and keep it from maiming people

108echoes  asked:

What are demographics like among different medical fields? I.e., are there certain specializations strongly associated with, say, a particularly conservative or liberal slant to their practicioners?

Hey there @108echoes . Thankee for the ask! 

I’ll answer the “demographics” question first, mostly by gender. (Also, as a heads up, I’m going to talk about “male” and “female” as generalities; nonbinary and trans folk simply aren’t in medicine in enough numbers to start really counting. I know the trans community is under-counted, in medicine just like everywhere else, and I haven’t forgotten you guys, but this is based on the data I can find, which is strict M/F.) 


Things differ specialty to specialty, but also job title to job title. For example, nursing is about 95% female (the 5% who are men are more likely to be supervisors and more likely to be paid better, because of course there’s sexism in “female” jobs too, why wouldn’t there be?), while surgery is overwhelmingly male. Physical therapy is mostly men, lab techs are a roughly even split, EMS is almost 50/50 (depending on the service), emergency medicine is fairly evenly split as well (maybe a touch more male than female). The “brainiac” specialties, like cardiology, neurology, etc. tend to be fairly evenly split, but perhaps more male-leaning, as I understand, but I could be wrong. 

OB/GYN is overwhelmingly female, and male providers are actually looked at with suspicion. (Because all men want to violate women, right? Who said sexism can’t go both ways?) Family practice – the general “doctor’s office” we think of – is also skewed female. 

Oh, by the way, regardless of rank or specialty, female providers tend to make less than their male coworkers. What, you thought medicine was equal? 

Age, by the way, makes an enormous difference in demographics. More than 50% of doctors under 30 are female, while only 30% of doctors in the West are women. That means that the next 30 years are going to see some big gender divide shifts in healthcare, which I heartily welcome. 


In terms of liberal vs conservative, I think it depends an awful lot on other factors, more so than what the person does for a living. That said, the overwhelming majority of OB/GYN docs that I’m aware of are in favor of abortion being legal and easily accessible. But that view isn’t  born of a liberal mindset; it’s born of a strong understanding of the science. You can be a conservative OB/GYN and still agree that, while you may not want to perform abortion or even think it’s morally right, that it should still be safe and legal. 

Where someone comes from (and where they’re practicing, and where they trained) weigh heavily on their political views. A doctor who’s practicing in Dallas, for example, who was born in Seattle and trained in Baltimore will likely be a liberal, whereas someone who was born in Dallas, trained in Georgia, and is practicing in Milwaukee is likely to be a conservative. 

Similarly, the institution where one works can be conservative or liberal, depending on a few things. Privately owned institutions tend to be more conservative and tight-fisted; public institutions tend to be a little more liberal. Catholic institutions won’t terminate pregnancies even for the health of the mother in some cases. Research hospitals might be either more conservative (more $) or more liberal (more sciency). 

Any discussion of “conservative” and “liberal” will also have to talk about the fucked-up relationship between science and religion these days. Generally, science is on the side of the liberals; “scientific truth” should be a value not associated with politics, but given the way things are now, it’s a liberal value. 


It’s easier to categorize the specialties by “mindsets” or personality archetypes. Neurologists tend to use the organ they study as much as they practice on it, they tend to be very technical, intelligent, and thoughtful. Orthopedic docs and surgeons in general are often the jocks of medicine (surgery in general is very “jocky” and something of a boy’s club). Emergency medicine and trauma surgery are both specialties that require a love of high adrenaline, and don’t necessarily require the biggest brain on the block. Internal medicine and ICUs are pretty much split down the middle. 

Medicine is also very tribal. The specialty you’re in is the best specialty, dammit, the only worthwhile specialty. Everyone believes this no matter what. 

There’s also a saying: 

The emerge knows nothing and does nothing. 
Medicine knows everything and does nothing. 
Surgery knows nothing and does everything. 
And the ME knows everything and does everything, but is a bit too late to the party. 

Again, these are archetypes and generalities. 

I invite people from specialties outside of EMS to weigh in on this. Keep in mind that this whole response is based on quick Internet research and personal experiences. 

Hope this helped! 

xoxo, Aunt Scripty


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anonymous asked:

Hi! I keep watching the S3 finale and slinging between the theory that Will planned Hannibal's escape and his lines are actually subliminally gesturing his intent to slip away with Hannibal; and the theory that Will decides to be a martyr ("found religion"), kill the Dragon and die with Hannibal ("kill them all") in which is ultimately murder/suicide. I know the latter is the popular theory but the former haunts me, particularly due to Will's last conversation with Bedelia! Thoughts? Thank you!

