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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.

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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

Fighteer Lost in Space from The Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Lost in Space
Jan 12th 2022 at 6:57:10 AM

You can design any scenario you like, so if the question is whether that is possible, the answer is of course yes. If the question is whether it is probable, the answer is not really. It depends a lot on the diligence of the soldiers, how much knowledge of the town the target has, and whether the town has specialized hiding spots such as hidden storm cellars.

In terms of localized manhunts, the most recent example to come readily to mind is the hunt for the Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, on April 19, 2013. He was localized to a 20-block area of Watertown, Massachusetts, and was found that same day by a resident.

"It's Occam's Shuriken! If the answer is elusive, never rule out ninjas!"
Swordofknowledge Swordofknowledge from I like it here... Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Swordofknowledge
Jan 12th 2022 at 7:10:06 AM

[up] @ fighteer:

Thanks for the detailed answer. Yes, I figured that it was a long shot where this was concerned but I wondered if there was any way to make it more likely that this could realistically happen lol.

In this case the soldiers are very dedicated to finding him and the target has a superficial knowledge of the town (he's read plans/layouts of the place but he's never been there before in his life)...but then again the soldiers aren't familiar with it either.

There are a lot of hiding spots like underground tunnels that connect buildings, emergency sunlight-proof spots for vampires, and other little natural nooks and crannies small towns have.

In terms of localized manhunts, the most recent example to come readily to mind is the hunt for the Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev

That's an interesting comparison. I hadn't thought about something like that, although in his case he was in a populated area and he was found by a civilian. In this case the citizens are either imprisoned or evacuated,so it's basically just him and a few other people in a large area to run around in.

"Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more terrible than the rack, more potent than the snake." —Edgar Wallace
C105 Too old for this from France Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Too old for this
Jan 12th 2022 at 7:15:12 AM

[up] The character not being familiar with the place is a big drawback in my view, because it is likely that whatever layout he got his hands on will also be available to the people searching him. Even if they are secret documents not easily found by his opponents, he will waste some time finding the hiding spots he has learned about, and if the search party is competent and well organised this is the kind of delay that can prove fatal. Things would be somewhat different if the character was very familiar with the place and got some time to plan his moves.

Whatever your favourite story is, there is always a vocal majority of the fandom who considers it Worst Story Ever.
Swordofknowledge Swordofknowledge from I like it here... Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Swordofknowledge
Jan 12th 2022 at 7:25:37 AM

[up] @ C105:

These are all very good points.

Even if they are secret documents not easily found by his opponents, he will waste some time finding the hiding spots he has learned about, and if the search party is competent and well organised this is the kind of delay that can prove fatal.

This is definitely the "weak point" of this whole setup; the documents he has aren't all secret although some are (the underground tunnels connecting buildings for example are not available to the public). He's had a long time to study them by this point, but that's a far cry for actually trying to find them in real time.

It may be that I will mix-and-match things, where he has to actually get into little skirmishes with the soldiers during the times he caught in the open while devoting most of his time to actually hiding, since he is massively outgunned.

The one thing I will add (that I didn't in the original question since it didn't seem relevant) is that he has been in this town for at least a few days by this point. The soldier attack is a complete shock and it definitely wasn't something he'd prepared for, but he has been in this place long enough to be at least somewhat cognizant of how it is setup.

Edited by Swordofknowledge on Jan 12th 2022 at 10:25:49 AM

"Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more terrible than the rack, more potent than the snake." —Edgar Wallace
Fighteer Lost in Space from The Time Vortex Relationship Status: Dancing with Captain Jack Harkness
Lost in Space
Jan 12th 2022 at 7:26:54 AM

It also depends a great deal on whether the soldiers know for a fact that he is in the town or are simply moving through it on a more general search. If they know he's there and want him badly enough, they can tear it down to its foundations.

Much also depends on whether they need him alive or dead. If dead, they can bring in explosives, collapse tunnels, and so on. If alive, they will have to be careful not to accidentally kill him, which is a substantial advantage.

I could see this turning into a super high-tension situation, with this guy initially succeeding at evading the soldiers but as they continue, his options get narrower and narrower, he's forced to take some down, until finally he's trapped with the absolute certainty of capture.

