Writing-reference

anonymous asked:

Do you suppose that a person who's spent about 2.5 years training themselves to withstand/ignore pain by say experiencing 4th degree burns over his entire body, would be able to throw one punch before collapsing after being stabbed in the lung?

Okay, so, two problems up front. The first being that: Fourth degree burns aren’t painful. There may be some exceptions, but the nerve endings are cooked, so nothing remains to transmit to the brain that this should hurt, or even that the injury is occurring. The second is that: Fourth degree burns don’t heal. As I mentioned a second ago, fourth degree burns are where the tissue has been cooked, the meat itself is dead at this point.

Without immediate and extensive medical treatment, fourth degree burns are life threatening injuries. These are where the burn gets into the deep tissue, destroying muscles, ligaments, tendons, and any nerves unfortunate enough to be affected. Usually, fourth degree burns penetrate to the bone, so if it’s a limb, that’s not coming back.

Also, note the word I used above, “cooked.” That’s a pretty good description of the kind of damage we’re talking about here. It’s not something your character can walk away from.

Second, following up on what I said the other day about injuries, pain, and adrenaline. If you missed it, the very short version is that adrenaline actually impairs your ability to feel pain (to a degree), so if you’re in combat and take a bullet, or get stabbed.

To an extent, none of this matters, a character can keep fighting with a collapsed lung, but their ability to breathe will be impaired. Lungs function operate based on controlled air pressure, so when they’re punctured, they tend to deflate, halving the victim’s ability to breathe. They’d suffer everything that comes along with hypoxia: Shortness of breath, lightheaded, easily fatigued, and confusion, (I assume the confusion would take a few minutes, but I’m not 100% certain). A collapsed lung can also cause the victim to go into shock.

There is a point to teaching people to manage pain, and the methods for that, ranging from extremely intensive exercise to some varieties of very controlled physical abuse, but setting someone on fire does not qualify as either, and fourth degree burns are something that will halt your character’s training, it won’t toughen them up, but will turn them into a slab of meat, cooked well done.

The issue is, a lot of writers take the idea of things like extreme training, and push it way past any reasonable stopping point. Fourth degree burns is up there with shooting a character to teach them to control pain. Unless they have superpowers, it will transition from the kinds of pain someone can learn from and into actually killing the student. A character might get to the point where they’re being struck with a staff and taking the blows without injury through proper muscle control, but you’re not going to run them through with a sword, or set them on fire. That doesn’t teach anything, and will seriously injure the student.

Following on that, the purpose of striking a student is to teach them to take blows without being injured. They’re learning to tense the muscles so the impact doesn’t cause harm.

Exercise is where you learn to tune out pain. Someone used to sprinting on wet sand will be far better suited to powering through pain than someone who was repeatedly set on fire by a sadistic instructor. Also, I called this extreme exercise earlier, but this stuff is still pretty tame. It will include things like asking the students to exercise in unpleasant circumstances, not ones that pose an actual treat to them.

So, in short, yes, they can keep fighting, though it’s not going to be as simple as they fall over, they’ll slow down, start losing track of what’s going on, probably get far more seriously injured because they’re still trying to participate against unimpaired foes, and then collapse.

-Starke

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2

I’m a very lazy person. I know my characters well, but every time I try to fill out a proper character sheet, I either get distracted or simply never finish them.

SO!

I made this! A silly, simple character sheet in which you only have to check boxes to get to know your dear puppet character. Use to your heart’s content, and if you’re going to repost, please credit! Enjoy~

PDF/Printable version on Google Drive

anonymous asked:

So, I have a character. He's roughly 6'5, 240 pounds, pretty much pure muscle. Would it be reasonable/possible for him to use an English Longsword as his primary weapon?

Given you’re asking, “can he lift 4lbs of steel?“ Then, yeah, probably. It’s worth remembering that most weapons aren’t particularly heavy, because you’d be swinging them around all day. Later European swords got down into the one to two pound range, meaning they weigh less than a jug of milk.

The places where you start to see heavy swords are parade weapons, which were never intended for use in combat. These were ornate weapons designed to look good mounted on the wall, or while troops were on parade. You weren’t supposed to be fighting with these things.

-Starke

This blog is supported through Patreon. If you enjoy our content, please consider becoming a Patron. Every contribution helps keep us online, and writing. If you already are a Patron, thank you.

3

From the makers of the no-effort character checklist, I bring to you… The no-effort complete character sheet for lazy writers like you and me™! 

