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Real-Life Skills and Abilities?

Forums Fiction Themes Real-Life Skills and Abilities?

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  • #134832
    Seth O.
    @typewriter78

    I like how MacGyver repurposes things. I was thinking about giving my protagonist the same skill. The thing is, who’s to say whether or not someone would use it for something bad in real life?

    We’re talking turning using household items to make DIY bombs, or a step by step way to break into someone’s house. How would I be able to portray this skill? Or, should it be portrayed at all?

    I guess I’m asking in essence, how do you write a real-life skill without someone trying it in real life?

    #134834
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    I guess I’m asking in essence, how do you write a real-life skill without someone trying it in real life?

    Well, in essence, you can’t!! I’m teaching myself to untie knots with my toes, I can teach ya’ll how to pick locks, get out of zipties, duct tape and rope! You can make bombs with fertilizer you can hide bodies with homemade soap you can use aluminum foil to make an extra battery if one dies and you need two at once!

    Essentially if we writers can figure out these tricks people who wanna do bad stuff don’t have to read novels to figure it out but good people might for instance learn you can pick handcuffs with your hairpin or a cuffs or wire and the proper way to escape with a higher chance of success. You absolutely don’t wanna tell step by step how to make a bomb usually…(twenty different homemade bomb equivalents pop into my mind) but you don’t have to go out of your way to avoid it either I guess.

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #134835
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    (If that…was actually something productive to say…XD)

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #134839
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @typewriter78

    Cool question! I think it comes down to trusting your audience to be intelligent. (Which is harder than it sounds. XD)

    It’s basically inevitable if you’re writing anything other than a high-school drama contemporary novel that your characters do things that you would not recommend to your audience.

    In my current fantasy WIP, I have characters vaulting on and off horses at full canter every other chapter and doing all sorts of dangerous, stupid things.

    Especially if you’re writing for a middle-grade/YA audience (or older) I think they’ll understand that it’s a very bad idea. And if it’s really dangerous, you don’t have to describe it in detail, you can just use a sentence like “Using several of the bottles on the shelf and some experimentation, he managed to make an explosive.” (Dumb example, but you get what I mean 😉

    I second Cathy’s opinion that if we can find the information for this, people who would use the information badly can find it too, so it’s little use trying to hide it. (Though, writers know really weird stuff. Just recently, I caught myself thinking ‘This is so unrealistic. I know too much about poison to enjoy this book.’ XD)

    However, if you want to make absolutely sure that the ‘don’t try this at home’ message comes through, you could briefly have your characters think about the possible negative consequences.

    For example, in my WIP, there’s a scene where my MC is doing some trick riding on her horse, and she just briefly thinks of the time when she was ten and broke her ankle when she landed wrong. Something like that actually enhances your story since it adds a bit of tension to the scenario.

    Anyway, best of success!


    @this-is-not-an-alien

    I’m teaching myself to untie knots with my toes, I can teach ya’ll how to pick locks, get out of zipties, duct tape and rope! You can make bombs with fertilizer you can hide bodies with homemade soap you can use aluminum foil to make an extra battery if one dies and you need two at once!

    You absolutely don’t wanna tell step by step how to make a bomb usually…(twenty different homemade bomb equivalents pop into my mind)

    Ya know, I think I should be surprised, but for some reason, I’m not LOL XD

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

    #134840
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @typewriter78

    Hi Seth,

    How about leaving out a few steps that make the “attempt” workable. I would also want a liability disclaimer in my novel at the onset to let any nefarious idiot know that mimicry is done at their own risks. 😉

    Certain “critical points” are often left out of a fictitious description of criminal investigations, so there is precedent.

    I was a big fan of the McGyver TV series with Richard Dean Anderson. Not so much the re-make. It does have great fan appeal. I also love the old Peter Falk “Colombo” series, and his clever, but disarming and comical investigative prowess, does leave out certain fine points of investigative procedure deliberately so. At times, Colombo would have to improvise to get the villain to implicate themselves when the sleuth work failed to clinch the perp.

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #134971
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    However, if you want to make absolutely sure that the ‘don’t try this at home’ message comes through, you could briefly have your characters think about the possible negative consequences. For example, in my WIP, there’s a scene where my MC is doing some trick riding on her horse, and she just briefly thinks of the time when she was ten and broke her ankle when she landed wrong. Something like that actually enhances your story since it adds a bit of tension to the scenario.

