Realistic and Unrealistic Injuries In Your Books

The ones of us writing fiction might have come across the one or other injury our characters are experiencing within the story. Depending on your genre of fiction (most significantly probably in crime stories, SiFi, occasionally fantasy, or mixed genres), these injuries might be more severe than a paper cut. (Even though they really hurt and nobody ever believes it, but that’s for another time.)

We all had the situation we watched a movie or read a book and our hero took a blow to the head or a bullet to protect his beloved… In movies, it’s normally quite simple. We watch the beloved carefully dab a tiny cut (where does that come from?) on the hero’s temple, most likely with a part of her clothing, and he comes around, pitifully whining and groaning. After three minutes he tells her they have to flee, jumps up, and with three bullets in his body, saves the situation and the girl. My hero…

One of my favorite examples at this point is the ‘Die Hard’-movies with hero John McClane. ‘The Week’ has taken a closer look at John McClane’s injures with a professional back in 2014. You can read the article here. )The poor man fights all by himself (mostly) against groups of criminals, using all his wit, experience, – and a handgun. Generally, he wins the fight by a hairsbreadth, with his, once white, undergarment dark gray and blood-soaked, cut feet, cuts, and lacerations all over his body, limping, and somewhat between two to five bullets in his body. Admirable – and completely unrealistic. So what? Hollywood has a monopole for explosions, fake catastrophes, bullets, freak destructions, and unrealistic injuries… But what’s good for Hollywood is not necessarily good for a debut writer.

Let’s have a look at a few examples in books and movies and analyze their grade of realism.

  1. Head Injuries

A human taking a blow to the head and collapsing is better off in the lateral recumbent position anyway, but that’s only a detail. If the blow was hard enough to keep the victim unconscious for more than three minutes, the chances are high that there is a concussion, or even a more severe injury, like brain injury, bleeding within the brain, or brain swelling. Jumping up and running around after several hours of unconsciousness won’t be possible. The victim would most like just helplessly stumble or have problems with the eyesight and orientation.

 

2. Dismemberment

You are writing fantasy and your victim gets dismembered? Losing an arm or a leg is no laughing matter. In such a case we look at a severe injury that, in real life will end fatally, if the victim does not get help within the shortest time and the wound is professionally taken care of immediately. The heart would still pump blood through the exposed arteries, which would splatter the blood all over the place in remarkable fountains. The would would have to be carefully secured. The blood loss would weaken the victim severely. After the fast loss of approximately 1/3 of a gallon (1 liter) of blood, the victim experiences rapid heart rate, confusion, weakness, shallow breathing, blood pressure difficulties, and medical shock. There is no ‘continued’ fighting with only one arm.

 

3. Broken Bones

If your character experiences broken bones, the victim will face horrible pain. Depending on how bad the break is if it’s clean or dangerous multiple fractures, the pain can lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, and finally pass out from shock. The limp with the broken bone won’t be able to move, a possible numbness could start if the break involved nerves. The healing of a broken bone can take between six weeks and six months, depending on how severe the bone is broken, if it was a leg or an arm, hands, joints, feet, and wrists are usually taking longer. If the bone is older the healing takes longer too.

 

4. Bullets & Stab Wounds

They are generally called ‘puncture wounds’. We are, at this point, talking about an object ‘entering’ a human body, injuring the body in the process. From what my research showed me, there are low, medium and high energy puncture wounds, caused by, for example, spears or knives (low), arrows, or crossbow bolts or handguns (medium) and high-powered rifles (high). Puncture injuries are described as sharp pains, often stinging, occasionally burning. They might take up to six months to heal and very often result in late consequences. These wounds are never harmless. There is no place in the body where it’s not dangerous. Puncture wounds can turn into massive blood loss and death within only a few minutes. (Getting up and solving a case after two days is not going to work, oh Hollywood, city of illusions).