Because the extra effort I put in staying up until 3 am to do put this together can save us all a lot of effort filling out longer character sheets ^^

You’re supposed to print it out and fold it in half to make a little booklet but you can save ink and do it on your computer :P

Link to PDF on google drive (fixed typo)

5

I made these as a way to compile all the geographical vocabulary that I thought was useful and interesting for writers. Some descriptors share categories, and some are simplified, but for the most part everything is in its proper place. Not all the words are as useable as others, and some might take tricky wording to pull off, but I hope these prove useful to all you writers out there!

(save the images to zoom in on the pics)

Writing a bilingual character: tips

(This is from my own personal experience as a Chinese person who’s better at English, my “first” language, than Chinese, my “second” language.)

When your character is going speak unintentionally in their second language instead of their first one:
• When they’re tired, they could slip up and accidentally start a sentence with their second language. Generally, though, they realise and correct themselves before finishing the sentence
• When they were just thinking in their second language/ talking to someone in their second language. The shift from one language to the other is where they could get caught up
• If they were startled, after just speaking/thinking in their second language.

Keep in mind though, that people very experienced in both languages will probably not be tripped up as often. Your character who has been speaking their second language for 10 years is going to trip up a lot less than your character who’s only known their second language for 5 years.

Unrealistic scenarios:
• Slipping into their second language in the middle of a sentence accidentally, unless they forgot a word they needed to use
Unrealistic: “Ok so you’re going to go down the hall and— 他妈的! I forgot my homework on my desk! Gotta run and get it” (The Chinese is a swear)
Realistic: “We’re going to need a… 车? What do you guys call that again?” (The Chinese character is the one for car)

• Suddenly saying something in their second language, when they were just conversing in their first language. There’s a mental switch you need to make when changing from a conversation in one language to a conversation in another which makes those situations pretty unlikely.
Person 1: “Could you send the powerpoint to me?”
Person 2: “Just did that. Did you get the email yet?”
Person 1: “我– oh whoops. Sorry! Yeah, I just got it”
(Chinese character is the character for “I”)

Bilingual things you could include in your writing:
• Thinking in one language when doing one specific thing. For instance, I almost always do Maths in Chinese. The whole structure of the language and how the words for numbers work out means it’s a lot easier in Chinese than English.

• A conversation that’s a mess of two languages all mashed together. Frankenlanguages. As stated before, I’m personally better at English than Chinese. So, when I’m speaking in Chinese, it’s often with English words interspersed throughout when I forget the Chinese word. In that case, there is no mental shift between languages needed. Instead, you pull from both languages at once. Ex: “我今天在学校的时候跟我的 Chemistry 老师 discuss 我的essay on the effects of acid rain on 咯房的 roofs.” (Translation: today, at school, my Chemistry teacher and I discussed my essay on the effects of acid rain on the roofs of buildings.)

• Your character could speak one language at home and another language when at work/school/with friends. For example, I speak Chinese when I’m at home with my Chinese family and I speak English everywhere else because I live in Canada. This makes for interesting situations where, even though I am highly proficient in English, I lack some basic vocabulary. What is a blouse? Not really sure to be honest. I used to get “dress” and “skirt” confused a lot because I only used Chinese to refer to those things and thus never built up my English vocabulary in those areas. I’ve had to awkwardly describe the fruit I was looking for in stores before because I didn’t know the English name for it.

Anyway, if you need help with writing a bilingual character, feel free to shoot me an ask!

Unique AU Settings for Your Consideration

- a really sketchy thrift shop that you can only access from the alleyway 

- a submarine (bonus points: a submarine that functions as a hotel)

- A Truck Stop in Georgia

- Flower shop that is actually a drug front, but, like, also has rlly good bouquets

- A print shop that smells like ink, strawberries and doughnuts

- A haunted mansion that has been converted into a new and used bookstore. The ghosts give good book recommendations

- An abandoned office supply store

- A cottage that was was given to you by a mysterious benefactor, cottage also comes with a baby goat named Earl

- a high school auditorium at night complete with a costume attic

- A lighthouse during the apocalypse 

- A pretentious tea shop with brews that no one can pronounce

- A butterfly sanctuary

What the companions call each other in conversation:

Mostly the companions call each other by name, but for writing purposes and also because of the insight into their relationships, it’s worth noting what else they call each other, so here’s what I found going through the dialogues.  