    Liorah? Also yes! Describing how dangerous and stupid their actions are really helps with the tension I second!

    Ya know, I think I should be surprised, but for some reason, I’m not LOL XD

    Haha XD. I haven’t actually done zipties yet tho; I only have two zipties to practice with and if I don’t get it right the first time I don’t have anything else to practice with and if I start trying to buy zipties my parents might become (more) concerned XD. But it’s all about leverage! (And paracord if you don’t have enough brute strength XD)

    I was a big fan of the McGyver TV series with Richard Dean Anderson. Not so much the re-make. It does have great fan appeal. I also love the old Peter Falk “Colombo” series, and his clever, but disarming and comical investigative prowess, does leave out certain fine points of investigative procedure deliberately so. At times, Colombo would have to improvise to get the villain to implicate themselves when the sleuth work failed to clinch the perp.

    Oh I loved Colombo’s personality he had so many cute quirks like “just one more question”. I didn’t really like McGyver all that much since a lot of his tricks don’t actually work in real life (I’m totally innocent this time! I know that second hand not first hand I promise!).

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #134977
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Ha! Ha! Admit it, Cathy. You did try a MaGyverism didn’t you? 😉

    I always wondered how he would make a “bomb” out of a stick of gum, like on the promo commercials. 😉

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #134978
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Of course Liorah LOL Who else?

    Haha XD. I haven’t actually done zipties yet tho; I only have two zipties to practice with and if I don’t get it right the first time I don’t have anything else to practice with and if I start trying to buy zipties my parents might become (more) concerned XD. But it’s all about leverage! (And paracord if you don’t have enough brute strength XD)

    LOL, I know a lot of stuff technically, but I’ve never tried it XD Lockpicking and getting out of duct-tape among them XD

    I didn’t really like McGyver all that much since a lot of his tricks don’t actually work in real life (I’m totally innocent this time! I know that second hand not first hand I promise!).

    Hmm, are you sure? XD I hold to my opinion that everything can be fixed with duct tape, bailing twine, and a pocketknife LOL

     

     

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

    #134981
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Hmm, are you sure? XD I hold to my opinion that everything can be fixed with duct tape, bailing twine, and a pocketknife LOL

    Down here in Texas, we call that Southern ingenuity. 🙂

    Duct Tape, Bailing Wire, and a Swiss army knife and we get’er done.
    I think the Canadians also have a “Northern” version. Ever watch “The Red Green Show” with comedian Steve Smith?  I love his “Handy Man Corner” segments.

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135014
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Ha! Ha! Admit it, Cathy. You did try a MaGyverism didn’t you? I always wondered how he would make a “bomb” out of a stick of gum, like on the promo commercials.

    No way! 😅 Well…my mom wouldn’t let me have a pocketknife so that cut out like half his tricks (for some reason she seemed to be under the impression I’d use it irresponsibly 😛 ). I never actually saw the episode with the gum bomb although I have heard about it. You can’t make a bomb out of bubble gum tho. But you can start a fire by wrapping the aluminum wrapper on the top and bottom of a battery and pressing it into something flammable which I haven’t actually like started a fire like that but it can zing your fingers in the first couple seconds.
    Putting chocolate on an acid leak is just dumb (not to mention wasteful) and 3D glasses don’t equal nightvision goggles and pinecones don’t blow up if you go pyromaniac on them XD.

    But empty Dr Pepper cans sure do! Especially if you hoist one inside a cardboard tube and cover one end in the firepit you’re dutifully burning like a totally proper dutiful daughter. Although if you actually wanna stop someone it’s pretty lame; just kinda pops a couple feet the moment you give up on it and start to walk away.
    Although…my guess would be the gum acted as a fastener to the fuse or something if it did work as a bomb. No wait, maybe if he stuck something combustive like gunpowder or just maybe baking soda or some powdered cleaner between the gum and the wrapper then stuck some toothpicks dipped in cooking oil in like a fuse…More of a popper than an actual bomb but if you can throw it and make enough, better yet if you stuff a pile of them in the microwave or on a hot stove and skidaddle them home invaders better run.
    But it’s like waaay easier to get a gas mask and mix bleach with vinegar. You could probably use those legally required with the science kit safety-goggles and wrap a dishcloth over your mouth and nose for that as long as you get out within say five, ten minutes? No wait lol just wear your mask like the government says and add goggles.
    …Like I said I totally didn’t try MaGyverism 😁

