1. TimHarris
    Offline

    TimHarris Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway

    Becoming unconscious?

    Discussion in 'Research' started by TimHarris, Nov 28, 2012.

    My character often finds himself in a fight. He is not a very good fighter, so more often than now, he is hit hard enough to black out.

    Was hoping somebody could try and explain how it feels to be knocked unconscious? I never been in a fight personally, and I dont want it to look like I have no idea how it feels like.
     
  2. Webster
    Offline

    Webster Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    France
    I've never been knocked out, but I've heard it described as a flash of white light, then you're on the ground thinking WTF. I guess it depends. Hit hard and suddenly enough, you may not even feel anything- one minute you're on your feet, the next on the ground, with no gap in between.
     
  3. TimHarris
    Offline

    TimHarris Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    So in that case, it might be enough simply to describe it as "I noticed his fist arcing towards me, and there was a flash of pain before I found myself waking up on the cold concrete floor moments later."?
     
  4. Webster
    Offline

    Webster Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    France
    How about: 'His fist came hurtling out of nowhere. A flash a white light behind my eyes, then the next thing I knew I was face down on the concrete, blood pooling out from my ruined nose.' Maybe something like that?
     
  5. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    avoid overwriting and purple prose... follow that best of all writer's axioms, 'less is more' and it's old army cousin, the 'K.I.S.S.!' principle...
     
  6. Webster
    Offline

    Webster Senior Member

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2012
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    3
    Location:
    France
    Where's the PP in either attempt?

    His fist, as broad and grotesquely gnarled as the hams my grandfather used to cure in his quaint smoke house by the sea, hurtled into my downy cheek with the force of ten men.

    I came to on the mercilessly implacable cobbles. The blood, streaming from my nose, so dark as to seem purple in the crepuscular light of the alleyway...

    That was fun to write, anyway.
     
  7. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    Knockout blows are serious. Concussions can be fatal. Sometimes the person gets up, decides he or she is not badly hurt, and walks away. Some time later, he or she may exhibit some slurring of speech, then abruptly drop dead from a cerebral hemorrhage.

    More typically, concussion exhibits symptoms like severe nausea, disorientation, vision problems, etc.

    With unconsciousness, often there is post-traumatic amnesia, meaning the person will have no memory of the incident or events for some tome afterward. That memory loss is generally permanent, In severe cases, the amnesia can extend for some amount of time before the injury (retrograde amnesia). There's a phrase, "No RA without PTA," meaning if there is retrograde amnesia, there is always post-traumatic amnesia as well.

    Physical amnesia resulting from head trauma is generally permanent.

    For this reason, it's not unreasonable to end the scene before the person is struck, and pick up the next scene with the person having no recollection of what happened. There will probably be pain, and very likely a period of confusion, nausea, and an inability to stand or walk without falling for some time.
     
  8. Thumpalumpacus
    Offline

    Thumpalumpacus Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2012
    Messages:
    566
    Likes Received:
    106
    Location:
    Texas
    I've been knocked out in a fight; my antagonist and I had wrenched a piece of copper conduit in two and were swatting at each other with it when he got a good blow in that connected flush across my brow.

    I saw a big flash of light against a dark background, and then dropped like a sack of rocks. I came to a little later, perhaps no more than ten seconds, as a result of the guy spearing my sternum with his piece of the tubing. Those seconds were completely extirpated from my personal timeline. They don't exist, for me. When I did come to, I was able to continue fighting, but not as efficiently. His spearing me cleared my wits by frightening me; he was clearly out of his mind, and I knew I had to fight back, perhaps for my life. (This was confirmed for me later in the fight, when he bit off part of my left ear.)

    Describing it in writing, go easy. The first thing removed are your conscious senses. Leave the fancy stuff for another page. Also, note that even in a fight, I was lucky to have seen my knockout blow -- often the reason why the blow is so devastating is exactly because it was unseen. Don't gild the lily.
     
  9. cazann34
    Offline

    cazann34 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 18, 2012
    Messages:
    519
    Likes Received:
    41
    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    What is the K.I.S.S principle? Acronyms and abbreviation are all very well but it leaves others in the dark.
     
  10. TimHarris
    Offline

    TimHarris Senior Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2012
    Messages:
    176
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    Oslo, Norway
    "I was hiding out behind the dumpster, waiting for the two men to leave. The smell of garbage was almost unbearable, and I had to fight hard to keep still. I looked around the corner again, and noticed that one of the men had vanished. I was as silent as a mouse in the presence of cats, but it was not enough. There was a tiny sound behind me, like as if someone stepped on a piece of plastic, but before I could turn around, I saw a white flash of light, and I plunged towards the ground. I woke up at the hospital the following evening. I was dizzy, and there was a sharp pain at the left side of my head."

    Something like this would probably do then. I do not see the blow come, but I try to imply that it is hitting my head against the asphalt, and not the actual blow, that knocks me out cold. I guess that could work?
     
  11. Cogito
    Offline

    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 19, 2007
    Messages:
    35,935
    Likes Received:
    2,043
    Location:
    Massachusetts, USA
    "Officially", it means, "Keep it simple, stupid!" Variations include "Keep it short and simple" or "Keep it simple and straightforward."
     
  12. Selbbin
    Offline

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3,201
    Likes Received:
    1,786
    Location:
    Australia
    This is what happened to me when I crashed my mountainbike. I don't remember the crash at all. While I wasn't unconsious, I was able to walk myself out apparently, all I remember is riding fast down a hill and then 'waking up' in the back of a car on the way to hospital.

    I've read about many people getting hit but not remembering the incident. So the character may simply wake up and have no idea what happened. Films play on this a fair bit.
     
  13. Luna13
    Offline

    Luna13 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    The Desk Chair
    I have never been knocked unconscious, and there are as many ways to write it as there are writers, but I would very strongly advise you not you use "and then everything went black" or variations on that same phrase. I find that phrase annoying and extremely overused.
     
  14. psychotick
    Offline

    psychotick Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    1,371
    Likes Received:
    307
    Location:
    Rotorua, New Zealand
    Hi,

    I got knocked out once, by a door! There was no flash of light, I can tell you that. What there was was pain, quite a lot of it, followed by confusion, spinning and not much more until my flatmate was throwing cold water over my face. After that there was a lot more pain!

    Cheers, Greg.
     
  15. hippocampus
    Offline

    hippocampus Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2012
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    5
    I was knocked out COLD once - I got hit by a line drive while playing 2nd base. I saw it coming, tried to move my mitt up fast enough and - next thing I knew, I was flat on my back looking up at another player. They held their hand out and said, "How many fingers am I holding up?"

    I tell ya - I didn't feel a thing. At least until a few minutes later when my forehead started to swell up like a grapefruit! I looked like a racoon for three weeks.
     
  16. Drusy
    Offline

    Drusy Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2013
    Messages:
    119
    Likes Received:
    5
    The waking up at the hospital with "a sharp pain" does some good in going back to what happened (it tells me that he was hurt) but the white flash of light, as a reader, has my mind going towards flash grenade or something.
     

Share This Page