Edited by Fighteer on Jan 12th 2022 at 10:30:23 AM

"It's Occam's Shuriken! If the answer is elusive, never rule out ninjas!"
Altris from the Vortex Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
Jan 12th 2022 at 7:29:16 AM

It may be that I will mix-and-match things, where he has to actually get into little skirmishes with the soldiers during the times he caught in the open while devoting most of his time to actually hiding, since he is massively outgunned.

I think it depends on what kind of equipment these soldiers have. Do they just have guns, or do they have stuff like night vision goggles and radios? Also what Fighteer said: do they specifically know he's in the town?

Love is blind and should not be, justice is blind and should be, candy has no eyes and is delicious.
Swordofknowledge Swordofknowledge from I like it here... Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Swordofknowledge
Jan 12th 2022 at 7:36:31 AM

[up][up] @ Fighteer:

They definitely know he's there, worse they had a general idea of where he was when they first came in (he stupidly started this conflict standing on top of the tallest building in town where they could see him from their helicopters as they rode in).

If they know he's there and want him badly enough, they can tear it down to its foundations.

Do you mean literally or figuratively? They don't have large-scale explosives (well, they do but these people aren't equipped with them). They can however just start breaking things like doors and windows to make hiding harder I suppose.


[up] @ Altris:

They have night vision goggles, assault rifles, grenades, armor, and helicopters but and some radios. These guys have a limited form of telepathy so they don't really need the radios apart from the few who don't have this power. They have higher-tier equipment too, but it isn't present in this particular fight.

And yes, they definitely know he is in the town, just not where his exact location is.

"Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more terrible than the rack, more potent than the snake." —Edgar Wallace
C105 Too old for this from France Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Too old for this
Jan 12th 2022 at 7:41:33 AM

How small is the town? Are we talking about 20, 30 buildings or something larger? (I'm not always sure of what a small American town is compared to an European one)

Things are starting to look very grim for your character. Even if they can't collapse or bulldoze buildings they can try flushing him out with grenades and then methodically search the town. If there are 500 soldiers looking for him along with helicopters and night goggles, I'd say it's a matter of hours at best before he his found.

Edited by C105 on Jan 12th 2022 at 4:42:30 PM

Whatever your favourite story is, there is always a vocal majority of the fandom who considers it Worst Story Ever.
Swordofknowledge Swordofknowledge from I like it here... Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Swordofknowledge
Jan 12th 2022 at 7:54:26 AM

[up] @ C105:

The town is supposed to be around a little less than twenty buildings (it's basically a settlement/habitat built for use by the Mooks of one of my other villains and their families, but is now under my character's "control" so to speak.

Things are starting to look very grim for your character.

Yes they really are, aren't they [lol]. To be honest, this is intended to be the very worst situation imaginable, when all of his efforts are in danger of falling apart due to this surprise attack that he had no way of planning against. It's actually his final conflict as a protagonist so I wanted this to be back-against-the-wall and tense, just not impossible.

If there are 500 soldiers looking for him along with helicopters and night goggles, I'd say it's a matter of hours at best before he his found.

That is a little hopeful then. I just need him to be able to "hold out" until the sun sets and the vampires he's allied with can rescue him or at least clash with the soldiers. It's more a matter of staying alive until that point and keeping out of sight long enough to pass the time.

Edited by Swordofknowledge on Jan 12th 2022 at 10:55:42 AM

"Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more terrible than the rack, more potent than the snake." —Edgar Wallace
TitanJump Beast of Burden from the Grand Grail Relationship Status: Singularity
Beast of Burden
Jan 12th 2022 at 8:11:37 AM

Okay, everyone knows what a "burnout" is right?

If so, here it goes.

Question: Is it possible to get "burnout" (for example, by college-studies or a very stressful job) so badly that parts of your personality ends up incinerated and lost forever by it, to the point you become a completely different person when people who once knew you comes by to see if you are still alive or not?

Basically, becoming a metaphorical "phoenix" and enter the cycle of spiritual reincarnation while still being alive physically and not dying in every way first to do so completely.

Rule number one in life: Pursue, Persist and Prevail
Altris from the Vortex Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
Jan 12th 2022 at 8:25:08 AM

[up] That sounds more like a mental break. It's probably possible.

That is a little hopeful then. I just need him to be able to "hold out" until the sun sets and the vampires he's allied with can rescue him or at least clash with the soldiers. It's more a matter of staying alive until that point and keeping out of sight long enough to pass the time.

