Friday, December 31st, 2010

Writing Prompt: Injured!

Kelly A. Harmon's Injured FingerI hurt my finger.

Baking Christmas cookies.

I kid you not.

I bake a lot of cookies, dozens of cookies, a gross of dozens of cookies each year for gifts and to put out for Christmas dinner.

I make biscotti and pizzelles using my Italian grandmother’s recipes. These recipes call for kneading the cookie dough, and in the case of the pizzelles, squeezing hard knots of the mixture between wooden-handled irons over the flame of the stove.

(These are not the sissy, liquid pour-and-bake that you buy in the store, or that many folks resort to making because they can’t find the old-fashioned irons.)

I literally wore out my hands kneading the dough. It was so bad by the end, that I couldn’t squeeze out a sponge to wash down the counter tops.

It’s getting better now that I’m wearing a splint, which I’ll likely sport for a few days more. It’s been incredibly enlightening to see how such a minor injury has affected the activities I do daily: signing my name, brushing my teeth, typing.

And strangely, this one injury has beget another: a blister has formed on the pad of my middle finger. From what? I know not. Perhaps the minor rubbing upon it as I still try to do things with this splint (like knit!).

Here’s Your Prompt: Injure your character. Make it as minor as a finger splint or as major as the loss of a limb. See how it affects the plot of your story. What things can your character still do? What things are out of the question?

(Believe it or not, I’m typing with this splint. It’s slow, and I can’t feel the keys I touch with it, but it’s working…)

Do personal research: pretend you’re injured. Put nails in your shoe to make yourself limp. Put a popsicle stick on your finger and pretend it’s broken. Try walking without using your leg. What kind of frustrations do you experience? What thoughts do you have? Attribute these to the character in your story.

If you’re journaling, instead of writing fiction: describe a time when you were injured. What happened? What did you hear? Feel? Think? Was it an accident, or did someone injure you deliberately? What did you feel afterward? What are you still feeling about the injury?

8 comments to Writing Prompt: Injured!

  • I once fractured a finger during NaNoWriMo once. Needless to say, I learnt how to type pretty fast with my left hand!

  • I injure characters with a certain degree of frequency… often reflecting a number of my own injuries. This year the biggees (that have required trips to doctors) have been: getting run over by a horse, muscle sprains from dancing too hard, falling off a horse (twice), and throwing out my back while loading wood.

    Since I go through so many injuries, I like to think I ensure that my characters actually suffer the long-term effects of such things. They DON’T get right back up and fight or, the next day, continue with the same ability as before the injury.

    I do hope you injuries get better. I’ve had plenty of hand & finger injuries and they absolutely suck! *Hugs*

    • I’m always wondering which character injuries are related to author injuries! The livelihood of the main character in my WIP would be severely impacted with my current injury (since he makes his living with a bow). I think I’ll consider a hand injury for him… 🙂

  • I feel your pain, Kelly. A few years ago, I fractured my right thumb after slipping on the sidewalk after some rain while I was on a work break. The worst part, which I’m sure you might be experiencing, is that since I work as a computer programmer, I couldn’t use a mouse without having a sharp pain shoot through my thumb each time (which was how I found out about the hairline fracture). Good thing that it’s not slowing you down too much. 🙂

    I’m starting this year out with the desire to finally write my own fiction story, so I’ll definitely keep this topic in mind when I begin. Thanks for your insights and prompts!

    • Hi Luc! Happy New Year!

      Luckily, my injury is not my thumb. I can only imagine how much more debilitating that would be – especially for someone who uses their hands all day.

      Thanks so much for the kind words about my prompts…and for leaving a comment. Good luck on writing your own story. Please let me know if I can be of any help!

  • Mellissa Abreu

    I hope your finger is better!

    I have no problems injuring my characters. My husband has been worried about my stability because of the degree to which I do torture the poor souls.

    I’m a clutz, so I’m always hurt in some way or other. It’s only fair my characters stay hurt too 🙂

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