A thread for those of us willing to offer our skills, experience, or general knowledge in particular areas (horses, medicine, macrame, whatever) to writers needing questions answered or perhaps a beta read for that particular aspect. Post your particular areas of expertise here if you’re willing to have forum members contact you about them as needed.
I worked at one for over three and a half years. This doesn’t sound like much in the grand scheme of things, but I survived a take-over, three managers, and being held at gun-point, as well as two snatch-and-grabs and one smash-and-grab (a whole bag of experiences in and of themselves x.x). I was expected not just to be a sales person, but dealt in loans, buys, and of course haggling. This means I also know:
The most important income for the pawn shop. Testing gold, sizing diamonds, weeding out the real from the cz and gold plated/gold filled junk, we were expected to handle it all. We weren’t expected to pay based off of colored stones though or silver, nor in grading diamonds (though we could at least tell if it was frozen snot or actually worth something). To this day I find myself dishing out advice to friends and family about prices and where to find the best deals.
As mentioned above, I have experience in being held at gun point, being a direct victim of two very different snatch-and-grabs, and being a less direct victim of a smash-and-grab. I had to turn inward to really disect the experiences at one point and am willing to be an open book about them.
I earned my black belt back in '98. It’s been years since I’ve taken a class, but I still remember quite a bit of the history, technique, forms, step fighting… I also participated in the 7th and 8th annual Jimmy Kim Tournaments, as well as an open invitational my school held. I don’t know if I’d be of any use for writing fight scenes, but I can at least give an idea of how the school was run, the form side of participating in tournaments, and help with technique.
I lived on the streets for a total of four months. It was toward the end of summer, with about a month-long spell in winter in NorCal. There’s a lot that can be said here, but I think I’ll keep it relatively short for now. I will say though that I came from a high-middle-class family that wound up having to file for bankruptcy, to a low-middle-class family that actually knew how to budget for things, to cutting all ties and building my own life from the ground-up. I literally lived under a bridge during that time. I know what it means to go from everything to nothing to something.
LDS, or Latter Day Saints, or Mormons
I’m technically an inactive member. My experiences are from a church in NorCal, where trailor trash yuppies ran rampant >.> I do have some great experiences and some not-so-great though. Didn’t quite make it to the real ‘meat and potatoes’ of it all, but I did last a little over a year after baptism. I also know some very pointed differences between the main branch and the ‘reformed’ branch.
I used to write it all the time. I wouldn’t really call myself an expert what with how long it’s been with only the ocassional dabble, but I still enjoy reading and commenting and aiding in the making. I was also the Editor-in-chief for Civilized Beasts: 2016 Edition (link in my signature! [/shameless plug]) and will be for the 2017 Edition.
Private School/GATE Class
I attended Pilgrim Lutherin Church and School in Chula Vista way back when I was a wee kitten. I don’t have much in the way of memories since I left it at the age of 8, but I remember clearly what the transition was like x.x Trust me, it sucked. The only thing I had to look forward to was two years of Gifted And Talented Education, which was advanced classes held once a week after school. Yep, I learned the Scientific Method in the 3rd or 4th grade.
To borrow from a fellow fur:
“I have had some. With other people. I thought this worth mentioning as some writers of furry erotica clearly haven’t.” I’ve also been part of threesome relationships before. I could probably write a whole novella on those experiences in and of themselves, but would rather not x.x
Damn it Voice, now I feel like I should add:
I probably haven’t spent near as much time in one as quite a number of others, but I’ve paid my dues. I’ve both been collared and collared people, and have a decent understanding for the multitude of variety under the big huge umbrella of BDSM beyond some of the cliches. Though I no longer run in those packs, there’s still a collar on the nightstand that’s tagged me as owned by Amenthor xp I also called upon this experience a bit in my story “Home At Last” found in Will of the Alpha: Volume 3 (link in my signature! [/shameless plug]).
