burning sulfur

So, I’m up late writing. And because of the events in my book (underground city, some volcanic activity) I needed to know what happened when sulfur gets set on fire. I knew it was flamable, but the color, for instance, and to what degree escaped me.

… Apparently, this is what happens: [link]

See those fantastic blue rivers glowing in the dark, halfway down the page? That’s liquid sulfur.

What an amazing effect.

a study in writing bullies

From Psychology Today:

Studies reliably show that [bullies] have a distinctive cognitive make-up—a hostile attributional bias, a kind of paranoia. They perpetually attribute hostile intentions to others. The trouble is, they perceive provocation where it does not exist. That comes to justify their aggressive behavior. Say someone bumps them and they drop a book. Bullies don’t see it as an accident; they see it as a call to arms. These children act aggressively because they process social information inaccurately. They endorse revenge. [link]

I was bullied constantly from the first grade until I managed to escape high school early. I always considered school to be a form of hell, a juvenile detention program invented by a sadist that really ought to only be served to those children who had already committed some crime. I have been to twelve different schools before making it into community college. Some are worse than others, but wherever I went I had a talent for attracting bullies.

The more I think about writing my bully character for the ‘Villain Month’ event, the more I just really want to go kill someone. Which really was my reaction back in school, too. Funny (or not) how that doesn’t seem to go away.

The good side? Well, I’ve had experiences with this type of person. I know what a really, really nasty bully sounds like, the tactics they use. And my heroine has the same reaction to bullies that I did (aggravate them further and make them really want to kill you). The bad side? I don’t think I could ever empathize with them, or get into their head without feeling ill, oily. I once tried to write about such a depraved character once that I felt ill for a week afterward. So I’m researching them academically instead.

Psychology Today’s article is quite good. I’m feeling sick already.

The lengths I go for this novel…

research

I try to make my books as accurate as possible. There’s nothing more annoying than trying to take a movie or a tv show seriously that keeps violating physics, or hacking incorrectly, or having dance ‘experts’ that don’t know that the leads right hand does not belong at the girl’s waist. It makes me twitch.

I’m writing at my computer, and I get to a place where one of the characters gets stabbed. … Morbid, perhaps, but… I write dark fantasy and kill characters. It happens. The guy on the receiving end of this deal has thick clothing, but no armor.

So what does that sound like? Before the other guy starts screaming? Does it make a cracking sound? Crunching? Does it slide in silently? I have swords, but it would be such a bother to hunt down the neighbor’s dogs…

(Just a joke. Really.)

And do I want to get too close to the person that can tell me?