Friday, January 11, 2013

Injured Characters


First off, sorry this blog has been awol the last two weeks, but the reason leads into today’s blog post J.

On New year’s Eve, completely sober and of sound state of mind, I fell off the front steps of my home (for no reason that I can tell) and did a nasty sprain to my right ankle.

The good news is I didn’t break anything, and while painful, I have not missed a day of work (my day job).  However, this injury has affected me.

I haven’t been writing because pretty much by the time I come home from work, I’m wiped out and simply eat then crash into bed.  I haven’t kept up my blog for the same reason.

But wait- you say as you read this- it’s your FOOT.  Whyever would that mean you can’t write?

Good point- but that injury is making me far more tired than I would be if I could just stay home off of my foot. And mentally there may be a bit of a pity party going on too.  I’m glad it’s not busted, but I really want to be able to walk normally again- NOW!

This impacts my writing and other aspects of my health.

And it’s something writers need to keep in mind while they are damaging their characters.  We all love to mess our folks up (physically, mentally, emotionally) but are we making sure that we’re changing our characters behavior to suit the damage?

Their injury, whatever it is, may have repercussions far beyond the immediate location of the damage.  It could affect many aspects of their day to day life, causing chronic stressors, and a whole new level of issues.

In the recent Star Trek movie, old Spock, tells young Kirk, that even though young Spock may not seem emotionally compromised- they just witnessed the death of their world- they ARE emotionally compromised.  Old Spock tells young Kirk this, so young Kirk can use that injury (young Spock’s) to get him to step down from command.

That’s another point- when your character is “compromised” how is it affecting their interaction with others?  Is there a new weakness that an enemy can exploit?

I’m not suggesting you mention the injury all the time, but if you know the affects it will cause, you can subtly add that realism to your book.  And any time we can pull in something that resonates as “real” to a reader, we pull that reader deeper into our world J.


Have a great day and try not to fall over anything !


  1. Hope your ankle feels better soon Marie!!! :)

    And this was a great blog post too...

    Lisa :)

  2. Great post. And as another writer with an ankle sprain, I can say that similar thoughts have been going through my mind. Do I make my characters suffer enough when they are injured, and suffer in the right ways? Injuries take a toll in many ways beyond the obvious, and any opportunity to put one's characters through the ringer should be taken advantage of. Can't let those characters off easy!

    1. LOL! Maybe we needed these injuries to make us more brutal with out characters ;).

      Hope your ankle is feeling better!

  3. Great reminder, Marie. We often forget that our characters are not like those that people video games. Injured? Just pick up a health packet along the path to your next trial. You'll be instantly fully charged and ready for anything the game can throw at you. Not so our characters, who have to suffer the consequences of the blows they receive and have to heal in what is a reasonable timeframe, not instantaneously. Unless you put magic in their world which can accelerate this process. (Something I am in favor of, but I have to remember that magic has to come with its own set of costs as well.)
    Being hurt makes a person slow, tired, cranky and unable to do everything they could do before as well as they could until they are healed. Plus we have to keep in mind that some injuries effect our characters for a lifetime.


    1. Excellent points, Sharon! I was thinking of the magic/ Star Trek tech type worlds as well. Not only would there be a cost, but what happens to people who never have long healing times when that system breaks? HMMMMM.... ;) (more ways to mess people up )

  4. This is spot on. Injuries can cause more damage than you think, mentally and emotionally. Even if you're not the one injured you can be sidelined by an injury to a close friend.

    Best wishes for a speedy healing!

    1. That is something I hadn't thought of, Rebecca- how injury messes up others! Excellent!

      Thank you for the good wishes :)

  5. Too many characters are injured in one chapter yet racing across the field in the next. And don't forget shoulder wounds. As if a shot in the shoulder is just a flesh wound when that area is filled with bones and ligaments and very touchy spots.
    Great blog. Take care of that ankle

    1. I agree, Mona! I know many times injuries get played up then forgotten, which is annoying to the reader, and a waste of some great depth for a a character.

      Thanks on both :)