39 thoughts on “Brief NaNo Update: Broke 35 K

  1. *grumbles at modern beliefs*
    Really, with how “magic” is treated nowdays, you have to convince them of _three_ major earthshaking things, not just one or two. First you have to convince them that you’re not crazy because anyone even suggesting “magic” is automatically crazy and unreliable just because of the term used, then convince them that magic/supernatural is real despite belief that it not only isn’t real but also couldn’t possibly be real, and only then convince them that the particular threat you were trying to warn them about is real. In a more intellectually honest setting, even one where magic was hidden or unknown, you wouldn’t have to worry about convincing them you weren’t crazy, just that the supernatural is real (which would be a simple matter of providing some evidence) and that there is a specific threat (again a simple matter of some evidence).

    This fits so well with a modified version of that Lewis quote about growing up: “Critics who treat ‘intelligence’ as a term of approval, instead of a merely descriptive term, cannot be intelligent themselves…”

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Ooooohhhh dear. It doesn’t help that some people feel that magic is a cop out, and to be fair a lot of authors do use it that way. But as someone who has researched the needed wingspan for a human with reference to a bat wing, which is a lot harder then bird wigs for some reason, having magical realism makes things awesome.

    … Then I tried to clothe my batwinged humanoid species. And I still haven’t decided on whether or not they get a second set of shoulder blades and if that means they have an elongated torso and a larger rib cage and what that would do to their height. Still thinking about the initial arch of the wigs over the shoulder. This would be easier if you didn’t need to be a vet or biologist to find good references to bat wings.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Wings have huge surface area. If temperature is a problem, you would need to protect them. If the wings function in a mundane way, clothing them in flight would be a problem.

        A lot of winged creatures work because of higher metabolism, or issues of scale. Doing metabolic heating on something human scaled would be a pain, even before considering the metabolic expense of human brains. Fudging either the heating problem or the flight problem with magic makes a lot of sense.

        Lemme tell you about all the feasibility issues with Strike Witches…

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I bounced this comment off my wing-mad kid, who spent months working out wings for humanoids for a story who says please write:

      It works with a socket that is slightly under (in the body) where the shoulderblade is in a human with a shoulder and collarbone design closer to that of a cheetah – completely detached from the collarbone – so they can move properly.

      The rest of the arm structure for the wing would be twice as long from base to tip as your humanoid being is tall. Someone who is six feet tall would have each wing be approximately nine feet long. Bird or bat, it still has the actual arm structure. Then where the skin flap attached to the back the two would create a vee down the spine, instead of just rooting at one spot. With a bat, the longest point on the wing would not be the arm tip but the tip of the longest phlange which is not always necessarily the outermost phlange.

      For temperature on such a wing the fur on it would have to be structured more like the wool of a sheep than the fur of a bat. (I add, or maybe goat such as cashmere.)

      The bone structure of such a person would be more hollow than a human’s possibly mostly cartilege instead of bone. As for clothes, why try to confine in terms of modern human clothes? Grecian draperies are as likely to work, possibly better as they can wrap around the bases of the wings. (I think of Steve’s outfit in Black and Blue Magic by Snyder. Curtains draped around & belted.)
      Assuming I’m interpreting the ‘initial arch of wing over shoulder correctly’ the initial bend when folded would be first down from shoulder to elbow joint, then arching upwards to two feet above the head of the character, then bend down again (at the wrist) so they don’t drag on the ground.
      With the addition that this is a bat sort of wing, not bird, one also has to take into account dewclaws which would get caught on clothing. Or is the dewclaw an extra phlange?

      Says point to deviantart gammcavy’s gallery for some wing designs unlike anything bird or bat.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I heard an interesting lecture once about a type of wing that works on a very small scale. Smaller than flies, etc… There are some very tiny insects whose wings have ‘hairy’ edges.

        One of my imaginings after that was of a winged humanoid, whose wings were nominally of a feathered type, but perhaps shapeshifted, and could be used in a hairy wing like operating mode.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That’s very helpful! I did want the joint to make sense, but the main problem that my best source pointed out that is that if. I want good lift, I should probably have the skin extend pretty far down the body. Like, to the ankles. Which, trying to avert the whole bikini armor race of fantasy, wasn’t working for me. I was toying with the idea of a ‘land’ shift, where the the skin of the wings is thicker and attaches down at the waist, and a ‘flight’ form, where the extra skin from the wing stretches down the body to the ankles. Same amount of skin, just different surface area.

        But the cheetah joint makes a ton of sense, and allows for more freedom of movement. I was thinking honeycomb structure on the bones to allow for lighter bodies that still had sturdy bones. And, because I hate myself apparently, I was dead set on at least two varieties. Yes, the tropical mist rainforest variety, bigger and thinner fur, and a mountain variety that gets a lot of lift from cliffs and other kinds of drops. Smaller, denser fur that I’m yoinking the woolen structure for. Kinda basing the varieties and where you can find them on actual bats.

