04 PM

When we are crushing the black hearts of our oppressors, we will find our hands blackened.
Fighteer Geronimo! from the Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Geronimo!
May 8th 2019 at 7:34:38 PM

[up] Which he has been doing.

it burst forth from one central location, like a tsunami, and then rushed towards the lower parts of the land/towards the sea, as water is wont to do.

Now I'm really curious as to how this came about. Was there some sort of reservoir that failed, like an inland sea or lake, or an unbelievably massive aquifer contained within the geological structure of a plateau? You can also get large-scale flooding with snowmelt, but it would have to happen very rapidly. An ice comet impact might do the trick, although it would require extremely specific conditions.

Magic could do it, like if someone left a portal to the Elemental Plane of Water open for too long, but I find that less interesting.

Edited by Fighteer on May 8th 2019 at 10:41:35 AM

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SeptimusHeap from Switzerland Relationship Status: Mu
May 9th 2019 at 1:00:59 AM

For the record, the things I mentioned in my last post can persist for many thousands of years - when the last ice age ended between 14,000 - 11,000 years ago large floods in many parts of Earth left all these traces and they are still recognizable today. These floods were often caused by the breakout of lakes that has formed due to climate change (the "Bonneville Flood" in the western United States) or lakes impounded behind retreating glaciers (the "Missoula Floods" or the final draining of Lake Agassiz 8,200 years ago, for example). So if your country had some large central lake or sea, a major impact event or volcanic eruption might have the effects you desire.

If it's a small country downstream of a large lake, a minor earthquake, erosion or any other thing that can breach the lake down to its floor might do the work. Finally, meltwater accumulating below an ice sheet could also cause a major flood - Iceland has seen some of these during its history.

I also missed one thing - if parts of the land stay emergent and the climate is sufficiently dry, shoreline deposits ("bathub rings") will form.

Edited by SeptimusHeap on May 9th 2019 at 10:06:20 AM

Yomegami Sanely Insane from Out of Nowhere
Sanely Insane
May 9th 2019 at 3:25:50 PM

It was the act of a particularly angered and desperate goddess; all the water emerged from her temple in one big wave. I guess a comparison to a meteor impact into the ocean would be the most accurate way of describing the wave, or possibly Moses parting the Red Sea if he parted it in a circular radius around him rather than just to the left and right.

DeMarquis Who Am I? from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
May 9th 2019 at 5:26:46 PM

There's a neat little puzzle for future geologists.

I do not compromise—I synthesize.
AdeptGaderius Will Smith Fish from Antillia Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Will Smith Fish
May 9th 2019 at 10:40:22 PM

Is it inappropriate to write horror stories aimed at children that are genuinely terrifying and contains dark themes?

C105 Too old for this from France Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Too old for this
May 10th 2019 at 1:11:33 AM

Depends what you consider being genuinely terrifying and dark themes... Especially since children may not have the same concepts of dark and terrifying as adults.

On the top of my head, for instance, would Neil Gaiman's Coraline correspond to what you have in mind, or are you thinking of something darker?

Whatever your favourite story is, there is always a vocal majority of the fandom who considers it Worst Story Ever.
Andermann Relationship Status: Desperate
May 10th 2019 at 4:48:11 AM

Are you thinking of gore or full on body horror?

I'm afraid to write, but I like to imagine.
AdeptGaderius Will Smith Fish from Antillia Relationship Status: Barbecuing
Will Smith Fish
May 10th 2019 at 4:19:16 PM

To C105: I'm writing a horror short story collection aimed at children. The stories isn't delightfully scary or 'just a little scary' story, it's basically pure terror. Think it of the lines of Gen Urobuchi or Stephen King.

The definition of dark themes for example, murder, reanimation of the dead and dark side of human nature while the definition of genuinely terrifying is psychologically disturbing and experiencing a state of true fear.

I've completed five short stories, and here's the basic dark themes each story deals with:

  • An uninvited guest.
  • A half-human girl.
  • A cursed email.
  • An abused girl with strange powers and talking toys.
  • An alien invasion.

To Andermann: It's not gory or full-out Body Horror except the second story. Instead, it relies on suspense.