Bi-Polar Disorder and Suicidal Crap
To a lesser degree on the former with lower manic cycles, but definitely there depressive cycles (in this case, the definition of depression being lethargy, the difficulty in caring about things that used to excite, inspire, or enthuse, or anything at all really. Existing just for the sake of existing, etc). For the latter, both on the “knife’s edge against the wrist” side (literally) and the “lost loved ones to suicide” side (literally).
Living with Multiple Personality with Schitzophrenia
Not living with as in having it, but I lived a few years with someone who had it. It was a very… interesting, and at a couple of rare times terrifying experience. I had borrowed from this experience a bit for my story “Tech Flesh”, found in Furtual Horizons.
My ma had them due to a growth that was triggering her adrenal gland. Even when she had the growth removed, she still had some psychologic issues that would give her panic attacks. Lived with her like this for about a year and a half, maybe two years, and it led to my ma’s:
I got to watch the slow build-up over time, and how it can utterly destroy a family. It was due to her addiction that my dad had to file for bankruptcy, I spiraled into depression and suicidal thoughts, and led to their divorce. I have quite a few stories to tell about that time in my life.
Obsession vs Love - Where is the Line
I was actually obsessed with this idea for a good chunk of my teenage years and did quite a bit of research. The very first “therapeutic” stories I wrote, when I first gave myself permission to go wild and cut loose, dealt directly in this field. Love talking about it.
What it means to be the equivalent of a spiritual wanderer, always searching for those tidbits of Truth without being tied down to a singular ‘truth’. It can be disheartening, freeing, discouraging, joyous, terrifying, intriguing, amusing, depressing, and all-in-all incredible.
Mary Sue and Gary Stu
This is a major pet peeve of mine, so I tend to recognize the traits pretty quickly. I’m also pretty good at sniffing out the anti-Mary Sue, which can be just as annoying. I do recognize where they have their places in the world, but also where they don’t. Feel free to poke at me if you have any concern of your protagonist turning into this.
Egyptian, Greek, Norse, and Japanese Mythology
Not as learned as some, but definitely a high interest of mine. Unfortunately, such passions can make stories based on such leave a bad taste in my mouth. I can definitely help get to the bare bones of these mythos (especially the first two), but be warned that I’m very picky with ‘personal interpretation’. Chances are if you have a question pertaining to any of these mythos and I don’t already have the answer, I’ll know where to find it. For the record, favorite gods from each zone are Sekhmet of Egypt (with Thoth as a close second), Athena from Greece (with either Apollo or Hermes as a close second), Siff from Norse (yes, even more than Loki though he’s a close second), and Ame-no-Uzume-no-Mikoto from Japan (with Susanoo-no-Mikoto as a close second.).
I was clinically diagnosed when I was 15 years old. After I was put on Paxil, had the dosage up, changed to Prozac, and had the dosage upped again, I felt like an absolute zombie. I took the time to research depression on my own, including all the symptoms and the best ways to counter them. I then pulled a real stupid and weened myself off of the medication (DO NOT DO THIS!!! CONSULT A DOCTOR FIRST!!!). Thankfully I weened off slow enough to have minimal effects, and I’ve been off of medication ever since. Every person is different though. For some, keeping an eye open for the signs and forcing yourself to reverse them simply isn’t enough. For some, the medication really does help. I’m just not one of those some. But yeah, I know quite a bit of what clinical depression is and how I’ve countered it, and what happens when I can’t bring myself to care enough to counter it >.< Happy to answer any questions.
I’ll add to this as I think of anything that might be useful :3
I don’t know if “expertise” is the right word, but I know enough about the following subjects to where it might be useful to someone:
Anime (and to a lesser extent, matters pertaining to Japanese culture. No, I didn’t learn this from the anime. XP )
Ghost stories (U.S.)
Illegal drugs (more of an expert here, uh…moving on…)
Mental illness (having it)
Motorcycling. I love my bike and get out on it as often as possible.
Karate. Though I may be better at describing how it feels to get smacked in the nose than I would be at choreographing your fight scene.
