1. Welcome to the Fantasy Writing Forums. Register Now to join us.

How deep to cut.

Discussion in 'Research' started by Anders Ämting, Jan 14, 2013.

  1. My main character gets wounded in a fight early on - a cut on the left arm, basically across the flexor muscles. The weapon that made the cut is cursed so that any wound it causes will never heal.

    I'm currently contemplating how serious this wound should be. I want it to be a problem that will remain for the rest of the book, but not so much that it poses a constant danger to the MC - I still need her to be pretty active.

    Is it enough to simply have it go through the skin but not damage the muscles too much? It seems the fact that the wound never heals is pretty serious in and of itself. I dunno, what degree of damage seems reasonable here?
  2. wordwalker

    wordwalker Auror

    It partly depends on how total that curse is. The flesh never rebuilds, but can the blood clot over so it stops bleeding as long as you don't tear it open again? If not, you'd need to keep bandages on tight for the rest of your life.
  3. Kit

    Kit Maester

    If you want her to still be able to use the arm, you can't go too deep.

    Is she constantly bleeding? She'll need to keep the wound bound to slow the bleeding. If she bleeds too much, she'll be weak.

    Is the wound infected or in danger of infection? That can cause all sorts of other problems... gangrene, bacterial infection of the blood system, etc. It would need to be carefully cleaned out & dressing changed at least a few times a day. Infection would be constant (and potentially deadly) risk.
  4. I'm thinking the bleeding can be bandaged and mostly stopped with magical remedies, but it would take powerful magic healing to actually cancel out the curse. It also depends on how much she strains herself.

    I don't mind her having trouble using her hand, but I don't want her arm to be completely crippled.

    This shouldn't be a problem, since she has access to both magic healing and modern medicin.
  5. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    Does the MC know how/when/soon it will get healed? Or how likely that is to happen?
    She might take more risks and therefore receive a worse wound if she knows that "tomorrow" everything is going to be okay... there is less ultimate risk to her.
    If she thinks that she has [or will get] an unhealing and permanent wound, even a small wound is likely to affect her actions and reactions far more.
  6. She is basically told they'll likely manage to remove the curse at some point in the near future, but she may have to bear the wound for some time.
  7. camradio

    camradio Scribe

    You could treat the cut as a psychological thing. The wound may have physically healed but the curse causes it to burn constantly or makes it numb or something. Its purely in her head but it is just as devastating.
  8. Nah, I actually kinda want to go the other way: It doesn't have to trouble her constantly, because she has more important things to do than feel sorry for herself, but it's absolutely a real wound that's always there.

    Also, my villain doesn't really do psychological. He's all physical when it comes to hurting people.
  9. SeverinR

    SeverinR Vala

    A constantly seeping wound could be ignored most of the time, but if ignored to long the dressing can breed infection.
    It can be forgotten about until using the arm or even moving the hand in a specific way or at one angle.

    Daily changing (or more frequent) of the dressing would get annoying, use time that they need for something more important, the smell could be bothersome too, even if not infected. Cost might also be burdensome, clean cloth isn't to hard to find, but herbal wound medicines might cost, or require so much they add up.

    Drainage can also draw flies(later maggots) or cause a morning of dealing with ants in the wound. Other bugs getting in the damaged skin, to lay eggs or feast from the inside? Bugs love a good meal.
    Anders Ämting likes this.
  10. Hm. She does get cured at the end of the book, but it's definitely possible the wound gets progressively worse over that time. Curses are nasty things, after all.
  11. psychotick

    psychotick Auror


    Given the scenario I don't think you can afford to cut let alone sever the muscle. That would be crippling, and even though it could be sewn back together, if the wound can't heal, the tissues can't knit and the muscle would never work again. So neither would the hand.

    My thought would be that if its cursed, a nick would be enough. As others have said if the wound won't close then you have ongoing blood loss, and the certainty of infection. This would in turn lead to fevers, which I'll assume the character can treat, and pain. Wounds hurt. Think throbbing and aching. Also if there is infection, then there will likely be inflammation. That would lead to stiffness in the arm.

    Cheers, Greg.
    Anders Ämting likes this.
  12. psychotick

    psychotick Auror

    Double post
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2013
  13. WyrdMystic

    WyrdMystic Inkling

    If it were me...I'd cut the arm off completely just because its unexpected and adds an extra element of struggle and character development.
  14. Well, that's the point of a wound that never heals.

    That said, I've more or less decided for it to be relatively shallow. It'll be a nasty cut but she'll be able to use her arm.

    Good stuff. Taking notes here.

    That would be an interesting parallel seeing as she cuts the arm off the guy who gives her the wound in the same fight.

    But, yeah, maybe in a later book. I don't think my girl is quite ready to go full Luke Skywalker just yet.
  15. Hate

    Hate Acolyte

    Not to deep because muscle does not regenerate.
  16. The Tourist

    The Tourist Banned

    One of my knives? Right through the jacket, the shirt, the muscles, tendons, arteries and into the bone.

    If it doesn't, the client brings it back for a free touch-up.

    If you doubt this, talk to my clients who are hunters. Some butcher their own deer.

    A sushi chef can block a section of tuna with one swipe.

    japanese slicing tuna - Bing Videos
  17. Nah, magic axe.

    My MC tries to block it with her (still immature) magic armor. It doesn't quite cut all the way through but does managed to injure her.
  18. The Tourist

    The Tourist Banned

    Last edited: Jan 19, 2013

Share This Page