DeMarquis Who Am I? from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
May 10th 2019 at 8:01:12 PM

"Themes" do not bother kids (or adults either, for that matter). Execution is what bothers people (if they become bothered). For children, the style of writing is everything. Recall that in Bambi, the protagonist's mother is shot to death on screen. It's ok, because it's handled with sensitivity, and in a way that helped children understand what was happening and feel that they could deal with it. Mr. Rogers introduced all sorts of mature concepts on his children's show- including death, disability, divorce, and other things. I would say that as long as the child protagonist overcomes the horror by the end of the story, in a manner that contributes to the developing understanding of the child reader, it's probably ok.

I do not compromise—I synthesize.
ThriceCharming The Suce Is Loose from Texas Relationship Status: Maxing my social links
The Suce Is Loose
May 10th 2019 at 8:56:21 PM

I'm trying to figure out a way to depict a fantasy kingdom with a roughly modern level of technology. Think the Mushroom Kingdom or Far Far Away from Shrek 2. I want to make sure it feels like a coherent place and not like an anachronism stew. Does anybody have any tips?

One thing it really needs to have is a big fairy tale palace, but I don't know if something like that would clash with things like roads and skyscrapers. I'm thinking of maybe giving it a public transit system like the metro in Washington DC, with most people aboveground moving around on foot, because cars + castle doesn't feel like a good combination.

What do y'all think?

Edited by ThriceCharming on May 10th 2019 at 9:57:55 AM

Check out Return to the Past, a Code Lyoko recap podcast by me and my friends!
PresidentStalkeyes 'Tyanut'sya k nebu...' from Novosibirsk Station
'Tyanut'sya k nebu...'
May 11th 2019 at 10:05:28 AM

Well, there's plenty of real towns and cities out there with castles or medieval-style structures in them, especially in Europe where a not-inconsiderate number of major cities have been around in some form since the middle ages.

Just look at, say, Canterbury, which has an old medieval wall right next to modern buildings and four-lane-wide roads; and that's not even mentioning the famous cathedral or the historic town centre, which is laid out with narrow medieval cobblestone streets that cars sometimes drive down - such a 'feel' can also be seen in places like Nice, Strasbourg, Amsterdam, Venice, Valencia, Budapest (the 'Buda' half, specifically), and probably countless other European cities I'm failing to mention - and there's even more examples outside Europe, such as Jerusalem Old Town. More generally, just about every capital city in Europe has antiquated architecture and classical monuments existing right alongside modern infrastructure.

With this in mind, I don't think it'd be a stretch for a big ol' palace to exist within the limits of a modern city, though they'd probably put all the skyscrapers in the central business district, far away from all the historic landmarks - Buckingham Palace is in the same city as Canary Wharf, but placed far enough apart that they don't clash. For an American example, you can see the same principle at work in Washington, DC, with all the big landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial or the Washington Monument surrounded by greenery so there's a great deal of space between them and the urban sprawl.

Space Russian Cyborg Clone Agent Ladies With Electric Knuckle Cannons? [Art by Spunky]
Millership from Kazakhstan
May 12th 2019 at 5:38:09 AM

I need to learn to emulate the writing style found in the Hardboiled Detective genre. Which books would be good examples of that?

Spiral out, keep going.
YourBloodyValentine from Italy
May 12th 2019 at 9:20:21 AM

All the classics of the genre, I would say: Chandler, Hammett, Mickey Spillane, Ross Macdonald, A.A. Fair, Chase. And some author who didn't write hardboiled novel, strictly speaking, but are very close to that world, such as Woolrich.

Edited by YourBloodyValentine on May 12th 2019 at 9:20:43 AM

Ominae Organized Canine Bureau Special Agent
Organized Canine Bureau Special Agent
May 14th 2019 at 12:13:33 AM

Does reddit have a page where one can discuss story ideas for writing own novels and stuff?

"Exit muna si Polgas. Ang kailangan dito ay si Dobermaxx!"
DeMarquis Who Am I? from Hell, USA Relationship Status: Buried in snow, waiting for spring
Who Am I?
May 14th 2019 at 11:22:57 AM

I dont know about reddit but I can definately recommend this site.

I do not compromise—I synthesize.

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