        I’d actually forgotten to account for the metabolism of the brain, but I’m glad I remembered to shove in high energy requirements in for them. Mostly because flying has to be rough. Now I need to figure out how they sustain themselves. *rubs hands in glee* Their crop yields and high energy foods are a good explanation for why they end up in a Cold War with one of the other races, and potentially something similar could play a role in the Mad Lands going crazy.

        There’s also embodiments of the spirits of cities running around, and sometimes lands… Wake up. I have much more fun building this world and this species in particular then I do wrangling characters.


  3. Honestly, I’d look more at pterosaurs then bats, given relative sizes(also, bonus for strangeness, because nature is more awesome then we think.)

    Though yeah, way, way higher metabolisms, It’s kind of amazing how many adaptions had to be done for flight, paleontology has a lot of interesting information on it, given how they’ve been looking into how dinosaurs became birds and what the dividing lines are.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oooh great idea! I got tied up in ‘flying mammal’ and forgot that other fliers exsisted besides birds. They might be more in line with what I had in mind too, given I do want the race to have more clothes options then a loincloth.


  4. https://imgur.com/a/tOCeOxy
    I came across a CYOA with an interesting take on magic that you might find inspiring.

    The Magician takes advantage of perception and uncertainty to distort reality in their favor.
    So they have a bag with some chips in it, take out a few and there are still some chips in it… no matter how many you take out.
    Or a door is closed, you don’t know what’s behind it, so it could go anywhere you want!

    By nature the magic is subtle and difficult to notice until it turns utterly mind-bending.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “Hi! Magic is real, no not Harry Potter, a demon is after your son, no not like a horror movie or a “wave a cross at them and they’re gone” movie, it’s more complicated than that… ”

    I can see that getting uncomfortable and cranky. And I do believe in demons, and that htey can go after people….

    Liked by 2 people

  6. For many people, it would be more effective to use alternate terminology they’re more likely to accept: alternate dimensions, aliens, or the like. Unless there’s a specific reason that you have to *call* it magic, and a demon, why bother, at least to start with?

    Liked by 1 person

      1. “Alien” would refer to anything foreign, whether it’s another country, outer space, or another dimension.

        “Demon” piles on a grab-bag of assumptions to the point where even if you accurately name something a demon, listeners might come to completely incorrect conclusions.

        If someone assumes an alien is from outer space, and they’re wrong, it won’t necessarily make things worse.
        If someone assumes a demon will be repelled by holy water and they’re wrong…

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Because aliens are “scientific.”

        Like how folks are much more sympathetic to smudging to remove “bad vibes” than they are to blessing a house with holy water. (ask me how I know!)

        Liked by 1 person

      3. As others said, “because it’s more ‘scientific sounding'”. I’ve mentioned Worm before. The whole thing is basically “intelligent outside force providing power to break the normal laws of physics if you follow the rules it provides” (in fact, most akin to a form of “conceptual magic”), yet the author has WoG’d that “it’s all scientific, even if we don’t know the physics they’re using”, so it’s more easily accepted. I’ve seen otherwise extremely intelligent and knowledgeable people get _extremely_ argumentative about this when discussing crossovers. One particularly egregious example was a Worm/LotR crossover, where one guy was arguing “LotR has ‘magic’, which is obviously all fake and unreal, so nothing from LotR can actually work and everything has to be judged based on the ‘scientific’ stuff in Worm (regardless of internal inconsistencies and self-contradictions)”.

        There’s even a whole genre of fanfics, where someone takes a setting that has “magic” in it, and brings in a character (usually an author-insert, or a character-in-name-only) that is “scientifically trained” and has them tromp through the setting being arrogantly dismissive of any claims of “magic” while otherwise acting like a Mary Sue in how the whole story bends over to glorify their rightness, regardless of how little the story looks like canon. (stories like HP:MoR)

        If you take a story, and rewrite it _only_ changing terminology and appearance-description-fluff, so that one is “magic” and “supernatural”, while the other copy is “science” and “aliens”… you’ll have a large percentage of modern people saying the second one is more realistic than the first, simply because of the terms used, even tho the story is the exact same thing.

        Liked by 3 people

      4. Humans easily form superstitions about the things that they are around. In the nineteenth century, that was the industrial revolution. There’s been a lasting fad for applying, to use the period term, ‘scientific management’ to anything and everything. Regardless of whether the advocate actually understands the industrial practice, and the how and the why it works for industry. Regardless of whether the additional application makes any sense at all, or whether the would be implementer is at a greater level of competency than drooling and picking their nose. The Soviets took that, weaponized it as the state cult of the USSR, and spread it around the world.

