Discussion in 'Word Mechanics' started by Dagolas, Feb 10, 2012.
How would one describe someone having a spazm? Could it possibly throw him off his horse.
Throw, like, throw violently or just make him keel over and fall out of his saddle? If it's just a violent spasm I guess he might be stunned for a few seconds in which he loses his balance and falls off, but I can't imagine it actually bodily throwing him anywhere.
Well, first I would spell it correctly.... it's 'spasm', just FYI
I agree with GillySoose - a spasm wouldn't exactly throw you off a horse, from what I know of the way spasms affect the body. Basically it involves a sudden involuntary contraction of muscles, so you're more likely to go rigid or kick out, and of course if you cramp up you are in pain so you might double over. Keeping your balance in the saddle requires you to use your weight for stability and relax your seat, so if you tense up this is a very easy way to lose your balance - especially bareback. In fact, if you tense up while riding bareback it's the quickest dismount I know of
Also, remember that if they're using a modern saddle there will be stirrups, and if someone is having a spasm their foot could either come out of the stirrup or go further into it and get stuck. This has happened to me - I slithered down the horse's withers in a very slow and graceful head-first dismount, but then my boot got caught in the stirrup, the saddle slipped round and I got dragged 3 laps around the idoor school at a gallop
Honestly, there is a real simple solution to that answer. Google spasms and why/what causes them to happen in the body. Then you'll most definitely find the effects of such spasms which all you then need to do is put the description to paper. You have the cause and effect, now its up to you to create the situation. Is he riding his horse, being chased, in the heat of summer and dehydrated? Suddenly his body stiffens, his muscles tighten, and his toes curl inwards, rigid and unmoving. He cannot keep himself up on his horse. His vision fades. And then bam, the next scene could be him coming to on the ground. That is just one example. You have slight mucle spasms where the tendon or ligiment just twitches periodically at random, or forces the appendage/limb to move involuntarily. I am no doctor. Just google information on muscle spasms and let your imagination do the rest. That is what I would do, and that is what I do for most things I write about I am not sure of.
Don't write about a spasm until you've had one. Then it'll be fairly clear what they can and can not do to someone riding a horse.
If you want something internal that will literally throw someone off, seizure is your best bet.
Honestly, that is such a silly comment. You're saying you can't write about something you have never personally experienced? So, the OP has to take up horse riding and wait until they have a spasm in the saddle before they can convincingly describe how that might go?
Utterly, utterly ridiculous comment.
This seems like a highly impractical recommendation to me. My novel features people having heart attacks. Also, the main character has died and is resurrected. Should I wait until I experience those things too? Of course not!
@Dagolas Just write what works for your novel. If you desire realism, look up the side effects of having a spasm... but honestly, outside of the few people who actually suffer spasms, who is going to know that what you wrote is correct or not? I certainly won't!
I've been suffering from back spasms for the last three months. As to what they feel like - it's as though some little sod is standing behind you with a knife, and every so often when you're not expecting it, he sticks it in.
Would it throw me off a horse? I don't know. I don't ride - something for which I suspect the horses are grateful. What it does do, is make me either straighten up extremely fast, or bend me over just as quickly. I wouldn't be able to ride in that condition.
i get sudden lower back spasms that are literally paralyzing, so if i was on a horse i certainly could fall off and that would work for your character... but i don't know of any that would actually 'throw' one off...
what happens is:
a sudden severe pain hits the lower back
it feels like a blow from a sledgehammer
any change in position causes more excruciating pain, so you're 'frozen' in the position you're in when it hit
you can't move on your own and must have help to either stand up or sit/lie down
so, if on horseback at the time, any movement of the horse would worsen it, you can't get off on your own, so would simply fall off...
the pain can last for days, takes heavy-duty pain pills to manage, and you can't move at all without wearing a rigid back brace, can't walk without crutches...
hope this helps...
There are many kinds of spasms. From those that cause pain to those that cause involuntary muscle reactions. Epileptic seizures cause a lot of spasms but no pain, really. A seizure may very well throw someone off a horse. A charlie horse won't. Spinal cord injuries also have spasms. Again, the person does not normally feel them, even if they are capable of being perched on a horse, the person would probably be strapped down so tightly that they couldn't fall off. Figure out why the person fell. What caused the muscle spasm? Then go from there.
I agree Kallithrix, I was being facetious, because lately I have read so many ridiculous pieces of advice, I felt like giving one too. They say a writer should have sex before writing about it, why should spasms be any different, etcetera, etcetera.
