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  1. Shameleon

    Shameleon New Member

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    How deep can I go with a knife wound to the thigh?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Shameleon, May 25, 2020.

    Hey everyone,

    Alright so the scene that I'm trying to write is for a YA novel, some very light torture is involved (getting tied to a chair and smacked around. maybe some cutting of the legs to get information). I'm also considering skipping this part all together and just showing the aftermath, depends how it goes when I write it and if its too dark.

    Either way, MC gets grabbed by some thugs and taken to a warehouse where she's tied to a chair. Because she was caught sneaking around somewhere she shouldn't have been and the thugs have no qualms about beating up a 16yr old girl, she gets smacked around a bit. I'm also considering having them slice the tops of her thighs with a knife to try and get her to tell them who sent her/who she is/etc etc. Her boyfriend finds her and manages to get her out of the warehouse when the thugs leave her on her own, not expecting her to be able to escape, and he takes her to the hospital.

    My question here is how deep can the cuts go (needing stitches/staples/whatever) without damaging the muscle and how difficult would it be to walk with stitches in her thighs (i.e. noticeable limb/not allowed to walk/don't put weight on that leg).

    Any help with this would be appreciated.
     
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  2. Samuel McKallan

    Samuel McKallan New Member

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    Seeing as skin on the thighs (for adult women) is around 2mm thick, and directly under that is the subcutaneous tissue that's roughly 18mm thick on average, you could go at least 20mm deep without touching muscle at all. You also have to factor in the fat between skin and muscle, and how thick the muscle itself is... It varies person to person, but 20mm is super deep, would require stitches. There are other factors to consider that would require more than the very minor google search I just did. I would recommend doing some anatomy research and looking at several studies, since the answer of how deep can be almost directly pulled from medical studies without too much speculation, and you can also read personal accounts from people who have self-harmed on their thighs deeper than they intended to see how the stitches affected their ability to walk while they were healing.
     
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  3. Fervidor

    Fervidor Senior Member

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    Can't really help with the wound part, since I'm not well versed in medical stuff, and also I tend to write the sort of stories where people can take five arrows and a sword through the torso without slowing down.

    I can say, however, that torture has a very considerably psychological factor: Just being restrained, helpless and at the mercy of people who mean you harm is incredibly stressful. Unless you're particularly hardcore, the intense menace alone can cause you to start breaking down even before things get physical. So these guys may not even need to cut her very badly, just enough to prove they're serious and maybe testing how likely she is to crack, if they're halfway competent torturers. If they're not in a hurry and know what they're doing, it would be in their interest to drag it out and they would probably start with threats and establishing that they really don't care about her feelings. Leaving her alone may even be part of it, letting the suspense build up, so to speak.

    Just mentioning this in case you want to avoid harming her to the point of physically hampering her. If on the other hand you do need her to be injured to a certain degree, say having trouble walking or running, this probably isn't as helpful.
     
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  4. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Good point. And if the story is YA, it might also make a more acceptable storyline for that genre. (I don't think that actual gore is encouraged in YA—but I could be wrong on that.) They've scared her and threatened her, maybe showed her their weapons of torture, etc ...but didn't actually DO anything much. Maybe go away and leave her to dread what's coming next. And then the boyfriend turns up. That would mean you don't have the medical issues to deal with.
     
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  5. jim onion

    jim onion New Member

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    Not to the point that it severs the major artery there, unless you have very well trained medical staff on standby.

    EDIT: I am thinking of the femoral artery.
     
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  6. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    The thing is, if they are torturing her for information, they're not going to want to kill her straight away. So that probably won't be an issue. Unless they are extremely incompetent. :eek:
     
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  7. jim onion

    jim onion New Member

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    Lol, for sure! I was just mentioning that for the author here. Some are not well-versed in basic human biology, so I figured I'd mention it to cover the bases. :)

    In any case, it can become a point of reference should the torturers be skilled and knowledgeable enough.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2020
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  8. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber marshmallow Contributor

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    In regards to torture for information, you want the best cost-benefit relationship between physical damage to the victim and results. Deep stab wounds are a very inefficient means of torture because: 1) the victim will die/faint from loss of blood and won't be able to tell you anything, and 2) there are much more painful forms of torture that don't get blood all over the floor.
     
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  9. jim onion

    jim onion New Member

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    In Game of Thrones I seem to recall something regarding the private parts of a man. But I could be wrong.

    In any case, just the threat of such a thing is enough to make me squirm.
     
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  10. Friedrich Kugelschreiber

    Friedrich Kugelschreiber marshmallow Contributor

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    Just found this and I wish I hadn't
    https://en.everybodywiki.com/Judas_cradle
     
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  11. jim onion

    jim onion New Member

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    Oh my God I wish you hadn't lmao. Jinkies.
     
  12. Shameleon

    Shameleon New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the help. The scene that I had originally envisioned was a bit darker and more...Goodfellas inspired without going full cutting off of body parts. Definitely more of an adult book scene then for YA so I pulled it back a fair bit. I do need my MC to be physically impaired to a degree but still concealable. Enough to warrant a hospital visit without surgery.

    I think I'm going to go with a concussion, maybe a split lip and bruised face. They do have to get down from a roof top so maybe she lands awkwardly and sprains her ankle. As Friedrich Kugelschreiber pointed out there are plenty of ways of getting information without spilling blood. And yes I've come across the Judas cradle before in some other research...I decided to leave that where I found it haha.

    Anyways thank you all again. This scene is early on in the book so my girl's going to go through more than this before we're through, I'm sure I'll be back :)
     
  13. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, the injuries consistent with a fall will be easier to explain at the hospital. A 16-year-old girl turning up with a boyfriend at the hospital with stab wounds would likely set off all sorts of inquiries. So unless you want the hospital to get wind of what's going on, better keep the injuries consistent with an accidental fall, instead of some kind of attack (or suicide attempt.)
     
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