Little Details

A Fact-Checking Community for Writers

RESOURCE: British Clothing, Hairstyles, and Accessories 1901-1953
A very detailed website based on photo research. Need to know about the details of your WWI military character's uniform buttons? What did the last big ladies' hats look like, right before close-fitting headgear came into style? Your fashionable 20s character has bobbed her hair, but does she have a classic Orchid Bob or an extreme Eton Crop? What did children growing up under wartime clothes rationing have to wear? It's all in here and more, along with an "annex" describing historical photographic techniques.

Spanish capitalization of titles used as honorifics
just jack
The story is set around 150 years in the future, and portions of it take place in Sonora in Mexico. The main character is a child, and later a teenager. He speaks both Spanish and English. He has a habit of referring to people who have power or resources he does not by titles that are almost nicknames, and my research is coming up 50-50 on whether those titles get capitalized. Maybe either way is okay and I get to choose, I don't know. I'd be happier if somebody who speaks Spanish a whole lot better than I do has a firm answer.

For example, Ana is Señora Ana most of the time, because the narration is in English. If she's part of a whole sentence in dialogue in Spanish, she is la señora Ana. What's kicking my butt is the point of view character's habit of thinking of her as la Señora. Is Señora capitalized or no?

Likewise, Captain Muir Is Capitán When addressed directly, but should the point of view character think of him as El Capitán, el Capitán, or el capitán?

Thanks in advance if you can help.

ETA: I don't need help with the English--it was provided only as an example. If you've already commented on it, I apologize for taking up your time.

Medical disqualification from combat pilot status
When: early 1990s

Where: real world

Terms searched: "pilot status" + "medical disqualification"


I have a USAF pilot, flying F-15s starting in roughly 1980.

I need to find a medical condition, something not detectable through a routine (pilot-grade) physical, which will disqualify them from flying combat but _not_ from civilian or non-combat military flying.

Any former pilots or aviation medical folks have a suggestion?

Several 1970s-80s-era USAF Questions [Still need some help]
Hi all,

Edit: Answered everything but the German wife aspect of things, still really need help there and am grateful for any help I can receive, thanks!

You may remember me from a few years back while I was starting work on a few MCs, one of whom has a German mother. Well, now I'm working on how this MC's mother and father met/married in more specifics, and I was thinking aforementioned MC's father was in the air force when they met. While trying to think of how to construct his background, I ran into some potentially useful information for people facing some of these questions in the current day, but I'm not sure how valid they would be when I'm applying it to the 1970s-80s, and I need some help constructing a believable background for this scenario. Please excuse any ignorance you may find here since I'm not too good with military specifics and have no one I can ask in regards to some of these.

So since this is long, background and search terms are under the cut.Collapse )

Thanks for any help and leads anyone can provide!

Louisiana Creole Translations
I feel like this might be too off-the-wall to get many answers, but I'm building a modern fantasy world with a friend that's set on the bayou and while we're using preternatural creatures that are already established, we want to come up with names for the sub-species that sound local.

I used google and found this site which has helped me some - but it doesn't seem to be a very extensive dictionary, and I couldn't find much in the way of other resources.

I'm sorry in advance if this is a lot. And I know that some of these words definitely won't have a direct translation but any suggestions that have a similar feeling would be much appreciated!

Here's a list:
Banshee. (I was thinking something like death singer?)
Goblin. (In our lore, they're prankster fairies.)
Leprechaun. (Basically fairy frat boys who love money and grant wishes.)
Pixie. (Essentially fairy godmothers.)
Vasily. (Fairy cowboys?)
Selkie. (They turn into alligators in our lore, since the bayou isn't very conducive to seals.)
Will O' Wisp.
Pride. Lafyèrté?
Envy. Enviyé?
Write. Ékri?
Speak. Parlé?
Air. Lèr?
Earth. Latè?
Water. Diló?
Fire. Difé?

Can rabies be transmitted reliably by food or drink
This is for my Nazi-killing time traveler from last time. So, time period nowish and late 1920s/early 1930s (1930 might be my sweet spot), location pretty much anywhere now, or in Germany in the '30s. Search term "can rabies be transmitted by food"

I was thinking she might diffuse suspicion by using a couple of different methods of killing her targets. Get some of the drinkers with some methanol "vodka", hit Hitler and several other key people with botulinum toxin, and give the b-listers rabies, possibly releasing a non-rabid but aggressive animal into the party as a cover story. (other suggestions are still welcome)

I was thinking that rabies likely would not be detectable as murder at that time. We can likely collect concentrated live rabies viruses in a way they probably couldn't have in the '30s, so I don't know if it would have *occurred* to anyone that someone could murder someone else by spiking their food or beverage with rabies.