Vivienne calls:

  • Solas– ‘Solas’ or ‘apostate’
  • Varric– Varric
  • Sera– Sera, ‘dear’, ‘little Sera’
  • Blackwall– ‘Blackwall’, even after the reveal, but hardly ever addresses him by name
  • Cassandra– Cassandra
  • Cole– ‘demon’, hardly ever speaks to him directly at first, later obliquely, ‘my dear’ and ‘darling’ as others
  • Dorian– Dorian
  • Iron Bull– Iron Bull, ‘Bull’
  • The Inquisitor– ‘My dear Inquisitor’

Solas calls:

  • Vivienne– ‘Enchanter’
  • Blackwall– Blackwall, including post-reveal
  • Cassandra– ‘Seeker’ most often, Cassandra otherwise
  • Cole– Cole
  • Dorian– Dorian
  • Iron Bull– Iron Bull
  • Sera– Sera
  • Varric– Varric (ETA Master Tethras)

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

What would be some behavioral/psychological differences between a kid who's been raised for combat and a child soldier? She's in her mid-teens on what was supposed to be a routine training mission when shit hits the fan and she ends up getting captured. The enemy armed forces that have her assume that she's a child soldier that's been otherwise coerced into this and treat her as such. So how would they be trying to establish rapport with her or subvert her loyalties? (and utterly failing) [1/2]

What, if any, chance do they have of actually succeeding, given that she’s been training since she was 5? Is there any way for them to manage to turn her loyalties? And what would be going through her head during all of this beyond disdain and escape plans, regardless of whether or not she turns? [2/2]             

I get what you’re asking here, you’re asking if a child soldier can be saved through the power of friendship. The answer to that, upfront, is no. Child soldiers and children raised for combat are not misunderstood misanthropes who’ve never had a support network but know what it is and can be approached in the same way you would the average loner.

Child soldiers/kids who’ve been put through any kind of brainwashing are a difficult subject to discuss because it is profoundly disturbing and messed up. The assumption is that if they’re kidnapped from their families, they’ll grow to secretly hate their captors and jump when the first opportunity comes for escape.

That isn’t how it works. In the training, they’re driven to hate their parents and view them as weak. As they’re systematically broken down, they grow to love their captors and consider them family. They develop a deep and abiding loyalty to them.

Falling prey to this conditioning has nothing to do with how strong someone is or isn’t. It’s not a matter of mental or emotional strength. Breaking them down and rebuilding them from the inside out is what their handlers do. They are very adept at it. These children are conditioned through empowerment, which is part of why it’s so seductive. They’re taught to believe that they are better and stronger than everyone else, that other humans are weak. That weakness must be destroyed.

You won’t reach them by treating them in any way they’ll perceive as weakness and if you react the way they expect then you play into the hands of the people who programmed them, then you’ve reinforced the child’s conditioning. The mental conditioning is a booby-trap for the people who might try to help them. Every intuitive choice, every choice that feels natural is going to be the wrong one.

You cannot reach them if you come to them with an assumed understanding of who they are and what a human being is. There’s the person they were, who they’ve learned to despise and the person they see themselves as now. Approaching either of those individuals, whether it’s the person they were or who they currently are, will lock you out.

The average person with no understanding will simply reinforce the child’s views and their handler’s views, and shut out of any way to help them by the child’s dismissal. That’s if the kid doesn’t kill them first, which they will because that’s what they were conditioned to do.

A child overcoming this programming requires years and years of therapy, if they’re fortunate enough to receive it at all.

Abuse isn’t cured by the power of friendship.

We’ve talked about #child soldiers and #children and combat on separate occasions, we’ve even compared them to each other and explained the difference. They are not, however, totally separate.

The main difference:

1) Children Raised to Combat are a long term investment. This is someone whose training has been the focus of their life, with the intent to turn out a solid, above average combatant. These children who won’t see combat until they reach their late teens/adulthood.

2) Child Soldiers are expendable assets given a gun, often given drugs like “BamBam”, told they’re immortal, and shoved onto the battlefield on the idea they’ll give the adult soldiers pause, gun a few down, before getting gunned down themselves. They’re not “soldiers” so much as they are distractions. They are also never sent out alone. You’re not up against one, you’re up against many.

Both have the option of having been put through cultish/psychological programming, but the difference between the two is fairly obvious. It’s a disoriented and drugged child violently kidnapped from their village versus a member of the Hitler Youth or another, similar, organization.

They are both psychologically damaged but in vastly different ways, and those circumstances make it nearly impossible for anyone who isn’t a child soldier or comes from a similarly abusive background to relate.