        So if the US makes a nice artifact, then the more religiously advanced Soviet Union must be able to do better, and if the true believer can’t convince themselves of that, then a space alien polity of the advanced religion must exist and have far better artifacts.

        “Why do you hate science?”

        Because I’m not going to put my heart into being recognized by those fellows.

        Liked by 2 people

      5. *Blinks* I have to admit, I see no reason why someone would think “aliens” was more plausible than “demons”. We have more evidence (such as it is) for demons….
        Well, the way I see it, a paranormal investigator or monster hunter trying to convince some random person that there is a demon after them, is basically trying to convince them of at least three things at once.

        First, that the supernatural is real
        Second, that there is some unnatural critter after them.
        Third; that Hell is a real place and that it is a source of unnatural critters.

        Like, going with alternate terminology they’re more willing to accept is basically just trying to rock the boat as little as necessary, in what is likely to be a very stressful situation where lives could be on the line.

        It also helps not getting written off as the sort of crazy person who start ranting about demons from the slightest provocation.

        Liked by 2 people

      6. Actually, a large part of why I think aliens/alternate dimensional /things/ would be more readily accepted, is that (from my experiences) a depressingly large number of people who do believe in demons think they’re too good as a person for a demon to be allowed to attack them. (See Maeve O’Connor, in Seeds of Blood.) Essentially, tailor the (initial) presentation to their psychology.

        (Assuming a time-critical situation. If you have time for the argument, and providing evidence you’re correct, and everything, then go ahead and use the exact terminology.)


      7. True, and then there’s the vendor view of blessings, too. (When IRL exorcists have to keep doing exorcisms, and you have to avoid sin, and gads it’s like trying to drive out a nasty human who doesn’t have a body. Hm, there’s an angle– demons as incorporeal bullies.)

        Liked by 1 person

  7. *Blinks* I have to admit, I see no reason why someone would think “aliens” was more plausible than “demons”. We have more evidence (such as it is) for demons….

    Breaking chain to ask because it’s a digression, but by “demon” what exactly do you mean?

    I know depending on the conversation I easily switch from “fallen angel” to anime-type demon meaning spirit or power or…well, Kami.
    (Note, the way I mangle kami so it sounds like commie makes it reeeeeeaaaaly uncomfortable when the kids bring up our cats’ names in non-geek settings.)

    Liked by 1 person

      1. K, so real demon.
        (I use to enjoy watching the various ghost bother-er shows. Then I decided to write up demons…and found out a lot of the stuff they’ve “discovered” as ghost signs are known signs of demonic infestation. A million blessings on the late Father Amorth and his radio habit.)


  8. yeah, a lot of people’s brains turn off when anything sounds vaguely religious/supernatural. If you need them to listen you need to approach them in a way that they will actually listen to.

    Even if you know as Foxfier and I do that it really is best described as demonic.

    Back on wings, why would you require wing membranes down to the ankles? Birds and bats don’t and they get enough lift.

    Liked by 3 people

      1. Well, there’s credible rumor and has been for years about abductions committed by aliens in the Southwest US. It is just that the cartels mostly prey on illegals, because making towns full of American citizens disappear would attract too much official notice for fairly minimal benefit. 🙂

        Holding a service after a tragedy to sing hymns is baseless superstition and crazy. Holding a protest to ‘raise consciousness’ is effective and the only really sane option. *spits*

        Part of normal is a function that calibrates one’s sense of sane from those around one. In this day and day, for many people this is shifted by Hollywood and media. Most aren’t paranoid enough to realize that Hollywood has been abusing this, in a sort of grooming behavior, to normalize the evidence that points towards Hollywood being a festering pile of sexual predation. So called religious extremists include one of the few groups of people that was still sensitive to this evidence. Before I reexamined things following Weinstein, I had forgotten the claims the religious had made about Hollywood, and had been fooled by some of the normalization.

        I’m not convinced that the ‘nuclear window’ would be a limiting factor for alien civilizations. a) I think we often over rate the lethality of nuclear warfare. The need for infantry to clean up loose survivors seems to be a major obstacle to the complete eradication of humanity. b) The Soviets would have had reason to over hype the dangers, so that we didn’t invest in systems, like missile defense, that they couldn’t match.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Birds have a ton of adaptions to flight, and unless you want a to work those in(hollow air sac bones, a keel, extremely low weight and completely different lung functions, different brain forms), it makes more sense to look at the bats/pterosaurs, who are a bit closer to human size without the completely different body structures. Though you’re still dealing with the fact that anything that flies has to deal with weight issues.

    Which makes clothing an issue, maybe even a bigger “Do I trust these people or not” sort of thing.

    Liked by 1 person

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