I’m going to start answering this with a quotation from the author Dorothy L Sayers about writing male characters:
A man once asked me […] how I managed in my books to write such natural conversation between men when they were by themselves. Was I, by any chance, a member of a large, mixed family with a lot of male friends? I replied that, on the contrary, I was an only child and had practically never seen or spoken to any men of my own age till I was about twenty-five. “Well,” said the man, “I shouldn’t have expected a woman (meaning me) to have been able to make it so convincing.” I replied that I had coped with this difficult problem by making my men talk, as far as possible, like ordinary human beings. This aspect of the matter seemed to surprise the other speaker; he said no more, but took it away to chew it over. One of these days it may quite likely occur to him that women, as well as men, when left to themselves, talk very much like human beings also. (x)
This is a really valid point and it’s important to remember that you can write about anything without actually having experienced it yourself (I’ll get to that in a minute). George RR Martin also has some fantastic advice about writing characters different from you. Here’s an extract from one of his interviews, but the whole video is worth a watch too.
'One of the hardest things as a writer is to write someone who is not yourself. I mean, the easiest fictional character to create is one who is exactly like yourself. […] I’ve never been a prince, I’ve never been a king. I’ve never murdered anyone, I’ve never been a dwarf, I’ve never been an 11-year-old girl. So the question is: how do you write these characters? Well, there’s a certain amount of stuff that you have to get by doing research. You have to talk to people who actually have had these experiences […] but then the main thing is empathy and saying ‘well, okay, how would I feel?’, because the character is still a person and there’s a certain basis of common humanity, and that’s true when writing about women or writing about a dwarf or writing about any of this. You have to start with the basis ‘They’re more like me than they are unlike me. They have some special condition, a different set of genitals than I do, but it’s still the same old story, a fight for love and glory’. We all want kind of the same things out of life and that humanity can motivate characters and make them real and that’s what I try to remember at all times.’
So, essentially, you don’t have to keep using your dad and brother as inspiration for characters. People are people and there’s no great mystery about any gender. It’s important to realise that, otherwise stereotypes are more likely to crop up in your work.
I’m making the assumption here that you don’t have problems writing female characters because you’re female and have first hand experience, but you feel that you struggle to write male characters realistically because this is something you don’t ‘know’. Again, this leads to a blog post from Neil Gaiman about writing what you know:
Only write what you know is very good advice. I do my best to stick to it. I wrote about gods and dreams and America because I knew about them. And I wrote about what it’s like to wander into Faerie because I knew about that. I wrote about living underneath London because I knew about that too. And I put people into the stories because I knew them: the ones with pumpkins for heads, and the serial killers with eyes for teeth, and the little chocolate people filled with raspberry cream making love, and the rest of them.
You’ve had twenty years of living, and dreaming. You probably have a fair idea of what it’s like to experience emotions, and to go places, and to do things, and to change. You’ve wondered about things you don’t know. You’ve guessed. You’ve hoped.
Again, it’s a good (short) post and it’s worth reading here. He’s never lived underneath London, or wandered into Faerie, or been a serial killer etc. but he can write about this stuff because he’s human and he’s lived.
Using your dad and brother as your only inspiration for male characters will cause you problems if you aren’t individualising them enough. It’s okay to take an element here and there – maybe your dad has a sharp way with words, or your brother falls into classic joker territory – but you need to develop your characters past these bits and pieces of your relatives and make them individual and their own person. This is where character development and research comes in.
It might be useful to identify what character archetypes you are currently utilising when borrowing from your dad & brother. Here are some links to more information about archetypal characters: [one] [two] [three]
Once you’re aware of the archetypal characters you’re consistently using, you can consciously choose to write a different archetype, or maybe mix and match. This is an easy way to start developing male characters who aren’t specifically inspired by your dad and brother.
You need to individualise your characters and give them their own voices, and a great way to do this is with better character development. Writing characters realistically hinges on proper character development. Indiewire gives some tips for writing better characters here and The Script Lab has a post with lots of links at the bottom about character development and character exercises here.
The author Holly Black recommends this article for character development. It makes reference to novel writing, but character development can be useful for all sorts of fiction writing in general. Not everyone finds character worksheets useful, but there’s one at the bottom of the post and it might be worth trying to see if it helps you flesh out realistic characters.
