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POPULAR: Simple Questions, Simple Answers

Small ripples lead to big waves.
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I forgot to mention, it's a My Little Pony crossover. Problem is, the way I plotted out the story requires the incident to happen in a busy city. Maybe I could restructure it to happen before sunlight instead of in broad daylight to side-step the issue I was having, but then I don't know how to involve all the canon characters from the first chapter into the plot. (There's also an OC who gets scapegoated.)

EDIT: Actually... said OC has met two of the canon characters. He helped one of them, but was a bit of a jerk to the other. When OC is wrongly accused, the former thinks he's innocent, but the latter think's he's guilty. The third canon character hasn't met the OC, but has already met the second canon character, and they were going to cross paths again anyway. Maybe I could drop the witnesses aspect?
 
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What I tell you three times is true.
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I forgot to mention, it's a My Little Pony crossover. Problem is, the way I plotted out the story requires the incident to happen in a busy city.
Oh, that's even better! Does this happen in Equestria? 'Cause then you're in high fantasy, and then you can do whatever you want. I don't think readers expect cable news to exist alongside unicorns.

In the chapter of Eight Easy Steps I am currently writing, Alaska is wearing a moon boot. What is a moon boot? It is this, but I have now learnt that 'moon boot' may not be a global term for this type of device/brace/cast. Can anyone enlighten me on an alternative name for this from their part of the world, or is 'moon boot' a common term after all?
Uh...fancy cast? I'd feel pretty confident calling it a "fancy medical cast", though I'm not sure how much you want to leave to the imagination. Maybe call it a moon boot and give a brief bit of exposition?
 
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Oh, that's even better! Does this happen in Equestria? 'Cause then you're in high fantasy, and then you can do whatever you want. I don't think readers expect cable news to exist alongside unicorns.
Yes. After I posted that comment, I pictured a scene like: [Deep American cop voice] "We received reports of an incident early in the morning where a fire was lit on a street. The burned remains of an unidentified unicorn have been found. A witness reported seeing an orange dragon leaving the scene of the crime."

They thought it was a dragon breathing fire, but it turns out that the culprit smashed a Fire Stone that he had found the previous day, which was also when Pokémon appeared.

The OC is a Charizard. If you don't know, there are dragons in My Little Pony, who are bipedal and western-styled. Would it be better if some rando witnessed it in this revised plotline?

I can definitely picture a revised version of the scene where some of the main characters arrive at the park near the scene of the crime, when they're like, "We're here!" [sees police tape across the street] "Oh, no."
 
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Uh...fancy cast? I'd feel pretty confident calling it a "fancy medical cast", though I'm not sure how much you want to leave to the imagination. Maybe call it a moon boot and give a brief bit of exposition?
'Fancy' makes it sound bejewelled or something XD And it's not really a cast either as it is essentially a boot. I think exposition may be my only option
 
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"Moon boots" makes me think of those ridiculous shoes with really tall and thick soles.

I have a question of my own to ask, and it's on something I've been uncertain of for a while. What's the most fitting spot to switch from "it" to "he/she(/they)" when talking about an animal/creature/Pokémon character that could be or is thought to be non-sapient upon their introduction?

For context, my stories take place in settings where it's possible for a Pokémon to either be feral or sapient, and the pronouns go for each accordingly. So far I've kind of gone with "it until they speak" as most of those encounters are in the wild where you could meet either and will likely assume feral until proven wrong, but now I have kind of a special case:

I am starting a chapter with narration describing the surroundings of the scene, which then mentions an unconscious (animal/mon) body lying in the middle. The body is then mentioned moving, and the character's thoughts are shown in italics. To actually show what this looks like:
In the middle of the opening, on one of the mounds of peat moss, lay something foreign to the ecosystem. Its long, dark, scaly body rested belly-up on the squishy carpet, twisted to several curves. It was immobile, lifeless - or so it seemed, but a closer look would confirm that it was indeed breathing.

Its tongue flicked.

It convulsed.

Oh Gods, what is this smell?

It flailed, attempting to turn itself right side up, and finally succeeded. Its yellow eyes glanced around the area, taking in the view.

A swamp? I don’t remember them smelling this horrible! Either way… where are my… limbs?

It bent its neck to study its body. This is… all scale tail. Am I a snake?
It continues along those lines, describing what the mon does, but I do want to change to a "he" pretty soon as that's what's used for the remainder of the story. I just don't know where the best (or more accurately, least jarring) place to make the switch is. He doesn't meet another character until for a while, and I don't want to keep using "it" all that time. Thoughts? Am I just overthinking this?
 
