June 16th, 2007

convenient car troubles

My character is in present-day England. He owns a six-year-old sedan, not the nicest car, but reliable enough for a long trip. He has just driven for six hours, stopped, then driven another hour and a half. It is a relatively warm August day. He stops at a rest stop. Ten minutes later, his car won't start. It is a serious problem and he needs to call a tow truck.

I know very little about cars. So what kind of massive problem might come on like that without any previous symptoms? The character is pretty car-savvy, and I would prefer it to be something that he could diagnose based on the sounds the thing's making and what he sees under the hood. But if it has to be mysterious, that's all right too. Just want to make sure whatever I choose is plausible.

At the moment I have his carburetor going out. *shrug*
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Horse behavior: spooking and bolting

I am writing a scene in which a horse bolts and runs, and I want to make the horse's behavior sound reasonably plausible. I'm only vaguely familiar with horses at first hand, having ridden a few times at stables when I was a kid. I know that horses are often easily upset, are sensitive to human emotional states and have an instinctive flight reaction to danger, but how that works in real life I've never seen.

My story is set in pre-modern Japan, circa 1785. I have researched old Japanese horse breeds and riding tack. I have also googled "horse behavior", "horse bolting", "horse spooking", and a few other related terms.
Long and detailed scene-setting and questionsCollapse )