Hopefully we’ve established by now that you can write about anything and anyone (no matter your gender), but it’s important to remember that you often can’t do this automatically. Research is important. In the interview I linked to with George RR Martin he explains how he spoke to people who had lost the use of their limbs in order to write Bran’s experience accurately. If you feel that there’s a traditionally male area that you need to know about in order to write your male characters then research, ask questions, etc. Google is your friend.
People often struggle to write female characters because they see women as one-dimensional (stereotypes, love interests, etc.) and give them no real motivations of their own. They forget to treat them as human. If you’re writing your male (and female) characters as well-rounded people with their own motivations then you’re already on the right track to writing realistic characters.
Develop your characters and their voices, look at archetypes, and remember not to write in stereotypes. If you do this then your male characters are unlikely to come across as automatically the same, and you’ll have made them more realistic. If you can already write female characters well then you’ll be able to write male characters well – they’re all characters, at the end of the day. A lot of it comes down to confidence and practice with characters in general. Keep writing and keep practising.
And, if you’re interested, here’s one last article about female screenwriters writing male characters.
It’s not always what you say…
But also how you say it that defines how a character sounds. Like all things in writing, understanding and executing character voice involves a lot of mistakes and a lot practice. Out of all of the skills you can have as an author, it’s one of the most difficult to do well because, sometimes, it’s hard to make characters not all sound the same. So how do you differentiate? What are the things you need to consider when finding your character’s voice?
Know Your Character – Personality
Assuming you’ve done a fair amount of development on your character beforehand, you should know what kind of person they are, and what kind of person they will become throughout the course of your story. People can be any number of things, and have any number of traits, often shaped by their life experiences, the environment around them, the society they’re a part of, and the choices they’ve made during their lives. People can be kind, loving souls, they can be uncaring, they can be rude, and they can be downright evil. All of these things may be reflected in their speech.
In order to determine how a character may speak, ask yourself these questions:
- Who is your character talking to?
- Why is your character talking to that person?
- What are your character’s goals? What would your character do to accomplish those goals?
- Is your character being truthful when they’re speaking, or are they masking an ulterior motive?
- Do their life experiences come across in their speech? Has a tragedy affected them? Has a positive event? Does their sorrow come across through in words, or do they hide it by faking another emotion? Are they sarcastic?
- Do they like speaking? Are they an extrovert? An introvert? Are they being forced to speak?
- Do they have a mental illness that may cause them to become withdrawn or affect another aspect of their behavior?
Know Your Character – Target
Relationships will often determine how a character speaks.
Ask yourself: who are they speaking to? Some people have no trouble speaking to anyone, even a random stranger, while for others speaking to anyone at all is very difficult. Even people who aren’t very social usually have someone they can talk to, someone they can trust. Who does your character trust? Why?
People tend to talk to close friends and family differently than they would anyone else. They tell people they’re close to their deepest secrets, their most personal flaws, and their greatest apprehensions. They may also act differently around people they trust, losing any fear that they may be judged for what they do and are free to be who they are, which they may hide from the rest of the world, for whatever reason. People who haven’t earned your character’s trust may be avoided, and when questioned your character may withhold information from them.
When speaking to a person in a position of authority, like a police officer or that character’s boss, one would generally assume that those people would be treated with respect. Of course, there are those who dislike authority of all kinds and seek to rebel against it. They may say things that get them into trouble as a result.
Know Your Character – Origin and Education
Where is your character from? What kind of education did your character receive? Cultural influences may shape your character’s beliefs, which may affect what they choose to express in their speech.
- What culture did they come from? What religion do they practice, if they practice? What beliefs does your character ascribe to? Do they live by the values of their culture or religion? Have they adopted a different culture or religion than the one they grew up with?
- Do their beliefs dictate their behavior?
- Are there certain aspects of their culture, of their native language, that slips into their speech?
- Did their country of origin somehow limit their education? Did your character grow up with free access to information? Did your character grow up in a place with censorship?
- Did your character have a traditional education? Were they tutored? Were they in a public school environment? Private school?
- Does your character like to learn? Is your character book smart? Is your character street smart?
