Writing What You Don't Know: The Assistants

Discussion in 'Make It So' started by jacktrash, Aug 3, 2016.

  1. TheOwlet

    TheOwlet A feathered pillow filled with salt and science

    I mean that depends on stuff like size, activity, outside temp, efficiemcy of food conversion etc. 'Slow metabolism' is a very squishy sort of terminology.

    Like. Slow for a mammal is heaps different than slow for a sea sponge.
  2. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    True. Okay, what would be the basic stats for trolls? Pretty similar to humans, from all we can actually tell. Size is apparently similar to humans at the early end of their lifespan at least. Alternia's a hellworld so presumably almost no one is sedentary, too much time running away from things.
  3. TheOwlet

    TheOwlet A feathered pillow filled with salt and science

    Are trolls endo or ectotherm? What's the average muscle mass? Do those muscles work like mammalian ones? What's the rate of heatloss? How easy are are calories to get/what do they eat in the wild? Endurance or burst activity pattern? Fidgetting? Food conversion efficiency?

    There is a LOT going into this sort of math, and it requires some fairly indepth knowledge of the biological Setups.
    • Agree x 2
    • Informative x 1
  4. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    Is it possible to work out the difference between highblood and lowblood energy requirements by comparison? If not, sounds like this is a job much bigger than this thread can do, I'll need a Googledoc or something...
  5. IvyLB

    IvyLB Hardcore Vigilante Gay Chicken Facilitator

    basically no because we're literally missing a shitload of the necessary stats required to even begin such a comparison, nevermind shit like 'are high and lowbloods necessarily metabolically different'
    • Agree x 1
  6. HonestlyVan

    HonestlyVan a very funny person who never tells jokes

    Considering we're talking about fantasy creatures, their metabolism can work however you need it to work, and it's probably better to work out what you need, narratively, and then figure out how to justify it and tweak it to create a rule and make it consistent. Internal logic can be achieved without an external refferant.
    • Agree x 6
  7. TheOwlet

    TheOwlet A feathered pillow filled with salt and science

    Not really because again, too many unknown variables.

    For example, if we assume that lowbloods have a higher body temperature than highbloods, that they'd have higehr metabolic needs. HOWEVER if highbloods are stronger, that would hint at more muscles mass being required which would again up the metabolic needs.
    In all likelihood, the mental capacities of some trolls would impose extra energy needs because brains and brain related stuff are roundabout the single most expensive organ you can have, energywise.

    So like Van said....be interally consistent on your own, external math will not help you.
    • Agree x 2
  8. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    Rats. Oh well.
  9. PotteryWalrus

    PotteryWalrus halfway hideous and halfway sweet

    Okay so I just wrote about a character having 'skin the rich colour of teak wood' and then sat there for like twenty minutes in anxiety because I don't know if that's like racist or not.

    People go on about not comparing people to food, but the only time I normally do that is to describe a white character as creamy pale or once, for drama points, to describe someone as being as 'dark as coffee grounds and twice as bitter'.

    I guess I'm trying to ask if it's metaphors/similes in general that are bad, and why 'food-related' stuff is so frowned upon? I make a point to note a character's appearance no matter the ethnicity and I never assume that the reader views the POV character as white - quite often they're not in my stories - and after the most recent She-Ra wank I'm anxious all over again about doing diversity wrong :/
  10. ChelG

    ChelG Well-Known Member

    I'm white, but the most reputable sources I've seen on this complain that using desirable foodstuffs exoticises and over-sexualises the skin tone in question, and if it's a foodstuff the production of which is particularly notorious for involving the enslavement of POC it's pretty insensitive. I know "ebony" isn't good because that's the porn keyword for black girls, but I don't recall seeing anything about "teak" being a problem. (Not trying to talk over POC here, just mentioning what I've heard so you've got something to go on for the moment.)
    • Informative x 1
  11. latitans

    latitans zounds, scoob

    (nb: i'm white)

    In addition to what Chel said, there can also be an issue sometimes of focusing on skin tone to an extent that it feels dehumanizing. If the color of a character's skin is described over and over again in detail, the reader begins to feel that the character's skin is their only defining trait. The character can start to seem like an exoticized doll or tokenized stereotype rather than a fully fleshed out person.

