One thing that drives me nuts is when I read a book or watch a movie/TV show and characters ignore injuries. Running full-speed with a broken leg, bouncing around with busted ribs, and so many other mistakes that seem sloppy. My characters get hurt all the time, so I have to remember to slow them down or add in something that explains how they can keep going. A barbarian’s rage or a magic spell can work, but you must always remember to have them react to the injury once that boost is over. Unless that boost comes with a healing spell, they’re going to be hurting later.
I can only think of three reasons (here with solutions) for this to happen:
- The author forgets about the injury, which is something that should be fixed in an editing run. Once that character is hurt, you have to read through the rest of the action with that clear in your mind. Every move should be analyzed to make sure it doesn’t ignore the wound. For example, if Luke Callindor breaks his arm, I can’t have him swinging away at full strength with that arm. If he manages to use it, his aim will be off, he’ll have an expression of pain, and he probably won’t do any damage.
- The injury is thrown in only for suspense and then only mentioned as an aside. You want your reader to realize that the character is in danger, so you hurt them. This one has a simple solution: Don’t do it! Yes, there is a rush when the hero is bleeding from a bad wound and the villain is closing in. You still need to have your character react to the injury. A burst of adrenaline is one thing, but blatant disregard for physical pain is another. I’m thinking of the Inigo Montoya vs Count Rugen fight here as an example of how to do it right. (Watch the movie if you don’t know what I mean.)
- “My character is so badass that pain doesn’t slow him down.” LAME! BORING! COP OUT! This is a personal opinion here, but the ‘immune to pain’ stuff is ridiculous. It brings in too many problems. If a character doesn’t feel pain then they shouldn’t feel pleasure either. This denotes a numbing of one’s sense of touch. Even if a character is able to mind over matter their way through pain, they’re still injured and their inability to be slowed down by any injury takes away from the story. Wolverine can heal, but he can still be hurt and has a moment where the injury effects him (usually). Superman can still take a beating or get knocked around (usually). This ‘too badass to be slowed down’ is really overdone and I see it as the ultimate laziness in fight scenes. You don’t want to weaken the reputation of your hero or villain? Then don’t let them get hit in the first place.
I’m going to end here on the biggest ‘Black Knight’ maneuver that drives me up the wall:
Guys that are immune to groin kicks!
You ever read that book or watch that movie where the hero kicks the big guy in the junk, but the big guy only stands there grinning? When did that become the sign of evil badassery? I feel sorry for that villain’s wife or girlfriend because he’s obviously either a eunuch or suffering from severe erectile nerve damage. A kick to the groin slows down, if not stops, every male. It’s our weakest point and it can make the biggest man in the world curl up in the fetal position and cry. So, STOP with the immunity to groin kicks unless you have a damn good reason for it. Again, your choices are:
- Severe erectile nerve damage.
- Codpiece (requires a clang and the hero to hurt his/her foot)
- Alien where the junk is somewhere else like the knee (Star Trek VI, anybody?)