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Quick word question. Is this word common?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Trick, Sep 4, 2015.

  1. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    Hello all,

    If you read "a soporific-loaded syringe.", would you know what that meant?

    I feel like 'soporific' is relatively common but I've encountered someone who didn't know the meaning and had to rethink my assumption.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I know what it means, but I don't think the word is very common. "Sedative" might be a better choice.
     
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  3. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    I thought about sedative but it seems so mild. I'm looking for a 'knock-out' drug category that doesn't feel out of world. There is modern tech in my world but it has a Victorian feel. IDK... I wish there were more words...
     
  4. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    Tranquilizer, maybe?
     
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  5. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    Most certainly.
     
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  6. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    That is better but has issues too. I originally wrote 'tranq-loaded' but thought that was confusing. 'Tranquilizer-loaded' might be a bit much but I could just go with 'syringe of tranquilizer' maybe. Or just 'tranquilizer syringe.'
     
  7. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

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    Soporific definitely has a period feel [Victorian/C19]. And yes I knew what it meant.
     
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  8. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Let me ask a question to qualify:

    Would the POV of this scene think of it as a soporific?

    If yes, then I'd probably use the word. I'm guessing the following context (the what happens after it's used) will clarify what a soporific is.
     
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  9. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    Yes, he definitely would, which was the original reason I went away from tranquilizer. The only issues I see are that this is literally in the second sentence of the book and the syringe is technically never used. It gets broken and the POV character is forced to improvise (knocking someone out the old fashioned way). I'm not sure how clear it is that the syringe would just have knocked the person out. I think I might need to review the clarity of that situation.

    EDIT:

    I just realized that I've been thinking of the syringe as Chekhov's gun when in fact it is a red herring... can something be both?
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2015
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  10. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

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    Maybe it's a mini-macguffin???
     
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  11. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

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    Nope, but in the 21st century the definition would be at the tip of my fingers.
     
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  12. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    If it isn't actually used, why not just write "syringe" and leave it at that with no mention of what it holds.

    That's s bit of a shot in the dark without seeing some of the writing though. Maybe it's help if we saw the opening.
     
  13. MineOwnKing

    MineOwnKing Maester

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    I've been to 2 county fairs and 1 state fair and I've never seen that word before.

    I know what a suppository is, and also a subcutaneous injection, but ...never heard of soporific... sounds like a new kind of shampoo.
     
  14. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

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    Hi,

    Yes I know what a soporific is. I wouldn't have an issue with the phrase for that reason - but it does sound awkward and cubersome. Unless it's used in a technical setting where accuracy is important I might tend to use a more slang term - eg "sleepy time syringe".

    Cheers, Greg.
     
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  15. Trick

    Trick Auror

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  16. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    Hahaha. Sorry, I laugh at myself not you. It originally was just 'syringe' and BWFoster advised that I tell what's in it. He thought I was holding back information instead of creating mystery.

    EDIT: (To be fair, it was 'loaded syringe')

    Here's the current opening, though it is in a state of hyper-evolution at the moment:

    Haimes Dotson clutched a letter in his fists, as the elevator slowed, about to tear the paper to bits. He stuffed it into his jacket’s breast pocket instead, careful to avoid the soporific-loaded syringe.

    He ground his teeth and his jaw popped. Rubbing his face to relieve the pain, he pondered the letter once more; ‘With the greatest remorse, I inform you of my decision to leave Solaris.’ The greatest remorse? Poppycock. How about ‘panic?’ Now, there was a word that fit with Alek leaving the company. ‘Bankruptcy’ was another.

    Unacceptable.

    Why had Alek given him no other choice? The letter meant he was serious. He was leaving. And Aelos was the only way to keep him here, keep him working… make him a prisoner. No, not a prisoner; a properly-utilized asset.

    The magic would be difficult, even dangerous. Alek would need to be unconscious but Haimes had to try. Otherwise, he might as well take the elevator back up, all the way to the roof, and jump off. It would be better than living for an eternity as a beggar.


    Here's the second half of the opening with a slight edit that explains a bit more. I feel too much:

    Why had Alek given him no other choice? The letter meant he was serious. He was leaving. And an Aelos incantation was the only way to keep him here, keep him working… make him a prisoner. No, not a prisoner; a properly-utilized asset.

    The magic would be difficult, even dangerous. Alek would need to be unconscious but Haimes had to try. Otherwise, he might as well take the elevator back up, all the way to the roof, and jump off. It would be better than living for an eternity as a beggar.



    That might work but the POV is a scientist/business man. I'll have to think about possible nicknames.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2015
  17. Mythopoet

    Mythopoet Auror

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    I think it works and I think it's better to have that detail here than not. However, just so you know, the construction of the first sentence makes it sound like the elevator is about to tear the paper to bits. I would put "As the elevator slowed" at the beginning of the sentence.
     
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  18. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    Thanks Mythopoet. I thought so but I'd hate to add detail that is actually just confusing.

    On the sentence construction, you're right. I've re-written that sentence so many times it feels like mush. One iteration had Haimes stuffing the elevator in his pocket :)

    Any thoughts on me explaining his intentions, and thus the syringe's contents, in the second version: "The magic would be difficult, even dangerous. Alek would need to be unconscious but Haimes had to try." ?
     
  19. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

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    I didn't know what soporific meant. There might be more ignorance on my part on this, so forgive me if I'm off base. Writing wise, to me, reading the dictionary definition, I expected it to be a specific name for drug, not a broad term that could mean one of many different sedatives. The addition of the word didn't give me too much more information than just saying syringe.

    To me, it would work better if you named a specific drug, because the character knows what it is, so there's no reason to be coy. It's like if someone ask you what are you drinking and points to your cup, and you answer soda. Then they ask what kind of soda, and you say sweet soda. Then it becomes for gosh sake why can't you just tell me if it's Coke, Pepsi, 7-Up, etc. and we can save our selves some breath.

    Any way that's my 2cents.

    PS. naming a specific drug also adds to the world and brings it into clearer focus. Soporific is a vague word like car. When you say someone drives a car, it doesn't tell us much beyond the obvious. But if you say someone drives a Ferrari or a '76 Pinto. It tells us more than just the obvious.
     
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2015
  20. Trick

    Trick Auror

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    When it just says syringe, it might give the impression of poison. At least, that's my thought.

    And the issue with using drug names is that this is not on earth so I'd have to make up a name, which doesn't add clarity. It would be like you asking about what I'm drinking and I say 'Flula' and then you'd still be like, what's that?

    I tried to think of a clever name for a poppy derivative but the one I like best, red flower, has already been used in a popular fantasy series.
     
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