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Wounded Characters

Tantz_Aerine at 12:00AM, July 25, 2020

There is a reason why in fanfiction archives there's a whole category of stories called “hurt/comfort”, where one of the main characters of a specific IP is injured, and others (usually an unlikely person or whoever the author is shipping with the injured one) have to take care of him/her in the struggle for convalescence.

It's fun, and deliciously likely to force characters out of their usual MO or comfort zone.

While often in fanfiction a wounded character is simply an excuse for melodramatic confessions of friendship, love, devotion, or the clearing up of misunderstandings (and often leading to smut of some sort), which might diminish the idea we have about the value of this plot device, the fact remains that it is an extremely valuable one.

A character that is injured is a stimulus that shakes the boat, stirs the waters, forces for the characters to do things they wouldn't normally do or just plainly don't want to do:

They may be forced to look after the injured character when as a rule, they are offstandish, cold, and usually uncaring.

They may be forced to look after the injured character while they portray themselves as caring and nurturing, but in reality they are not- and thus this facade starts to crack under the demands.

They may be forced to realize things and change their behavior for the future. Maybe they learn to appreciate the injured character more, or maybe they take to heart the reasons the injury happened, so it won't happen again. (i.e. “it's my fault he/she got hurt, next time I won't let that happen”)

If they are a group of characters, and one of them is injured, the dynamics and the balance of interaction between the characters is thrown off. The absence of that character is a great opportunity to showcase how important (or unimportant?) they are to the group. Especially when it comes to characters that are usually quiet or unassuming or wall flowers, and yet they are vital to the group, injuring them can definitely drive the point through to the audience as well as the rest of the characters.

Perhaps the injured character is the one that is always taking after all the others, and now they have lost the crutch they hadn't even realised they were relying on. Perhaps the injure character is a resource that is vital but rarely celebrated, like a bookish fellow with a ton of information that helps out the mission. Or perhaps the injured character is the glue that holds everyone together, that keeps the team functioning by their personality or their skills, and now that they're not there, the team is fracturing.

And of course, while all this is happening, saving the injured character might be the goal of the rest of the team that now is minus one player in whatever fray they find themselves in.

This also works very well with characters that normally the team finds insufferable, for deserved or undeserved reasons.

Just take care not to make them so insufferable the audience roots for the character to succumb to their injuries or something!

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bravo1102 at 7:54AM, July 25, 2020

By mechanical I mean typing words on a screen and knowing the immediacy of the moment because I lived it and digested it and even had to write reports about it going over my actions and those of others. Gives one a disconnect so one can see all sides and break such an event down into the traumatic little bites one feels when right there.

bravo1102 at 7:50AM, July 25, 2020

Some of us don't have to look to fan fiction or what have you for injury and nursing stories. I have plenty of real life experience with such things to draw upon, accidents, surgeries, even applying pressure bandages to hemorrhaging wounds. There's plenty of soul searching and uncomfortable admissions that take place in real life when faced with sudden injury and the following convalescence especially if it was an injury that effectively closed a chapter in your life or another that opened a chapter because of a revelation about yourself and those around you. I've had too interesting a life and have no lack of experience with way too much for one lifetime. I've lived it and processed a lot of it so makes writing about it almost a mechanical exercise.

usedbooks at 3:48AM, July 25, 2020

Most injuries happen in my comic when the plot gets away from me, and I realize realistically, someone wouldn't get out of a particular conflict unscathed. I also have a side character who was permanently disabled (unprovoked, except that he is a threat to some scary people in his own way). His injury didn't affect his character the least bit, which I guess was sort of the point. I have written illness or rescue stories too. An injury can make for a good "ticking clock" element.

Gunwallace at 2:24AM, July 25, 2020

Go on without me ... I'll just slow you down.

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