anonymous asked:

Hello! I have a plan to get my main character injured by the antagonist. But, since the mc lives, is it better to describe the danger or get the mc injured so he (and the audience) would have no questions about the seriousness of the antagonist?

When to Injure Your MC

If you ask many writers why they beat their characters up so much, the immediate playful answer might be “Because it’s fun!” but there is (or should be) some strategy involved in when and how you injure your main character. So before I answer the question directly, I’m going to discuss these strategies a little.

Reasons to Injure a Character:

1. To create additional challenges in a high-stakes situation

If a character’s journey has been fairly easy to far, an injury is one way to complicate things. But the only way it works is if the injury lasts long enough to really hinder them. 

For instance, if you have a character that has the magical ability to heal others, then a character being injured and then healed two minutes later doesn’t create much of a challenge, nor does it heighten suspense since the character’s life was never truly in danger. So an injury that’s introduced to complicate things should take some time to recover from, and it’s usually more realistic anyway, especially when you consider the tortuous stuff we do to our MCs sometimes.

However, if you do have a healer character, and they’re currently separated from the character you injure, then a challenge is immediately presented. The injured character has to continue their journey through the injury, to either reach their destination or be reunited with the healer that can help them. 

2. To foreshadow a future situation

The situation I described above, where a character is injured and then healed two minutes later, could work, if it’s being used to foreshadow the second situation I described, where the two characters are separated. Showing the healer in action early in the story can foreshadow a later complication when the healer is unable to assist their companion, whether it’s due to a separation or a sudden loss of powers. 

It can also work as exposition to show the way the healer’s power works. 

3. To show the antagonist’s maliciousness 

The anon above suggested they injure their character to show the antagonist means business, and that definitely qualifies as a good reason to injure a character. 

See, when an antagonist hurts a character - and not just an MC, but anyone - they show that they don’t care who gets in their way. They want what they want, and in their opinion, the ends justifies the means. Even when a character isn’t necessarily in their way, and they do it for pleasure, it tells a reader a great deal about the antagonist’s psyche, and how far they’ll go to further their own agenda. 

My only caution here is to be wary of how often you’re using this reason. Often times it becomes easy to justify an antagonist’s plan by saying “They’re evil and they enjoy torturing people.” But villains who are evil just for the pure enjoyment of it grow uninteresting and predictable quickly. So despite the pleasure they get out of hurting people, they must have some greater scheme in front of them. Some ultimate gain that they’re hoping to achieve. A combination of these two things can breed a fascinating antagonist. 

4. To deepen a character bond or relationship

Injuries or illness are great opportunities to write a dynamic where one character is taking care of another, showing how close the two characters are, and how attentively they’ll care for the other. But this dynamic is most compelling when it’s a reversal, such as a little brother taking care of an older one, or when someone who the protagonist has built up to be invincible is suddenly sidelined and needs the protagonist’s help. 

Like the previous reason, i would just be careful how frequently this occurs. Situations like these are more effective when they’re big, and they last long term, rather than several smaller instances where a character keeps getting hurt and cared for. 

There may be other reasons out there to justify injuring a character that I haven’t thought of here, but I can surely tell you one reason not to:

Avoid injuring a character purely for the fun of it. 

Now listen, what you do in your own private writing universe is your own business, and if you want to put your characters through hell because it’s fun, I commend you for finding so much joy in the process of writing and I encourage you to keep at it. But when it comes to finding an audience, and telling a cohesive, well-paced, well-plotted story, you gotta start considering each move you make as a writer, and ask yourself if each plot point needs to be there. 

Back to the anon…

Now that I’ve gone into all this detail, let me get back to the specific question that the anon asked. Since the character ultimately lives, is it better to just show the possible danger, or to actually have the antagonist injure them to show they’re serious?

My answer to you would be that you could injure the character, since your reasoning falls within the reasons I listed here (reason #3), and it would be even better if it qualified for two reasons, such as delaying their progress to achieve their goal (reason #1) or repairing a strained relationship when a companion must take care of them (reason #4). 

Your argument that the character lives (so why bother?) ignores the need for conflict in a story. Readers appreciate conflict, as long as there are logical reasons for it, and if you consider these reasons I discussed, you should be in great shape. 

However, I think that you could show your antagonist’s malicious intentions without injuring the character, if you felt the injury would be too much for an already conflict-heavy plot. The antagonist might show anger/violence towards the people working for them (out of frustration), or even to innocent bystanders, or other minor characters whose fates we’re not as tied up in. So I think there are still options for you if you wanted to avoid an injury. 


Preventing hand injuries from digital art

I got a question about drawing injuries, and I typed up a pretty lengthy response so I wanted to share it here as well.

I get asked a lot about hand strains and injuries, and it is something most artists have to face one time or another just because we work so hard for our dreams. I personally don’t get strains or injuries, both for art and for piano playing when I still majored in it, two main creative paths where hand/arm injuries are common. My hands rarely feel tired and when they do, I stop drawing. So when I get asked, I usually can only offer the fact that you can find a lot of carpal tunnel exercises on google and there’s nothing else I know about relief exercises, other than I find that flinging my hands also help loosen them up a bit.