    Hmm, are you sure? XD I hold to my opinion that everything can be fixed with duct tape, bailing twine, and a pocketknife LOL

    And bubble gum! 😛

    Duct Tape, Bailing Wire, and a Swiss army knife and we get’er done. I think the Canadians also have a “Northern” version. Ever watch “The Red Green Show” with comedian Steve Smith?  I love his “Handy Man Corner” segments.

    I have never heard of The Red Green Show, what’s it about?

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #135015
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Ha-ha!

    the science kit safety-goggles and wrap a dishcloth over your mouth and nose for that as long as you get out within say five, ten minutes? No wait lol just wear your mask like the government says and add goggles.

    I’m going total Iron Man…maskless…

    …if I could only get the bubble gum off of these toothpick fuses then maybe my web-shooters will actually work. [Dadgum that MacGyver! Why didn’t he ever just draw a diagram for us visual learners?]

    I did try to build cardboard wings and jump off a roof once…

    …some think I landed on my head…

    …and that would supposedly explain why I am this way…
    [Note to Self: I shoulda let… THEM… go first off that roof and just take some notes on the “DaVinci” experiment.]

    Aahh, The Red Green Show. Are you in for much laughter. YouTube has many clips of it. Just use the following search text “the red green show handyman corner” and you will be hooked. 😉

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135100
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    I’m going total Iron Man…maskless…

    Haha, vinegar and bleach will kill you 😄

    …if I could only get the bubble gum off of these toothpick fuses then maybe my web-shooters will actually work. [Dadgum that MacGyver! Why didn’t he ever just draw a diagram for us visual learners?]

    I know right! I’m a visual learner too! (I also spend the entire day trying to come up with an efficient way to make web-shooters, you have ruined me 🙂 …or maybe it was just an inevitable consequence of my existence XD)

    I did try to build cardboard wings and jump off a roof once… …some think I landed on my head… …and that would supposedly explain why I am this way… [Note to Self: I shoulda let… THEM… go first off that roof and just take some notes on the “DaVinci” experiment.]

    Haha! Shoulda made it out of flexible wood poles and canvas like the Wright Brothers 😉 I once rolled down a hill in a toy car down the woods with my brother and landed on my head when I planted my feet down to stop before I rammed into a tree. Good news; I missed the tree XD How high was the roof, anyway? 😀
    If you knot marbles around the corner of a net and make a cylinder-style slingshot…but the big problem would be getting the marbles to propel forward to shoot the web and do that far enough and high enough the net would actually open in the air…I may have to consult my brother’s Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction books for that…

    Aahh, The Red Green Show. Are you in for much laughter. YouTube has many clips of it. Just use the following search text “the red green show handyman corner” and you will be hooked.

    Cool! I’ll have to look into it!

    Don't let the voices in your head drive you insane;only some of them can drive; most are underage

    #135300
    Seth O.
    @typewriter78

    @this-is-not-an-alien & @rose-colored-fancy & @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Sounds good! Thank you for your help! I’ll see how I can apply it.

    ===================================================================


    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    We were watching Colombo the week you posted! Your right, it’s great!

    ===================================================================

    *scrolls through the rest of the discussion*

    Haha!

    #135301
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    @typewriter78

    Hi Seth,

    I believe the Free TV App called “Tubi” has all of the “Columbo” seasons from the very beginning back in the 70’s up until the late 1990’s.  It was always a very decent and suspenseful show and I loved how every one of the villains seems to think Detective Columbo is a buffoon until the final scene where he exposes them.  I think the later TV Show “Monk” starring Tony Shalhoub (“the defective detective”) followed this same model and hoped to revive the success of those who loved Peter Falk as “Lt. Columbo”.

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #135572
    Seth O.
    @typewriter78

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Yes! That’s exactly what we were watching from.

    It’s both hilarious and frustrating to watch the vilains constantly dropping hints for Columbo, bragging and acting indignant. They try to act innocent and instead keep making themselves stand out. XD

    • This reply was modified 3 months, 3 weeks ago by Seth O..
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