But what I can't find is how reliably rabies can be *transmitted* that way. Everything I'm finding does seem to say that getting still-wet saliva in your mouth from a rabid animal counts as exposure to rabies, but I'm really not sure how likely one is to actually be infected by it. Anyone else know?

Summons vs Arrest for Someone in the Hospital
Setting: Modern day Massachusetts

Issue: I have a character who, in the course of defending herself, goes far above and beyond reasonable force and brutally, deliberately, kills her attacker. But she's also injured - multiple, non fatal stab wounds - and undergoes surgery.

At first it's not clear that she used excessive, deliberate force - that comes out during a police interview. The dead man's family is politically connected and pushing for a conviction. Family would like murder charges, probably to be plead down to manslaughter.

How would this realistically play out? What would the timeline look like?

My character is in the hospital, has very strong ties to the community and is not a flight risk (and is physically incapable of fleeing at this point). Would an arrest warrant be served in the hospital? Would she be taken into custody despite just being out of surgery? Could she receive a summons to appear for arraignment? How long would that take? Would a summons be delivered in person or by mail?

Research has included investigation of state laws regarding self defense and murder charges, looking into arrest vs summons and timelines of legal proceedings. I'm just having trouble finding information pertaining to a person who is in the hospital and physically incapacitated.

I know I can claim work of fiction and twist things to suit my needs, but I would like to keep it as close to reality as possible.


Working for a 1930s Newspaper/Magazine
Could anyone point me towards a book, or site, or something, which would give me some idea of the workplace routine for reporters and press photographers in the 1930s? I would like to know as much of the slang and worklore as possible. It would be nice if a character could laugh at an inaccuracy in the film The Front Page.

I'd mildly prefer info about British newspapers and magazines; but would be grateful for US or European as well, if in English.

searched: this comm under journalism and 1930s tags. Wiki: History of journalism; history of newspapers and magazines; history of British newspapers; Times, photojournalism. Googled various combinations of reporters, journalists, 1930s, photojournalism, newspapers, newspaper office, depression, press, routine.(Those last three definitely didn't help.)

read Sanderson's Snow Hill. Also Wodehouse's 1915 Psmith, Journalist.

Could a person safely wear a dress that was around for an atomic blast?
Beware of People
Searches: "would clothing be safe after atomic blast?" This brings up a lot of pages about what to do about the clothing a person is currently wearing during the blast (the answer is to change out of them before entering the shelter and get the dust off in a ventilated area, mostly) but not about clothing inside the home.

In my story, my 1940s-era main character is due to be married before an atomic bomb hits. Her home is still standing after the blast. Her wedding dress was kept in her second story bedroom.

18 years later, she gives her unused dress to another woman who needs one for her wedding.

However, I'm not sure if the dress would be safe to wear. I assume that it is because the house was still standing and the walls of the home would prevent the dress from fallout. However, the sites seem to think that the shelter one would need to protect against a blast needs to be air-tight, which this house would not be.

If the dress would NOT be safe to wear, how could my main character logically store the dress prior to the blast that would make it safe to wear 18 years later? It can't be locked up somewhere because another character needs to see the dress prior to the blast and remark on it.

Search Warrants Victorian London
I know that in modern America, the police need a search warrant to search your house or even your car. (I believe they can search your person without paperwork, if they can cite probable cause. Clearly it is not possible to rake in a judge and get a warrant if the criminal is fleeing on foot.)

My novel is set in London in 1861. Could the police search a man's hotel room, if they thought he might be a jewel thief? What about his person -- could they go through his pockets? This guy is a baronet, though a shady one, so he has some status.

Googling on 'search warrants' turns up tons of hits, none of them of the least bit use! I am reduced to reading Sherlock Holmes short stories, but Holmes was notoriously loosy-goosey about legalities.

Effects of living, but not officially working, in a brothel on a young girl?
Kagome, Inuyasha, inukag

Hi, Little-Details!

My story is set in late 1300s (pre-Sengoku era) Japan, in medieval Kyoto. It's a historical fantasy work. My main character, O-Chie, is a prostitute, sold to the brothel at age 8 and working in that capacity since age 13. The girl these questions pertain to is her trainee, Hatsu. O-Chie is 18 when Hatsu is given to her; Hatsu is 7. O-Chie doesn't have a choice in the matter, and resents the girl's care and instruction being forced on her. Despite having once been in the exact same situation herself, her mentor treats her badly. She is emotionally neglectful much of the time, and physical punishment for infractions (or pretty much anything else) is standard within the environment. I'm not making any excuses for any of O-Chie's behavior towards the girl. It's detestable and outright abusive. It does improve with time.

Over the course of the next year, Hatsu is exposed to everything one would probably expect to find in a medieval brothel:

  • Sex, obviously

  • Violent customers

  • Maltreatment and extortion

  • Murder

  • Suicide

  • Addiction (primarily to alcohol)

  • Rampant infighting and occasional actual fighting between the prostitutes

Now, with that said, my question boils down to this: What effects could all of this be expected to have on Hatsu, both in the short-term and the long-term? Primarily, I'm concerned with psychological and emotional effects, but anything else is welcome.

