Jan. 30th, 2011

shalanna: (Hobbes Writes)
I thought some of you might be interested in entering the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Contest this year. It's open now for YA novels and general fiction. You need a pitch of 300 words and a complete manuscript (and you'll paste the first 5K words into a text box, so you need a text-only version of the opening). Why not enter? It's free!

I entered.


And now for something completely different!

Here are some of the gross inaccuracies that writers have presented as part of their stories or TV episodes. This list was passed around during a recent writers' workshop. I don't know if they're entirely accurate, but then what list is? (Considering only lists passed around at some group meeting, that is.)

CATEGORY: Aviation

1. A stall in an airplane has nothing to do with the engine. It refers to the airplane flying so slowly that the air over the wing separates and reduces the lift. It is not fatal. Lower the nose, regain airspeed, and you're fine. All commercial aircraft stall benignly (if they stall at all), although it is a bit unnerving for the non-pilot.

2. Air traffic controllers don't "control" an airplane. The pilots control the airplane and have the final say as to what the airplane does. A pilot may, at his discretion at any time, refuse to follow instructions from the controller if he deems it unsafe. (The usual caveat is: But he'd better have a damn good reason.)

3. Aircraft depressurize as an explosion of air, not a torrential wind tunnel of doom. If it's a massive depressurization it'll suck people out in a fraction of a second, not several minutes. A bullet hole in an airplane fuselage is not enough to blow out a major chunk of structure.

4. Pilots don't need permission to fly around in most US airspace nor do they need to file a flight plan. A flight plan is an aid a pilot may choose to use to aid controllers and help people find him should he get into trouble. The exceptions are airspace near major airports, restricted areas like nuclear power plants and military bases, and airspace above 18,000 ft. Other than that, getting into your airplane (such as a light plane) and enjoying a flight requires no more permission from the government than getting permission to go for a Sunday drive. Nor should it.

5. Metal fatigue and fracture is the name of the department Hubster started out working in back in the day (at Lockheed, then General Dynamics.) All aircraft have structural limits. Having your hero point the nose at the ground, gain blistering speed, and then yank back on the controls as hard as he can is not an exercise in withstanding the g-forces; it's an exercise in watching your hero's aircraft flutter to the ground in many little bent aluminum pieces.

CATEGORY: Weapons and the Holes They Make

1. When someone is shot, getting the bullet out is relatively pointless compared to stopping bleeding. A bullet that's inside has already DONE its damage, and can be left there, often indefinitely.

2. If someone is coughing up blood after being shot, they were hit in either the lungs, the throat, or the stomach. Of the three, the stomach is the only one that isn't likely to kill in under five minutes.

3. Proper procedure when someone is hit by an arrow varies by arrowhead. Some can be just pulled out (particularly modern ones, made for practice or hunting). Some have to be surgically removed. Under no circumstances is it wise for someone to break off an arrow that's stuck in someone they don't want dead; instead, they should use the shaft to stabilize the arrow, then get the injured person to a doctor.

4. Shoulders are not simply absorbent spots to take a blow. You have major, complicated joints in your shoulder as well as an important artery and a lot of muscle. Getting shot, stabbed, or otherwise nailed in the shoulder is actually a serious injury.

5. A unit of blood is never just grabbed off the shelf for an emergency tranfusion. There's always some paperwork. The patient still gets a blood draw so that a type and screen can be done later.

6. A rifle has significant recoil. A rocket launcher actually doesn't--but it has backblast, due to its rocket firing.

CATEGORY: The Body and Its Functions

1. Flatulence and a kitchen match can not cause enough of an explosion to open a lead safe.

2. Sweating bodies, no matter what you've read to the contrary, smell bad.

3. The ugliest part of the body is actually the mind.



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