- What level of education did they receive? High school? College? Trade school? Something else?
Everyone has a different level of education, and a person’s experience with language will usually influence how they form sentences and what words they decide to use. An individual with a high school education would likely speak differently than someone who’s been through college. Education also tends to have an influence on language style and whether or not someone tends to speak formally or conversationally. Of course, there are always exceptions to this. There are some incredibly well-spoken people who don’t hold degrees just as there are some terrible speakers who do.
Another thing to consider is that people who like to read, whether they’ve grown up with it or it’s something they enjoy later in life, tend to have a good understanding of language and speech patterns. Reading is a thinking process, involving more than just looking at words on a page. There’s comprehension involved, and people who read are often complex thinkers. Complex thought may translate to complex speech, but sometimes putting ideas to words is difficult, no matter what level of education a person may have.
Putting it on Paper
You should have a good idea of what causes characters to say what they say, but you’re still unsure of how to actually write it.
Let’s take a look at Kerrigore, one of the main characters in my novel. To give a little background he’s been alive for quite a while, has been screwed over by people he’s trusted many times, is generally a grump, and tends to hide behind snark and sarcasm. As such, a lot of his speech is expressed in short sentences, and though he’s certainly intelligent enough to use complex sentence structures, he doesn’t usually. It’s too much effort, though he slips when he’s irritated. He also swears a lot and tends to be impersonal to people he doesn’t know well.
In this scene, he’s talking to Kaelus, someone he’s known for a very long time, and while he doesn’t necessarily dislike her, he dislikes who she serves and what she stands for.
“What are you doing here?” he asked, kneeling down to see what had become of his wine. It had spilled out onto the kitchen floor and seeped under the fridge, bottle neck in scattered pieces. The bottom of the bottle was still intact and he picked it up, drinking the measly sip that was left and shaking it out with a frown. “Wait, never mind, you don’t do anything on your own,” Kerrigore paused to glare up at her, “What does father want?”
“For you to return home. That never changes,” she said.
“Neither does my answer.” Kerrigore gathered broken glass in his palm. Silence hung between them. He dumped the glass in the trash and tossed a dish towel on the wine, wiping it back and forth with his foot. “Like Nathriel, father can go fuck himself.”
“This grudge you hold, it destroys more than you realize,” she frowned.”
Even from that small snippet you can get a sense of character voice difference between the two of them. It’s not only accentuated by what they say, but also by their mannerisms and actions. Body language can help reveal a character’s voice as well. Irritation is clear with Kerrigore not only due to what he says, but by the fact that he’s not looking at Kaelus when he’s speaking. He’s busy cleaning up his spilled wine, allowing that to take precedent over being polite.
When writing voice, you also must be mindful of the tone of a scene. Though people may react to the same stimuli in a different manner, there is an expectation of how normal people (or what a society perceives to be normal) react under certain circumstances. For instance, most people will react to seeing a dead body with shock, and then probably remorse or at least respect for the dead. A person with more experience, a police officer or coroner for example, may still feel some form of remorse but the shock of seeing a dead human being probably isn’t there. Repetition may dull reactions but you’re going to want the character’s dialogue to reflect the serious tone of the scene.
One thing to note with tone: there are always exceptions. If it’s part of a character’s personality, tone can be intentionally broken. Just be sure the reasoning is solid.
Atypical Speech and Complex Words
Some characters use different syntax in speech. Yoda from Star Wars is a solid example of a character that uses different syntax to create a unique speech pattern. Sometimes it’s inconsistent, and sometimes it’s in an object-subject-verb order. For example: “Brave you are.” Language is always fun to play with, so don’t be afraid to experiment with word order if it would suit your character.
For some characters, more complicated is better. The best example I have is Sheldon from Big Bang Theory. He uses some incredibly complex words and sentence structures to express simple concepts in order for the writers to show the audience that he’s an intelligent character. He also tends to infuse his conversations with knowledge from areas of study like: physics, chemistry, calculus, differential equations, engineering, etc.
While complex words can serve to show intelligence (or lack of if used incorrectly), they can also express a more precise meaning for a concept. In addition, they may also make a character come off as arrogant. While the general rule with complex words is to leave them out and use something simpler so you don’t confuse readers, if it works for a character and fits with their voice, then do it.