Boarding-school. A.k.a. the unhappiest days of my life. (Also, British university, which was loads nicer.)
Classics. Latin and Greek language and literature. My degree subject, for my sins.
Being British. Got an English character? Setting a story in London? Ask me for a free checkup, or run the risk of referring to trousers as ‘pants’ and earning my undying scorn!
Travelling in Europe. I love going on holiday! I don’t have in-depth knowledge of other countries, but I can give a tourist’s eye view of France, Germany, Italy, the Czech Republic, Sweden, Slovenia, Croatia, and a few more (if, say, you’re desperate to set a story in Belgium).
Sex. I have had some. With other people. I thought this worth mentioning as some writers of furry erotica clearly haven’t.
Dorm Life: I attended a four year college and have experience in dealing with dorm life, room mates, social events, etc.
Theatre & Touring: I received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Technical Theatre with an emphasis in Stage Management. I worked professionally for seven years in regional theatres, as well as touring cross-country with shows. I can speak to almost any aspect of performing, rehearsal, process, personalities, and the Actor’s Equity Union.
Travel Abroad: Okay, I haven’t done this in awhile, but in my early youth I traveled abroad and can speak to group travel, encountering foreign surroundings for the first time, stayin in hostels, backpacking, and getting stranded overnight on a Scottish Isle
That’s probably about it as far as actual useful stuff. Everything else is fairly random and I wouldn’t call myself an ‘expert.’
Religion/The Occult: I have a bachelor degree in religious studies, specializing in early Christian traditions and history. I find the topic fascinating and have an extensive library (currently in storage) on a wide range of religions and their practices. I was also a LeVay Satanist at one point, and I am currently (for the long haul) a Eclectic Pagan.
Cryptozoology: I know a surprising amount on this topic, mostly from when I was a child and had a large reading habit on the subject. I also have a section in the above mentioned library centered around this interesting topic and tend to watch any program or documentary on the subject matter I can find.
Exorcisms: I have an obsession of sorts with real life examples of exorcisms and those that perform them, be they actual Bishop sanctioned priests or Deliverance ministers. I can take you through the steps of possession and the effects of them on people, as well as the science that may or may not be taking place behind the scenes.
The Satanic Panic: Ritual abuse cases from the 1980s that came about due to poorly trained social workers from the 1970s, the book Michelle Remembers and the inability to interview children due to the before mentioned poor training. It’s a scary example of modern witchhunts and mass hysteria. There are still innocent people in prison to this day who were imprisoned from these trials.
Flooring: Tiles, carpets, laminate, hardwood, etc. I sell these for a living and know a ridiculous amount about them. And yes, I have caught mistakes in stories involving them.
Bondage: I have been heralded by locals as a ‘Bondage Master’. I laughed when they did. I don’t know everything, but I know more than the average Joe. I have also had a colourful past when it comes to women and bondage.
Being Canadian: There’s a bunch of us on here. You’d be amazed at what Americans get wrong when they write about Canadians…
Horror: Apparently many consider me an expert on this subject and have asked me to include it on here.
I seriously want to talk Religion with you now o.o
What pointless knowledge can I make available to others…
I hold my bachelors in the field, and have been on a couple of digs. One of these years I will go back for my Masters since I adore the subject, there is just no money in it. My experiances are limited to the Americas though, so if you want an Egyptologist you are in the wrong spot. I did a lot of zooarchaeology (animal remains. golly gee, wonder why).
As part of my archaeology degree I was fortunate enough to get to dig in the old colonial town of Cuenca. Me and my professor also got mugged at knife point here, so hey, I can add that as well to the topic.
I went to cooking school, before I found out that I can not stand kitchen stress. Did some banquet cooking and spent a short time on a line. Hate it with a passion unreserved. To this day I can not watch anything with Gordon Ramsey in it. Too close to reality in some ways.
Spent a part of every summer on the coast with my grandparents saltwater fishing. Recreational, so don’t expect great tales of the gillnetters or other commercial boats. Also spent a lot of time on the river with my dad when I was younger, but less with a rod in the water personally, and more exploring.