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@canisaries
I tend to use "they" off the bat if gender is uncertain rather than "it" in the first place, but that's not really what's going on here.
As for switching to other pronouns, you've got a slightly tricky/awkward context. I'd probably do it the moment the narration verifies the creature's name, which can come before he meets anyone.
 
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@canisaries
I tend to use "they" off the bat if gender is uncertain rather than "it" in the first place, but that's not really what's going on here.
As for switching to other pronouns, you've got a slightly tricky/awkward context. I'd probably do it the moment the narration verifies the creature's name, which can come before he meets anyone.
Mmm, well... I don't know what would prompt that name really being said, as the only sources of information are the environment and the character's thoughts, and while he is egotistical, he's not quite so egotistical that he'd frequently refer to himself in third person. In that way, introducing the name kind of has the same question of timing and placement apply to it.

And you're right in that this isn't about gender, only about level of sapience and "personhood". I actually kind of avoid using "they" in a setting like this as it could possibly mean three levels of pronouns to go through (feral -> civilized of unknown gender -> civilized of known gender) which feels like it would get confusing/annoying. Instead I kind of make characters conveniently recognize strangers' genders (and being right about their assumptions) to move on with the actual story faster. There's also the possible plural confusion with "they", which may actually be more relevant in Pokémon given some multi-headed species. Though if I do have a sapient character that falls under neither he or she, they'll be a they, pure and simple.
 
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@canisaries

Fair enough! But behold:

Something like "I don't recognise myself, I don't even recognise my exact species, I don't have my memories. But I must still be me. I must still be Red. At least I remember my name, if nothing else." and then proceed with he/him pronouns

Recognising the gender of other pokemon can be put down to scent if you like. That's the bullshit I use!

As for "ambiguous they," I just insist on using it and expect other people to learn. It's one of the few cases where I really don't care if it's hard for some readers.
 
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In the chapter of Eight Easy Steps I am currently writing, Alaska is wearing a moon boot. What is a moon boot? It is this, but I have now learnt that 'moon boot' may not be a global term for this type of device/brace/cast. Can anyone enlighten me on an alternative name for this from their part of the world, or is 'moon boot' a common term after all?
Ankle brace seems to be the common term in America. When I think moon boots, I think of these. You'd need moon boots after wearing moon boots, so many broken and sprained ankles cause of those damn things.
 
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I'm with MA. When you said moon boot, my mind instantly shot to moon shoes. Personally I've always just referred to it as a boot, but I've never really had to explain what one is without having a person in one near me. Calling it some sort of brace will most likely be the most universal solution.
 
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@AceTrainer14 I IRL met someone wearing a moon boot! Or, as they called it, a "brace". They were wearing it for medical reasons (they had previously been using crutches); "medical brace", "leg brace", and "ankle brace" all seemed to be accurate descriptors. Not sure if your question is out of date by now, but that's my new info just in case it's not.

In unrelated news, I have a simple question of my own:

What's the best way to wordlessly imply a scene transition using BBCode?

I'm currently using some spaghetti code to create a pseudo-horizontal line, like this:

Code:
[size=1][center][s]------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------[/s][/center][/size]
Result:

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I'm wondering if there's a simpler way, or an alternative. I've seen other fics used centered symbols to accomplish the same effect, but they had a more lightweight tone than what I write. I prefer the horizontal line because it's a standard of writing (hence implying I know prose conventions), but my current method requires cumbersome copy n' paste.

Any suggestions?
 
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A triple asterisk line would be appropriate for prose, thus:

* * *​
 
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well, i've usually just gone with --- aligned either left or center, depends on the case. for some, i've used spaces (- - -), but the annoying part about that is that if i want to do it in a gdoc, the editor thinks i want to make a bulleted list and makes it annoying to correct each time.

but in general, i think people are gonna be understanding of whatever you use as long as it works and isn't distracting. we have people from all over the world here and not all of them are going to be familiar with formal english standard formatting because it simply isn't in their education and it's not something you bump into frequently.
 
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I type:
Code:
[center]________________________________________________________[/center]
(a ton of underscores); I forget the exact number but I always copy/paste from the last time I've done it. Pre-wrapping the BB center tags tricks words into not thinking it's a list or anything.
 
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Okay, so, there's this one kind of judicial (and medical?) aspect I'm unsure about in a story of mine. It's kind of spoilery even when I make it sound anonymous, so I'll hide it.

