View Full Version : Decomposition body/beheading. Icky, I know!

TS Tate
07-03-2008, 08:26 AM
Hi all,
Lookit, my very first post!

I am in the midst of my WIP, a good bit in, and submitted a chapter to my writer's group which was well received. Someone, however, did point out that I needed to do a bit more research on one of my scenes.

My protagonist walks into her boss' office to find his body...only his body. He's been beheaded and dead for several hours, possible eight, and she is describing the scene.

I mention the smell of the blood and how most of it has dried around/on the body. I believe I used the word 'congealing' which I now know is incorrect.

Does anyone know where I could go for a proper description of this that won't lead me to some awful site? Just need the mechanics for now.

Thanks for the help in advanced!

07-03-2008, 01:04 PM
What's wrong with congeal? I've found a dictionary definition:
To cause to solidify or coagulate or to undergo a process likened to solidification or coagulation.
Coagulate is:
To cause transformation of (a liquid or sol, for example) into or as if into a soft, semisolid, or solid mass.
So, unless you are writing for a medically trained audience, is it important?

Otherwise watch one of those CSI programs that has a decapitation. Or look at any realist painter of the middle ages who has painted a decapitation.

Also the medical evidence in any crime trial that has involved someone losing their head (literally) would describe it perfectly, if you can look up the case.

Robert Toy
07-03-2008, 01:19 PM
Here is a link that you may find interesting


07-03-2008, 04:57 PM
I like this place: http://www.dplylemd.com/forcomm.html

for stuff like that. Not for the squeamish, but filled with neat info.

TS Tate
07-04-2008, 08:20 AM
LOL...well, I'm certainly NOT writing for a medically trained audience. I mean, I like consistency and realism, but this won't be a deal breaker. Thanks so much for the response.

07-05-2008, 10:07 AM
Otherwise watch one of those CSI programs that has a decapitation.

That very much depends upon the show. If it's one of these evening dramas with hollywood actors, do not expect anything resembling truth, but they are popular so apparently most people don't care about the glaring mistakes. If it's a documentary on a pbs station, then it's likely to be closer to the truth.

Congealing would be a fine word. Blood comes out liquid, then clots then goes back to liquid. Congealing doesn't specify in which direction you are going with this line of continuum. It would be specific enough for the non physician audience and vague enough for those in the know.