July 23rd, 2009

(How) Would my character be crazy?

So. No idea how to look this up. To the extent that it matters, the setting is modern-day US, possibly in Arizona. And urban fantasy, so I can't even quite look up similar case studies or whatever.

I'm trying to figure out if, how, and to what extent my character would be likely to have gone off the deep end. Ideal result is--fairly messed up (or at least apparently so) from 12-16, pulls herself together and (quite literally) confronts the source of her fear at 16, then is fairly normal and cheerful (though likely with a few aftereffects)

And now to describe her situation at length.Collapse )

Wording on the First World War beverment notice


Terms googled: Wording on the First World War beverment notice, First World War beverment notice (in google images)

For a British soldier, who is a Lieutenant, to his mother.

I am pretty sure that it would be something like:

Dear [Name],

We are sorry to inform you that [name of soldier] of the [regiement] died on [date]. The military offers its condolences at this sad time.

Yours faithfully,
[Commanding officer]


But can anyone give me something more specific?

Ta very much.

What Would A Russian Speak?

Time: Present day

My MC is an American fluent in Russian. Probably not native fluency but best described as near native, advance-level able to communicate easily in most situations.

The MC is in a meeting with a Russian businessman and his employee. The Russian knows the American speaks Russian, so he then switches to another language to speak to the employee because he doesn't want the American to understand.  What language would the Russian switch to?

My original thought was Ukrainian or Belorussian, but I understand that those are close enough to Russian that a Russian speaker (in this case the American) could figure out what is being said.  What other language possibilities are there for the Russians to speak?  (Without it seeming contrived for the plot.)  An unusual or "non-standard" dialect of Russian or even Ukrainian or Belorussian that would seem a natural fit.

It's fine if the American catches a familiar word or phrase, but he really doesn't understand what they are saying.

The Russian is well educated and traveled, fluent in multiple languages. His employee is less educated, likely some sort of technical school followed by time in the military.


Magic systems that use bones?

I'm trying to develop a magic system that relies on the use of bones, and am looking for real-world precedents to serve as inspiration.

Consulting with other people, I've heard about Chinese traditional medicine, and possibly Vodoun. I've Googled for various combinations of bone, magic, sorcery, Chinese traditional medicine, tiger bones (because apparently that's what's used in CTM), voodoo, and vodoun. I've found nothing of much use except that, apparently, CTM believes tiger bones and rhino horns can cure almost anything, which pisses off wildlife conservationists. So far I've found nothing connecting Vodoun to bones, except for Hollywood hype.

Any info on the use of bones in various religions/mythologies would be appreciated, preferably with info about how and why they do what they do with bones.

Edit: I've gotten a lot of suggestions for using bones as divination tools. While I appreciate the suggestions, I'm looking less for divination. I'm not liking for belief systems that use bones to figure out what's going to happen, but that use bones to make things happen, if that makes sense.

Working single moms, circa 1900-1910

Can anyone help me with search terms or book/article recommendations for researching the options that would be open to a single working woman with a presumably illegitimate child in the U.S., circa 1900-1910? The woman in question would be a recent immigrant from Germany, who had probably worked as a domestic before her pregnancy.

(This is a nonfiction story, so I know what actually did happen--she stayed with her sister in Pittsburgh, PA for a while, then found a job as a housekeeper for a widower with several children. As far as I can tell, she was able to bring her infant daughter with her; less than a year after she came to work for him, her employer married her and adopted the child.)

What I'm wondering about: the obstacles a woman who wasn't so lucky would have had to face. Would she have been unwelcome in lodging houses? Would she ordinarily have had to put her child out to nurse in order to work? Would she have had difficulty finding a job--presumably, a maid who got pregnant would be dismissed without a reference? Anything else I've failed to think of?

I've checked Victorian Web, and I've done searches using "single motherhood, 19th century" and "illegitimate motherhood," but I'm coming up dry. If someone could recommend a good book or article or two, or even tell me where I'm going wrong in my selection of search terms, I'd be very grateful.

clubs in london

I have a fictional posh nightclub in London--as in Mayfair or St. James or something nice like that--and I was wondering how likely would it be to place it on the top floor of some building? Clubs usually tend to be ground/basement level where I come from, and it's very noteworthy when they're not, but this one must be somewhere higher from plot-related reasons. Which means that I'm going to put it there anyway, I'd just like to know whether native Londoners would find the fact very common or peculiar and original.
 

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