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.
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.
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.
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.
The Council of Twelve series so far includes the first three books in the series.
You can find them here:
Katie is the sweetest angel we can imagine, a fantastic consort, emotionally stable, and still responsible, helpful, and caring. She’s Raphael’s perfect second half.
Sundance is the second female angel we meet in the series. She’s an exceptional angel in many ways, the first warrior angel in three centuries, she is blessed with many gifts and talented beyond her young age.
Zepheira is a strong-willed, stubborn woman, so far the fiercest female character in the series. As a half-angel, she is a raw diamond, and due to her nature, the only one holding Uriel’s fire.
During the entire series, we will recognize recurring characters and meeting new ones; in particular, are we going to meet ‘The Council of Twelve,’ including the twelve most powerful individuals existing, each one of them holding unique talents and powers.
The fight Good vs. Evil is present within each book, the tension climbs higher with each story.
In your opinion, what should happen next? Tell me in the comment. If you have an idea, want to write a short story that you think might fit the series, write it, please and send it to me: firstname.lastname@example.org. Write ‘The Council of Twelve series on Writer’s Treasure Chest’ in the subject line.
A few days ago, I was working on a complicated fighting scene between two supernatural beings in book #8 in ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series.
To describe the fight accurately, I was getting up, using a wooden kitchen spoon to technically rehearse every step of the battle, before sitting down and explaining the movement and natural body reaction on the ‘theoretically’ inflicted pain.
It took me close to four hours for a fight that took a mere two pages to write. And yes, the argument does include a bit of pain, wings, bruises, and a severe knee injury.
Now, being a martial artist myself might have helped me big time to take this challenge on and solve the problem the way I did. But other writers might not have that [indeed minimal] advantage. How are they doing it? Is their fantasy more extended than mine?
Previously I mentioned my fighting scene took up about two pages of the book. Generally, that is a lot of room for one scene. But that is why I rehearsed. I had to make sure the fight was thrilling and still described well in an imaginative short manner.
Fighting scenes in books are incredibly different from fighting scenes in movies. Compared to what we see, reading the fight in a book has to tickle our own imagination. We don’t follow a fighter with our eyes… we follow him/her with our mind.
To see Bruce Lee fighting twenty opponents to the same time and describing the same scene in words, would need our book ten to twelve pages. To a reader, that would be incredibly boring. Most readers would never read through the entire fight. It would be a complete waste of time and effort. A reader would only jump the pages to the end of the battle. Most of them are interested in who wins.
Therefore I had to shorten something that usually takes about ten to fifteen minutes in a movie to two pages in my book. To catch the essential things in my fight, I was rehearsing to myself.
As an author, how do you write fighting scenes? Do you rehearse too? And as a reader, do you enjoy reading fighting scenes, and if yes, how long should they be to not bore you out of your skin? Thank you for telling us in the comments.
There are over 150 authors in the Cafe and Bookstore and I wanted to keep it to key pieces of information such as buying links, recent review, website and covers. However, I know that readers also like to know more about the background of authors.
In this series during June and July I will share the bios of all the authors in the cafe in a random selection. I hope that this will introduce you to the authors in more depth and encourage you to check out their books and follow them on their blog and Twitter.
Meet Deborah Jay
Deborah Jay writes fantasy and urban fantasy featuring complex, quirky characters and multi-layered plots – just what she likes to read.
Fortunate enough to live not far from Loch Ness in the majestic, mystery-filled Scottish Highlands with her partner and a pack of rescue dogs, she can often be found…
Demon Tracker’s second 5-star review was posted May 3, 2020. I’m so happy I’m actually dancing around my place. This is a great day!
REVIEWED BY LINDA TONIS
MEMBER OF THE PARANORMAL ROMANCE GUILD REVIEW TEAM
I want to begin this review by saying if you haven’t read the first two books, I strongly recommend doing so. Book two ended with questions about Sundance, and those questions are finally answered in this book.
Zepheira (Zye) is a fighter and messenger of the Divine Army hunting demons, but a call from The Big Seven”, legendary warrior angels, sets her on a new path. A demon has stolen the soul of an angel, and it is important that they find him and release the soul; otherwise, it will be lost in Hell forever. She has only two weeks to carry out this mission, but as the best tracker and her ability to use her sense of smell, they are confident she can succeed where they have failed.
She immediately knows by using her sense of smell that the demon they are after is Faramon, the same demon that was there the night her mother was killed. Zye is the daughter of a human and Pan who like Faramon was there when her mom died, since then she has never seen or heard from her father. She is a hybrid blood creature with the same horns as her father. She offers herself as bait with a promise from Uriel the Archangel to be there to protect her.
Her mission is a success except for the fact that she finds herself Lucifer’s prisoner. Some of the funniest parts of this story take place in Hell, where Zye pits herself against the evilest creature known to mankind. She never shows fear even when she is shaking in her boots, and Lucifer has found his match. What happens with the two of them I won’t reveal because it is too priceless to give away in this review.
Uriel and Zye have no doubt that their feelings for each other go way beyond what was initially intended; after a lifetime of searching for the perfect woman, he has finally found her, but does she feel the same?
Zye is an amazing character with the kind of strength that even stunned the Council of Twelve, except for the fact that they do try on many occasions to curb her use of foul language, not always successfully.
A wonderful addition to a wonderful series.
I’m so very excited to report that Demon Tracker got its first 5-star review on May 1, 2020. It is such a wonderful feeling to find out that readers love my book! Thank you so very much for this great review!
In this third installment of the Council of Twelve series, the author throws us a curveball of sorts as she introduces not only a new character, but a whole new angle on the mythology of this series. It’s interesting to watch how the author is taking the over-arcing story of the series a step further with each new character introduced.
This time we get to meet a demon tracker, one of the best ever. However, her appearance could easily be mistaken for someone demonic herself, which is of course not the case. Besides those great horns on her head, what else is making her a target of the master of Hell. What is his connection to her and why is he so interested in asking questions about her parentage?
All our old friends are here such as the Council of Twelve, along with Sundance and Kate from the previous installments of the series. As well as some familiar foes and new dangers.