A hobby. I know the basics, and could fake my way along a lot more from my readings.
Worked in the retail grocery business fr ten years, from drone to lowest level manager. Ah joy.
Lack of Sex
I’m actually asexual, so don’t come to me for smut.
And on a depressing note:
What it is like to have someone close to you fade away over a six month period. #$%@ing cancer.
Well, here goes:
My earliest memories are of Spain (spent most of my toddler years there with Dad in the Air Force and even went to a Spanish pre-school off base), plus I lived for a year and a half on the outskirts of London.
Buddhism and Gnosticism
Something I’m fairly new to. I feel I’ve gained at least the beginnings of a functioning knowledge of these traditions though I’m no expert. My next two novels sort of explore Gnostic themes by way of allegory.
The reason I became interested in the above. A very harrowing personal experience brought to my attention that this was indeed a distinct if profoundly disturbing possibility. I was never sure if it was anything more than a writer’s imagination run amuck in my case so I can’t say I “believe” in it, but I can’t disbelieve with any serious conviction any more.
Vehicles and Machinery
I’m pretty knowledgeable about vehicles, especially cars. I have owned and done restoration work on several classic cars. I also have some amount of knowledge about aircraft and I’m pretty good at inventing machines for my fiction stories.
Medieval History And Culture
I’ve studied this subject in depth and continue to study it, both in an academic setting and as a hobby. I’ve read primary firsthand sources and I’ve even been to the places where a lot of it happened, and I feel I have a pretty good feel for how the medieval mind worked. One of my upcoming books has a sequence set in the mid 12th century in France.
I speak English (native), Spanish (near-fluent) and French (on a basic level). I also know a little bit of Latin, Italian, Classical Greek, and Chinook Jargon. I also created a language for my first novel called Jiya which has a grammar structure completely different from Romance or Germanic languages.
I’ve studied and continue to study art history on an academic level.
I’m familiar enough with this subject to help you write characters with autistic spectrum disorders, personality disorders, anxiety learning disorders, or psychotic disorders. In addition, have firsthand experience with severe anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.
Firsthand experience. Almost fully transitioned, willing to talk about my experience.
Will throw my areas of expertise in here too.
Lived in Australia for ten years now, so have picked up a bit of know-how about the place.
I know the correct usage of “G’day”; why"throw another shrimp on the barbie" is factually incorrect; that yes, we did manage to lose a Prime Minister (and sincerely wish we could do so again); and that Fosters is not the beer of choice.
That is, the one with the ball and the players use their feet. None of this hand-egg nonsense. Fanatical football supporter here. I can even correctly explain the offside rule! Have a reasonable knowledge in other sports too.
Unless you’re writing fanfiction, I doubt this will crop up, but I’ll put it here anyway. I have been banned from playing any Tolkien-related trivia game in the spirit of fair play.
Born and raised in the South-West. Just haven’t visited for ten years so don’t ask me on more recent happenings.
I’ll make a post for myself that I can add to later on.
Like others in this thread, I’ve worked in it for a number of years. Have been everything from associate to store management, and just about everything in between. Also have some knoweldge of employment law from when I was attempting to get into an HR field. Have worked in a wide assortment of stores, ranging from a florist shop (don’t know much about flowers, but can make them look pretty!), a Borders bookstore, multiple kitchen supply stores, a bath and frangrance store, a men’s clothing store, and most recently, a college bookstore.
I’ve been the manager of a Seattle’s Best cafe and actually learned about different types of roasts/how to distinguish between quality coffee and just “crap people have gotten used to drinking”. I’ve also got a coffee snob friend whose a regional manager at a Starbucks, so I have their extensive database of knowledge to go off of if there’s something I don’t know.
Pretty natural that I’d have at least some knowledge on this. If you need to know anything from what to look for in a basic copyedit up through how to know if your piece fits today’s market desires for publishing, I could help you out. Note that not ALL of this info is free! (Though most of it is.)