This is something I’ve written quite a bit on previously but not recently, so I hope you won’t mind if I mostly just defer to Bryan Fuller on this one. The following is an excerpt from an interview with Variety that came out right after the finale, and fwiw, I agree with Bryan: the way he describes it is the way I understood it from watching the show. 

Fans already seem to be speculating about Will and Hannibal’s intentions in that final scene — from your perspective, was Will hoping they’d die from that fall, or planning for them to survive? What was going through his mind in those last moments?

All season long, it had been developing this story of Will’s realization, even as he is going into Europe to track down his friend, that his agenda — as Chiyoh (Tao Okamoto) points out — is “I have to kill Hannibal in order to not become Hannibal.” And he gets so fed up with the machinations of the relationship and Hannibal sawing his head open and trying to get at his brain that he’s just like “f–k it, I’m done with you, I’m walking away.” And yet, as he states in the finale, that was all a ruse to get Hannibal to turn himself in. And so it was kind of a band-aid on a bigger wound, and then when Will is pulled back in to the Red Dragon arc, he’s asking Bedelia, “is Hannibal in love with me?” and Bedelia is saying “is this a ‘can’t live with him, can’t live without him?‘” And essentially it is, and that’s sort of the conclusion Will comes to at the end, “I can’t live with him, I can’t live without him. This is the scenario where the least amount of people can die,” meaning, “the two of us.”

I think when Hannibal says, “This is all I ever wanted for you; this is all I ever wanted for both of us,” Will is forced to acknowledge that what they just experienced was actually a beautiful thing. He lingers on that feeling of, “it was beautiful and I will desire it again, and I will be chasing this feeling.” And as he said to Hannibal earlier, “I may not be able to save myself, and that’s just fine.” I feel like we were very honest with the audience in terms of saying exactly what Will does at the end — we said it a few times.

The foreshadowing was delightfully heavy in this episode.

And yet it still feels like a little bit of a surprise at the end. [The post-credits scene with Bedelia] was very intentionally setting up another season of the story … essentially saying that Hannibal could’ve survived….

As you said, Bedelia and Will actually discussed whether he and Hannibal are in love with each other in the penultimate episode, and it feels like the show spelled out the answer fairly clearly, even if it’s not an overtly sexual love — but where do you think Will lands on that, in the end?

I think that’s what motivates the leap, is his realization that Hannibal was right all along. As beautiful as that felt to him, he understands that it is a place that who he is will not survive in, and so his option is essentially to pull the plug on the whole story, and that’s the only way he’s going to win himself back. It’s a sad gesture in so many ways….

When did you come up with the idea for this finale — was it between seasons, or further back?

It came about halfway through season two and we knew that Will Graham and Hannibal Lecter had to work together to defeat the Red Dragon, and that was a big move forward in their relationship, that the two actually hunt side by side … we needed something much more impactful and much more intimate, and Steve Lightfoot started talking about Sherlock and Moriarty and Reichenbach Falls and then it was like, “of course, that’s exactly what we need to do, and that murder-suicide for Will is what’s going to define his character and his last heroic act,” and it just felt perfect, so hats off to Arthur Conan Doyle. (x)

My problem with the theory that Will was planning a true escape for Hannibal has two parts (besides the fact that that just isn’t the story they told, as Bryan said here).

First, it doesn’t follow a logical character-growth arc for Will. I suppose the argument must be that Will discovered that he missed Hannibal too much and therefore decided to run off with him after all, as he talked about wanting to back in “Aperitivo.” But that just ignores Will’s struggles with his compassion and morality: he’s mortified by what he’s caused to happen to Frederick Chilton, he feels responsible for the attack on his family, plus the original thought he’d had that he’s afraid of becoming Hannibal (which he feels is very real when he finds killing Dolarhyde beautiful). At no point do they tell the reverse story that Will is warming up to the ideas of killing or becoming like Hannibal. He doesn’t come away from Frederick Chilton’s maiming going, “That was gr9,″ or the attack on his family thinking “My ex is gr9,” or anything else he goes through. This version of the story is just not present.

Secondly, it’s not in keeping with the style of storytelling that the writers engage in on Hannibal. Bryan withholds information a number of times to generate big reveals, but he does it in a way that is driven by emotional content rather than intellectual content. In other words, Hannibal isn’t a story that you can “solve” the way people try to solve for the big twist in, say, Mr. Robot., or an M. Night Shyamalan movie, or trying to make it so the monolith in 2001 is a metaphor for a film screen. The theory that Will was planning Hannibal’s escape–while emotional in the sense of being romantic–is a story that would have to play by “solving”: the plan was X, Y, Z, but Will really planned A, B, C, and blah blah. (And in the meantime, shoehorning some goofy explanation in to make his conversation with Hannibal at the Chesapeake Bay house be #CODE since they didn’t actually, yanno, discuss escaping, but instead talked a lot about dying for a friend.) I mean, maybe Bryan’s special touch could make this feel a lot less like “solving,” but I’m pretty skeptical. 

