1. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Writing someone waking up from a knockout?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Alesia, May 12, 2013.

    After talking to friends that have been knocked out, I already have the main points in mind like headache, dizziness, nausea, blurred vision, etc.. What I'm having trouble with is how to start the scene. I don't want to use something generic like "waking up, the first sensation was a headache." Believe it or not, I actually have the whole scene almost completely written out save for the first few sentences. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Garball
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    Garball Sometimes nothing can be a real cool hand. Supporter Contributor

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    Knocked out from a physical blow? If you are unconscious for more than a few seconds, it can mean a serious problem like a major concussion. Most fighters are not knocked completely unconscious. Think of it as a reset button. The system is never powered off, but it has to most start up scripts to get back up and running. I would talk about vision coming in and out of focus, not being able to discern distinct sounds or voices, no equilibrium, confusion.
    Knocked out from anesthesia? Do not know. Never gone under.
     
  3. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Specifically knocked unconscious by a hard kick to the head with a steel toed biker/combat style boot during a fight. The MC has been out long enough to be drug into a room and tied up and the scene I'm trying to start begins with them waking up, what they feel/see/smell as they come to their senses and figure out what's going on. Where I'm having an issue is finding the right descriptive words to begin the chain of events without using a generic "she woke up with a bad headache."
     
  4. rodney adams
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    rodney adams Member

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    Have your MC start talking or having an internal monologue when she wakes up. It helps to show rather than tell, and I think it would be a less awkward way to start your story.
    EX:

    Ugh... Where am I? Wow, my head hurts... My mouth. It's so sore. I taste... iron. Oh my god, is that piss? Man, that reeks!
    It's obviously bad, but you get the general idea.
     
  5. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I thought about that, but I wasn't sure if it was considered tacky to open a 3rd person perspective with first person thoughts.
     
  6. rodney adams
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    rodney adams Member

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    Maybe you could start with a sentence talking about her coming to while in the third person, and then start her thoughts? Again, you don't have to do what I said. It's merely one route you could go.
     
  7. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    Maybe start it by describing the physical sensations she's experiencing?

    I've blacked out once and nearly blacked out another time. The first time was having the wind knocked out of me and the second was from pain. Both times I remember my vision getting dim around the edges and when I came to again or fought it off the black/gray fuzzy edges receded. My visual disturbances were what I first noticed. I'm not sure if that's any help or not. I've never been knocked out due to a blow to the head. :p
     
  8. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    you could start it like this:

     
  9. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    How realistic are you aiming for here? If you're MC's out long enough to be tied up and dragged to a room, they've got brain damage. That aside, though, I'll quote a passage I've cut from my own novel that's based on my (and my friend's) experiences fighting:

    The initial whirlwind of confusion subsides quite quickly, but the drogginess can remain for sometime after, and your senses are often thrown out-of-whack. You're not likely to pay attention to things that you would before, and your depth perception, balance, and reaction times are not as sharp, even though you often can't actually tell this at the time, leading to confusion and disorientation. You'll do double-takes, or just fail to spot important things (say your heroine is walking into a room and only spots the bad guy she's walked right past at the last second), and the pangs of pain can really inhibit your ability to think clearly, focus, and accurately process information.

    Another thing: people's personalities tend to change for a while, too. Up to a day or so, if it's a hard enough knock.
     
  10. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yup. Just take a look at a bunch of KOs from boxing/K-1/UFC, and you'll notice the fighters usually wake up from KOs within seconds. They're a bit disoriented for a while longer, but some even start swinging right after they wake up, having no idea they were KO'd and that the fight is already over, although most just lay there for a moment. Come to think of it, I've never seen a KO where the fighter would be completely out long enough to be dragged into a room and tied up (unless they sustained some serious damage, brain damage).
     
  11. foiler
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    foiler Member

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    I used to box, and I was actually knocked out.

    I remember the surreal sensation when I began to come to. The first thing that crossed my mind was that I wasn't asleep in my bed. It took me a moment to realize that I was on the canvas, and I wasn't waking up normally. I didn't remember getting knocked out at all. I also remember that it seemed like my senses were coming back to me one at a time, as if my brain was going through some kind of reboot. First, my hearing came back "online", the buzz of the crowd started to register, then I opened my eyes and saw the stained canvas stretching out into the horizon. After that, I think my self-awareness started to kick in, as I began to piece together what happened - and then a numbing sensation rushed in and I heard a slight ringing in my ears. Someone was speaking to me, but I couldn't quite make out what they were saying. It seemed as if the world was underwater, everything was moving in slow motion, and all sounds were garbled like a damaged recording. It was like a fog that descended over all your senses, and gradually lifted, one sense at a time.

