December 7th, 2007

You can never go home, War

Makeshift bulletproofing?

I'm writing a story in which an important plot point is that a character, in the midst of urban warfare, was hit/grazed by a bullet (I'm thinking from a Webley revolver, but I'm fine with any kind of gun that might conceivably be used by a British soldier in 1916--the less powerful the better, I guess!)--except he wasn't seriously injured because, one way or another, he was protected by some kind of makeshift bulletproofing. As I said, this is urban guerrilla warfare, and it's 1916, so I do mean "makeshift." What I'm hoping is that he could have something hidden under his shirt, maybe, that would deflect a wayward bullet, although presumably he'd be bruised by the impact. [ETA: the bullet doesn't have to be aimed at him--it can be a ricochet--and is probably coming from quite some distance away. The character's on at least the second or third floor of a building, with fire coming from the street below.]

Something like a phonebook would be great, but I'm pretty sure it's a myth that a phonebook can stop a bullet. Is that true of pretty much any reasonable kind of bullet, traveling at any speed, even if it's not a direct hit? Is there anything else similarly low-tech that would deflect a bullet?

I've done some Google searches with terms like "makeshift bulletproofing," but I haven't turned up anything that works. Any help would be MUCH appreciated. Thanks in advance!

Christmas in England

Hi! I need some help with a story I'm writing. I've asked at a few other forums I'm in but can't find exactly what I'm looking for.

I would like some specifics about Christmas traditions in England. In my scene, a couple with three kids, a divorced man, his two kids, and his new girlfriend, and another couple with no children are celebrating together in the home of the first couple. All the children are between 3 and 7. After lunch, what would happen next? Would the adults play cards, watch the kids play, sit by the fire and visit, drink etc., or what?

What are crackers? Do all families get them? If I excluded them from the scene (mainly because I don't know anything about them), would British readers find that odd? I would rather leave something out than tell it in a completely incorrect way.

One more thing: in the U.S., parents and their adult guests often sit at the big fancy table, with everyone's children sitting at another table (a folding table, for example) or two, depending on how many kids are there. Is this done in England as well?

Thank you!
rain, paper boats

Midlife Motherhood: Pregnancy at 40

Setting (time and place): Modern-day world/somewhere in Japan
Search engine and keywords used: Googled trauma gunshot pregnancy, Asherman's syndrome, miscarriage, pregnancy over 40/35 risks and related terms

My character is a 39-year old woman (she's English, not Japanese, btw). She's fairly healthy and active, working as a professor for art history and as a consultant for a museum. She already has a 20+-year old son, her only child, having given birth to him when she was 17. 

When she was 23, she miscarried what was supposed to be her 2nd child when she was in her 5th month after being shot in the stomach (is it more accurate to say 'shot in the uterus'?).

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