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Archive for the ‘Reference’ Category

Source: Spy Shoelaces – Impact Lab.

As the author says, the simplest things usually work out the best.

Spy Shoelaces

I bet there is much more to be learned from the book, “The Official CIA Manual of Trickery and Deception“.

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Source: Terms that cannot be used in a Steeple Hill novel.

[Update: The link above no longer works. Harlequin has taken the page down as reported by Ted Dekker. Read comment #2 for the history behind this post.]

Terms that cannot be used in a Steeple Hill novel:

  • Arousal
  • Bastard
  • Bet/betting
  • Bishop
  • Bra
  • Breast (except for breast cancer if necessary)
  • Buttocks or butt (alternatively, you can say derriere or backside)
  • Crap
  • Damn (try “blast” instead)
  • Darn
  • Dern/durn
  • Devil (except in the religious sense, but the circumstances would be rare)
  • Dang or Dagnabbit
  • Doody
  • Father (when used to describe a religious official)
  • Fiend
  • For heaven’s sake (can use “for goodness’ sake” instead)
  • For the love of Mike
  • For Pete’s sake
  • Gee
  • Geez/jeez (but “sheesh” is acceptable)
  • Gosh
  • Golly
  • Halloween
  • Harlot
  • Heat (when used to describe kisses)
  • Heck
  • Hell (except in the religious sense, but this would be rare)
  • Holy cow
  • Hot/hottie
  • Hunk
  • Need/hunger (when used to describe non-food-focused state of being)
  • Pee
  • Poop
  • Panties
  • Passion
  • Priest
  • Sexy
  • Sex
  • Sexual attraction
  • Tempting (as applied to the opposite sex)
  • St. [name of saint]
  • Swear, as in “I swear…” – Christian characters are not supposed to swear.
  • Undergarments – of any kind
  • Whore

The following are allowed only in the context mentioned:

  • Angel – only when used in a Biblical context
  • Miracle – only when used in a Biblical context
  • Oh my God/Oh, God – ONLY allowed when it’s clearly part of a prayer
  • Heavenly – only when used in a Biblical context
  • Although you can say “He cursed” or mention cursing, do not overuse. Furthermore, only non-Christian characters can curse.

Situations to be avoided:

  • Kissing below the neck
  • Visible signs or discussions of arousal or sexual attraction or being out of control
  • Double entendre
  • Nudity – people changing clothes “on screen” or any character clad only in a towel
  • Hero and heroine sleeping in the same house without a third party, even if they’re not sleeping together or in the same room
  • Also, Christian characters should not smoke, drink, gamble, play cards or dance (except in historical novels they may dance but please limit to square dances and balls, no “sexy” dancing like waltzing cheek to cheek), and terms associated with these activities should only be used in connection with bad guys or disapproving of them or such.
  • Bodily functions, like going to the bathroom, should be mentioned as little as possible and some euphemism may be necessary but we don’t want to sound quaint or absurd.

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Source: Permuto Discoveries » The Most Popular Christmas Toys, By Year Since 1960.

(Since the image is so tall, I’ll leave my comments here.)

A very interesting image, don’t you think? I bet more than a few writers would have loved having this in front of them when they were writing a period piece.

Oh, and did you notice which toy appears twice?

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Source: Left vs Right | Information Is Beautiful.

If you ever need to write a politically-motivated character or write political dialogue, then this diagram may be very useful. It was created as a joint effort by David McCandless and Stefanie Posavec for David’s book, The Visual Miscellaneum.

Left vs Right (US Version)

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Source: 100 Items to Disappear First – The Power Hour

This is an interesting list that’s useful for anyone writing about a large-scale disaster. The source page has a little more information from a survivor of the war in Sarajevo.