For example: “I’m disinclined to acquiesce to your request. Means no.” – Captain Barbosa, Pirates of the Caribbean.
Complex Words with Simple Meanings:
- Defenestrate – throwing something out a window.
- Extirpate – destroy completely.
- Disambiguate – to explain.
- Antediluvian – old.
- Pulchritudinous – breathtakingly beautiful.
- Ameliorate – improve.
The TV Trope Spock Speak covers a lot of this well.
With speech, a lot of things you’ve heard as “rules” can be thrown out in order to create a suitable voice for a character.
In dialogue it’s okay to:
- Not use contractions. This is often used to convey an intelligent or formal speaking character.
- Use sentence fragments. If you sit around and listen to people actually converse, a lot of them don’t bother to talk in complete sentences, especially when talking to friends. Part of this is because someone you know, often knows what you mean, even if you don’t convey it completely.
- Use slang, euphemisms, and colloquialisms.
- Use catch words or phrases. Some people tend to use a certain word or phrase when they talk. That’s perfectly fine to shape a unique voice, but don’t overdo it or it may fall into cliché territory.
- Use the passive voice. While generally a no-no in a narrative, passive voice is perfectly fine to use in speech. Example: “I did it” (active voice) vs. “It is done” (passive voice).
Accents and Non-English Speakers
Do not be afraid to state what kind of accent your character has. Consider country of origin, if it’s a light or thick accent, and if it’s hard or easy to understand. Count on the intelligence of your reader to recognize accents. Most people can imagine the sounds of accents like: English, French, Italian, or German if you mention it in the text. Granted, they are some of the most commonly used and sometimes stereotypically portrayed in media where people draw from, but the mental association with the sounds is there nonetheless. Uncommon accents or dialects that may not be so easy to infer might require extra description.
Again, it’s absolutely okay to say “he spoke with a thick German accent” and let the reader fill in the rest.
My opinion about the phonetic spelling of words to represent an accent comes from research and from doing such things myself when I was a beginner. For example: using words like ‘vhat’ or ‘vat’ instead of ‘what’ for a German accent. It’s annoying to read phonetics as an English speaker, and for the language being represented, it’s annoying to the native speaker to be represented in that manner. Phonetics is generally something to avoid when writing accents, even if you’ve seen it before in published books.
What about something like ebonics or a specific non-English dialect? My advice stands, as phonetic representation can sometimes come off as unintended racism especially when it’s being written from a non-native speaker perspective. This kind of thing can happen with any representation of a language that isn’t your own of course, and it’s important to be mindful of that fact.
As with any accurate portrayal, research and speaking to the people you wish to represent is key. Getting their perspective is important and the fear of misrepresentation shouldn’t stop you from including diverse characters.
That being said you can represent a non-native speaker in reasonable ways:
- I know this isn’t normally the case in the United States, but in some other countries English is often taught as a second language at an early age. When representing a character speaking English as a second language, it’s important to consider how long that character has been speaking English. If it hasn’t been a long time, it would be reasonable to say that the character may slip back into his native language when speaking English becomes difficult (I’ve seen it happen here with Spanish speakers, especially kids who were born in other countries). Again, there are a lot of non-native English speakers who are perfectly proficient at the language, and even speak it better than natives. Do not fall into the stereotypical trap that non-native speakers “can’t handle English” or that their language is somehow inferior.
- Emotion can play a role. Sometimes people will slip into their native languages when they are angry or distressed. Others will do it when they want to communicate something to another native speaker, and hide their words from a non-native.
- It’s also important to consider the syntax of the native language. Sometimes native syntax will slip into English speech.
- On that same token, sometimes native words or phrases will be used in place of English ones, especially if they’re commonly used in the character’s everyday life. For example, the character could have a relative that doesn’t speak English so he has to go back and forth between both languages.
- Culture also plays a role. Different cultures have different perspectives of the world and how people should act. It is best to read articles written by natives or people who have lived in different parts of the world to get a different perspective.
- Sometimes, even within the same language, there are differences. Using the United States and England for example, we both speak English but have different words for the same things. For example: we say trash in the US while rubbish is mostly commonly used in England.
