June 25, 2013

Writing About: A Wound

Trigger Warning: In this post is an image of a woman's bruised face. The bruises are not real.

To write about a wound there are four steps you need to follow: 
1.   Tell how the wound occurred.
2.    Describe the wound. (Feel free to get gory!)
3.    Tell the reader all about your character’s pain.
4.    Explain what the character does to patch up or clean their wound.
First, a character can’t all of a sudden have a wound. You have to reveal how they got it in the first place. Were they in a fight? Did they fall? Were they attacked? Was it from a gun, knife, or any other weapon or tool? Whatever event befalls your character that leaves them wounded make sure that you write it completely out!
To help with this you can follow the tips in these posts: 
Writing About: A Fight
How To Write Action
How To Build Suspense
This picture is NOT real! I created this with makeup to show a
type of wound (bruises) that a writer may have to describe in
their book. So, if your character was in a fight a black eye can
be a wound that you would give detail to.
Photo by Chrys Fey

Once you have the dangerous event written and it is packed with action and suspense, it is time to write about the wound (or wounds) your character got. What does it look like? If it was caused by a bullet, talk about the gunshot hole and the blood pumping out of it like ketchup bubbling out of a bottle. If it was created by a blade, go into details about their torn flesh and the streaks of blood flowing down their body.

Now is NOT the time to be squeamish! Get gory! Even if you don’t believe in gore just for the sake of gore, you can still write amazing details! I believe writing is all about the details, so tell your reader about the bone that popped out of your character’s flesh or the pencil that was jabbed into their eye socket. I don’t know what kind of incident would’ve caused that . . . but if it’s in your book. write all about it!

Something that can’t be ignored is your character’s pain. Metaphors and similes can help you to share with your readers what your character is feeling in a way that they might be able to imagine. Just ask yourself how you believe that type of wound would feel like, ask someone who may know firsthand, or do research. 

And for goodness sakes, let your character curse and/or cry! I know when I get hurt I do a bit of both.  

This is a sling that I used when I was 5 years old after fracturing my arm.
Photo by Chrys Fey

Finally, what does your character do to treat their wound? Do they tie it off with their belt to stop the bleeding? Do they stumble around looking for help? Do they go unconscious? Do they clean it and bandage it themselves? If so, read the part from A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer when he cleans the stab wound in his side. Perhaps your character is in the medical field and can stitch their wound up beautifully. Or maybe they do what they can at the moment with a safety pin.

It’s your book, it’s up to you! Be creative and try something new!
FYI: This should go without saying, but I will repeat myself just in case . . . As with every event you write in your book, it has to tie into the story and plot. You can’t just throw it in because you want more action and the opportunity to write about a wound. It has to follow with what you have already written, and of course be followed up with what you will be writing.

SHARE: Your tips for writing about a wound.

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