Writing Injuries

Red Cross

I dislocated my knee on Sunday night. I mention this because it has really done a good job of highlighting something that drives me insane in books: the way a lot of authors write injuries.

At the same time I’ve been dealing with my knee, I’ve been reading a book that begins with the main character dislocating her shoulder. Our lives are running parallel as we both get over very similar injuries.

This isn’t the first time I’ve dislocated a joint, and – thanks to my super-bendy former ballet body – unfortunately I’m sure it won’t be the last.

So I consider myself a bit of an expert on joint dislocations.

The character in this book is spending many extra hours every day lying in bed and drugged up on prescription painkillers.

I have never been prescribed stronger painkillers for a dislocation, and an ache in a joint doesn’t mean you need to be bedridden!

The character did the clichéd “scream and faint” when the bone was put back into place. I’ve seen this in every book, television show and movie dealing with this injury.

It’s complete crap. The bone going back in place is the GOOD part. That’s when it STOPS hurting, not starts.

The character in this book had this injury weeks ago, and she’s still an invalid.

I don’t think so.

The character in this book is struggling to WALK because her SHOULDER hurts.

I dislocated my friggin’ KNEE a few days ago, and I’m walking reasonably well now!

Every dislocation is different, and I have had far worse experiences, but everything about this character’s injury is screaming “wrong” to me.

Now, I’m not wishing major illnesses and injuries on authors, and don’t think you have to experience everything before you write about it. However, if you’re going to damage your character in a way you don’t understand, it would probably be a good idea to at least send a few questions out to the online reading community and have a few people tell you about their experiences. These days, it’s really not hard to find out anything you want to know.

And if that was the personal experience of the injury you had to work with, may I be a little cheeky and suggest that maybe you’re a wimp and shouldn’t write your character that way… 🙂 🙂

Because the injury is taking up such a large part of the storyline of this book, I think I’m going to have to DNF it. It’s appalling timing for me to read the book, as I’m comparing myself to this wimpy woman and finding her very hard to respect!

One thought on “Writing Injuries

  1. Pingback: The Week: 5th – 11th August | Sonya's Stuff

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