Conveying Tone of Voice
I know people harp on “show, don’t tell”, but if you have the opportunity to attribute a sound or tone adjective to a character’s voice, do it. There’s nothing wrong with letting the reader in on what a character sounds like, especially when that character is first introduced or says something important that’s thematically appropriate to the tone of the scene.
Tone of voice and scene tone can go hand in hand to enhance each other, but know they are different concepts.
In order to convey tone, you can do one of these things:
- Use an adjective.
- Use a comparison to relate the sound of the character’s voice to one that’s easier for people to imagine.
- Relate the character’s voice to a living person, if applicable.
For words to describe tone, I offer this link from the Writing Helper’s Tumblr: 55 Words to Describe Someone’s Voice.
"How terrible this darkness was, how bewildering, and yet mysteriously beautiful!"- Stefan Zweig
Introducing THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL ROLEPLAY
"A historical fictional para-based roleplay inspired by Wes Anderson’s movie of the same name.
Welcome to The Grand Budapest Hotel, the most picturesque lodgings in all of Europe. Isolated in the beautiful mountain landscape of the Republic of Zubrowka, The Grand Budapest offers luxurious comfort, a home away from home.
- Creepy psychic. The character can’t connect with people. She rarely talks. The author/director vaguely implies the psychic is autistic. When the psychic does talk, it’s in a creepy monotone. Often has strange, weirdly prophetic nonsequiturs.
- Psychic nosebleed. If she overuses her powers, her nose must bleed. It is a Rule.
- Delicacy. The psychic is extremely sensitive to the emotions around them. A strong emotion will literally knock them over. The psychic’s delicacy is reinforced by their physique: small, thin, and mousy-haired.
- Reading at your convenience. The psychic can sense all emotions … except when it’s convenient for the plot. You mentioned your character having this trait. It’s not a bad trait so long as you provide or attempt to provide an explanation for it. Your psychic character and anyone working with her powers will attempt to find an explanation so the MC can’t be guarded against. Also, your MC is probably curious why it works on some and not others. She’s probably investigated for herself and may come up with a theory.
Types. Psychics can see everything in your mind. They don’t see, “Oh, crap, I’m late for my doctor’s appointment. Hurry up!” which is what the character is thinking at the moment. They see everything the character is/has been/has done. In effect, instead of seeing the frantic worry of being late, a psychic character would see “I am a self-absorbed psychopath with no remorse mwahahaha.” If it really was mind “reading”, the psychic would only see the former. Most psychics can dig around and, honestly, it would make for a more suspenseful story if you put stops on what a psychic can and cannot see. For example, a psychic can’t see anything you aren’t actively thinking of.
What I mostly have found in the RPG community is how often roleplays die. Sometimes in a matter of weeks or even days, groups that are almost fated to be successful die quickly because of simple issues that can be easily solved. Along with this guide, you’ll find a bunch of useful resources for admins and players.
Yes! But I never use it. If you want to follow me, follow me through instagram. I’m way more active on that. I think my username is dorcaschiu.
If you include some other guides and how-tos on this blog, I’m pretty sure people will think I’m prepping Tumblr for something, but I promise you, this is all in theory. In roleplay, I’ve seen plenty of people trying to make their characters a bad arse by including torture in their “bad arse arsenal”, but they don’t seem to have a grasp on what it really is about, what makes it effective, or how to truly go about it. I’ll be telling you exactly why it is so devastating, how you make it devastating and the elements that make for torture. Since this is a triggering subject, if you are to reblog this from me, I will insist you do so with the tag ‘tw:torture’, for reader’s discretion. Thank you, and you can view the guide under the read-more.
“L O N D O N,
meet the leading lady”
✘ Magic you say? Magic, really? But honey, this is London. Such a big city. Of course, it all seems magical at first. Everyone on earth dreamed of this place, just like one would dream of New-York or Paris. That’s what make us dream nowadays. Cities. They as full of magic as they are full of people. Full of cultures. The magic of globalization, of all of these languages, these foods Or maybe, who knows? Maybe that’s what they want you to believe. Maybe there’s more to it than a melting-pot of accents, histories, memories, architecture and romance. Walking through these streets is seeing a hundred of people and many more stories come to life. But who knows about all of these things after all? Who really knows London? No one. No one can say they know every single one of the lady’s secrets, just as no one knows what kind of underwear the Queen wears. The city wears a mask, as a person would, covering her secrets. So, are you feeling like walking through it now? Through that one big masquerade? Oh, magic they say. It’s obvious. Magic. How ridiculous. The only magic of this city is everything she’s hiding from us. Everything we need to find out.