Sure, but you mentioned in the OP that this would be from noon to "sundown". When exactly is "sundown" in wherever this is taking place? (I'm vaguely aware it's in alternate-history 2008 United States, but given how big the country is that doesn't help much.)

Love is blind and should not be, justice is blind and should be, candy has no eyes and is delicious.
Swordofknowledge Swordofknowledge from I like it here... Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Swordofknowledge
Jan 12th 2022 at 8:46:38 AM

[up][up] @ Titan Jump:

Burnout tends to be more of a temporary thing, and while it can lead to severe depression that results in someone losing touch with large parts of themselves—from activities that they used to enjoy, to basic life skills—this tends to be remedied with removal from the situation and/or psychological aid and therapy.

I do know someone who changed dramatically after suffering from severe depression, but even then it's difficult to say how much of that was the depression itself and how much of that was just life changes in general naturally generating a shift in personality and interests.


[up] @ Altris:

In this case sundown would be around 6:30-7:00 at night, I think. This takes place in California on a fictional landmass off the coast. I'm not entirely sure how the sunrise/sunset works there, and how the seasons effect things to be honest.

So it would be around eight hours of dodging, hiding and occasionally fighting with minimal backup against 500 troops. Definitely the fight of his life and fitting for his personal Final Battle.

"Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more terrible than the rack, more potent than the snake." —Edgar Wallace
CrystalGlacia from at least we're not Detroit
Jan 12th 2022 at 8:57:05 AM

Don't have anything to add to the actual question(s), but you can use TimeAndDate.com's sun calculator to look up sun/moon times for any major world city on any day going back and forward twenty years. Give it the landmass's closest major city and look up the rough time of year, and you'll be able to at least see if you're significantly off.

Edited by CrystalGlacia on Jan 12th 2022 at 11:57:23 AM

"Jack, you have debauched my sloth."
C105 Too old for this from France Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Too old for this
Jan 12th 2022 at 8:58:57 AM

[up][up] Eight hours definitely seem too long to me given the setting and the opposing forces. I'd say something like 3-5 hours could be feasible (though no walk in the park) but eight really stretches it, especially if the soldiers don't mind whether they capture him dead or alive.

Edited by C105 on Jan 12th 2022 at 5:59:28 PM

Whatever your favourite story is, there is always a vocal majority of the fandom who considers it Worst Story Ever.
Swordofknowledge Swordofknowledge from I like it here... Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Swordofknowledge
Jan 12th 2022 at 9:14:06 AM

[up][up] @ Crystal Glacia:

Thanks a lot! That's really a helpful tool.


[up] @ C105:

You have a point. I may have the invasion closer to sundown then to shorten the time he has to fight mostly alone.

especially if the soldiers don't mind whether they capture him dead or alive.

Not sure if this changes the outlook, but they have to capture him alive, kind of. He has to be killed in a certain manner for their objective to work. They can do it right on site without transporting him anywhere, but just shooting him on sight isn't an option.

This isn't really all that relevant to the question, but it should be noted that in-story even other people were advising him against taking on all these enemies like this. But Tired of Running was in full effect, along with just plain hate and a desire to protect his loved ones. So it's at least acknowledged how poor an idea this all is.[lol]

"Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more terrible than the rack, more potent than the snake." —Edgar Wallace
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
Jan 12th 2022 at 9:17:00 AM

[up]

They could still shoot his legs from under him, since that propably isn't immediately fatal.


Could this character be read as somehow Nietzschean? (He does have a really dark savior complex at least, and in the very least the in-universe concept behind him is vaguely Nietzschean)

Edited by Nukeli on Jan 12th 2022 at 7:19:22 PM

~ * Bleh * ~
C105 Too old for this from France Relationship Status: Yes, I'm alone, but I'm alone and free
Too old for this
Jan 12th 2022 at 9:52:35 AM

[up][up] The need to capture him alive at least slightly improves his chances, since they will need to use a minimum of subtlety to get him (for instance they can't just resort to throw grenades into every building or tunnel they find or shoot him on sight with everything they have).

Whatever your favourite story is, there is always a vocal majority of the fandom who considers it Worst Story Ever.
Altris from the Vortex Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
Jan 12th 2022 at 10:38:56 AM

[up] x2 Probably, yeah. The thing is that readers can read almost anything into anything (see What Do You Mean, It's Not Didactic? for examples) and it's not much good worrying about it because it's going to happen. Death of the Author and all that. As for the character, it's more a problem with superhero comics in general (trying to be/not bound by laws, vigilantism because of the former, acting based off personal sense of right and wrong instead of laws, etc). I do think because he's associated with Nazi Germany the Nietzsche parallels might come out a little stronger than they otherwise would.