  1. Generators (Good ones cost dearly. Gas storage, risky. Noisy…target of thieves; maintenance, etc.)
  2. Water Filters/Purifiers
  3. Portable Toilets
  4. Seasoned Firewood. Wood takes about 6 – 12 months to become dried, for home uses.
  5. Lamp Oil, Wicks, Lamps (First Choice: Buy CLEAR oil. If scarce, stockpile ANY!)
  6. Coleman Fuel. Impossible to stockpile too much.
  7. Guns, Ammunition, Pepper Spray, Knives, Clubs, Bats & Slingshots.
  8. Hand-can openers, & hand egg beaters, whisks.
  9. Honey/Syrups/white, brown sugar
  10. Rice – Beans – Wheat
  11. Vegetable Oil (for cooking) Without it food burns/must be boiled etc.,)
  12. Charcoal, Lighter Fluid (Will become scarce suddenly)
  13. Water Containers (Urgent Item to obtain.) Any size. Small: HARD CLEAR PLASTIC ONLY – note – food grade if for drinking.
  14. Mini Heater head (Propane) (Without this item, propane won’t heat a room.)
  15. Grain Grinder (Non-electric)
  16. Propane Cylinders (Urgent: Definite shortages will occur.
  17. Survival Guide Book.
  18. Mantles: Aladdin, Coleman, etc. (Without this item, longer-term lighting is difficult.)
  19. Baby Supplies: Diapers/formula. ointments/aspirin, etc.
  20. Washboards, Mop Bucket w/wringer (for Laundry)
  21. Cookstoves (Propane, Coleman & Kerosene)
  22. Vitamins
  23. Propane Cylinder Handle-Holder (Urgent: Small canister use is dangerous without this)
  24. Feminine Hygiene/Haircare/Skin products.
  25. Thermal underwear (Tops & Bottoms)
  26. Bow saws, axes and hatchets, Wedges (also, honing oil)
  27. Aluminum Foil Reg. & Heavy Duty (Great Cooking and Barter Item)
  28. Gasoline Containers (Plastic & Metal)
  29. Garbage Bags (Impossible To Have Too Many).
  30. Toilet Paper, Kleenex, Paper Towels
  31. Milk – Powdered & Condensed (Shake Liquid every 3 to 4 months)
  32. Garden Seeds (Non-Hybrid) (A MUST)
  33. Clothes pins/line/hangers (A MUST)
  34. Coleman’s Pump Repair Kit
  35. Tuna Fish (in oil)
  36. Fire Extinguishers (or..large box of Baking Soda in every room)
  37. First aid kits
  38. Batteries (all sizes…buy furthest-out for Expiration Dates)
  39. Garlic, spices & vinegar, baking supplies
  40. Big Dogs (and plenty of dog food)
  41. Flour, yeast & salt
  42. Matches. {“Strike Anywhere” preferred.) Boxed, wooden matches will go first
  43. Writing paper/pads/pencils, solar calculators
  44. Insulated ice chests (good for keeping items from freezing in Wintertime.)
  45. Workboots, belts, Levis & durable shirts
  46. Flashlights/LIGHTSTICKS & torches, “No. 76 Dietz” Lanterns
  47. Journals, Diaries & Scrapbooks (jot down ideas, feelings, experience; Historic Times)
  48. Garbage cans Plastic (great for storage, water, transporting – if with wheels)
  49. Men’s Hygiene: Shampoo, Toothbrush/paste, Mouthwash/floss, nail clippers, etc
  50. Cast iron cookware (sturdy, efficient)
  51. Fishing supplies/tools
  52. Mosquito coils/repellent, sprays/creams
  53. Duct Tape
  54. Tarps/stakes/twine/nails/rope/spikes
  55. Candles
  56. Laundry Detergent (liquid)
  57. Backpacks, Duffel Bags
  58. Garden tools & supplies
  59. Scissors, fabrics & sewing supplies
  60. Canned Fruits, Veggies, Soups, stews, etc.
  61. Bleach (plain, NOT scented: 4 to 6% sodium hypochlorite)
  62. Canning supplies, (Jars/lids/wax)
  63. Knives & Sharpening tools: files, stones, steel
  64. Bicycles…Tires/tubes/pumps/chains, etc
  65. Sleeping Bags & blankets/pillows/mats
  66. Carbon Monoxide Alarm (battery powered)
  67. Board Games, Cards, Dice
  68. d-con Rat poison, MOUSE PRUFE II, Roach Killer
  69. Mousetraps, Ant traps & cockroach magnets
  70. Paper plates/cups/utensils (stock up, folks)
  71. Baby wipes, oils, waterless & Antibacterial soap (saves a lot of water)
  72. Rain gear, rubberized boots, etc.
  73. Shaving supplies (razors & creams, talc, after shave)
  74. Hand pumps & siphons (for water and for fuels)
  75. Soysauce, vinegar, bullions/gravy/soupbase
  76. Reading glasses
  77. Chocolate/Cocoa/Tang/Punch (water enhancers)
  78. “Survival-in-a-Can”
  79. Woolen clothing, scarves/ear-muffs/mittens
  80. Boy Scout Handbook, / also Leaders Catalog
  81. Roll-on Window Insulation Kit (MANCO)
  82. Graham crackers, saltines, pretzels, Trail mix/Jerky
  83. Popcorn, Peanut Butter, Nuts
  84. Socks, Underwear, T-shirts, etc. (extras)
  85. Lumber (all types)
  86. Wagons & carts (for transport to and from)
  87. Cots & Inflatable mattress’s
  88. Gloves: Work/warming/gardening, etc.
  89. Lantern Hangers
  90. Screen Patches, glue, nails, screws,, nuts & bolts
  91. Teas
  92. Coffee
  93. Cigarettes
  94. Wine/Liquors (for bribes, medicinal, etc,)
  95. Paraffin wax
  96. Glue, nails, nuts, bolts, screws, etc.
  97. Chewing gum/candies
  98. Atomizers (for cooling/bathing)
  99. Hats & cotton neckerchiefs
  100. Goats/chickens

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Source: Far from the madding crowd – Mind Hacks

Need to write a crowd? This article turns what we thought we knew about crowds on its head. Crowds behave differently than is generally known.

I know I learned something.

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