The irony is going that the Child Soldier is going to be much, much easier to turn because they were never really inside the system to begin with. However, even with just a scant few months, the deprogramming is going to take years. They’re never treated as important. A child who has been raised to combat is valuable, they often see joining as their choice, and they know their own worth. They’ve never known any other kind of normal and are in a much better place to evaluate why their side is the right one. They are co-operative participants, rather than forced. They’re going to see the instructors in their lives as friends and family. They’ll believe in the cause.

A good way to look at the thought process of the adults behind these training programs would be to take a look at the French novel/film “La Femme Nikita” where the assassins are all druggies and runaways pulled off the streets, cleaned up, sobered out, and trained to kill people.

Why is this important?

Because it inspires loyalty. You take people no one will know and no one will miss, people who are not regularly getting four square meals a day, and get them off the streets. You give them a safe place to sleep, regular food, and a purpose. From their perspective, you save them. The threat of expulsion comes next, but what you ask them to do next is not that much worse for them than the hell they were living in before.

The problem when most people look at these situations and setups is that they miss the deeply embedded trust, loyalty, and respect these children feel for those who train them. They have a lifetime and a normative societal state to banish their doubts. They will know what the outside world is like. They’ll have been educated. If they’ve been handled by someone skilled, then everything they see will merely confirm their sociological programming. Questions will be encouraged. Pride in their skills, pride in their country/mission, ego, and self-esteem are encouraged.

You’re looking at your character having an attitude similar to the Spartans in 300. Or, you know, Starship Troopers.

A person who understands their ideology and philosophy is far more useful and capable of independent operation than a blind follower. You want your elites to be capable of independently operating on their own.

You can’t force someone to be good at fighting. You can’t force someone to learn. Like the old saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

However, the real problem with this question is a critical failure to understand how soldiers operate in warzones, specifically in regards to enemy combatants.

Child Soldiers are still soldiers. They’re enemy combatants and they’re treated like enemy combatants.

This is the concept that’s hardest for most people to grasp.

It doesn’t matter, at the end of the day, whether or not they’re a forced conscript. Child Soldiers are treated as enemy combatants, not children because, well, they are. The sad truth about them is that they’re not really kids anymore. They’re brainwashed and weaponized. The moral barrier that will stop the average child from killing someone doesn’t exist for them. It’s gone. Their innocence is gone. They are exceedingly dangerous. They’re likely to betray and kill their “rescuers” if left to their own devices then return to those who kidnapped them in the first place.

This is a behavior pattern which does not normally make sense to those who have never been abused, but it is very real.

What’s been done to them can’t be cured with kindness, at least not in the early stages and the average person can’t relate to them. It’s difficult enough for most people to relate to adults who’ve been through your garden variety child abuse, and this is on a whole other level. These kids are systematically broken. That is the point of the breaking. So, that when the average adult treats them like a kid they kill them.

Child soldiers are unpredictable, including for seasoned combatants. It’s hard as hell to tell when they’re going to snap, and there’s a certain level of psychopathy just lingering beneath the surface because (as children) they’re brains can’t register that death is real.

This is true with children and you see it a lot with children dealing with grief, they lack an understanding of permanence and struggle with the concept of death. Minors don’t grasp consequences the same way adults do, and there are different standards regarding their ability to do so consciously.The training child soldiers undergo preys on that. It preys on the limbo. So, they’re handlers feed them cocaine and tell them they’re invincible and they believe them. The important thing about child soldiers is that they don’t know what they’re doing. Their psychology is exploited by their handlers.

You can feel pity for the dog that’s been abused to the point its mind is broken. It won’t stop the dog from killing you.

So, you’re asking these soldiers to take a ticking time bomb with them. Someone who is a direct threat to their lives and their mission. No matter the amount of pity they feel, this is a time bomb they know better than to take. This is especially true if they’re working in enemy territory where she’ll have numerous chances to betray them to her comrades. They’re not equipped to handle her.

She belongs in a POW camp, away from combat, with people who can devote their time to helping her figure out how to be a human instead of a weapon.

Right now, a weapon is all this character knows how to be.

-Michi

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References and Resources:

It is worth remembering that child soldiers exist in the real world, both in our present and throughout history. There is a body of research available on the subject, and worth looking into if you want to do it justice.

If you are a minor, I insist that you approach this subject with the aid or help of an adult. Child soldiers are disturbing material.