Another facet of the issue of style of storytelling comes down to the secondary role the romance plays, next to the horror, and IMO, this is one of those places where fandom, being so primarily caught up in the relationship, goes astray with trying to interpret the story. Shipper goggles, I guess. Hannibal may have some things in common with a romantic comedy in terms of trope and device, but it has nothing in common with it in terms of tone and mood (and theme), and make no mistake: nothing controls the nature and quality of a story more strongly than tone and mood. In spite of the title, this is how you know it’s more Will Graham’s story than Hannibal Lecter’s story. Hannibal is horror about loneliness and grief and trauma. It’s not about finding love and mischievous reunions and getting off scot-free. It’s not about to let Will off the hook that easily, frankly.  

None of this is to say that some part of Will won’t always want to run off with Hannibal. He says so himself, and, in the sense of a subconscious thing, or a while-falling-to-your-death kind of revelation, he may very much want to escape with Hannibal even while he plans and tries to kill him. It just isn’t what he was endeavoring to achieve in “The Wrath of the Lamb.” 

Life is painful and messed up. It gets complicated at the worst of times, and sometimes you have no idea where to go or what to do. Lots of times people just let themselves get lost, dropping into a wide open, huge abyss. But that’s why we have to keep trying. We have to push through all that hurts us, work past all our memories that are haunting us. Sometimes the things that hurt us are the things that make us strongest. A life without experience, in my opinion, is no life at all. And that’s why I tell everyone that, even when it hurts, never stop yourself from living. ―Alysha Speer
It’s the same with people who say, ‘Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ Even people who say this must realize that the exact opposite is true. What doesn’t kill you maims you, cripples you, leaves you weak, makes you whiny and full of yourself at the same time. The more pain, the more pompous you get. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you incredibly annoying.
—  Rob Sheffield
Negative Emotions: How The Angry Birds Movie Addressed a Problem Better Than RWBY Did

I was illegally watching the Angry Birds Movie last year and I was shocked by its first 20 or so minutes. The cursed film actually managed a strong bit of world building that showed just what made the Angry Birds themselves so special in their setting.

See, they live on an isolated island where negative emotions are pretty much taboo. There’s not much of an indication as to the why of this but you get the implication that everyone just prefers it that way. Red Bird Guy is singled out as being a problem to the community when a baby birb egg is nearly smashed as a result of his actions on nothing more than a bad day. He is eventually brought to Bird Court and sentenced to anger management classes.

This is located in a small hut far outside the village, taught by a very cheery bird. This is where we meet the main characters who all have their own version of, what else, anger. They are taught constructive ways to channel their emotions so that they can be assimilated safely back into the community. What’s funny is, they aren’t entirely shunned by the other birds during this time. They’re still part of society but people are just weary of them.

It’s hardly a totalitarian regime, nor is there a Big Bird Brother in place. It’s just government-ordained therapy sessions for birds who get out of line. It’s really quite reasonable. Now the culmination of the Angry Birds Movie’s third act is that sometimes you have to get angry in order to accomplish things, and they do so in order to steal their eggs back from the evil Jontron Pigs. But that’s besides the point.

What I’m saying is that, in 20 minutes, the Angry Birds Movie built a world from scratch that showed that anger and negative emotions are looked down upon and are dealt with by society to make that society better.

You’d think something similar would happen in a world where, you know, life-threatening giant monsters are literally at your doorstep and attack every person they can find. Especially considering those monsters are allegedly powered and baited by negative emotions.

Even though these assholes for some reason decide to wait and sit on their asses for decades before looking for tasty angry people.

But yeah, you’d think that a society that has evolved alongside the Grimm would have found a way to curb negative emotions, right? I mean Blake gets angsty on a boat and nearly dooms everyone, and in volume 3, apparently things are always so on-edge that it took Penny’s robo-reveal for some beowolves to plow down guards at the edge of Vale.

Shouldn’t Vale, Atlas, etc, have programs that teach you how to be happy? Maybe like, way more than a single annual festival to keep spirits high and celebrate all that good shit? It’s it weird, on a fundamental level, that they value violence and host giant tournaments where students regularly get maimed or die when the Grimm are flying like a mile away from their floating stadium?

