September 16th, 2006

Waterhouse

Mutism

I've googled and wikipediaed and now I'm asking you all.

I have a character who is mute, and I've been putting off on exactly why she's mute. Basically what I've been going with is that she is unable to make sounds that require the use of her vocal chords. She can whistle but not hum, cough but not laugh, so forth. I thought perhaps having her have selective mutism, but research shows most selective mutes also have shyness and social problems and are know to talk at some point when they are comfortable, which doesn't fit this character. I looked into paralysis of the vocal chords, but that comes with a slew of breathing/eating/drinking problems. Other vocal problems I found cause only harshness, not full, life long mutism.

So, my question is if there's anything that can stop her vocal chords from emitting sound but not cause other problems, and can last her entire life?

teenage dialog

I am reviewing a story that contains a lot of dialog by a 14 to 16 year old teenage girl. I would appreciate some input from teenage readers of Little Details, or from adults who are around teenagers a lot. Some questions:

1. Do 14-16 year old girls know what a Chippendales dancer is?

1. (a) How would a teenage girl otherwise complete this sentence: "He's so hot, he probably worked his way through college as ________" The speaker is being funny and complimentary, not mean.

2. Do 14-16 yr old girls know what is meant by "Mrs. Robinson"? Do you know this is shorthand for "older woman involved with younger man"?

2. (a) How would you otherwise say this sentence: "She's got that whole Mrs. Robinson thing going for her." Would you say something like, "She's got that whole Demi Moore thing going for her"?

3. Has the typical 14-16 yr old girl (not specially a sci-fi buff) watched the first Star Wars movie from 1976? Would she know who Chewbacca was?

Thanks.

ETA: Thank you to all who commented!

The results so far:

1. Seems like maybe half know what a Chippendales dancer is, half don't. Would describe a hot guy as being good-looking enough to work as a stripper or as a model.

2. "Mrs. Robinson" has been replaced by "MILF" or "Stiffler's mom" from the American Pie movies.

3. Just about everybody knows who Chewbacca is, even if they never saw the 1976 Star Wars movie.

Injury question - is this even possible?

I'm looking for something (character is a slim, fairly fit man in his late 40s, if that helps) that would result in him coughing up a little blood, without any injury you could see through clothing (shirt and jeans, if he has something visible under that, that's not a problem, but I don't want it to be a case where you look at him and go "Damn, get that man to hospital!") and that could result in him not spending the night in hospital - I want him to be examined, treated, and sent home with a friend.

Magic is a possibility, so if there is an internal injury that could cause this, that's also fine.

ETA: How would they examine him at the hospital? X-Ray?
numb

for the brits in the group

My writing is a strange mix of British and American English, the result of learning the British version in school and then moving to the U.S.

Right now I'm writing about two British people, 16-18 years old, the time is somewhere between late 90s and today, and have some trouble with getting the dialogue to sound right.

Questions:

Would they use the word "hot" about someone they're in love with or is this American English? What about "gorgeous"? Those are the ones I use myself, but I have no idea if British people would.

Is "dyke" used as an insult, or is it reclaimed in the way it is in the U.S.?

Do people really say "shag" or is it only Austin Powers who use it?

Some insults would be nice too. Both the kind that is used to actually be hurtful, and the kind that is said with love and um, as some sort of a joke. You know what I mean.