The CNN article on Ishmael Beah is an excellent place to start. Beah was a child soldier in the Sierra Leone eventually captured by enemy forces and rehabilitated by Unicef. His memoir A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is worth looking into if you intend to take the true child soldier route.

If you’re interested in being depressed or learning more about the African diamond trade and how it ties into the Sierra Leone then Blood Diamond with Leonardo Dicaprio is a good movie to invest some time into. The movie goes through great pains to ensure the treatment of child soldiers and their training is accurate.

The book Blood Diamonds: Tracing the Path of the World’s Most Precious Stones which the movie referenced extensively, though only two chapters in the book discuss child soldiers directly. Instead, it focuses on the use of diamonds to fund the RUF in the Sierra Leone. You may find this book more helpful for worldbuilding and it’s discussion on the funding a revolution.

Monster an autobiography by Sanyika Shakur aka Kody Scott about his sixteen years spent as a gangbanger may be helpful. Gangs have a different method in their recruitment of child soldiers but, at the end of the day, the attitudes and mentalities end up in a similar place.

Destined to Witness: Growing Up Black in Nazi Germany by Hans J. Massaquoi isn’t a book about child soldiers per say, but it does document the effect Nazism had on the German people. If you ever wondered how the average person could fall victim to widespread propoganda, participate in such heinous acts, or wondered how the Nazis worked then this is a must read book.

Check out Boy Seamen on Wikipedia, a page discussing the ranking and usage of young adults as sailors in the British Navy and others at the turn of the century. Russel Crowe’s adaptation of Master and Commander: Far Side of the World has an accurate representation of the ages that were put to sea. Patrick O’brien’s series is a must read for anyone interested in doing any writing about the British Navy.

We bring up the Boy Scouts of America sometimes when discussing children raised for combat and while it isn’t a direct 1 to 1 comparison, most of the skills studied and mastered by the Boy Scouts as they gain badges are the sorts of supplementary survival skills you start children on when preparing them for a lifetime of combat.

You don’t have to look far to find the history of children studying and used in warfare. There’s a wealth of information out there, if you start looking for it.

6

From infusions and tinctures to oils and salves: The basics of herbal healing and the beginnings of any potion


Decoction: A decoction is needed to extract the deeper essence from harder substances such as barks, roots and stems. Place the raw materials in a pot and fill it with fresh water. Simmer uncovered until the water lever is reduced by 1/3. Strain the resulting liquid to remove particulates then drink or use as needed. Infusion: Pour freshly boiled water over the desired herb or planar matter, roughly 8 ounces of water per teaspoon of dried plant parts. When using fresh herbs roughly 3 times as much is required. 


Oil: Place flowers, herbs or other plant parts in a sealed glass container. Fill the container with an organic oil (ex: Olive, sesame, etc…) until it is an inch above the material being used. Place the bottle somewhere warm for 2 weeks, next to a stove while cooking, on the mantle, a sunny window sill, etc. Upend the container daily to ensure the oil saturates the material. 


Ointment: Heat 2 cups of pure lard to frying temperature. Add 4 handfuls of crumbled dry herbs or 6 handfuls of chopped fresh herb to the lard. Stir to to blend and let simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat, cover and let sit over night. Reheat until liquid then mix in 4 tablespoons of an organic oil, this will prevent it hardening to much. Squeeze through a cheese clothe to remove solids and store in a crockery or glass container. 


Salve: Mix 3 ounces of finely pulped plant parts, 7 ounces of lard and 1 ounce of beeswax. When thoroughly mixed simmer over low heat in active red pot for 1-2 hours. Remove from eat and allow to cool. 


 Tincture: A tincture uses alcohol to extract the properties of a herb or plant. Loosely fill a glass container with fresh or dried herbs and add some sort of food grade spirit (ex: vodka), vinegar can also be used for certain ingredients. Cork or otherwise seal the container and leave somewhere warm for 2 or more weeks. 

 *Information from “Healing Teas - How to prepare and use read to maximize your health” by Marie Nadine Antol. 

**images from google.

Accepting that You'll Disappoint Readers

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I’ve been having some good things happen to me on my writerly path the last six months, but as some of you may have noticed, I’m missing something: a published novel. I’ve published other pieces, but I’m still working on “The Book.”

After sharing some good news with my brother, he asked me if I was worried about how my book would be received. After all the opportunities I’ve had, and the friends, connections, and followers I’ve gained, and the continued growth of my blog, would people have expectations that were too high and difficult to meet?