So we have a young man, 18 years of age, that had taken an innocent civilian man as hostage by holding a knife to the man's throat. This happened in a library. Officers arrived soon after due to a call made by the innocent man prior to the attack that there was a young man he'd met near the library he suspected to be under the possession of a ghost (an event known to be possible in this Pokémon world) and possibly dangerous to others and/or himself. He also informed the officials that he was a priest capable of exorcisms (legally confirmed to be one) and could perform one on the young man if he was detained.

The young man did not respond to the policemen's orders to drop his weapon and free the hostage, in fact, he actively dismissed them. It was only when his knife managed to be taken away by a Magneton part of the force that he could be arrested and the priest secured. The offender was taken to a hospital, in which the exorcism was then successfully performed by the priest, though the spirit was killed in the process due to unknown reasons instead of only being separated from its host. No information could be gathered from the spirit. After the exorcism, the offender was unconscious.

So here's the question... what happens, or should happen, to the offending person from that point on? In the old version, I just had him be supervised for an hour or two after waking up to make sure he wasn't a danger to anyone and then allowed to leave with his brother who was contacted and had arrived during the waiting period. This received criticism for being pretty weak as repercussions go, and I agree - but I'm not really sure what should follow, and how it would transpire. I know next to nothing about courts and trials and such, you see.

Right now, I'm thinking something akin to conditional discharge could be fitting? Since they don't know if or how much the person was actually responsible for his actions, they can't really let him off scot-free nor can they give him the harshest punishment.

I also know there are big differences based on country when it comes to these things. I'm working with Kanto, which has turned out to be kind of a mix between Japan, the US/UK and Finland (as that's where I live, and it's the country whose public sector I'm most acquainted with). That likely makes it even harder to give advice for, but to simplify, this is a system that generally avoids full-on imprisonment (and whose prisons aren't total hellholes unlike the ones you typically see in gritty crime shows).
 
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In terms of what makes most logical sense to me ... probably a psychiatric assessment, followed by police bail (Probably with conditions set, like being disallowed from carrying weapons) pending further investigation. A competent police service is unlikely to leave what is a potential attempted murder there, not until they've done everything they can to rule out the offender being aware of his actions. I imagine they'd at least want to interview the people who know him, see if there really is no connextion between himself and his hostage, etc.
 
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@canisaries Good question! You have several options, depending on which judicial system you'd like to emulate. I'll keep my answer in a spoiler just in case:

United States: As a potential accomplice, there almost certainly be an interview by police detectives (though a particularly lazy or cash-strapped department might say "fuggit", as the "real" criminal has been caught). If the person is indeed suspected of being a willing participant, police detectives would forward the case to the DA (district attorney). In the US, the DA has full discretion for prosecution; they can accept or decline to file any charges, and since this power lies with an individual, it's hard to predict what they'd do without knowing their case history. But if they do file charges, they'll likely go over-the-top; actual criminal charges available vary depending on state, but I'd expect some sort of kidnapping, assault, resisting arrest, and possibly lying to a police officer/conspiracy to commit a crime (depending on if the spirit can be consider party to a conspiracy). The DA would use these barrage of charges as leverage for a plea deal; however, I think the young man has a good case for "not guilty by reason of insanity". They would then serve a court-mandated term in a high-security mental health facility, which (depending on the hospital in question) might be worse than prison. But that's assuming the case even manages to get to court, which depends on the initial police interview and the DA's discretion.

Japan: Japan has a 99.9% conviction rate.. Your young man is probably screwed. While I'm not as familiar with Japan's criminal justice system, news reports call it "hostage justice", where even the most basic rights of criminals don't exist. I've been following the case of former Nissan chairman Carlos Ghosn and his continuous cycle of re-arrests; it's a good example of just how much power police have in Japan, as well as how prisoners are typically treated.

Common law: I'm not an expert on every criminal justice system; however, there is a loose international standard of common law that might be useful. Long story short, if a country practices common law, that just means judges like to keep things consistent; they might cite international treaties or even cases from other countries if circumstances are similar. As a writer, you could totally make some legal precedent about demonic possession and cite it to move the story in whatever direction you wish.

And just for fun: in the United States, there's a legal term called "acts of god". I only know of it being used in civil lawsuits, but I think a demonic possession in "the real world" would fall under this category. That's total speculation, but the judicial system would need to reference something.
 
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@Snuggle Tier List

I've heard that Japan's conviction rate is so high only because prosecutors don't have the budget to bring any but the most obviously guilty suspects to trial.
 
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