1. MountainMaverick

    MountainMaverick New Member

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    Help with a scene in a morgue

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by MountainMaverick, Jan 12, 2017.

    Hi, guys,

    I'm writing a short story set in the basement of a hospital morgue. In the scene the lights are out and there's a body that has just sat up on the table. I've found the number one criticism of my writing so far (I've only been writing for a year) is that I tell too much. I get this over and over again, and I'm trying to work on it.

    Anyway, I'd like the M.C. (who's currently laying on the linoleum floor, having slipped (I know sounds like a lot of cliches right now, but I'm writing this story mainly for practice)) to think he hears the body (which has a sheet over it) get up and start walking towards him. I want to stress this is NOT a zombie, or anything like that.

    One problem I have is that I don't know anything about how morgue tables sound. I know, that's weird. But do they creak? I'm picturing it being stainless steel. Should I use sounds from the feet hitting the floor, or the sheet moving around? Again, it's not a zombie. I don't want the "corpse" making any audible sounds, like groaning or anything like that. I'm kind of lost. So any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
     
  2. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    A soft rustle of cloth for the sheet, and I have stainless steel countertops that sometimes make a "bongk" sound when something heavy is put on or taken off of them.
     
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  3. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    Where cushions are comfy, and straps hold firm.
    An autopsy table would have a dull metal sound. Sheets rustle. A body can expel gasses
    after death, so it might sound like a low hissing or a sigh. Perhaps your mortician should
    not let the liver sit on the floor. According to WASP, livers are quite slippery on a stage
    so it might also be true on vinyl flooring too.

    And here is a link of weird stories from real morticians. :p

    http://thoughtcatalog.com/brian-n-gates/2014/12/dead-people/
     
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  4. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin The game sour like a pickle be.... Contributor

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    If the body is in a morgue, I imagine it would be on a gurney with wheels in order to move it more easily from a place of refrigeration to wherever the hell else a body might end up. The squeaking of the wheels or thrum of the treads would be the obvious sound, I guess. If it's an autopsy table it would be fixed because of all the necessary equipment and drainage. Do they do autopsies in a morgue or is there a separate laboratory for that? I have no idea, but I imagine a big city like NYC would have everything under one roof while a small town would likely need a university laboratory, assuming one existed nearby.
     
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  5. Seren

    Seren Writeaholic

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    I think the sheets would rustle a bit. And I don't think the table would creak much, if at all, because if TV shows are to be believed then the trays/trolleys/tables are made of stainless steel. Autopsies are usually done in the morgue because the body can then just be put back in the refrigerator - or whatever they like to call it. I think they must have a few standalone tables for the bodies to go on while there is an autopsy, because the bodies are generally stored on stainless steel trays and pushed inside a big cupboard like a chest of drawers, with trays above trays. That's the impression I've got from numerous morgue scenes in shows such as Supernatural and Sherlock. (Perhaps try watching some TV shows that do a lot of stuff in the morgue, like certain crime TV shows.) But I don't work in a morgue, so I can't say this with 100% certainty.
     
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  6. MountainMaverick

    MountainMaverick New Member

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    Thanks, guys! You were very helpful.
     
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