Years ago this sort of thing would have haunted me with questions: What if no one likes my book? What if my friends or family don’t like it? What if people think less of my skills? What if people think less of me as a person?

The truth is, one of my biggest weaknesses back in the day was my need for consistent validation. Years ago, I had a few life realizations (that I still want and really need to share on here someday) and overcame that. So when my brother asked me that question, I could answer honestly that I wasn’t that worried about it.

Now, I’m sure I will worry about it somewhat when I get to that point–it’s natural to wonder how a book you’ve spent years on will be received. But here’s the thing:

You will always disappoint someone.

Yes, I know that sounds weird to say, and to some people (hello, old me) that sounds really depressing. But in a way, it’s actually a relief. When you acknowledge and accept that fact, I mean truly accept it, you can move on. It won’t hurt that much when it happens.

And here’s why it’s true, especially with readers.

Whenever a book is anticipated, someone will be disappointed. Do you know why? Because readers have expectations, but man, are they vague! Dang vague.

If you asked them beforehand what they were expecting, you probably wouldn’t get a very concrete answer, and you almost definitely won’t get a specific answer. And on the rare occasions that you do, you won’t get more than a handful.

How do you perfectly meet vague expectations?

Easy. You don’t.

Because you can’t.

I’ve seen it happen time and again in life. People want something, and they want it bad. But they don’t actually know specifically what they want.
I remember when the last Harry Potter book came out–to extremely high expectations. But even though Rowling did a stellar job, people were disappointed. I had a friend who just couldn’t power through it.

I remember joking about it, “What did you think it would be about? The giant squid?”

It happens with movies. I once had a friend who really wanted to see a specific movie based on a true story. But because I work in the writing industry, when I heard the true story and saw the trailer, I thought, How can they make a full movie out of that? Truth be told, after we saw it, my friend just said it was fine, but not what he expected.

When I asked what he had been expecting, he couldn’t answer.

The reality is, the true story the movie was based on was a great true story. But just because it’s a great true story doesn’t mean it will make a great movie. People liked the true story so much, that they hoped to like the movie even more than the truth.

But that specific movie just couldn’t live up to those expectations. It didn’t have enough content to work with.

As writers, we are going to disappoint people.

It will happen, and there is nothing we can do about it.

People have vague expectations about what they want to see done perfectly.
And even to satisfy people with specific expectations is often to disappoint other people with other expectations. 

Keep reading

52 short stories in 52 weeks

1. A story entitled “A New Beginning”.

2. A story about rising to a challenge.

3. A retelling of a fairytale.

4. A story about three siblings.

5. A story set in London.

6.  A story about finding something that has been lost.

7. A story about a journey.

8. A story set during a war.

9. A creepy story.

10. A story featuring a countdown.

11. A story set at a full moon.

12. A story about a contest or competition.

13. A story that takes place entirely inside a vehicle. 

14. A story from a villain’s perspective.

15. A story set at a concert or festival.

16. A story that begins with a gunshot.

17. A story set in a country you’ve never been to.

18. A story about a historical figure.

19. A story set in a theatre.

20. A story written in 2nd person narrative.

21. A story set on another planet.

22. A story written from the perspective of someone dead/undead

23. A story about a birthday.

24. A story that ends on a cliffhanger.

25. A story set at the summer solstice.

26. A story about nostalgia.

27. A story that features a song or poem.

28. A story that ends at sunrise.

29. A story opening with the words “F*** you!”

30. A story about a magical object.

31. A story set at sea.

32. A story about a curse.

33. A story set 100 years in the future.

34. A story about loneliness.

35. A story that features a real recent newspaper article.

36. A story written from an animal’s perspective.

37. A story about a scientific discovery.

38. A story inspired by a recently observed stranger.

39. A story with only one character.

40. A story about a secret.

41. A romance that ends in tragedy.

42. A tragedy that ends in romance.

43. A retelling of a recent Hollywood movie.

44. A story that takes place the year you were born.

45. A story about a near-death experience.

46. A story about anger.

47. A story about a magic spell.

48. A story set in a strange small town.

49. A story about justice being done.

50. A creation myth.

51. A story set at Christmas.

52. A story entitled “The End”.

anonymous asked:

how effective is a war hound in combat against, say, an armored knight?