The most important thing about this issue is actually prevention rather than relief. I would like to believe this approach is what prevented me from getting injured–I’ve never really been a push through the pain type person, and glorifying suffering and pain as a sign of hard work is definitely unhealthy, as those are huge signals from your body telling you to stop. There are many things that I know for sure strains your hands much more than anything else that I will list below, and I believe that, if it is possible for you, the most efficient way to deal with injury is to find out which of these things is the cause and working around it.

The first big cause is posture; if your arms have no support points (ie you have to hold your elbow up with your muscles or tense your wrist to maintain stability) you will strain much easier, just like how you get tired easier standing at an uncomfortable pose vs a well grounded one. So be sure to seat yourself so that you have somewhere to rest your arm while drawing, while your body is at a relaxed angle with full support. For a normal tablet, rest your arm and wrist somewhere on the table or the tablet. For a Cintiq or tablet monitor, try having it upright so that your elbow can rest on your desk, and your wrist can rest on the cintiq screen, and you only need to use your fingers to control the pen.

The second cause is your grip on the pen. This can be caused by your need for precision/speed of repetitive movement/pressure. Line art, or cross hatching, or pressing hard to get the darkness of the brush you need, are all high stress activities that strains your hand much more than, say, rendering or putting down a base painting. Knowing that, you can:

  • Use a higher brush opacity or turn off pressure sensitivity for opacity to prevent yourself from having to press really hard to get brush impact you want.
  • Go to your wacom tablet preferences if you have one, and set the hardness of the brush so that it’s easier to get the brush opacity/size you want. You want to have the problem of having to try to press lighter for lighter lines, rather than having to press harder for darker/thicker lines. The latter strains much more than the former.
  • If your grip of the pen is too tight purely because the pen is slippery/too small for you/hard to grip, such as old bamboo tablets, there are rubber tablet pen paddings that you can buy online, or you can just use a layer of masking tape all around the grip area to increase friction/grip comfort and make it easier for yourself to hold your pen. A Cintiq or Intuos Pro pen is ideally what you want your pen to feel like: have friction on the surface so your fingers don’t slip, large enough so it rests and takes up space comfortably between your thumb and index fingers without you tensing and curling your hand inwards really hard, and shaped so that your grip is stopped right before the cone of the tip, preventing slipping.

The third cause is the schedule of your drawing. This may or may not be possible to change because for a lot of us, a deadline is a deadline. But try to space your tasks so that you cycle between intense, detailed, hand-straining work, and relaxing, loose, more brainstorming work. The latter is excellent for hand rest while still being productive creative work. For example, if you are drawing comic pages, it might make sense in terms of efficiency to sketch 10 pages, then ink 10 pages, then tone 10 pages. But when you are inking those 10 pages consecutively, that’s when you give your hands no rest and your hand will start to hurt a lot, while you have no choice but to push through the pain to get the work done. Instead, try to draw these pages one by one, or have a few drawings at various stages of completion to rotate between. eg. you work on inking drawing A, then when you feel your hands are strained, switch to putting down loose underpainting for drawing B, switch back to inking drawing A, then start brainstorming drawing C and think more/draw less. Give your hands some natural times to rest up with less intense work, and you get work done without having to lose time by having to really stop drawing altogether.

As tempting as it is to try to feel like you are working as hard as you can to achieve your dreams and aspirations, while feeling guilty about resting/taking the more relaxing route, remember that your hands make your art possible, so treat them well! 

anonymous asked:

Do you suppose that a person who's spent about 2.5 years training themselves to withstand/ignore pain by say experiencing 4th degree burns over his entire body, would be able to throw one punch before collapsing after being stabbed in the lung?

Okay, so, two problems up front. The first being that: Fourth degree burns aren’t painful. There may be some exceptions, but the nerve endings are cooked, so nothing remains to transmit to the brain that this should hurt, or even that the injury is occurring. The second is that: Fourth degree burns don’t heal. As I mentioned a second ago, fourth degree burns are where the tissue has been cooked, the meat itself is dead at this point.

Without immediate and extensive medical treatment, fourth degree burns are life threatening injuries. These are where the burn gets into the deep tissue, destroying muscles, ligaments, tendons, and any nerves unfortunate enough to be affected. Usually, fourth degree burns penetrate to the bone, so if it’s a limb, that’s not coming back.

Also, note the word I used above, “cooked.” That’s a pretty good description of the kind of damage we’re talking about here. It’s not something your character can walk away from.

Second, following up on what I said the other day about injuries, pain, and adrenaline. If you missed it, the very short version is that adrenaline actually impairs your ability to feel pain (to a degree), so if you’re in combat and take a bullet, or get stabbed.

To an extent, none of this matters, a character can keep fighting with a collapsed lung, but their ability to breathe will be impaired. Lungs function operate based on controlled air pressure, so when they’re punctured, they tend to deflate, halving the victim’s ability to breathe. They’d suffer everything that comes along with hypoxia: Shortness of breath, lightheaded, easily fatigued, and confusion, (I assume the confusion would take a few minutes, but I’m not 100% certain). A collapsed lung can also cause the victim to go into shock.

