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 wound 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

Sister Sebastiana – A Heartbreaking Loss

Today, our Good Lord has called his daughter

Sister Sebastiana

and has taken her home after four years of serious illness.

My Aunt, my late Dad’s youngest sister, passed away at 81.

Sister Sebastiana grew up as the youngest of eight children on a farm with a connected restaurant. Like her siblings, she had to start helping in her parent’s businesses quite early.

When she was 24 years old, she decided to dedicate her life to God. After her novitiate, she first became a kindergarten teacher and later decided to go back to her congregation when they called her for help.

She always beamed and laughed when she told stories from her kindergarten children. Sister Sebastiana had hearty, infectious laughter and shared her youngest brother’s, my Dad’s, humor. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I liked her so much.

When she got ill four years ago, she gathered courage and continued her life with God and continued her work. But the illness was stronger than her strength of life. Very calmly, Sister Sebastiana accepted her diagnosis and faced death with admirable faith in God. She carried the suffering of her illness with impressive patience and lost the fight yesterday when she closed her eyes forever.

Our entire family is going to miss her terribly. She was always a rock in the ocean of our lives. But we know she is with her Creator now and, as heavy as my heart is, I know her soul is with God.

Picture courtesy of https://www.loveliveson.com/funeral-poems-for-aunt/

 

Murder In My Book

“There are two kinds of people who sit around all day thinking about killing people…mystery writers and serial killers. I’m the kind that pays better.”

― Richard Castle ―


I’m not a mystery writer, and I keep hoping not too many of my characters in my book will end up dead. Let’s say, the one or other tragic death is barely to avoid, but I’m working on it. Now, by thinking about it: as a fantasy writer I do have the chance to kill as many of the bad guys as I want; does that count too?

Above I purposely used the term “too many of MY characters…”. When I started to write my series I knew one main character. The more I worked on this woman, and with her, the more I got a liking of her. She is someone special. At first, I didn’t know exactly where she came from and who she is. By now I know her inside and out, and her complexity, stubbornness and unique good heart made me love her like a very, very good friend.

As I continued writing more and more characters showed up. I had the chance to work with them as well, develop them, know them better with each book and each one of them grew on me. I’m currently working on book seven and eight in the series, and unfortunately, I know one of the characters I love so much will have to die. I knew it two books ago already, but I tried to ‘sneak’ around it, well knowing that I’m trying to defer the inevitable death of one of my favorite characters. The question isn’t “who needs to die?” The question now is: “How is this character going to die?”

What am I supposed to do? Yes, of course, I can write about an unthinkable ferocity to kill my character. Would this be a nice thing to do to one of my favorites? Of course not. But I’m a writer, and I’m afraid death isn’t a nice and pretty issue, to begin with. I guess, the main thing at this moment will be that it matches the book and fits the story! In a moment like this I’m not supposed to be the protector of my characters but the writer who paints a story with words; a writer who works with the characters, the situations, the opponents, the protagonists and antagonists she created!

Does that make me feel any better? I’m afraid not. It’s heartbreaking to even think of my character gone. No matter how I’m going to manage it – wait… I should say, how the antagonist is going to kill my character, I’ll be heartbroken. I had so many plans with this particular character, and that’s how it will end? The answer is yes. Unfortunately, that’s how it is going to end. I have a pretty good idea of how the killing will happen.

But there is one thought I can barely get right of. It won’t be the cruelness of the antagonist, the torture, the pain, the sweat and blood, the hope to be saved in the last minutes; it won’t be the eerie laughter of the opponent, the sharply metal forged blade that will turn my character’s death into a horrible murder. No matter how horrifying and inhuman I create the antagonist, how cruel, how sadistic and incredibly gruesome it will be, the murderer of my character is going to be me.

Am I going to drown in guilt, cry in my pillow and drink my tears? We shouldn’t get overly dramatic here. I’m a writer, not a ten-year-old girl who accidentally broke her Barbie doll. I create worlds, existences, characters, protagonists, and antagonists, but most of all, I create gripping and exciting stories. And once in a while death goes with it.