Iunno dude. Just seems like someone at some point would address how staying calm and avoiding public outbursts of negativity would be the best possible course of action. Like this civilization had a WAR. Multiple wars I think! Did the Grimm not factor into those at all? Did they really just stand to the side and let people fight? How about those settlements outside the kingdoms that tend to last just a little while? Does no one go “hey, maybe this is a bad idea since negativity appears to be inevitable amongst large groups of people” or “maybe we just need to build a town that parties all the damn time!”

No they just like aimlessly wander into the wilderness with a few pitchforks and hope they don’t die lol.

thespiritsquid  asked:

For the Peter is a mythical creature thing, what about a fairy?

As much as I adore the darker side of fae, I’m less well-versed with them than I am with vampires and dragons, just because I haven’t put in the same amount of research. So people who’ve done more reading into faeries, feel free to add what you will.

I’m also sticking with Gaelic Sidhe-style fae, rather than things like Menehune, Bediadari, or Muah, because I know even less about those. 

You’re going to see a lot of overlap with the other two lists I made, just because of the way people tend to regard the supernatural. If you look at folklore, a whole lot of the rules tend to carry over from one to another.

  • As with pretty much everything in this series: almost zero regard for human life, except for people he considers “his”– particularly New Kinshasa (his father’s home, and his by birthright) and Juno. 
  • The secret to controlling him is knowing his name
  • Drawn to shiny things luxury items
  • No man can laugh quite so much and not be described as impish (though I’d argue that he has significantly more respect for Juno’s boundaries than a faerie ever would)
  • Iron chains didn’t burn him, but they definitely held him still for a while
  • Can appear and disappear practically at will
  • Definitely a trickster
  • Utterly ruthless when he has half a reason to be

However, I have a hard time thinking of Peter as a fae, mostly because fae as I understand them are tightly bound by very elaborate and specific laws– and chances are, you don’t know what those laws are or how to navigate them without getting yourself killed or accidentally selling yourself into an eternity of servitude. They only really seem chaotic because their logic and morality, as I understand it, isn’t necessarily compatible with those of humans, and little things like “don’t murder or maim people” doesn’t have much of a place in that system. Particularly, the line between a harmless prank (like stealing you from your family for several centuries or gouging out your eyes) and a slight worthy of brutal murder (like forgetting to acknowledge them properly in conversation) is particularly difficult for humans to keep track of. 

The stories I see of fae also tend to revolve around the Faerie courts, and all the elaborate political machinations and scheming involved in trying to backstab somebody without breaking any of those extremely elaborate laws.

Peter doesn’t really fit that, from what I can tell. Between the time he kills Mag and the time he meets Juno, he seems like he’s fairly amorphous, and he only really hammers together a system of morality (beyond maybe ‘genocide is bad’) for Juno’s sake. 

But we have met other characters that fit the Faerie archetype fairly well, with all their manipulations, machinations, and orange-and-blue morality. I’m speaking, of course, of Casa Kanagawa, and particularly Min Kanagawa as its queen.

potionmasterfavstudent  asked:

Hello 😊 I really love your blog and you really helped me in becoming a confident pro-Severus Snape. I have only one little thing: Why was Snape really bad to Neville?

This is a complicated question, but I hope you’ll hear me out for the duration of this post.

First of all, Snape has always been mean to pretty much every single character.  He was even a bit mean to Draco and said a number of disparaging things about Crabbe and Goyle.  Snape isn’t a very nice guy.  He’s also incredibly sarcastic and his main irritations are tired to people who:

a) don’t take the classwork seriously/slack off 


b) screw up because they’re not paying attention.

Neville, unfortunately, exhibits the exact right combination of ineptitude and terror that makes him appear both thoughtless and outright dangerous. I will also remind you that his character is used as a “butt of the jokes” type of character throughout the series, especially by his fellow Gryffindors.  Neville is supposed to be the shy, clumsy, timid idiot whose magical ability is often likened to a squib by his own family.  He’s been thrown out windows, treated like shit because his parents were tortured to insanity just because he existed (ie: he was a prophecy child, which is why Bellatrix was sent to his parents). Neville has a lot of guilt and a raging inferiority complex. Even on his first day in Potions, he blows up a caldron, which seems to be his defining trait for the next five years.  I didn’t keep track of how many caldrons he destroyed, but a number of them were full of dangerous substances that burned or smoked with likely poisonous fumes.  Obviously, Snape would have considered that Neville might have made a mistake at first, but there’s a problem here:

1) Neville comes from a wizarding family.  He’s had his potions books for a long time and his grandmother has (ostensibly) been tutoring him on wizarding subjects for YEARS. Longbottom is a wizarding name and he’s a pureblooded wizard.  THERE IS NO REASON FOR NEVILLE TO BLOW UP A CALDRON ON THE FIRST, MOST SIMPLE POTION THEY DO UNLESS HE IS POTENTIALLY A LITERAL MORON OR HE’S AN ASSHOLE.