Being poor sucks, and I’ve dealt with it my entire life. With my deadbeat father who likes to think that his small military retirement pay is “a job”, and a mother who has worked 2 jobs and 60 hours a week for over 15 years now, just to get by, I feel as though I’m pretty well-versed on the subject.
Bowling (10-pin. None of that duck or candlepin garbage (DISCLAIMER: I find that garbage fun).)
Now this is something I have a damn-near endless knowledge base on. I’ve been bowling in sanctioned leagues since I was three years old and had been invited to go professional upon winning a big northeastern youth tourney back in my teen years. Couldn’t do it due to injury, but I learned the sport inside and out because of it. Averaged 220s back in my teen years, and 230s for awhile just after turning 18. Injuries are getting to me now, but I can still hang with some talented bowlers.
Guess that’s it!
I can go on for hours. It’s happened before.
You realize, this could be quite dangerous next RF XD
So happy to see so many taking part in this :3 Added to mine. Not sure if any of it is useful, but yah never know xp
Due to a particular interest/obsession, I have studied the development of most modern firearms, including the basic workings of said weaponry, up to and through most modern assault rifles. I have fired most major brands of pistols, and a few rifles, so I understand the actual feeling of a weapon going off in my hand or against me, and have had basic rifle training in both military and civilian settings. I have also had the dubious pleasure of using a live-fire M60, and an M203 grenade launcher. Most of this was done during US Army basic training in the mid-90s, and personal research based on fact-checks on movies afterwards. There is an indoor firing range I go to at least 2-3 times a year where I can fire new weapons I see, and talk with the guys at the counter, all of whom help train local police.
I formerly held a Black Belt in South Korean Military Tae Kwon Do, which I trained in from the age of 14 to 17. While my knowledge is rusty, like with others, it has given me a better working knowledge of the human body and fight mechanics.
A small but growing book-knowledge of how cars work based on having friends who have been gear-heads. While my own working knowledge is limited, have learned some of the differences between engine types, how some racing techniques actually work behind the wheel, and what cars are better for what situations based on how their drive trains work.
World War 2
My grandfathers both were active in World War 2, my paternal grandfather a reservist naval engineer who helped design a safety-lock bar still used today on most aircraft carriers, and my maternal grandfather a radio operator for the US Army Air Corp. My father made several studies of World War 2’s pacific theater, and imparted a lot of that on me, and the interest still remains. While my current knowledge is less expansive than it used to be, I still have the resources of my father, his friends, and his books to be able to help.
I know this is entirely a fan-based thing, but I watched the movies to death, all the TV series that were ever made, and read every novel written before the Yuuzhan Vong saga that in my opinion ruined the Expanded Universe Books. I own most of the West End Games Star Wars RPG books and supplements, and have some of the d20 remake books in house, as well as the 4.0 books that were made before the line was dropped.
While Star Wars is it’s own thing, what it can be used for is a basis to mine knowledge for building your own science fiction universe, including examples of how tech works in one sense so you can derive your own ideas from it, and also the designed structures for militaries, governments, and cultures of the times in the books.
And boy does it ever show in your writing! In all the best ways ofcourse; I’m just surprised you and Amenthor weren’t geeking out over it last time we were over XD
CARS AND CAR FACTORIES-- I spent 30 years as a GM auto worker and used to do some wrenching myself.
MILITARY HISTORY-- Especially WWI and WWII. Know a good bit of general history as well
PRACTICAL STUFFS RELATING TO DRIVING-- like towing trailers, driving in impossible conditions, what a 4x4 can and cannot deal with, etc.
HUMAN NATURE-- from long observation. But that’s a specialty for us all here, no?