Edited by Altris on Jan 12th 2022 at 10:43:16 AM

Love is blind and should not be, justice is blind and should be, candy has no eyes and is delicious.
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
Jan 12th 2022 at 4:27:53 PM

[up]

Anti-Nietzscheanism is literally the point, so what i'm worried about that The Lightbearer won't read as Nietzschean, since he's supposed to. Since Lightbearer being basically Captain America in personality, but fighting for the completely wrong ideology, i'm not sure if he would come across as Nietzschean enough to get the point across.

~ * Bleh * ~
Mysterium I am you from Winden
I am you
Jan 12th 2022 at 11:30:29 PM

I read the description of xour character and wondered about something else: The story is meant to take place during WWII, and that character is an American named Trevor defecting to the Nazis. Was Trevor a name used in the US at this time period?

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
Jan 13th 2022 at 2:46:33 AM

[up]

According to behindthename.com's statistics not before 1914, but Trevor was born six years after that. At least the name was on the rise in England in that decade, and his parents are British-descended.

It's also an acronym.

Edited by Nukeli on Jan 13th 2022 at 12:51:34 PM

~ * Bleh * ~
Swordofknowledge Swordofknowledge from I like it here... Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Swordofknowledge
Jan 13th 2022 at 6:45:33 AM

So...perhaps a CW/TW since this involves potential psychological abuse?

I'm curious if the following situation would cross the line into abusive behavior since I'm definitely not trying to invoke this—the character in question is an unquestionably positive force in the story. Sorry I can't TLDR this since it requires an explanation.

Anyway...

There is a situation prior to the start of my story's events wherein my main protagonist's sister is born. He gets into an argument with his mother while she is in labor and it drags on for some time. Eventually his aunt (his mother's older cousin/sister) intervenes by yelling at him and shutting the whole thing down.

Before his mother, father and aunt depart for the hospital (leaving him alone at the house) the aunt describes all the potential things that can go wrong during childbirth and hints at how unwise it was to have such a fight with his mother at this point in time.

This causes him to worry for an entire day about what might have happened to her, and when he next sees his aunt, he immediately wants to know how his mother is doing. The aunt lets the silence linger for a few seconds before explaining that both she and his new sister are fine.


Does this count as mentally abusive? It isn't supposed to be nice behavior in any sense of the word, but it wasn't meant to cross any lines either, simply showcase the stress and anger of a certain situation. It should be noted my protagonist is around 16 at the time this happens, if his age puts things into perspective.

Edited by Swordofknowledge on Jan 13th 2022 at 9:55:23 AM

"Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more terrible than the rack, more potent than the snake." —Edgar Wallace
Altris from the Vortex Relationship Status: You cannot grasp the true form
Jan 13th 2022 at 7:40:56 AM

Nah, I think that reaction was warranted since your protag thought it was the perfect time to have a heated and drawn-out argument with his mother while she was in the process of giving birth. He was clearly lacking in some common sense.

Love is blind and should not be, justice is blind and should be, candy has no eyes and is delicious.
Swordofknowledge Swordofknowledge from I like it here... Relationship Status: [TOP SECRET]
Swordofknowledge
Jan 13th 2022 at 7:50:08 AM

[up] @ Altris:

Well it's good to see that someone thinks it doesn't cross the line. I think what worried me was the part about letting the silence linger after he questioned if his mother was okay or not, and purposely causing his worry to drag on for a few agonizing moments before letting him off the hook.

It seemed unncessarily cruel but also...not, at the same time, which made me turn to this thread lol. I do know that I originally thought of having the protagonist's father do this, but it was so out of his character, even in anger, that I put it on his aunt.

"Fear is a tyrant and a despot, more terrible than the rack, more potent than the snake." —Edgar Wallace
TitanJump Beast of Burden from the Grand Grail Relationship Status: Singularity
Beast of Burden
Jan 13th 2022 at 7:51:55 AM

Nope, it is perfectly reasonable with the silence since he was the dumbass in this case in the first place.

He has deserved to sweat a little and agonize a bit over his own stupidity there.

Rule number one in life: Pursue, Persist and Prevail

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