I have a number of books on prostitution, but none of them discuss the psychological or emotional impacts in any detail. I know about the long-term effects of sexual abuse on children, and I also know that this scenario does constitute sexual abuse, just not in the usual sense.

Terms searched include: "long-term effects of exposure to sexual abuse" and "psychological effects of a brothel environment". This is a difficult thing to find the proper terms for when searching.

Thank you for any help you can provide with this somewhat...strange question.

Need information about the school system in Florida.
Okay, first of all, what classes would a high school junior be taking? I've looked at the official site for the school district of the character, as well as every Wikipedia entry remotely related to the school district (Hillsborough County; the story is set in Tampa)- and I've tried Google, though I wasn't sure what search terms to use- and I can't find anything about the classes that are required for credit. The story takes place in fall of 2013, so it's fairly recent. My main character is sixteen years old, not in any special ed or advanced placement classes, in public school, and would probably be taking some art electives, if available, as she is very interested in art. Her best friend is in almost all of her classes, except for the art classes, and he would probably be taking some sort of technology-related elective.
Secondly, would she be able to eat lunch at the football field, or would she be required to stay in the cafeteria? Or does this vary from school to school? I've kind of planned on her eating at the football field routinely because she doesn't like the noise and crowd of the cafeteria, but I don't know whether there are rules against that, as I am not from anywhere near Florida.
Third, are there laws in place that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation? The character's younger (5th grade) brother is gay, and his teacher gives him detention for talking about a boy he has a crush on, and I want to know whether she could get in legal trouble for this.
Thank you in advance.

[ANON POST] USSR Military Women's Hair/Makeup (1940s)
Hello all,

For context if you need any, I am Russian, but don't have a history degree. :)

So let's say you have a character who needs to impersonate a USSR military service woman at a formal event, circa the WWII era. Our character hails from the 21st century, and she's doing something of a time warp. If the details seem vague (no rank, exact year unknown), indeed, they are - our MC doesn't know many yet.

Onto the query. In order to be as historically accurate as possible, how does our heroine arrange her hair? A plait down the back, curls? Does she wear lipstick, and if so, do I assume dark red? She is going to a shindig in dress uniform. How likely was an average military woman in the USSR able to have access to lipstick, and to take advantage of that access?

Search terms used on google (and google images), wikimedia: "1940s Russian women," "1940s Russia," "1940s Russian military women," "WWII Russian women fashion," no luck. I also went through the russia: misc and russia: history tags on the community here, fascinating reading, but nothing on this question.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

Urdo or Arabic
Hi, this is my first Livejournal post so I hope I get it right? I'm sorry if I haven't.

I've written a book where the main character's first language is English but he also speaks some Urdu and Arabic. He's British, half Pakistani and half white.

I was hoping to use a quote from a poem in either of those languages, or a saying.

I could add it anywhere, but I think the best place is when he's about to go see the man he's in love with but hasn't seen for a while. So something about needing luck, or being brave, or lost and hopefully refound love.

I'll add it in roman letters but in Urdo or Arabic, and I'll need the translation too.

Thank you very much if you can help.

[ANON POST] Text-to-Speech Devices or Similar Technologies
Researched: portable translators, text-to-speech devices, history of smartphones

The setting is New Mexico in 2007—the date being the major stumbling block with just searching for this on Google, since I'm mostly trying to avoid anachronism here.

I have one character who is a disgraced FBI agent trying to interrogate a suspect while on the move from bigger bads (so sitting down at a computer and typing things out is not an option; they're mostly in a car making stops). The catch is that the suspect is mute. He is generally able to get by in his daily life without talking to anyone; he carries a pen and paper around for when aggressive gesturing doesn't cut it.

Since they're mainly driving, having them pass notes back and forth isn't the best way to communicate tons of information, especially since under other circumstances they're both incredibly wordy. Were it today, I'd have them use a text-to-speech app on a cellphone, but from what I remember, that wasn't a commonly available feature back then. I have vague memories of an ESL classmate who had a portable translator of some sort, but again, I don't know how common those were.

Any ideas for how to give my voiceless character (temporarily) a voice?

Dying in a fire -- or not? When could it be determined?
Books already looked at: "Body Trauma", "The Whole Death Catalog"
Search terms used: "history of forensics arson", "history of forensics smoke inhalation", "history of forensics Renaissance"

Right, I'm writing about a murder set in the equivalent of 17th Cent. Spain. Body found in a burning building, looking pretty charred. I know modern forensics could determine if there was soot in the lungs or injuries before the fire.

What I haven't been able to find out is, could science of the time period have figured anything like that out (the soot in the lungs part specifically)?