Tell us what you’d like to see - Fill the survey here!
Hello everyone! My name is Doe and this is a new project I’m working on. This para-focused and character driven roleplay is based on Wes Anderson’s newest film- The Grand Budapest Hotel. But you definitely do not need to have watch it in order to join. There will be no canon characters and all pre-written bios will be of my own creation and imagination. I’m also welcoming your original characters to this! This roleplay is very much focused on history in a fictional European Alpine State. The first chapter of the roleplay is set in the 1930s when the country is on the brink of war. How does this affect the rich upper class families on their holiday retreat? How does this affect the lower class workers in the Hotel who really just wanted to do an honest day’s work? And what about the military and their stories? If you’re into historical fiction, this is definitely a roleplay to keep an eye on. And don’t be put off if historical fiction is not usually your thing. I’m also creating a sideblog where there will be resources posted to help roleplayers develop their character and this setting. Besides, this is a fictional setting so accuracy is not strict at all! Diversity is always a thing I’m keeping an eye out for, so Zubrowka is inclusive to all ethnicities, sexualities, body types, genders, class, fashion sense, writing styles, and moustaches.
Over the next few days, I will be updating different pages and posting bios. Be sure to follow and keep checking back! I’ll also be posting an ad for co-admins soon, so if you’re interested in, don’t be afraid to shoot me messages.
Anyway, that’s it for now and I hope you’ll join me on this magical journey!
Note: I had to sit through a 45 minute electrocution lecture courtesy of a teacher I asked about the history of electrocution. See how I love you?
Anyway, sure thing! I was going to just give you a paragraph on writing it, but then one thing led to another, and I decided to go ahead and write a small guide on electrocution and electric shock, as I couldn’t find a tumblr based one myself. (If all you really care about is writing it, just scroll down to the end of the post.)
Let’s start out with what electrocution is and basic information about it.
Know the difference between electrocution and electric shock. (I’m bringing this up because people often confuse electrocution and electric shock.) The basic difference is that one kills you, and the other doesn’t.
- Electrocution - “death caused by electric shock, either accidental or deliberate. The word is derived from “electro” and “execution”, but it is also used for accidental death.”
- Electric shock - “a sudden discharge of electricity through a part of the body.” (non-deadly)
Current is what kills in electrocution. The current level is determined by the applied voltage and the resistance of the material (i.e., your body) that the current is flowing through. Depending on the individual, the resistance of dry skin is usually between 1,000 -100,000 W.
(image courtesy of my digital electronics teacher)
POTENTIAL TRIGGER WARNING?: If you’re interested, take a look at this post. It shows a dead body after electrocution.
Most electrocutions are done accidentally. It’s actually rather rare that you are electrocuted on purpose. In fact, electrocution in general isn’t all that commonplace. One count that I found expressed electrocution with a lifetime odd of 1-in-5,000 for Americans. (I’m almost sure that the website was referring to a high current electric shock, but I’ll let it slide.) I don’t know what sort of situation your character is in, but keep this in mind when writing.
- Electric Shocks
An electric shock is usually painful. A small shock from static electricity may contain thousands of volts but has very little current behind it due to high internal resistance.
Their danger levels depend on:
- The amount of current flowing through the body.
- The path of the current through the body.
- The length of time the body is in the circuit.
- The voltage.
- The presence of moisture.
- The phase of the heart cycle when the electric shock occurs.
- The health of the person before the occurance.
Shock effects include:
Fun fact: electric shocks are used in electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). General anesthesia and a muscle relaxant ensured that the patient doesn’t feel a thing, even though enough electricity to light a room for one second passes through their brain. Patients do, however, experience (typically) temporary memory loss. ECT is known to be used on severely depressed patients or patients with boipolar disorder. (x)
- Electric Chair:
Alright, so I’ll start off with some early history on the electric chair, because who doesn’t love background information?