 

5. Some Other Injuries

Of course, there are other injuries. Burns, cuts, slashes, even toxic influence on the body, or in rare cases, decapitation. Buns and cuts can be treated and, depending on the severeness, can heal quite quickly, within ten to fourteen days. Unless the burns are more severe, then they will need far longer. Slashes most likely need stitches. As for the toxic influence of substances on the body, that depends on the situation and I won’t go deeper into that subject. There are too many toxic substances and I suspect, some research would be needed in such a case. Decapitation ends fatally to humans, period. There’s no way out. If the injury happens to supernatural creatures, the writer does have some freedom with the recovery process.

 

I hope, this list helped a bit to keep the injuries in your books on a realistic level. Your readers will appreciate your sticking to reality in this case.

Picture courtesy of TheWeek.com

 

Two Urgent Warnings For Writers! – Written By Victoria Strauss On Writer’s Beware

Victoria Strauss, who provides us on the ‘Writer’s Beware Blog’ with information of all kinds, warns us on October 16 and October 19 about two more ‘bad eggs’ that I would like to share with as many writers as possible. Thank you so much, Victoria Strauss, for all your efforts and work to help us!


OCTOBER 16, 2020

BAD CONTRACT ALERT: EMP ENTERTAINMENT AND A&D ENTERTAINMENT

 

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®

Lately, I’ve been hearing from writers who’ve been solicited by one or another of two companies offering to distribute their books to Webnovel, a Wattpad-like platform based in Asia: EMP Entertainment and A&D Entertainment. (Note: there are many companies with similar names focused on concert invites, event schedule, and DJ services.)
EMP and A&D are both based in Singapore, and both are just 11 months old (which raises interesting questions about whether they’re really different companies, though their contracts differ enough to suggest that they are). They present themselves as Webnovel partners, authorized to offer non-exclusive contracts that allow authors to continue to publish on other platforms (such as Wattpad, where both companies are actively approaching writers) if they choose.

CONTINUE READING HERE

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OCTOBER 19, 2020

BAD CONTEST TERMS: T.A. BARRON’S ONCE UPON A VILLAIN FLASH FICTION CONTEST

 

Posted by Victoria Strauss for Writer Beware®

Popular YA/MG author T.A. Barron is running a flash fiction contest.
Stories must be 750 words or fewer, and the contest is accepting submissions through Friday, October 23. Three winners will receive prize packages consisting of books, games, swag, and/or gift cards.
The catch? You guessed it. It’s in the fine print of the contest guidelines. (I wasn’t able to provide a direct link to these, but if you scroll down to the bottom of the contest post, there’s a link you can click to see them.)
Here’s my main concern.

CONTINUE READING HERE

HOW TO SURVIVE WITH TOO MANY FICTIONAL CHARACTERS LIVING INSIDE YOUR HEAD – Written By Lucy Mitchell

Lucy Mitchell informs us how to survive with too many fictional characters living in our heads. Thanks, Lucy.


#AmWriting #LucyMitchell #WriterBlogger

It’s not easy being a writer. We find ourselves drawn to tweed based outfits, berets, Twitter, book shops and attractive notebooks. We stare into space a lot, walk around with pencils permanently tucked behind our ears, get excited over word counts, cover our walls in post it notes and lose ourselves while reading books.

One of the many problems we face is that our fictional characters can multiply inside our head at an alarming rate. Writers often talk about too having many new story ideas but for some of us (me included) it’s too many new characters.

Once a writer has caught the writing bug; written several stories, have a story they are working on and be entertaining a few new story ideas on the side, their head can sound more like a railway station at rush hour.

Head overcrowding is not the only issue, fictional characters can also be noisy, disruptive and demanding. Some fictional characters will sit quietly and await their turn but some (you know the characters I am talking about) will make getting your full attention their main focus in life.

CONTINUE READING HERE

What Is A Book Sales Funnel And Do You Need One? – Written By Derek Haines…

Derek Haines describes to us in his blog post what a book sales funnel is and why we need one. Thank you very much for your advice, Derek!


on Just Publishing Advice:

A book sales funnel follows the same principle as all other commercial sales funnels.

When a potential reader comes across your book, you have succeeded in attracting attention.

But very few will jump immediately to the action of buying your book.