Gardening and Herbalism
I’ve written professional works on gardening and can hit the universal basics on it from watering to location to general plant choices. In terms of expert plant placement and choices I’m limited to NE Scotland, Northern Arizona, and the Coastal Pacific Northwest regions. In terms of herbalism and ethnobotany I’m somewhat mixed, with lots of experience on plants in the intermountain West and Western Europe, but I’m still learning coastal Pacific plants. And of course, IANA(Doctor) so even if I say this is plant first-aid for your character, please exercise caution in real life.
Like some of the others posting here I’m a huge fan of all the old symbolism and culture surrounding magic and the supernatural. I know a goodly amount about old legends among various cultures, with an emphasis on Western European culture (Hi standard American Education System’s bias!) but also some Japanese, Western AmerIndian and Central Asian stuff.
Light hobbyist, so I lack the intensive dedication of some folks in the field, but I really enjoy pre-gunpowder warfare both in a historical and fantasy/fiction context. I especially enjoy sieges, but also the economic/cultural aspects of war, which often get ignored and can end up having some fascinating effects on the battles.
Politics, Culture, Anthropology
I love this sort of stuff. It’s part of my day job that I love and am fascinated by. Political science, sociology, the interplay of individuals within social norms and economic constraints…whether trying to talk about a furry getting elected in modern-day America (where Obama is totally an ocelot) to fantasy worldbuilding (how would magic items function as an economy?) I’m a go-to guy.
Animal Biology, Ecology, and Behavior
Kind of important for furry stuff. I can describe physical traits, needs, and ecological data on a lot of megafauna. Additionally, I’m a huge fan of how biology informs behaviors in animals and other branches of ethology. If I can’t answer a question off the top of my head I’m pretty good at hunting down reference materials thanks to my day job.
Geology, meteorology, and the natural world. I’m a massive rockhound and I care way more than I should about weather patterns, alluvial deposits, and the interplay between life and nonlife in an ecological area. Combined with the above, I’m basically just a natural sciences junkie.
My list is far, far shorter than the rest, but I might as well provide it. It includes “being in over my head” and “being far less interesting than everyone else”, but here’s what I DO know:
While I won’t say I’m some kind of master of the art, I do know a thing or two about food prep and kitchen survival . Semi-homemade stuff, flavour complements, improvising ingredients, and saving dishes that are somewhat ruined or bad.[/s] Edit: Contact GeorgeSquares instead
A few years back when my post-apocalyptic genre obsession started, I did a bit of absorbing of the ideas, methodology, and practices of surviving on one’s own in urban environments.
I fail to see when this will probably ever be something someone needs input from someone else on, but I’ve been playing games as long as I can remember and would like to think I have a pretty good understanding of what one needs to take into account with them. I also absorb lore in games I enjoy like a horrifying sponge and can give you ridiculous obscure info if that’s your thing.
I live in one. It’s dull and lifeless and surrounded by the shuffling elderly. And corn. Lots and lots of corn. I can speak quite in depth on the absolute joys of farm town life.
Having lived with it for most of my life, I’d like to think I know at least a bit about it. I’m specifically referring to GAD (General Anxiety Disorder), but there is some overlap with other mental conditions as far as I’ve noticed. I’m also somewhat knowledgeable on some of the medications available on the market for those that suffer from it.
Edit: Forgot the most important one.
Having always lived an hour less from the city, I’ve come to learn a good amount about living there, from the sights and sounds of the city, to the smells, to the bottomless feeling of desperation and hopelessness all youths of the Midwest seem to feel about the region.
I’ve been in IT for a decade now doing programming (think Dilbert) and now tech support. The “Did you try turning it on off again?” guy? That’s me.
I currently use Wordpress on my personal website and know my way around it fairly well including how to get to some of the icky bits.
SELF-PUBLISHING / EPUBS
I have been self-publishing my story collections onto kindle, nook, iBooks and kobo for a few years now and know a bit about creating EPUB files from Word documents.
VIDEO GAME HISTORY
While my interest in video games has waned in recent years, I am fairly knowledgeable about the history of the medium.
I am definitely not an ‘expert’ in an academic sense, but I learned a few things from growing up as a second generation Mexican-American in Texas.