2) Snape is always scathingly cruel when ANY of his students make a mistake in his classes.  He even sneers at Malfoy for making a shitty potion once.  The thing is, Snape doesn’t give a shit why you fucked up. He only wants to intimidate you into doing better the next time so you will avoid his ire.  Obviously, this doesn’t always work well, but it’s a pretty effective tactic.  Even Harry and Ron (who are huge slackers in their academics) end up doing better in Potions class than they do in other courses simply because they know that Snape has high standards.  

A lot of people act like Neville is a special case, but I don’t think that’s true at all.  We just remember Neville because he’s demonstrably inferior in pretty much all aspects.  That’s because JK writes him that way.  He keeps getting locked out of his own goddamn COMMON ROOM for crissake, because he can’t fucking remember a one-word password.  In fact, the first moment we meet him is when he has lost his toad Trevor (probably because Trevor is horribly embarrassed to be seen with him).  I don’t blame the poor creature, as Neville brings him to Potions class in his third year (by which time he should most definitely know better- even Hermione doesn’t bring Crookshanks to class), and proceeds to start testing potions on Trevor- potions that are probably going to be done incorrectly because Neville is shite at potions and has demonstrated himself to be shite at potions for over three years.

So, let’s review- Neville not only brings his familiar to class (which none of the other students are shown as doing, not even Ron outside of the movies), but then he proceeds to TEST THE POTION ON THE TOAD.  The only problem is that Snape is right there and is like “ok well, then, if you’re going to basically copy off your friends and not even do your own work or write notes and follow a goddamn recipe, then maybe you should learn once and for all why that is a bad fucking idea.”

Snape is obviously not going to let the toad (or anyone else) get dead/poisoned from a bad potion.  But he is doing his damnedest to get it to sink through Neville’s thick skull that they are working in a small poorly ventilated room in the dungeons and that if Neville is stupid enough to fill the room with toxic gas before Snape can Vanish it, he’s going to kill more than just a toad.

Even if Neville is just a coward and an idiot, he should not be willfully putting people into mortal peril at all times, especially when Snape has to protect Harry (without looking like it, obviously) and Neville spends most of his class sitting maybe two seats away from said Boy Who Lived.  

One of the things that I think it’s important to take into consideration is that EVERYONE is mean to Neville.  EVERYONE.  Even Lupin.  Even McGonnagall.  Even Hagrid says something about Neville that is none too kind.   All of Gryffindor is mean to Neville. Snape is described as being extra scary and mean because Harry fucking hates Snape and it’s all written from Harry’s POV.

So, yeah, Snape is mean to Neville, but I would argue that a lot of Snape’s ire is perfectly reasonable, possibly exaggerated by Harry because Harry doesn’t like Snape to begin with, and is basically the same sort of shit that others level at Neville regularly, but is seen as “deserved” by Neville being stupid or something.  

I started reading these books when I was 13 years old.  Neville always bugged the crap out of me because he refused to learn from his mistakes, even when faced with detention or yelling or anything…he was just….useless. Everyone agreed that he was useless, even Harry and Co, but they did rise up to defend him (even if it was completely true) when it came to Snape…because they didn’t like him more than they didn’t like Neville.

Also, notice how Neville didn’t get followed in the halls by Snape or regularly singled out outside of the classroom by Snape (other than being used to get a rise out of Lupin, who Snape hates due to having almost being eaten by him in werewolf form and then barred from speaking of it).  Snape is reactive.  The only person who he seems to be “mysteriously” following around is Harry, and that’s for reasons we find out later (ie: protecting Harry’s life, etc).

So I think that the real issue here is why so many people who absolutely HATE Snape go on and on about Neville as though he is some innocent baby who was trying his best.

And I think that you will find that the answer is this:

They honestly don’t have anything else to fall back on as a conclusive moment in which Snape was The Most Evil Bastard That Ever There Was Wholly Without Justification Of Any Kind.

And that, dear followers, is because Severus Snape, while unpleasant and often frightening to Harry Potter and Co, is not a villain, no matter how much certain people want him to be.

