Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Physical Limitations

I'm going on day 3 of wearing this stupid brace on my hand....besides making typing difficult, it's hindering everything. My job is taking me 3 times longer to do, I'm constantly bumping my elbow on stuff, when I try to do laundry the clothes stick to the velcro...and I can't put on a bra without my husband's help. I don't mind the last part too much, LOL.

As a writer, these things automatically make me think of characters and plot points. I remember one of my characters who had both hands bandaged and splinted. My sympathy goes out to her more even as I remember readers laughing at her failed attempts to open a beer with her teeth. I remember another who temporarily lost her mind and damaged her feet by walking across 3 states. I'm already thinking I should put more emphasis on these details.

Physical limitations can heighten the suspense in a story. In Stephen King's THE LONG WALK, a mere charley horse or a cold can kill you. Think of all the scenes in which a character is hiding from a bad guy and has to sneeze or they are being chased and trip. What if they sprained their ankle? Mere exhaustion can be add tension as well. I read a series where the character has non-stop action but it was expressed how tired she was. I was on the edge of my seat just hoping she'd be able to get some rest.

What limitations have you put on your characters? Where can you add more?   


  1. Oh no. Those darn brace things...Grrrr.

    I've had one of my characters partially deaf and I have one who's mute. Oh, and another starts out the story blind....

    I bet this time you're going through will end up in a story, huh?