    Part of the reason for this imo is that skin doesn't change. If I'm describing a character's cheeks or eyes or nose or whatever, those features might change from scene to scene--a nose could wrinkle in disgust, eyes could narrow, cheeks could dimple or plump up. Describing those body parts in detail could be a way of showing something about the character's inner life, how they're feeling, etc. But skin is only ever external, it doesn't change to reflect any inner process. (Except sun burn I guess.)

    Focusing on skin too much can be a problem even if the character is white. I actually came across an example of How Not To Describe Race and/or Ethnicity in a really mediocre horror book I read recently. The character's (inappropriately young) girlfriend was repeatedly described as white in increasingly bizarre ways. Her face was a "pale circle" in the doorway, her "small white hand" rests on the protagonists chest, and latter her "little white hands formed into little white fists."

    The first time I thought it was a bit stilted and awkward; the second time, weird; the third time, laughably bad writing that (accidentally?) made the main character seem like one of those white supremacists who are obsessed with the image of the beautiful, fragile white woman.
    • Informative x 2
    • Agree x 1
  12. LadyNighteyes

    LadyNighteyes Wicked Witch of the Radiant Historia Fandom

    Another thing I have seen argued by people less Extremely White than me is that flowery skin tone descriptors often read like the author is incapable of just saying "brown" without making a federal deal out of it.
    • Agree x 2
  13. bornofthesea670

    bornofthesea670 Well-Known Member

    In my ever-expanding quest to write something that is more inclusive than Fantasy White Girl Story, I've realized that I need to address accessibility. I have a species, and a culture, that is very good at healing, scientifically advanced, and meddles A LOT with magic. Magic and science are so intertwined it's probably stupid. I am not a scientist. THE POINT IS, if people had access to basically unending options, what kind of devices would they want to use?

    Wheelchairs would not have wheels, as most transportation and dollies (the kind used to haul heavy shit) hover above the ground. Because magic don't give no fucks, text or pictures/video can be played on a screen of varying sizes that can float in the air. Power is not a concern because things run on the energy of the land, what is called magic but is more like....idk the building blocks of energy. I dont get too deep in the weeds, I'm sure eventual fic writers will get into the knitty gritty if they like.

    If people had a government which gave plenty of resources to it's healthcare, as well as engineers and the like, what would they like to use to make their lives more comfortable and easy? I also need to do some research different conditions, so I get an idea of what to include, item wise.

    If I sound like I'm awkwardly omitting words, I am. According to a page I follow on facebook, I believe handicapped is alright to use?
    • Like x 1
  14. bornofthesea670

    bornofthesea670 Well-Known Member

    I dont want to do the "well we have such good tech we can just FIX THEM" because we all know that's gross. I guess I want to know what kind of things might be difficult to heal even with very good medicine and surgeons, and I've also got an idea that if the proper items were available, someone might want to instead make use of those instead of going through a fiddly surgery that still has a chance of not fixing an issue completely.

    Mental stuff is another issue, as I dont want to "heal" things such as autism (if my brother didnt have it he wouldnt even be the same person...how would that work? I cant imagine waking up and finding that my brain didnt work the same way.) But, it would be important to help with discomfort as much as possible, if someone has something negatively effecting them.

    I also plan on researching therapies and ways that friends and family could help folks. Ive been extra stressed lately so I'm not wording as well as I'd like to. I'm a dumbass 23 year old, I dont want to upset anyone. Just trying to think of ways I can include people who tend to exist in everyday life.

    Edit: I guess a good place to start would also be...just looking at what kind of devices people already use irl. derp
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2020
    • Like x 1
  15. sirsparklepants

    sirsparklepants feral mom energies

    "Disabled" is the word I use day to day for myself, although ymmv.

    I have a joint disorder and if money and technological reality were no object, here are some things that I would want to use on a day to day basis, although probably not all together:
    • Braces that support without restricting or impeding airflow, especially support to the hip/shoulder joints that can't currently be easily braced
    • Something to take the load off my joints (an antigrav drive to make me 20% lighter temporarily?) for days when I have to be on my feet for longer than I would like
    • A collapsible mobility aid (cane, forearm crutches, folding seat etc) that I can bring out for stairs or for bending over or for things like unexpected lines, and put in my pocket or attach to my keys otherwise so I'm not constantly forgetting it or feeling awkward with it
    • A medical treatment that reinforces the joint tissue that's constantly getting damaged (nanites, Future Substance that somehow heals cartilage, up to you) - if you don't want to go the cure route, the logistics of having to take a pill every day or suffer, or not miss a bi-weekly injection appointment or suffer, are very much the day to day reality of many people with physical disabilities, and one can absolutely heal the damage caused by a disorder without curing the disorder itself so the treatment must be repeated
    • Edit: having a home where furniture or important amenities (fridge, oven, dishwasher, storage spaces) could be raised or lowered for access so I didn't have to bend over or kill myself reaching up, then placed back in a storage position when they weren't actively in use, would make SUCH a difference in the day to day quality of my life
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2020
    • Agree x 3
    • Informative x 2
    • Like x 1
  16. IvyLB