Dogs have a long history of being used in warfare, going back further than the Romans and the Greeks. The vast majority of armies prior to the modern era used dogs to some extent, and they still hold important a positions in our military and police force today. The only reason they no longer have a place on our frontlines is the advent of the gun and a primary focus on ranged warfare, in which the dog like the horse has no place. However, they are still used for guarding and in K-9 units. The German Shepherd has no issue bringing down a full size human.

Historically we have the Molossus and the Alaunt which are both now extinct breeds used by the Romans. However, modern compatriots of these various breeds do exist such as the Mastiff, whose males weigh in between 150 to 250 pounds, and the Irish Wolfhound.

We have records of Irish Wolfhounds being used by the Irish to bring down Norman knights on horseback during their invasion and eventual conquest of Ireland. Their role was to catch the horse and drag the knight from the saddle to be killed.

However, it’s worth noting that dogs don’t go into battle alone. They are pack animals and they travel in teams. An armored knight wouldn’t be fighting a singular dog, he’d be fighting multiple armored dogs and possibly also their handler. These dogs when on their hind legs could almost certainly reach his throat and are more than capable of bowling him over or knocking him to the ground.

He’d be battling in melee, with the fight surging around him. So, there would be other humans whether other knights or various soldiers who could potentially finish whatever the dogs start. Or the dogs finish whatever they start.

While versus ideas are always fun to contemplate, it’s important to remember that warfare from melee to modern is not about dueling. It’s team. Like their dogs, soldiers fight together. It’s not about the individual, but the unit.

Those who fight together, survive together.

Much as we romanticize the lone knight, CIA agent, or soldier who sticks it to the man and makes their own decisions, that’s not how warfare works. Even if you choose to go this route in your storytelling, remember that there are many participating actors taking part.

The danger of the dog is the other dogs and the man or woman standing behind them.

The good news if you want to write about war dogs is that dogs haven’t changed much and their training generally revolves around their natural instincts. So, a better understanding of medieval warfare and studying the historical usage of dogs in combat will give you a good idea of what they were used for and how to write them.

-Michi

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References and Resources

Dogs in Warfare - Wikipedia is a great place to go for a cursory look, but it is not the only stop you should make. The links at the bottom of the page are particularly helpful when it comes to establishing a wider scholarly base to work from in your research.

Dogs of War - Rome Across Europe’s article does a run down of the historical uses of various war dog types, with a focus on Rome and up to the present. If you want a focus on particular types of war dogs, you’ll need to do a scholarly dig in when it comes to historical periods.

War dogs among the Early Irish

Quartermaster War Dog Program: this page talks about the different types of dogs used in 1942, just a reminder that the usage of dogs in war extends far beyond their use on the battlefield itself. From detecting snipers, to delivering messages, and sniffing out scouts, the war dog has had many important roles throughout history that shouldn’t be overlooked.

A brief and ugly summary of surviving cold climates

For visitors and writers alike.

  1. You were never meant to be here. Never forget this. You are an ape of the equator, built to run the savannah and swim in tropical waters. Whatever terms and conditions your body has, they are void here. Mother nature never certified to function in a Death World.
  2. Enduring the cold is never a matter of “how much” as much at it is “how long”. Think of it as the water levels of the vieogames you have played. No matter what equipment enables you to remain longer, you can’t stay there indefinitely. The coat that keeps you warm and toasty for three hours in -15 is enough to keep you functional for an hour of -40.
  3. Whatever the locals say, listen to them. Err to the side of caution if you must. You may not endure what they can endure, but you SURE AS FUCKING NOT cannot survive what they say cannot be endured.
  4. That being said, alcohol is a filthy fucking liar and so is anyone who offers it to you. The warmth it gives is an illusion, and a sign of damage. You are worse off feeling comfortable with a mouthful of whiskey as you are freezing your gonads off stone cold sober.
  5. Winter tires. Studded winter tiers are a MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH when you drive on a frozen road. That being said, whatever the locals tell you that your car will need to run as theirs do, take it. Taking the risk of being pranked is worth survival, and you can always stab their tires in the spring if they were shitting you.
  6. Eat. For the love of god, make sure that you eat. Heavier meals might be unpalatable at first for someone used to lighter nutrition, but maintaining bodily warmth in a cold climate takes up a lot of energy, and you will feel tired and drowsy for a long while shile your metabolism adjusts to producing more heat than Mother Nature ever intended. The skinny people in your party are especially vulnerable, ensure their well-being on a regular basis.
  7. If you have a smartphone/other essential technology on your body, keep them close to your body to keep them warm. They were not designed to be frozen any more than you were.
  8. Sleep is death. SLEEP IS DEATH. Never, ever stop to rest in the cold, if you do not have the means to make a fire/otherwise produce heat. The cold tires you out because keeping warm takes energy, but taking a rest will not return your energy. If you feel the need to sit down and rest because you are tired because of the cold, call for help. This is not a hyperbole, if you feel like you are too tired to go on in a cold climate, CALL A FUCKING AMBULANCE. If you fall asleep in the snow, you will not wake up. Hypothermia can and will literally kill you.
  9. Avoid skin-to-snow-contact if you can. It hurts because you were not supposed to do it. Consider ice to be like acid. Touching is bad for you.