Wow, so J.K Rowling should have thrown herself into a magical archway which made her dissapear forever.
Well, anyway, I don't know if "spazm" is the word I wanted.
Anyone who has read "Brisingr", I mean the condition Oromis had.
Yes of course, because if she didn't, then all these other people who do that all the time would have known that she doesn't know what she is talking about
No, but seriously, I was being sarcastic, I'm sorry if I offended you.
But still, any one know what Oromis suffers of?
Seizure. Can one fall off a horse with a seizure?
I'm not sure if this is possible as I don't, and have never, ridden a horse. But, rather than the spasm itself directly throwing a character off a horse could it make him maybe pull the reins in a certain way or kick the horse oddly and make the horse throw him off? However, as a previous poster has said I think a seizure of some kind would be a better bet as I tend to think of a spasm as being muscular and not actually having much of an outward effect.
Ooh just thought after reference to back spasm above a muscular spasm could cause someone to lose control of a horse at speed, maybe triggered by a landing from a jump, and then gets thrown by the horse.
If you read my last post, I actually meant seizure.
Could a seizure throw you off a horse?
Maybe you should signpost your sarcasm with the appropriate emoticon then?
If you're referring to my post in another thread when I said have more sex and then write about it... ditto the facetiousness
Ok, so instead of talking about sexual intercourse,
Shall we answer my question?
Again, what you're more likely talking about is someone FALLING off a horse after losing control of their bodily functions/balance. A seizure usually involves the nervous system rather than the muscles, and could also involve them falling unconscious, which would almost certainly lead to them falling off.
So other than Crystal's suggestion that a sudden jerk or kick might cause the horse to throw the rider, then no you're not going to be 'thrown' from the saddle by a seizure, more likely just fall off.
I meant by "thrown": "Fall off"
Well, you should probably express yourself a little more precisely then; they are not the same thing.
Yes, the grand mal seizures (the typical seizure everyone thinks of) starts by the whole body going completely rigid, straight, stiff. This is a so called "tonic" phase and it lasts for a few seconds, and then the body starts to jerk violently, this is called a "clonic" phase, hence the general term for these - common tonic-clonic seizures (keep in mind there are several other types of seizures, not all of them are the same).
The reason why this can throw you off the horse, imagine every single muscle in your body, all the huge leg muscles, arm muscles, back muscles etc going into a violent spasm and your limbs flexing then extending, fast. This is a "clonic" movement, flex-extend-flex-extend. It's a very strong jerking movement of the entire body and it may last some minutes.
During the seizure, the person is not aware of what is going on. During the clonic phase they may hit something, bite their tongue. If you are riding a horse, either of these phases can throw you off.
Once the seizure is over, the body goes limp and the person feels very sedated, usually falls asleep deeply, and later on has amnesia for the period of the seizure. That's a typical scenario.
I know Sorry, it's my pms time
Not to sound like the bad guy here but the demands of answering said questions could simply be answered yourself by research on your part. All you have to do is google anything regarding muscle failure and you have every single situation you could possibly think of at your hands. If this happens to the body, this is what happens to the limbs. Then, as I said in my previous post, your imagination is all you have to insert. Take the time and look these things up. Find out what a seizure is, find out what spasms are, find out what happens when muscles fail altogether as a result of cramping, the limits of mobility involved. You could have googled all this days ago and then applied it all to your writing, instead of, (I am sure your intentions are innocent) demanding your questions be answered via the forums.
And yes, a seizure would most definitely throw a rider off their horse, considering a seizure takes control of the entire body and sends it into convulsions leaving the person experiencing the seizure completely helpless to the involuntary movement and also, unaware as they come out of it with absolutely no recollection of the experience. Its like them blinking one moment and the next they are on the ground, similar to fainting. Limbs stiffen or flail around, or their body completely stiffens and their head just shakes. There are many different forms of seizures as well. You have ones that resemble small tremors throughout the body as if someone was extremely cold and then you have what are known as 'Grand Mal' seizures which disable the person completely. Please see the link at the bottom that I googled for an more indepth description to different seizures and their symptoms.
ditto that, gg!
dagolas... you could have saved yourself a lot of time by just looking up what happens when a person has a spasm or a seizure... your question has been more than adequately answered by myself and others here, so why don't you go back to your story now and write the scene?
gg's advice is well worth following if/when you have other questions needing answers... of course, if you can't find them by creative googling, then it's worth a try to ask here...
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