    IvyLB Hardcore Vigilante Gay Chicken Facilitator

    Personally (as one disabled voice) i don't like handicapped as a word but that's just one opinion. I prefer disabled bc as much as I joke that the divines had to nerf me or i'd be too powerful, i don't like to mince words, I am flat out made unable to function in some aspects. I'm however also chronically ill (auto immune disorder) and that's affecting my perspective. People with non-painful situations that are mostly impacted by the lack of accessibility to daily public life have different opinions a lot of the time.
    Personally the kind of stuff i'd like to see in those situations are overall easily accessible healthcare full of medical professionals that believe patients and care to provide the best holistic care possible which i realize is kind of 'duh' but still.
    Another thing often shied away from is frank, non-judgemental depiction of medication regimes and how that structures people's lives. Not temporary medication. Like just. not erasing the fact that people sometimes end up taking pills for the rest of their lives and that sometimes those pills need dosage adjustments and that that's just a thing. Casually mentioning stuff like medication alarms or people needing a refill on a prescription or getting their tonic from the local alchemist or whatever i feel like would go a long way to depicting a society that's past trying to hide disabled people away.
    As for assistive devices, ngl modular temperature controlled exoskeleton to brace my joints properly sounds like my ideal. But also little things like just. more places to sit casually and comfortably near the side walk and by public transportation stops. Public transport in general. that kind of stuff that makes it easier to exist in public if you're easily fatigued and pain flares make it hard to move. Little nooks you can pop into like their public bathrooms but instead they're quiet rooms to hide in if you have an anxiety attack or a pain flare and you need a moment to get back to yourself
    • Agree x 5
    • Like x 1
    • Informative x 1
  17. LadyNighteyes

    LadyNighteyes Wicked Witch of the Radiant Historia Fandom

    One thing worth thinking about is that a lot of, like... infomercial gadgets where the ad shows a bunch of people being outrageously clumsy to make their product look useful are actually products designed for disabled people and then mass-marketed. A doodad for putting socks on with one hand without bending over would seem really silly watching an able-bodied person use it on TV, but if you can't bend over or you've only got one hand, it would save you a ton of grief. In a high-magitech society there could easily be people making, say, custom constructs for those sorts of mundane annoyances.
    • Agree x 1
    • Useful x 1
  18. bornofthesea670

    bornofthesea670 Well-Known Member

    Thank you for the responses!

    Off the top of my head, I can see joint tissue being something relatively easy to heal in my world. Something you could shore up with a visit to a doctor. A good portion are versed in magical healing as well as whatever their medical specialty is. But magic takes time and concentration, and in time I'm sure non-magical treatments would be invented to simplify treatment, or allow a wider variety of people to treat it. I think for something relating to bodily tissues, a treatment once every couple of years would probably take care of it, depending on the severity and how quickly it would break down again. There would also be treatments in order to keep the joint from degrading as quickly. In fact, joint health would likely be very well researched and understood, since the elderly need care in that regard as well. I dont mean to say it would be perfect, but pain and movement could be improved.

    I hadn't thought of lower gravity...that may work in an enclosed space. My species are six-limbed creatures with arms, legs, and wings (would a tail count as a limb...i dont think they do tbh), and they use something similar to air-bending to make the best use of their flight, and that bit of magic helps those with smaller than normal wings too. So I think they'd be more inclined to create enchanted braces or jewelry that would "lift" the owner a bit... not wind really, but a light force to help take some weight off. I can imagine each person would need to work with the enchanter and physical therapists to custom-design their devices. Each person moves in different ways and at different speeds.