Feel free to add to the list if you feel like I missed something.

elrondsscribe  asked:

Also, if functional two-handed longswords aren't heavy and require skill and control, and functional war bows require a lot of strength, then (buying into gender stereotypes for a moment) why not give the swords to the women and the bows to the men?

You’re asking me to explain gender stereotypes to you and how those stereotypes influence what we’ll call “conventional wisdom” in a way that ultimately has no relationship to reality.

It’s like asking, “if women have always fought then why do people keep insisting there were no women warriors?”

Sexism, stereotypes, and even some cultural conventions have nothing to do with reality. To begin with the premise you started with, you’re already challenging stereotypes with the idea that women have any role in combat at all. Now, you’re asking “why aren’t women front line combatants while men are relegated to artillery?”

That’s hitting the ground running when everyone else is still up on the helicopter wondering if women can even make the jump. When most people are wondering whether it’s possible for women to fight at all, despite a large bevy of historic women who’ve bucked the trend. This is a subject on which PhD research papers are built, exploring social mores, conventions, gender roles, and stereotypes handed down to us century by century that insist women have no role in combat at all, that war and combat are “men’s work”, to be glorified for men by men and men alone.

So, why would the sword, which is a symbol of leadership, kingship, and heroes, be given to a woman?

We live in a culture that can barely acknowledge women have different body types, that their bodies are influenced and changed by the kind of exercise they engage in. We live in a culture that fights tooth and nail against taking female sports professionals seriously. We live in a culture where women being forced to register for the draft is up for debate, and large swaths would prefer they didn’t. We live in a culture where plenty of girls still see recreational martial arts as not for them, not because they don’t want to, but because they think they can’t do it.

Now, you’re here arguing for the fiction because that’s what’s been presented by the vast majority of media and culture as true.

Consider the number of female professionals and enthusiasts today, from the army to the police to the martial artists to the traditional fencers to the HEMA fencers. There has and always will be a strong interest by women in the combat arts. However, cultural perceptions and acceptability will also always be a factor. To ask the question you did is to both overlook the pervasive nature of sexism and disregard its normalization by buying into the idea that “if this is true then we’d see widespread evidence of it” without bothering to look. To overlook misinformation. To overlook gender bias. To ignore the fact that female contributions to history are, by and large, routinely ignored.

We live in a culture that can barely acknowledge women have different body types. We live in a culture where a vast number of women become disillusioned with working out because they were never taught muscle weighs more than fat. That weight gain is a natural first step to a work out because their bodies are building up muscle then the muscle will inevitably begin devouring the fat and they lose weight.

If one works out their upper body, consistently and constantly, whether male or female, they will develop those muscles. Drawing a bow works out the upper body as it relies on strength in the arms, shoulders, and chest muscles. This will lead to a much thicker upper body and strong shoulders, which is not necessarily an appealing mental image for someone buying into cultural stereotypes about feminine beauty.

There are very few female characters who accurately represent what a women would look like after their training and often, in fiction, the feminine ideal of physical beauty is what’s chased. Wish fulfillment fantasies, generally, have little room for reality.

Assume instead that the person who is making the choice buys into the stereotypes. They’re looking for a kind of combat that is more safe, more feminine that active physical conflict. They may say they are about “female power”, but are buying into the idea that the bow is a safe, ranged weapon that requires less physical exertion/danger than a sword.

If you’re confused the stereotype is:

“Women are weak and therefore not suited to close combat. I know! I’ll give her a bow. Bows are ranged weapons, so she can kill at range, stay outside of combat without having to get her hands dirty.”

Never assume people argue from a position of knowledge, most of the time we work from a position of perception.

The sword also has the longstanding symbolic reputation as the weapon of the Chosen One in literature. So, watch writers trip over themselves to make sure certain characters never get to lay their hands on one.

-Michi

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