    I never wrote about that before. I hope it helped.
     
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  12. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    I'm of the thought that in fiction there's some suspension of disbelief. How often do we see this in films? A K.O'd person wakes up and the dialogue goes as such:

    K.O'd individual: "Ugh, how long was I out?"
    Other Individual: "Couple hours maybe."
    "K.O'd individual: "Oh man, my head is killing me." Gets up and walks away like nothing happened, maybe holding their head.

    Realistically you could explain the lack of brain damage as the person got kicked in the head and immediately rebooted, but while dazed they were drugged with some kind of tranquilizer. Although when you're dealing with biker gangs I doubt they would carry such a thing into a kidnap.

    Foiler: That's a pretty good description right there.
     
  13. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Different people might experience things different ways, so it might not be so far fetched what I'm buzzing around. Coming to, she notices the smell of cigarettes and being a rather heavy drinker, the first thought to cross her mind is something about passing out from too much booze or being hungover (I've heard from one of my buddies, his experience felt like waking up with a bad hangover). When she tries to move to rub at her head, that's when she notices her arms are tied behind her back.

    Also since you say you noticed the crowd, then being able recognize a sound like a chair being drug across the floor is plausible?
     
  14. rodney adams
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    rodney adams Member

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    I passed out once. I don't know if it's the same as being knocked out, But I remember dreaming, and then waking up where I passed out with the same sensation. Also, I was kind of groggy when I came to.
     
  15. AllWrite
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    AllWrite Member

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    Made me LOL
     
  16. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Why? I'm canvasing many sources since personally I've never been knocked unconscious.
     
  17. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    Maybe that is the problem. It is not an important point in your plot (at least I don't think it is). More likely it is an introduction to a scene. By trying to make it seem completely real you may end up with a result different from what you imagined.
     
  18. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    It's coming along now. The only other question I have is since this is a kidnap type scenario, when the initial confusion recedes and the individual realizes they are tied up, it's reasonable to assume the body's fight or flight response would take over and adrenaline would override and grogginess, at least for a time right?
     
  19. Xatron
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    Xatron Contributing Member

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    I don't think so. If one wakes up tied up but alone without any sign of a captor, I don't believe there would be any adrenaline rush right away since nothing is happening right at that point to his knowledge.
     
  20. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't agree. Waking up tied up would be pretty disconcerting. Somebody obviously did this to you, even if they are not currently present. I think that it would be likely that the captor would return.
     
  21. T.Trian
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    T.Trian Overly Pompous Bastard Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I agree. Besides, the disorientation following a KO often includes feelings of intense fear, paranoia, delusions about hostility around you etc. That phase alone gives you an adrenaline rush, and if it turns out you are in a hostile environment, the rush would likely be even bigger even if at that instant nothing is happening.
     
  22. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Reading over this topic, I found some novel excerpts describing people waking up from a K.O. and honestly some made me LOL. Why? Because there were quite a few that talk about the person woke up...thinks "what happened?" Paragraph or two detailing their entire day, then a man hit them in the head with a shovel. They vividly remembered their vision going black and falling to the ground. But what I can gather from here is there's no recollection of the K.O., so shouldn't it be more like the last thing they remembered was a man running toward them with a shovel?
     
  23. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    "Where am I?" has become very cliche, but in reality, it's pretty darned accurate. Trouble is, you're in no condition to vocalize it, or even think it coherently. You don't know where you are, how you got there, where you should be, what time of day it is, or why your face is scrubbing the carpet. And why is everything swaying and hissing in your ears.
     
  24. Alesia
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    Alesia Pen names: AJ Connor, Carey Connolly Contributor

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    Getting back to my original question, any suggestions for an opening line that's not utterly stupid (I/E "she woke up with a bad headache.")
     
  25. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    The possibilities are almost endless -- I'd say you should go with a description of what the character is feeling as she realizes where she is and that she is tied up. Something like:

    Marla opened her eyes and blinked. In front of her was a white wall with a photograph of what looked like a sunrise, although she couldn't make it out for certain. Her vision was still slightly hazy. As she tried to raise her hand to wipe the sleep and hair from her eyes, she realized she couldn't move her arm.
     

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