Imagine Dean and Sam making an agreement with Crowley to get you back

(Part 3 of  Imagine Sam and Dean finding out you’re a witch at the worst possible moment and “Imagine Castiel telling Sam and Dean they made a horrible mistake)

Pairing: Dean x Reader, Sam x Platonic!Reader, Castiel x Platonic!Reader

A/N: This will be the second to last part of this mini series! I can’t believe this is so long! It was supposed to be 2 parts, but I guess it’s stretching into 4. Anyway, I’ll post both parts 3 and 4 tonight (hopefully) so just be patient! Let me know what you think, my lovelies! PS: I mistyped “Dean” and “Sam” as “Dam” so many times that I’m losing my shit. Just a fun fact about my tricky fingers.

“Dean, I really don’t think this is a very good plan.”

“You got another idea, feathers?”

“…No, but I believe we should–”

“Well, I believe you should shut your pie hole before I shut it for you.” 

Keep reading

anonymous asked:

I'm the author the last anon mentioned. What you said about sparring makes a lot of sense; I'm working on changing stuff to fit. Here's another question: The point of the scene is to set character A up as a hand-to-hand fighter who seriously challenges B, the MC. (This informs a later plot point.) How can you clearly show the advantage going back and forth in a close match without landing any blows, esp. for readers who equate damage done with skill in those kinds of scenes?

I’m already sensing a few issues with this. Though, the problem may simply be the way you’re thinking about it. So, I’ll go through them and start with my big glaring red flag which is the question at the bottom.

Skill =/= Damage

This is a very common mistake by most people who have never had any sort of martial training. It’s also an attitude that is fairly common amongst “street” fighters aka the idiots who like to punch each other out in their backyards and call it training. It all sounds very impressive, until you’ve learned how easy it is to actually hurt someone else. Then, the prospect of causing injury to another person is a lot less impressive. Even with just a few basic lessons, it’s remarkably easy and metrics don’t make it any more impressive. And yes, you are the one equating damage with skill, not your readers.

Allow me to talk to you about skill for second.

Hurting your training partner in a training accident is actually a sign of insufficient skill. It means they lack control over both themselves and their technique. Skill is not in how much damage a character is able to dish out, it’s in their ability to choose how much damage they dish out. Skill is in control, both over your body and over yourself. There’s technical proficiency with the technique, and again technical proficiency is about how well you perform, how well you control the minute movements of your body, and not, really, in your ability to produce the expected result. The technique will produce the expected result and that’s why you practice it in a controlled environment with a trusted partner so you can feel its effects and know why it should be respected. (This includes Police officers practicing full moves on each other during training and that training is almost always single technique, so they know how it feels.

You don’t choke another person out in the sparring arena just to prove how tough you are. (Though if they fail to tap out and no one intervenes then that’s on everyone.) That’s the kind of macho bullshit nobody’s got time for.

It’s dangerous, it endangers both participants, and starts to kill the level of trust you need to work with someone during practice. Let alone sparring. When two people practice together, they are making an agreement to aid each other and to keep each other safe. You get into cases where this doesn’t happen, there are plenty of stories where bullies use practice matches as a means to inflict “accidental” damage on their target. Two Tamora Pierce stories involve this, Protector of the Small and The Song of the Lioness with characters who, for their own reasons, decide to use a practice match as a means to maim the protagonist.

Now, I grant you: from an entertainment standpoint it’s sensational as hell. You feel like you’re creating a great gasp moment with “oh my gosh, he cut his knuckles on her face!”

However, this is the sort of injury that either…

A) Happens by complete accident, such as that anecdotal story I sometimes tell where the instructors weren’t watching and two brown belts were allowed to spar each other in a manner above their level. Both connected and broke their legs. When this happens, it’s usually a sign of lack of skill and lack of attention on the part of the people in charge to watch them. And then, there’s…

B) They wanted to hurt them and they’re just going to use the above as an excuse.

This also means that they are willing to take the hit on looking bad because at least some of the onus for the injuries will be on them.

Control is the big differentiation between trained and untrained, it’s the ability to choose where, when, and how much. 9/10 it also means course correction, being able to read the situation when you’re in the heat of the moment and yank yourself back off the cliff. Sometimes, this includes modifying your attack, possibly even stopping it, after you’ve committed. There are techniques where after we misread a situation and commit to an action there’s nothing we can do. Either the realization comes too late, changing course would only ensure the other person got more hurt, or we don’t realize something is wrong until after. It happens to everyone.

Still, the mistake is in assuming it’s a sign of skill.

What makes these characters skilled is how close they are and how capable they are in comparison with the end purpose of their training. Which begs the question: what are they training and practicing to do? If the answer is “to fight people!” then you might want to rethink it. Every career in the combat arts comes with training specialized to help its students achieve success at their career. Stop and think about the career you want these characters to engage in. What will they be doing? What skills do they need to have? How does what you’ve set up for a career correspond with the expectations present in real-world professions? If you do get lost, confused, or unsure then looking at these will probably help and get you thinking along avenues you might not have previously considered.

