Getting To Know Your Physiology

Miscellaneous mistakes made by writers

The problem with factual errors is that it only takes one writer to make one and others will follow like fruit flies to bruised apples.


I personally have never felt hair rise on the back of my neck or my arms, when something frightened me, although a great many authors use this as a sign of fear. It seems to me more of an animal reaction to fear, although I suppose it’s possible that men may react this way

I just looked at pages of snake photographs and I got a chilly feeling running down my body, curling toes, and clenched hands.  That’s the creeps, not fear, by the way

In that moment of stress (fear) the body prepares itself to be injured and to expend energy in the large muscle groups of the arms, legs and shoulders that we use to either fight or run away. A fight or flight response causes a few common signs:Green snake Care_SMC

    Your heart rate may increase.

    Your vision may narrow (often called ‘tunnel vision’).

    You may notice that your muscles become tense.

    You may begin to sweat.

    Your hearing may become more sensitive.”  © YOUNGDIGGERS

Nausea and other revolting things

Nauseous does not mean you’re about to vomit, it refers to something that makes you feel like vomiting e.g. dog poop. The correct word is nauseated.

(c) New Kids-Center

The symptoms of nausea do not include bile in the throat. The only time you get bile in your throat is after your stomach has been completely emptied, usually by prolonged vomiting. I gave birth to four children and suffered awful morning sickness for three months with each one, over 360 episodes, which makes me somewhat of an expert on vomiting.

I learned something from this experience: The first sign of nausea is increased salvation (your mouth fills with water). Then your stomach feels queasy and starts to heave. Get to the bathroom! If you do feel something burning your throat, it is probably stomach acid. One way of making the experience less uncomfortable is to drink some water on the way to the bathroom.

About bile.

Bile is made by the liver and stored gallbladder which is below the stomach. It is released into the intestines close to the duodenum to aid digestion. There are two sphincters between the small intestine and the throat, so there is very little likelihood of bile reaching the throat apart from the way mention above.

This diagram shows the digestive system of a human being, with the major organs labeled.
BC Open Textbooks

So if you read something about bile in the throat as a symptom of nausea, it’s not.

Reasons you might vomit bile include:

    vomiting with an empty stomach

    binge drinking

    food poisoning

    a blockage in your intestines” © Healthline


I read many books in which writers describe their characters as frowning with their mouths. I’ve stood in front of a mirror numerous times, trying to figure out how to use my mouth to draw my eyebrows together; no luck. Frowning is a show of displeasure, doubt, or irritation that causes the eyebrows to draw together. There are many ways to use the mouth to show a mood or feeling, but none of them produces a frown. In the two that show any change in the mouth, Upset and Anger, only display a slight downturn and compression of the lips.frown

I have found this site invaluable in describing facial expressions for moods and feelings. Human-anatomy-fundamentals-mastering-facial-expressions.

The Above diagram of the digestive tract is from BC Open Textbooks

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