For new authors, especially, you need to fill this gap with elements of interest and desire.

Continue reading HERE

Just in Time for Halloween – Written By Cary Vaughn

The writer of ‘The Reluctant Cat Owner’s Journal,’ Cary Vaughn, has published a blog post I could not deprive you of enjoying. The author is, of course, a cat daddy and also an unbelievably gifted writer. No matter what the situation with the cats is, Cary masters it, writers about it, and makes his devoted fans (like me) laugh. Thanks so much for this wonderful post, Cary. And speedy recovery to the kitty!


 

As I’ve mentioned before, Predator Face has a habit of sneezing phlegm onto our walls and floor since the day of his adoption. In my opinion, this has made housekeeping more laborious than necessary.

As I’ve also mentioned before, Predator Face recently lost the ability to breath through his nose, making him sound like a snotty, mouth-breathing toddler with the flu. Not, stertorous. More slurpy, like breathing through a mouthful of gelatin.

 

At first, his condition was pathetic and sad. But it didn’t take long before the slurpy mouth breathing became a nuisance. For example, I no longer woke in the middle of the night to the adorable rumbling of his purr as he nudged me for attention.

CONTINUE READING HERE

Fall Hope – 2020

The current year has been a struggle

for many people that I know.

Life has been massively changing

and adjustments had been very slow.

**

The heat of summer, it was warming

the cold that crept inside of me.

And still, it was not enough to help

give me calm and let me feel free.

**

So many times I have been lucky

to enjoy the sun, water, and a swim.

Without my generous, golden friend

life to me would have been grim.

**

As the year progresses past this summer

and slowly will become our fall.

I wish and hope for true improvement

for everyone out there, and y’all!

**

Lord,, thank you for sending us your angels

to every first-responder, cop, and  firefighter

Dear Lord, I kneel, I pray, and beg you,

Please help our future be a ‘lil bit brighter.

**

As the seasons’ turn and autumn starts

where the heat wraps up and becomes mild

where the shine and bright turns into colorful

and the softest breezes become wild.

**

Let these colors of the fall be an omen

for us to wrap up the bad things of this year

to search and find the lost hope again.

It was never gone… it was just hidden behind the fear.

*****

(Copyright Aurora Jean Alexander, September 2020)


 

 

 

The Benefits of Writing a Novel By Hand – Written By Bryn Donovan

Since I write my first drafts by hand for years, I found this article, written by Bryn Donovan, fascinating, and also very assuring that I apparently don’t do my things in a completely wrong way. Thank you, Bryn!


I love writing on paper. Few things spark joy in me like a brand-new spiral notebook—and that’s been true almost my whole life. Writing a novel longhand, at least for the first draft, is my personal preference. I don’t write the whole thing by hand before typing it: I transfer it to Word document on my computer now and then as I go.

Every writer is different, and I’m not going to claim that writing a novel by hand is right for everyone. I know that writing on paper isn’t even an option for everyone.

Besides, writing a novel longhand does have its disadvantages. It’s slower, since you’re going to wind up typing it on the computer later, anyway. And if you’re unable to decipher your own handwriting, which is true for lots of people, writing on paper for your first draft is pretty much a non-starter.

Here are a few benefits of writing a story longhand, though. If it’s doable for you and you haven’t tried it, you might want to give it a go, just to see if you like it!

 

CONTINUE READING HERE

Sundance – A New 5-Star review

I am so proud to discover that Sundance, the second book in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series got a new 5-star review. This is wonderful.


Reviewed in the United States on September 15, 2020

Following ‘Soul Taker’, ‘Sundance’ is the second book in the Council of Twelve Series.
The book is less a simple sequel than a parallel story to the first part, which first surprised me, but then I was enthusiastic about that fact. I found it fascinating to read the story from a different point of view and to find the skillfully orchestrated connections to the first book.
One of the things I love about this book is to see Sundance grow up into a strong woman. Also interesting is her education. Even though the book shows many known characters and places, the book still allows the reader to re-explore the world, AJ Alexander created masterfully.
I look forward to reading book number three in the series.
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