All training has purpose and its goal is to inevitably make you better at what your intending to do. The biggest issue might simply be that you’re thinking about this sequence like it’s a fight. It’s not. It’s a training exercise, and the in universe point is to both to practice what you know and to learn.

I mean, I have the meta reason for why this sequence exists: it informs a plot point, it’s there to show the audience both fighters are skilled, and one is more skilled than the other. That’s all information there for you as the author, which is nice to have for the future, and is utterly useless in the now.

Forget about that.

What are they learning? What are they supposed to be doing? Why aren’t they doing that? Why are they doing this? How do they feel?

What’s missing here is motive. You have the plot in mind, and as a writer what’s happening in this scene is justifying character behavior in another down the line. However, you also need to make sure your characters have a reason for how they are behaving in this scene.

When it comes to sparring:

The reason why sparring works as a training exercise is the inclusion of limits and a different system to score how well they are doing. You just have to decide what those limits are, look at different martial arts to get a feel for what you want to run with. Most of the good Self-Help books at your local bookstore or library will have the rules, and if those are a bust then you can always look them up online.

Most average television and movie fight scenes like on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where there’s a lot of stop, pause, and banter runs a lot closer to what you can expect from a sparring session. The session is relaxed, the players have the necessary time to pause, joke, and talk shit to each other. You can get away with this a lot more readily in a sparring session because the characters in question aren’t fighting for their lives or focusing on staying alive. They also have time to breathe. There’s also a teacher standing nearby, watching, and participating. They both know that they are safe and that can lead to some looser behavior.

Sparring sessions are longer. They’ll run for several minutes as opposed to several seconds. The characters worry more about running out the clock and scoring their points than they do survival, even in the toughest environments. That’s also okay. Again, the point of a sparring session is to learn. Sparring provides us with the opportunity to experiment, to learn strategies, to figure out which techniques we’ve been learning are the ones which work best for us in a stress free environment. It’s also an excellent means of building confidence. A beat down, “real world” as it might be, just leads to frustration. Beating someone up (even when they’re at equal levels) is just beating them, it doesn’t teach them anything.

Again, the point isn’t to win. The point is to learn. You can learn just as much from losing as winning, sometimes more so.

Stop worrying about reader expectations.

You define what skill is and what skill means in terms of your story. With proper in story communication,

An Awfully Great Adventure

The Ravers have hideouts all across the continent—great spanning hodgepodge treehouse paradises all interconnected by their leader’s powerful magic. Magic, in this world, is a rarity. But all of the Lost Boys that inhabit these hideouts and call themselves Ravers, rarities that they are, have it in some way or another. That’s how they find Superboy. Or, more accurately, how he finds them. It’s said he plucks boys from their cradles, steals them right from the arms of their weeping Mothers. Many of his lost boys were once nobles—princes, dukes (and some princesses and duchesses, even). Only The Ravers know that their Superboy was once one as well.

The King of Gotham and Superboy are not in one of these hideouts. They are in a lesser castle of his kingdom—and Superboy sits, lounging in the throne. Some of the lost boys have arranged a table full of food—served by the Gotham nobleman’s own private chef (at knifepoint of course), and are gorging on it. Others climb the walls, play with their magic and the stolen goods they’ve found in the bedrooms and chambers of the castle—while still more continue to explore the grounds. Conner trusts them implicitly to be on their worst behavior in front of The Bat-King. That’s the way he likes it.

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Personally, I think people are too hard on Blake after Volume 3. From what I’ve seen, the hate she gets mainly stems from two things: doubting Yang after the Mercury Incident and running from her in the Volume Finale.

For the first example, she had just witnessed what appeared to be Yang maiming Mercury (who she didn’t know was a villain at the time) unprovoked before sadistically taunting him about it by saying “That’s what you get, you little-!”. The same kind of behavior she witnessed from Adam in the past. She had also witnessed Yang’s anger on several occasions and was even a target of it (albeit very briefly) in Burning The Candle, so it makes sense for her to think that history might be repeating itself (someone close to her slowly but surely becomes a monster). And yet, despite all of that, she ultimately chose to trust Yang and give her support. Even when Yang dodged her request of saying that she regretted what she did.