I think that’s the only parallel from my stories to real life: death belongs to life. And sometimes, if we don’t get ‘rid’ of old stuff, how can we make room for something new?
It took me a while to decide which one of my characters will have to go. But I won’t sink into depression. I know, there’s room now for someone new.

How do you handle the killing of one of your characters? Do you feel like you lost someone you know? Or do you even belong to those who create the antagonist as your ex-partner and feel somehow a slight malicious glee to do what you couldn’t when you were still angry in real life? Let me hear your thoughts, I’m curious.

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

 

In Rememberance Of 9/11

September 11, 2001, the day of the worst terrorist attacks the U.S. had to face in its history. Annually we remember the victims and their families; we keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

During the September 11 attacks in 2001, 2,996 people were killed and more than 6,000 others wounded. These immediate deaths included 265 on the four planes (including the 19 terrorists), 2,606 in the World Trade Center and the surrounding area, and 125 at the Pentagon. (Source: Wikipedia)

I think it’s important we don’t forget this day, the ones who suffered, the ones who had to fight with the loss, with despair, and with illness. It was a dark day – and still: ‘UNITED WE STAND.’ Americans proudly helped, supported, comforted and still remember. It is important we never forget how to STAND UNITED!

Today, September 11, 2017, I would like to remember the ones who helped, the ones who were there, risking their lives for others, and in far too many cases, paid the highest price in the line of duty!
Many more, exposed to toxic dust and other hazards, have succumbed to illnesses related to their rescue and recovery efforts over the years. On Thursday, September 7, 2017, the FDNY added 32 more names to the World Trade Center Memorial Wall.

 

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Thank you, helpers, thank you, supporters!

Thank you for your sacrifice, for your help, for giving everything you had and paying the one price we never can give back to you.

Thank you, for your belief in helping each one of us, no matter where no matter what.

We will keep you in our thoughts, being grateful you were there!

God bless you.

 

*****

 

Picture courtesy of: http://www.google.com

 

 

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Picture courtesy of http://www.pinterest.com

Father’s Day 2017

June 11 it’s been 20 years ago my Dad unexpectedly had been called from this Earth. Still I miss him, but I do carry him in my heart and sometimes I still hear his heartily laughter.

What I regret is, that I can’t tell him anymore what an amazing Dad he was to me!!

 

Happy Father’s Day up there, Dad.

 

Picture courtesy of: http://www.pinterest.com

 

 

Poetry Reading – “Let Your Soul Fly Free To Heaven”

November 7, 2016, in a phase of deepest sadness and depression, I wrote and published a poem, “Let Your Soul Fly Free To Heaven”.

Until this day I’m very much convinced that this is probably the rhythmically best poem I ever wrote, and even though, its theme is heartbreak and sadness, I’m still proud of it. That’s why I submitted this poem to the Poetry Festival Page and had it read by a professional actor.

Today I was informed that the poetry reading had been published on their Website. I immediately clicked the link and found it, together with some information about myself.

“Let Your Soul Fry Free To Heaven” is performed by actress Becky Shrimpton and she does a fabulous job. Thank you very much, Becky! And thank you to “Wildsound Fest” who published it on their YouTube channel.

 

Watch it on the Poetry Festival Website:

Poetry Reading: Let Your Soul Fly Free to Heaven, by Aurora Jean Alexander

 

Or on YouTube:

 

 

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Let Your Soul Fly Free to Heaven

The day is gray, it’s wrapped in sadness

some of the clouds are crying rain.

Today  I tried to run from madness

to flee from darkness and the pain.

**

My chest tied up as I get ready

I feel my life comes to an end

my breath comes flat and still it’s steady

I’m too broken to amend

**

Under the trees with nature’s touch

I walk up through rock and stone

I feel the hurt gets far too much

instead of lessened it has grown.

**

Why do some people always hurt me

make me feel like I’m far too low

to be loved, God, hear my plea

it’s time for me that I would know.