New York built the first electric chair in 1888 (figures). (William Kemmler was the first to be executed in 1890.) Others began to adopt this method, though it is not the sole method of execution in any state today as it was then. (The electric chair remained the only method in Nebraska until February of 2008.)
(1890, used to kill Kemmler)
What happens in the process, you ask?
Well, the person is usually shaved and strapped to a chair with belts. The belts cross the prisoner’s chest, groin, arms, and legs. A metal electrode is attached to the scalp and forehead, over a sponge that has been moistened with saline (it can’t be too wet or too dry). An additional electrode is moistened with Electro-Crème and attached to a part of the prisoner’s leg. The prisoner is blindfolded, and the execution team leaves the room. The warden tells the executioner when to pull the handle to connect the power supply. A current jolt of 500 to 2000 volts for about 30 seconds is given, but this varies from case to case. (Robert Gleason Jr. received 1,800 volts at 7.5 amps at TWO 90-second cycles.) The body relaxes when the current is turned off. The doctors wait momentarily, and then go check to see if the heart is still beating; if it is, another jolt of electricity is given, and this continues until the doctors can officially proclaim that the heart is not beating. (Multiple physicians check this.)
Give me gross specifics on what goes on, maybe?
The prisoner’s hands usually grip the chair. They may violently move their limbs, causing dislocation or fractures. Their tissues swell. Defecation occurs. Steam/smoke rises, and the smell of burning is in the air. At postmortem, the body is hot enough to blister if it is touched. An autopsy has to be delayed so that the internal organs can cool. Third degree burns with blackening are present where the electrodes met the scalp and legs.
Quotes! I want quotes on what happened, I command you to give me quotes!
U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan had this to say about execution by electric chair: “…the prisoner’s eyeballs sometimes pop out and rest on [his] cheeks. The prisoner often defecates, urinates, and vomits blood and drool. The body turns bright red as its temperature rises, and the prisoner’s flesh swells and his skin stretches to the point of breaking. Sometimes the prisoner catches fire….Witnesses hear a loud and sustained sound like bacon frying, and the sickly sweet smell of burning flesh permeates the chamber.”
I wanted to talk a bit about botched executions as well.
- William Vandiver- He was still breathing after an initial surge of 2,300 volts. The execution took a total of 17 minutes and five jolts of electricity.
- Wilbert Lee Evans - When hit with the first jolt, blood spewed from the right side of the mask on his face, covering his shirt with blood and a sizzling sound could be heard as blood dripped from his lips. Evans moaned continuously until a second jolt of electricity was applied.
- Pedro Medina - Foot-high flames shot from the headpiece during the execution. The execution chamber was filled with a stench of thick smoke. It gagged the two dozen official witnesses. An official flipped a switch to cut off the power to end (early) the two-minute cycle of 2,000 volts. Medina’s chest continued to heave until he died after the flames went out.
- How do you apply all of this in your writing?
Take the information I have given you in stride. Understand what electrocution and electric shock are. Know your character. Some people are scared of death, some aren’t. Know how your character would react in such a situation when they’re face to face with the person who, with the pull of a switch, will send a lethal amount of current running through their body.
On an ending note, I highly recommend you READ THIS ESSAY. Not only does it send goosebumps down my arm every time I read it, it will help you understand the psychological aspect of electrocution as well.
Not a bother at all! I think your best bet is visiting the Harry Potter wiki on United States of America. On the wiki, there are no other American schools other than Salem Witches Institute. I think there’s a lot of creative room for this area, you don’t have to base it on one fan’s perspective on the wizarding world in the States. I think the easiest with creating a world is to make it similar to the real world. For example, American wizarding school would have a similar education system. Since I’m not that familiar with it, I’m assuming that you can also make the students have different AP courses that they can take. You can also have one wizarding school only for high school students. Americans are really focused on University, so think about bridging the gap between wizarding high school to muggle University. Americans might be more muggle savvy, their world might be more incorporated and tolerant towards muggles.