As for the second example, while her running from Yang was ultimately a mistake, I find it to be a very sympathetic and understandable one. In her eyes, Adam has shown her that she cannot defeat him alone, and if her friends help her, they will simply get hurt in the process. It makes sense for her to think that distancing herself from them is the best option. Not to mention, when she finally tried to stop running, she ends up getting stabbed and her best friend is maimed. That’s not very encouraging, and she might even blame herself for not running the moment she saw Adam. And honestly, for all the times I’ve seen people call her a coward for running, it actually shows bravery in my opinion, as she is willing to put herself in danger in order to keep her loved ones safe.

Every day we see more and more why we’re here. When a whole Montagnard village comes in after being bombed and terrorized by Charlie, you know. These are helpless people dying every day. The worst of it is the children. Little baby-sans being brutally maimed and killed. They never hurt anyone. Papa-san comes in with his three babies–one dead and two covered with frag wounds. You try to tell him the boy is dead–“fini”–but he keeps talking to the baby as if that will make him live again. It’s enough to break your heart. And through it all, you feels something’s missing. There! You put your finger on it. There’s not a sound from them. The children don’t cry from pain; the parents don’t cry from sorrow; they’re stoic.
—  1Lt. Lynda Van Devanter, US Army nurse. From her letter in Dear America: Letters Home From Vietnam.
CS ff: No Bunny’s Business (AU one-shot)

I would like an award for worst title ever. Thank you. I’ll let you know where you can send it.

Rating: PG

A/N: Anon requested the Bunny fic, so I wrote it. Younger Killian in a bunny costume has been making me giggle incessantly all through this process. Still fighting with my other AU. This was entirely too much fun to wait, though. Hope you enjoy it, Anon!!

Prompt:  “you’re dressed as the easter bunny at our     town’s easter egg hunt and I take my younger sibling, but     they're afraid of people in costumes and you accidentally make them     cry and you take off the bunny head to apologize and hey you’re kinda     cute” 

“Emma, please! Please! Pretty please? Please, please, please, please, Emma come on, please?”

For at least the third time in ten minutes, Emma’s head drops back and she stares at the heavens, praying for patience. She wishes they would’ve taken a walk anywhere but the park, where a giant sign displays an upcoming event starting in a half hour.

“Neal, if you ask one more time, I’m going to leave you in the Lost and Found box,” she says, pushing down a smile when Neal rolls his eyes in a perfect imitation of how Emma normally does. While he’s only seven, a whole eleven years her junior, he’s quickly growing to be a miniature version of Emma herself, which is both entertaining and infuriating. “You don’t even like the Easter Bunny. Why do you want to go to this egg thing?”

“Because candy. Duh!” he responds, with all the sass he can manage. Emma considers it for another moment. She’s in charge today, entrusted with her brother’s care while her parents prepare for family to come in for the holiday only three days away. It also just happens to be the day of the town egg hunt, and Neal is angling for any reason to get more candy in his system.

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Reunited || Nicby

Abby is so tired. There isn’t anything in her body except for an overwhelming exhaustion that threatens to make her eyes close and never open. She wishes that would happen. She never realized the torment that it would be, living forever. But of course, when she chose this life, this wasn’t how she’d planned it out. So now, she’s tired, and all she wants is for this neverending hell to give her a break and finally let her succumb to eternal nothingness. It’s not like there’s really any point to her being alive. So she can what, kill people? There’s no purpose to her. She’s just taking up space in an increasingly small world. She doesn’t give anything back to the Earth, she doesn’t have some higher purpose to keep her from ever wanting to leave. The only god damn thing on this Earth that would give her purpose, give her something to  do other than hurt and maim, walked out of her life forever. There’s no getting back to that, there’s no finding that purpose again and fulfilling it. She was made to love, to cherish with her full being, and the weight of being unable to fulfill that need is increasingly crushing her down and living with it has become too much to bear. She just wants it all to end. She hasn’t fed in weeks. Her bright idea of trying to starve herself to death only makes her existence that much harder. She aches to feed, to quench that thirst that builds in the pit of her stomach and then takes over her entire body. But taking lives doesn’t make her state any better. She thinks it’s unfair. These people get the luxury of death, they get to leave this Earth and not have to struggle with its hardships. She refuses to let anyone have what she craves most, not by her hand at least. But this hunger adds to her tiredness and all of it has built up to this moment, where she finally gives in. When she stumbles in the middle of the alley she’s walking in, she doesn’t get back up. It’s pointless. Going on will just make her pain last longer. She needs this. She needs to be gone. She’s aware of the time of day. Pretty soon, the sun will rise and with that, her death will come. Maybe it won’t be so bad. She’s always missed the way the sun looks when it rises. She turns over so that she’s on her back, looking up at the stars above her, finding a calmness with the decision she’s made. She’s ready. “Make it end,” she whispers out to the universe, closing her eyes and willing the sun to rise faster.