**

My eyes  in tears I follow traces

of deer, of wolves; hunters and prey.

The wolf who tore me, has many faces

I think remorse is not his way.

**

Many hours later, I reached my goal

I stood and heard the eagle’s cry.

I only wish my injured soul

had strength enough to go and fly.

**

Go my soul, fly free, go home.

Where there’s peace and you are safe

spread your wings and let you roam’

don’t think back and leave my grave.

**

Love and peace and lights are waiting

Heaven’s where you do belong.

nobody hurts, no pain and no one’s  hating

there you can sing, and dance , grow strong.

**

Your stay on Earth proves too much trouble

you don’t belong, here you can’t sing.

There’s too much pain for you in double.

Go, fly home – on Angel’s wing!

*****

 

(Copyright: Aurora Jean Alexander, November 2016)

 


wolf_and_eagle
Picture Courtesy of: https://animals.desktopnexus.com/get/1236552?t=d4a6tvq4kvmup4acqbh4mm2rb1581fafdb1bb85

Something I’d like to share

This might be a little unusual, but it is a special – and very sad situation. Kawanee Hamilton, owner of “Kawanee’s Korner”, blogger and writer, has unexpectedly lost her husband when he was on a business trip in China. It took weeks until she knew when she would get his remains.

 

I won’t go into any more details. This isn’t supposed to be some sensational story. But I’m feeling bad for Kawanee. She’s devastated, she doesn’t know where to go from here, what to do and what will come next.

 

You can read part of it here: https://kawaneehamilton.wordpress.com/2016/07/12/another-update/

 

And she does need help. Not only emotionally, but also financially. Her aunt has prepared a “go-fund-me-page” for Kawanee in memory of David.

Maybe, when we hold together, we might support her, at least with a little bit?

https://www.gofundme.com/2bnpkhg?utm_source=internal&utm_medium=email&utm_content=sharing_image&utm_campaign=bene_invite

You can read what Kawanee wrote here: https://kawaneehamilton.wordpress.com/2016/07/13/my-aunts-gofundme-page-she-set-it-up-for-me/

 

This is not for me. It is for Kawanee. Thank you.
mourning-angel2

 

 

 

A tribute to my Dad

June 11 is the day of my Dad’s passing, 4 days before his birthday with the biggest garden party he had ever organized together with Mom.

My Dad died in a work accident. And no, I won’t describe how it happened nor what happened. After all that time the memory is still painful.

But remembering my Dad, his incomparable humor, his thrilling laughter, his wisdom and that we sometimes did not even need to talk but only look at each other knowing very well what the other one was thinking… that’s a memory I consider a gift.

My father was the best Dad I could have. And I am blessed to be his daughter.

And that is why I decided today to post this little blog post – and celebrate his life and what he gave me: a wonderful childhood, protection, wisdom, advice and some of his humor. Thank you Dad. I love you.

 

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Quiet Moments

When I was young I used to love
to sit upon your knee.
I’d gaze into your loving eyes
as your arms enfolded me.
Your gentle kiss would stir
the golden tendrils of my hair,
as whispered sentiments of love
we quietly would share.
We’d read a book together,
the same time after time.
I knew all of the words by heart,
you didn’t seem to mind.
When darkness fell you tucked me in
and gently kissed my cheek.
You’d wish upon a shooting star
the Lord my soul to keep.
The years have passed so quickly,
death parted you from me.
I hope you know how much it meant
when I sat upon your knee.
Gazing to the heavens,
as I quietly reminisce,
I’d give a million of those stars
to feel your gentle kiss.
I’d give all my tomorrows
to hear you read to me,
and remember those quiet moments
when I sat upon your knee.

Copyright – Louisas Lodge,(found at: http://affinityfunerals.com.au/poems-for-the-loss-of-a-father/)

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Picture courtesy of: http://pixgood.com/in-loving-memory-dad.html
Picture courtesy of: http://pixgood.com/in-loving-memory-dad.html