Saturday, May 10, 2008

Stab the Bastard! May 10, 2008

Or to be a tad less flamboyant: Bad Guy--BG, hurts Main Character--MC, but how?

Okay, lets take it from the top:

1. stabbed with what:
knife, pencil, sword, ice pick, toasting fork, etc.
A thin blade--like a stiletto or rapier will leave a smaller wound though deep, a scimitar leaves a wide one, broken glass from a bottle can slice and dice like a scalpel.

Which era is the MC in, what type of weapon is the BG likely to use?

2. MC stabbed where:
A: clean area--chest with heart, lungs, liver
B: dirty area--stomach, intestines, bladder, kidneys--any perforations here and waste matter gets out for a secondary infection
C: head--face, eyes, cheeks, neck
D: limbs--clipping the femoral artery inside the thigh--as thick as your thumb, and you'll bleed out in 2-3 minutes.

How long does the fight last? Quick means a fast chest stab may hit a rib and deflect worse injury. Prolonged means the BG can strike multiple times and do serious damage.

How proficient is the BG? Is s/he a pro? Drunk? On drugs? In a rage?

What about the MC? Knows self-defense? Carries a weapon too? Knows of the impending attack? Is clueless?

How does the fight play out? Both standing, one stands and one sits, BG dives from a roof onto MC below, BG cuts from under the basement stairs across MC's Achilles' tendon?

What's the MC wearing--depends on personal taste, weather, social class, job, etc. A heavy coat can take longer to stab through. Add an inner pocket with something to deflect or slow a blade and your MC is lucky.

Size and shape of BG to MC matters as well: a small person attacking a larger one would have less force.

Unconsciousness can come from the impact of a fall after an assault, or a choke hold from behind while being stabbed. If the MC goes unconscious from a bleedout, survival isn't assured.

If the victim is not quite human--werebeast, alien, etc, the organs could regenerate faster or even be missing, in different places, etc.

Yes, miracles do happen, but keep it real or the reader will wish that all the characters kick off ASAP and quit wasting time.


Anonymous said...

"A heavy coat can take longer to stab through. Add an inner pocket with something to deflect or slow a blade and your MC is lucky."

Let's say a guy is wearing a heavy coat. He's also wearing very baggy trousers. Inside the trouser's pocket is a large piece of jewelry (deflects the weapon.)

He falls (from a moving vehicle) into a dense forest...and onto a broken branch that edge is so sharp and jagged it pierces his upper inner thigh (quite close to that very important information.)

The wound is so deep that for him to cry out for help is excruciatingly painful.

Is it believable to live stranded a few days in this condition?

Is it believable that to cry "heeeelp"...could cause enough pain for him to pass out?

HW said...

There's a term--tamponade that refers to an object which is forcefully inserted and which will, by virture of being there, stop bleeding. Per the example Anon. has listed.

Inner thigh has the femoral artery--huge! Look at your thumb--it's that thick! A deep penetrating wound there--if it nicks that, your char. will bleed. (If it's severed you'd better make peace with your maker because you'll bleed out in 2-4 min.) If the bleeding is internal, the leg will swell, there will be sepsis from the foriegn object penetrating, the pain will increase as the swelling does.

With excessive bleeding comes thirst, then there's nausea, dizziness, unconsciousness, and eventual death.

Different factors can make your character live or die--if the outdoor temps fall you have hypothermia. High temps and you will sweat excessively causing heat stroke and death that way. Predatory animals may want to snack on you.

For more accurate details ask someone who works in an ER.

Good luck!