There is a point to teaching people to manage pain, and the methods for that, ranging from extremely intensive exercise to some varieties of very controlled physical abuse, but setting someone on fire does not qualify as either, and fourth degree burns are something that will halt your character’s training, it won’t toughen them up, but will turn them into a slab of meat, cooked well done.

The issue is, a lot of writers take the idea of things like extreme training, and push it way past any reasonable stopping point. Fourth degree burns is up there with shooting a character to teach them to control pain. Unless they have superpowers, it will transition from the kinds of pain someone can learn from and into actually killing the student. A character might get to the point where they’re being struck with a staff and taking the blows without injury through proper muscle control, but you’re not going to run them through with a sword, or set them on fire. That doesn’t teach anything, and will seriously injure the student.

Following on that, the purpose of striking a student is to teach them to take blows without being injured. They’re learning to tense the muscles so the impact doesn’t cause harm.

Exercise is where you learn to tune out pain. Someone used to sprinting on wet sand will be far better suited to powering through pain than someone who was repeatedly set on fire by a sadistic instructor. Also, I called this extreme exercise earlier, but this stuff is still pretty tame. It will include things like asking the students to exercise in unpleasant circumstances, not ones that pose an actual treat to them.

So, in short, yes, they can keep fighting, though it’s not going to be as simple as they fall over, they’ll slow down, start losing track of what’s going on, probably get far more seriously injured because they’re still trying to participate against unimpaired foes, and then collapse.


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Imagine rescuing Loki from torture. You take him to Stark Tower, where Tony’s allowed you two to live until you get settled. Loki is traumatised - he doesn’t leave his room, doesn’t speak, and can’t make eye contact. None of the Avengers has had any success in getting him to open up. The only person he’s a bit at ease with is you. He doesn’t talk nor look you in the eyes, but he allows you care for his injuries and lets you hug him. You spend your days with your arm around him, and at night you hold him as you sleep, snuggled close to him. One morning you wake up to find him looking at you, and he utters a quiet: “Thank you.”

In 2002, Padgett was just minding his business, leaving a restaurant after a date, when two dudes rudely decided they were going to use his head like a freaking pinata. After the beating, they took his money and ran.

At the hospital they told him he had a concussion, and to get some rest. But when Padgett went back home, he immediately went on the longest drugless acid trip of all freaking time. On sunny days, the little bit of light that bounced off a car’s window would suddenly explode into an array of triangles. Every time an object moved, it left strange patterns behind. The edges of clouds and liquids became spiraling lines. The dude thought he was either going crazy or being haunted by the ghost of geometry. Either way, he stayed mostly inside his house for three freaking years.

Well, two MRIs, two metal plates in his head and a few “Oh, God, what’s happening to me?"s later, Padgett decided he’d go ahead and start drawing the shapes he saw. And hey, they looked pretty freaking sweet.

Padgett had always sucked at math, needing to cheat just to get by in high school, but hey, he’d never had any art training whatsoever either, so why not try some math classes, right? At school, he now found he kicked ass in math, too, and even learned that the art he was making was called a fractal, which is a shape that contains its same shape many times inside itself. It’s the Inception of geometry, is what we’re saying.

Since taking those math classes, life’s been pretty good to Padgett. He won best newcomer at an international art competition and is widely acknowledged as the only person able to hand-draw fractals (for a tidy profit, of course!). He also has advanced the fields of math and physics with his intuitive understanding of those weird repeating shapes. He even discovered that Einstein’s E=mc² is a fractal.

6 People Who Gained Amazing Skills from Brain Injuries

Adventures in Swordplay #2: The Powerful Potential of Pummeling People with Pommels

Level Up!

I’ve being going to HEMA class more frequently lately; about twice a week, and practicing on my own whenever I can find the time. Thus, our instructor decided it was time to teach us how to use all parts of our swords, and not just the sharp bits.

When “Stick Them With the Pointy End” Isn’t Enough

When training with a longsword, one quickly learns to take advantage of the point, the true-edge, and the false edge in order to end an opponent. But did you also know that your quillons, grip, and pommel can also be used to effectively defeat your foes?

Today I learned that when one is in a bind, it is often more advantageous to strike with the blunt end of the sword rather than to disengage. Also, if one were to face an armored opponent, a blunt strike will cause much more damage with than a cut, since you can’t cut armor, no matter how many anime series tell you otherwise.

And did I mention that pommels make for a devastating long-ranged weapon as well? True story. ;D

Post-Carnage Report

Thus, we conducted the pommel-bashing drill several times. I, as always, was voluntold for the demonstration. And on the fourth repetition of eating a delicious pommel, the loaner helmet caved in, slamming parts of the grill and gorget against my forehead and throat respectively. OUCH.

My brain is somehow still intact, despite the blunt-force trauma. I certainly hope my new helmet (which I’m still waiting to get delivered) provides a better defense in future sessions. 

I guess I’m a glutton for punishment, because you bet your ass I’m still going to the next class.