Hatrack River
Home   |   About Orson Scott Card   |   News & Reviews   |   OSC Library   |   Forums   |   Contact   |   Links
Research Area   |   Writing Lessons   |   Writers Workshops   |   OSC at SVU   |   Calendar   |   Store
E-mail this page
Hatrack River Writers Workshop Post New Topic  Post A Reply
my profile login | register | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Open Discussions About Writing » Injuries

   
Author Topic: Injuries
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
I need to pick your brains on something.

I'm approximately three-quarters of the way through the third draft of MAGE STORM. I'm trying to make the situation worse for my characters. In this case, they're not going to get away from an unexpected adventure scot free. One of them is going to be hurt. How is the question. It has to be bad enough to at least slightly incapacitate him, without requiring that they stop and get assistance (like someone to set a broken bone).

I've already sprained my MC twice--his wrist once and then his ankle. I really just can't have him sprain something again.

The situation:

Two boys, ages about 15 and 13, are going downriver in a small boat (think skinny row boat), fleeing the villain, who will kill them if he catches them. R knows how to handle the boat. D doesn't. Due to the interference of a water dragon, R falls forward just as the boat is pitching upward and hurts himself.

Like I said, it can't be a sprain. They can't stop to have a broken bone set because that would leave a trail for T (the bad guy). The best I've been able to come up with so far is that he misses his attempt to brace himself with his hand and falls against the side of the boat, perhaps cracking a rib.

I've never cracked a rib, but from what I can tell there's no bonesetting involved, just rest until it knits. Probably enough to keep him from rowing, so the younger boy who doesn't know how would have to take over. And painful.

Any other ideas?


Posts: 3900 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
eyegore242
Member
Member # 9317

 - posted      Profile for eyegore242   Email eyegore242         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Well if your going for realistic then actually cracking ribs is a really bad thing, you have trouble breathing and such if its a real fracture, (chest expands and contracts and causes severe pain) you can go with bruised ribs depending on wither its day or night they could be burned by a touch/flame light source, stung/bite by a poisonous insect/animal

you could even have the water dragon bite/burn/freeze what even your dragons do to one of them if its a less than friendly beastie.

or even have the boat smashed while it puts your chars up the creek leaving them soaked and lost some provisions it could also give them a bit of an out from the villain. they stay in the water quite while longer and head further down river than the wrecked up boat the villain will start searching the shores near wreck and give them a little more distance.

[This message has been edited by eyegore242 (edited November 22, 2010).]


Posts: 55 | Registered: Nov 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
genevive42
Member
Member # 8714

 - posted      Profile for genevive42   Email genevive42         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Cracked rib sounds good.

What about a deep bruise, maybe even a bruised kidney? (I figure he can get twisted in the fall.)

Or a broken finger or two might be easy enough to splint on the run.


Posts: 1987 | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Osiris
Member
Member # 9196

 - posted      Profile for Osiris   Email Osiris         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You could break a toe or one of the metatarsal bones in the foot. Because of their location, there is actually little one can do a break in one of these bones. It'll hurt to walk on, and possibly slow you down, but it is not unbearable, at least in my experience.

I broke a toe in Tae Kwon Do class, and wasn't even sure it was broken until I get the x-ray. Once I did, it was confirmed broken, the doctor basically said "What do you want me to do about it?" Meaning, there is not much to do except let it mend naturally.

Maybe as R falls he hits his foot on a bench or the edge of the boat or something.

Maybe with all the physical trauma they've experienced, it would be nice variety to have someone instead get sick with some sort of infection.


Posts: 1023 | Registered: Jul 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
D's going to get dunked in the river at about the same time. He might get a fever from that. Not sure, yet.
Posts: 3900 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Crystal Stevens
Member
Member # 8006

 - posted      Profile for Crystal Stevens   Email Crystal Stevens         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Don't know how much this will help, but I've had numerous injuries over the years, and one involved fractured ribs. I broke two ribs in my back, and it was the most painful injury I've even experienced. I had to sleep sitting up for three or four months. I could lay down, but getting up even with help had me screaming in pain every time. There was no way I could get up without screaming. The pain was that intense, and that was after I thought I could endure sleeping in a bed. It took seven to eight weeks to heal, and I had to wear a wrap to endure the pain through the day and be able to navigate for the first three or four weeks. The whole thing was extremely painful and made a broken leg or arm seem like a picnic in comparison.