Think about your particular setting. How would a wizarding school be hidden in Boston, New York, etc. etc.? What do graduated wizarding students work at? Is there a government? Where is this government located? There is definitely a lot of world building involved so I would suggest looking at thatfrenchhelper’s guide to historical fiction. It really helps with world building research.
According to American witches and wizards? Again, I think it really depends on the world that you have created. Like any characters, I would say try to flesh them out and make them more dimensional. Obviously, there would be a lot of diversity. Because American schools won’t have houses, think of a way that the students are able to group together. Perhaps not cliques, but friend groups might be very distinct. Think about your own educational experience and utilize that!
I would also suggest acciorpc who deals strictly with Harry Potter business. She might be able to give you a more detailed answer!
Hope that helps!
Daughter of a gun (ﾉ´ヮ´)ﾉ*:･ﾟ✧ No idea if such a thing existed but surely there had to be girls born on board in the Age of Sail?
*puts on obnoxious historian hat*
there were actually tons of women and girls on board ships during the age of sail and it’s really cool history that no one!!! ever!!! talks about!!!
like captains of merchant ships used to bring their wives and children on board for long voyages all the time (and of course there were plenty of well known female pirate ship captains, and women cross-dressing as men, and prostitutes that more people seem to know of)
there’s actually a really amazing story of one woman, Mary Ann Patten who was the wife of the captain of this ship called Neptune’s Car. Captain Patten decided that he wanted her onboard with him and she was super about this and learned all about navigation and sailing and everything. so this one voyage they’re going around the tip of south america when her husband gets sick and is bed ridden with a fever right as the ship sails into one of the worst storms any of the crew had ever seen and it looks like they might lose the ship or have to stop
so you know who takes over??? the first mate???
she took over the whole crew and sailed that ship through freezing water and pack ice and had it coasting smoothly into the san francisco harbour like it was nothing. and she did this all at age 19. while pregnant.
at one point the first mate tried to get the crew to mutiny against her but they all rallied with her and told him to shut the heck up because she obv knew what she was doing.
there’s a great book about women in the age of sail called ‘female tars’ by suzanne stark that i cannot recommend enough and has way more amazing stories and insights about the myriad roles women and girls played aboard ship during that time period.
(sorry i totally didn’t mean to hijack your post i love all of your art and this is gorgeous i just got over excited sorry sorry sorry)
We need links!
Female Tars: Women Aboard Ship in the Age of Sail by Suzanne Stark
Hen Frigates: Wives of Merchant Captains Under Sail by Joan Druett
Iron Men, Wooden Women: Gender and Seafaring in the Atlantic World, 1700-1920 edited by Margaret S. Creighton and Lisa Norling
Petticoat Whalers: Whaling Wives at Sea, 1820-1920 by Joan Druett
Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World by Jane Yolen
Seafaring Women: Pirate Queens, Female Stowaways and Sailors’ Wives by David Cordingly
The Captain’s Best Mate: The Journal of Mary Chipman Lawrence on the Whaler Addison, 1856-1860 by Mary Chipman Lawrence
Women Sailors and Sailors’ Women: An Untold Maritime History by David Cordingly
- Danielle Campbell
- Anna Popplewell
- Odeya Rush
- Georgie Henley
- Holly Earl
- Kaniehtiio Earl
- Madison Davenport
- Jodelle Ferland
- Maiara Walsh
- Grace Phipps
- Jordan Todosey (nonbinary)Hope that helps!
No bothers! I’m here to help! Here is a masterlist of everything good I can find:
- Writing an Original Character by thetrolliestcritic
- How to write an OC by fat-amy-rph
- Character sheets and character creation (masterlist) curated by thatfrenchhelper
- Biographies for dummies by thetrolliestcritic
- How to write a fully developed character by hermajestyhelps
- Creating compelling characters by bookgeekconfessions
- Writing Specific Characters (masterlist) curated by referenceforwriters
- How well do you know your OCs by fuckyeahcharacterdevelopment
- How to make an oc back story by occritiques
- Basic tips to improve your OCs by springhole
- Character creation and development theory by springhole
- Writing OCs in Fanfiction
- Writing 101: Creating Interesting Original Characters
- Developing your characters and making them interesting by referenceforwriters
- The Bechdel Test (and others not unlike it) by characterandwritinghelpHope that helps!