Indentures for medieval village apprenticeships: medieval urban apprenticeships cut short
Toulouse cross

A vaguely European, vaguely 14th-15th-century AU setting

Two questions:

1.       How did rural craftsmen such as millers, village blacksmiths, potters etc. take on apprentices in the late Middle Ages? An apprenticeship was a major legal commitment on both sides, I can’t see late-medieval people being satisfied just with a verbal agreement. (And even if they were, anyone who had been apprenticed that way, and afterwards wanted to take their skills elsewhere, would have no means of proving that they had been through a legit apprenticeship.) Who would draw up the indenture? Who would witness it and be responsible for adjudicating any disputes that might arise?

I’ve tried Googling various combinations of ‘medieval, village OR rural, apprenticeship OR indenture’ but all I keep getting is info about apprenticeships in towns, where of course the appropriate craft guild would have done all that. How did it work in the countryside where there wasn’t a craft guild?

2.       And in towns, where guilds had responsibility for admission to crafts: I know that when a master craftsman died , his wife or heir would carry on the business, or sell it on, so that responsibility for any apprentices would go to whoever was now running the business. What happened when a business packed up (e.g. the master went bankrupt or something) so that blameless apprentices were left having served anything up to 6 years? Surely they can’t have been expected to start over again. Was it standard practice for them to be allowed to get an indenture with another master for the remaining part of their time? Might the guild, having admitted them on to the lowest rung of the craft fraternity, take any degree of responsibility for sorting out a means of completing their apprenticeship?

I’ve Googled things like ‘medieval apprenticeship cut short’ but got no leads.

As it’s AU I have wiggle room, of course, but I’d rather base this on actual medieval practice if possible. Not necessarily English practice; I’m happy to have pointers from anywhere from the Baltic to Spain!

[ANON POST] French Post- Sex Dialogue and More

I would like to run a few French sentences by people:

A) How would one say, "Do I please you?" / "Did I please you?" after sex? The tone is wistful, tender, sweet.


He's English, she's Czech. She speaks English with other English characters, but the intimate dialogues are mostly in French (both their second language).

They used to be married a very long time ago, and their first meeting after a decade leads to clothes ripping, against the wall sex. It's, of course, over quite fast, and then it's tender and he asks her if he (still) pleases/pleased her.

Very literally, this gave me 'Je te plais/ Tu me plais?' which I know is completely wrong. Could someone please help me?

B) An abrupt "Who the fuck is he?!" minus the vulgarity.

Context: There's a stranger living with him in their old house, and she's unpleasantly surprised and angry-hurt. She's speaking to him while deliberately ignoring the stranger in the room.

C) Very surprised, "And what are you doing in here?!" I would like some sort of verbal tick/exclamation like the unnecessary "And".

Context: Alternate scenario in the same context as above. In this, she runs across the stranger when she had thought she was alone in the house. This is not angry, but the same complete surprise as if you found a stranger wandering in your own house. She's not threatened as he could conceivably be a friend of her long estranged husband.

Does "Mais qu'est-ce que tu fais ici?!" work?


Thank you so much!

Female character in the US Ordnance Corps
girl writing b&w
Time frame: Late 1980s and/or during the 1990s

Searches: US military tag on this site, wiki articles on US military structure and the Ordnance Corps, Ordnance Corps website, US military careers website

Question: I have a female character who is working in a fictional Agency. I would like her job role to involve all or some of the following, but this is flexible: logistics and supplies for facilities, bases, safe houses; taking requests from operatives for equipment, sorting through these for reasonable requests and issuing them to warehouses to be delivered or to research teams to be developed; organisation and logistics. I want her to have had previous military experience, having served in the US forces either in the late 1980s or in the 1990s, in an organisational capacity. Having excelled at this would be a reason for her being employed by the Agency. My research has led to the Ordnance Corps (who on the accepting women into the military side of things apparently started accepting female missile technicians in 1974 and then female crew members and officers into Field Artillery units) but this looks like a very broad part of the military and I’m having trouble working out the structure and job roles.

Would the most likely military position for this woman have been an Ordnance Officer, a Quartermaster Officer, or something else entirely? What kind of military career would have been available to her?

Non-fatal crippling blows
Context: real life, present day

Searched: Wikipedia entry on "kneecapping";
Little Details tag "medicine: injuries: to order"


My MC is a woman, about thirty, in good general shape, and ruthless but prudent when called for.

She's been kidnapped, but has found a chance to escape and picked up something equivalent to a baseball bat.

She's sneaking up on a single guard; she needs to strike and move on quickly, so has two or at most three blows. She doesn't want to kill him - too morally and legally messy - so no full force whack to the head ... but she does want to render him immobile and unable to use his strong hand. She'd also like to hurt him bad enough he _will_ need hospitalization and even then have serious permanent damage.