    Scratch the air-bending, I think it works better if you think of it like the hoverboards from the Uglies series...in those you'd get a belly-ring that learns your movements to help you steer the board and stay on it. I think a charm near the center of gravity is a good idea, but I imagine less expensive options would also include perhaps a bracelet on each limb as well, to help gauge how much compensation is needed. More expensive ones would be made to look like a single piece of jewelry, or even a set. They could be made smaller by using finer craftsmanship, something that isnt as simple to mass-produce. Considering runes are a common way magic is used, tattoos could even be used at points of the body, separate from the main enchanted device. I think given time to think about it I'll word this whole thing better XD

    I keep trying to make them smaller and less noticeable but I think that's part of the problem. I'm still teaching myself not to feel uncomfortable around disabled bodies, and I'm trying not to be condescending. There's no reason that braces couldn't be made fashionable, with different colors, finishes, and designs. But, I think a lot of people might like less heavy options, and smaller ones, ones easier to throw on while heading out. I could incorporate both.

    The issue is, socially, they are in a very able-body centric world, especially among the upper class. Even far in the future when hardly anyone cares about the royal family, they still try to hide their mental health problems, chronic pain, and fatigue. (Being badass AND depressed run in the family, whooooo)

    BUT they also have very close social groups. When you come of age, you tend to do a sort of found-family kind of thing with people of similar ages and interests to you, and who you just tend to enjoy. They often find partners in that group and spend most of their lives in an interactive group, and you all end up helping with whatever comes along, and help raise the children together.

    The old phrase for it was glaun tieg, which translates roughly to "those that are mine". Common usage in more modern times shortens that to just tieg.

    (Tieg is just tee-g with more emphasis on the tee. I have yet to find a good way to describe how to say glaun unless I said it out loud to you)

    (Nobles tend to stick to the blood-family, partially because their family is tied to whatever chunk of land they own/help manage, and partially because Nobles are just Like That) (Not to mate with tho, that's yicky and bad for the genetics of future generations)

    I think the normal folk have a much nicer way of doing things, but then, I dont interact much with my family. And not everyone has a shit family. So basically, everyone is tied in some way through blood-family or friend-family. So, hopefully, everyone has some sort of proper social support, which helps when it comes to getting proper medical care. And there is pressure from the royal family to create the most comfortable, happy society. So over time I imagine things get less stigmatized because people grow used to folks being out and about and doing their thing. And there's social pressure not to be an ass from both the government, and folks in general, since nearly everybody knows somebody with a disability.

    I'm not mentioning a lot of things, but there's only so long of a historical footnote I want to plug onto the end of a post I haven't edited five times.

    Oh jeez, I've typed so long I missed messages. I'm not ignoring y'all, I promise XD thank you so much for the responses :)

    (i've been spelling y'all ya'll for so long that the proper spelling is bothering me. dammit)
    • Like x 1
  19. bornofthesea670

    bornofthesea670 Well-Known Member

    You bring up a very important point, @IvyLB , and while after the first few Ages the higher branches of government start really funding and bringing importance to healthcare, and the happiness and well-being of their populace, that takes a while to catch on with some folks, socially. And I imagine if you live outside of a larger city, or have trouble getting out and about within that city, you would have a harder time accessing that care and those options. That's one reason I think having a supportive social group could help, and hey, people don't have much problem airing their concerns in more modern ages (the old, OLD king was taken down in a duel...fistfight duel, but that's how granddad decided to do it and it makes for a fun story. He gets better at faking class later) so they are likely to bring up those problems and oversights and then committees can move to improve outreach.

    The reason the royal fam cares so much is not (shockingly) because they really deeply care, but that is an explanation for a different thread.

    And I apologize to everyone for the parenthesis that keep interrupting perfectly good thoughts. lol
    • Like x 1
  20. prismaticvoid

    prismaticvoid Too Too Abstract

    I'm autistic and mentally ill but not physically disabled, my two cents:
    seconding what folks have said about wanting to see more maintenance meds! I take two pills every day and will likely continue to do so forever unless better meds become available. I also have maintenance meds that aren't disability/illness related: my hormones! I give myself an injection every other week, again likely forever. Normalizing things like that could make a big difference!
    (I do also know that accessorizing braces/mobility aids is a big thing in a lot of people's lives. The #babewithamobilityaid hashtag on instagram has a lot of photos showing how people incorporate adaptive devices into their fashion, obvs a bit gendered but still helpful)
    • Agree x 2
    • Informative x 2
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice