protagonist stairs

kalihell-kalihell  asked:

Hey! I'm sorry if it's really morbid, but, could you give me some tips on how to write a scene in which the protagonist finds a dead body (whose a member of their family), he is supposed to be find down the stairs. (Sorry if my english is bad, I'm french) Thanks in advance!

Bodies decay. But, if your protagonist was up stairs, it may not have time to decay very much, but you don’t need much decay to smell it. I’ll spare you the difficulties of being put on a government watch list by googling all these things.

What’s the temperature? If it’s hot, or the body is in any direct sunlight, or both, the smell would be obvious within hours. Death has a very distinct smell, and most say that it smells oddly sweet– yet, despite the ‘sweet’ smell, they still say it is the worst stench they’ve ever smelled.

How did they die? A particularly bloody death will most likely start smelling sooner, and the air would start to smell like iron probably before the actual body started smelling.

The smell of death isn’t a very pleasant one, and as you can imagine, the smell is not something your mind takes lightly. It’s something that’s been carved into your genetic memory as something to stay away from. That’s good advice if you ask me, because who knows if whatever made the corpse is ready to make another, close by. Not to mention all the types of diseases you can get from a decaying body. Fear is an emotion that describes this.

But how does your genetic memory communicate to your senses that something is bad, and that you should go away? By making the smell probably the worst thing your senses have ever smelled.

So, you can’t really write your protagonist waking up in the morning as if everything was fine, just to get a surprise downstairs. Unless the body died within the hour, maybe less.

Other things to write…

Was there a struggle? While coming downstairs, did the protagonist see signs of some sort of fight which led to the body?

If TV or radio exists, what’s playing in the background of the scene?

Good luck.

- The Artificer