But you did say cracked ribs. That might be something entirely different.


Posts: 1319 | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Osiris
Member
Member # 9196

 - posted      Profile for Osiris   Email Osiris         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
You could also go with a wound that gets infected. Fevers are a result of bacterial or viral infection and getting cold or wet in of itself will not cause a fever, though some argue it makes you more susceptible to catching a fever by stressing your body and weakening the immune system. You can create all sorts of complications from a wound; secondary infection causing a fever, gangrene, etc... Might even be interesting to create a situation where they'd need some kind of herbal remedy but can't stop to look for it. It would be a way to pull in the 'ticking time bomb' mechanic into your plot, if you are so inclined.
Posts: 1023 | Registered: Jul 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Owasm
Member
Member # 8501

 - posted      Profile for Owasm   Email Owasm         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
If he falls in the boat, have him hit his nose. It can bleed, It can hurt and you can make it a contusion/bruise all the way for it needing to be set. All you need is a relatively hard object and a pitch forward, like rapid or a rock to go over and... voila!
Posts: 1582 | Registered: Feb 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
MartinV
Member
Member # 5512

 - posted      Profile for MartinV   Email MartinV         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Concussion (blow to the head) could force a person to rest a day or two.
Posts: 1271 | Registered: May 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
snapper
Member
Member # 7299

 - posted      Profile for snapper   Email snapper         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Row boats and water dragons? What have you done to your story Meredith?

The really issue is the level of tolerance to pain your character can take. Football players have played with broken bones before (D. McNabb, for example, broke his ankle and had one of his best days as a QB), while I've known a person or two squeal as if they were impaled with a rusty sword when they get a sliver. It depends on your character. How heroric do youwant them to be?


Posts: 3072 | Registered: Dec 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robert Nowall
Member
Member # 2764

 - posted      Profile for Robert Nowall   Email Robert Nowall         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
A nosebleed isn't that much of a problem---stick a plug up it and wait. (Believe me, I know this problem.)

How 'bout a concussion? A good slam to the head could stun someone for awhile without necessarily knocking him out...


Posts: 8231 | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
genevive42
Member
Member # 8714

 - posted      Profile for genevive42   Email genevive42         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Okay, I can see we have all spent a fair amount of time figuring out how to torment our characters. We're a tough bunch.
Posts: 1987 | Registered: Jul 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Crystal Stevens
Member
Member # 8006

 - posted      Profile for Crystal Stevens   Email Crystal Stevens         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
That's one thing I forgot to add in my "fractured ribs" post. My doctor said I had a high tolerance for pain. So what I went through might be worse for someone else.
Posts: 1319 | Registered: May 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
walexander
Member
Member # 9151

 - posted      Profile for walexander   Email walexander         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
nail or large sliver from the boat pierces non-vital skin somewhere.

dislocates a joint and it has to be pushed back into place, will be sore for a while.

hair gets caught around something - some is ripped out. ouch.

Blooded nose was good.

banged up knees from the fall.

banged up arm/arms from trying to catch the edge.

Bruised ribs was good, not cracked. Cracked is more for heroic moments.

Maybe a combination would give it a more realistic feel. Because when falling you rarely injure one part of your body alone. It will depend on how he falls - forward, backward, side?

Hope it helps Mer,

W.


Posts: 331 | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
You could also go with a wound that gets infected. Fevers are a result of bacterial or viral infection and getting cold or wet in of itself will not cause a fever, though some argue it makes you more susceptible to catching a fever by stressing your body and weakening the immune system. You can create all sorts of complications from a wound; secondary infection causing a fever, gangrene, etc... Might even be interesting to create a situation where they'd need some kind of herbal remedy but can't stop to look for it. It would be a way to pull in the 'ticking time bomb' mechanic into your plot, if you are so inclined.

Yes, I know. But if he falls into a river, he could swallow or inhale, well, all kinds of things that wouldn't necessarily be good for him.

I think I know where they'll get their herbal remedies . . . and who will supply them.

quote:
Row boats and water dragons? What have you done to your story Meredith?

Expanded it. It's a (middle-grade) novel, now. This is all happening about 200 pages in. Can't just all be the same old storms all the way through, now can it?

quote:
Bruised ribs was good, not cracked. Cracked is more for heroic moments.

Far as I can tell from a little bit of research, it's a matter of degree--and how much pain the character would be in. Fractured would definitely be worst, cracked, painful but not as bad, and bruised probably more bearable. Since he won't be getting an x-ray in this world, I think I'll just leave it as an injury to his ribs and not worry over the specifics.

[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited November 22, 2010).]


Posts: 3900 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
KayTi
Member
Member # 5137

 - posted      Profile for KayTi           Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Split his chin. It'll bleed something fierce for a while, he'll need to lie still and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Maybe he'll feel dizzy or faint from it.
Posts: 1911 | Registered: Mar 2007  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
quote:
Split his chin. It'll bleed something fierce for a while, he'll need to lie still and apply pressure to stop the bleeding. Maybe he'll feel dizzy or faint from it.

LOL. You mean give him a scar like mine? I had stitches in my chin, just underneath, when I was about three or four.

True story: My brother and I have matching scars. He got his trying to play baseball on a pogo stick. (Tells you something about my brother, doesn't it?) I got mine by cracking my chin on the edge of the sink, falling off the toilet seat, where I'd been standing so I could watch Dad shave.

Mike = daredevil
Meredith = clumsy

Still true to this day. Or it would be if Mike hadn't wrecked himself.

[This message has been edited by Meredith (edited November 23, 2010).]


Posts: 3900 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
sojoyful
Member
Member # 2997

 - posted      Profile for sojoyful   Email sojoyful         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
What about hypothermia, after falling in the water? Not only would it slow the sick one down, but the other one would have to take care of him if he got really bad (build a fire and/or shelter alone, etc.).

Or, more simply, what if they lose some of their supplies that include warmer clothes, and the weather gets bad, and they suffer from exposure (extreme heat or cold)? Even heavy rain in moderate temperatures is bad if they stay wet long enough to lose significant body heat.

[This message has been edited by sojoyful (edited November 23, 2010).]


Posts: 470 | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
walexander
Member
Member # 9151

 - posted      Profile for walexander   Email walexander         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
There's also any small cut to the upper head bleeds like crazy. I know I've had a couple. You end up looking hideous, (blood all over your face through out your hair) you think your dying, but really once you clean all the blood away it turns out to be some small cut. but just the sight of all the blood makes you light headed and a little Ill. To everyone else also it looks like you've taken a bad wound. Blood will literally flow over your head and face. Because you can't see the wound it effects you mentally.
You start Imagining the worst.

W.


Posts: 331 | Registered: Jun 2010  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Corky
Member
Member # 2714

 - posted      Profile for Corky   Email Corky         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Knew someone who claimed to have cracked a rib while slouching very deeply (while watching a tv show) and coughing from a bad cold. Have since heard that such a thing is actually possible. Anyway, it took about six weeks before deep breaths didn't hurt, and the area was no longer tender to the touch. Maybe it was a hairline crack?
Posts: 603 | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Meredith
Member
Member # 8368

 - posted      Profile for Meredith   Email Meredith         Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote 
Thanks everyone. For now, I'm going with bruised/cracked ribs. You see, when they get where they're going, R & D have to climb four flights of a spiral staircase.

Torture your characters.


Posts: 3900 | Registered: Dec 2008  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

Quick Reply
Message:

HTML is not enabled.
UBB Code™ is enabled.
UBB Code™ Images not permitted.
Instant Graemlins
   


Post New Topic  Post A Reply Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Hatrack River Home Page

Copyright © 2008 Hatrack River Enterprises Inc. All rights reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.


Powered by Infopop Corporation
UBB.classic™ 6.7.2