View Full Version : How do I achieve this without my MC sounding like a complete whackjob?

06-04-2010, 01:50 PM
I'm trying to write a speculative YA story about a boy who is gradually losing his body part and they are replaced by metal alternatives (i.e. metal hand, metal internal organs), and then he decides to track down real organs to replace his metal ones (does that make sense...ish?). It's not sci-fi or fantasy; I'm trying to go for the "abnormal story in a normal world" angle. But, the thing is, I want to know how he could get hold of other people's body parts. Things I considered:

- I've thought about getting them from the morgue -- but how hard would that be to accomplish?

- Or the hospital, but I don't see how he'd be left alone long enough with a body.

- Or digging them up. I don't know if this is even possible.

- Buying them from the black market. But I don't know how this works, and I want it to be a contemporary story that more people can kind of "identify" with, not a gangster-gangland story.

- I also thought about murdering people and collecting their organs...

...but I don't want my MC to be completely nuts. Well, yes, I sorta do. But in an "understandable" way. Not in a completely psychopathic, perverted-killer way.

Does that make any sort of sense?

So, I have a question:

Where could my MC get other people's organs...in the real world?

Thank you :)

Linda Adams
06-04-2010, 02:47 PM
The first thing I thought was Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. Might be worth a look. Creepy story about a man who has a super sense of smell who ends up killing to get certain scents.

If your main character has a time issue, murder will likely be the most expedient way. Don't forget the logistics of it--it isn't just getting the body parts; it's putting them in (unless he is somehow able to magically take them in). That means a doctor who would be willing to do it, which would also need to be developed as to why. And all of it means, money, money, money.

On digging them up -- very likely they've been embalmed. Might screw things for him.

06-04-2010, 02:51 PM
well.... if he digs them up, I think they'd be too old - it's outside the realms of possibility, that even if he did get them from somewhere, that itd actually be possible to connect them and be able to use them.

Maybe he could work inside the hospital, even as a volunteer, then he could sneak parts after people die?

haha, that's a pretty tough question actually!

06-04-2010, 03:21 PM
You're talking about building what amounts to a cyborg who's looking to find a way to make himself into a Frankenstein's monster built from other people's body parts. It's sci-fi whether that's your intention or not. You could even spin it as a fantasy retelling of Pinocchio: all the little metal boy wants is to be a real boy.

Buried bodies are dead tissue, as are those in the morgue. Organs and body parts have to be properly harvested/stored/reattached for them to work and then it requires massive and continual anti-rejection drugs so the body doesn't rebel against the new additions. I'd suggest adding a cloning angle, or something similar to get live harvested organs/parts that match and minimize the need for after surgery complications.

06-04-2010, 03:59 PM
Much more interesting for him to steal them from the person who has them now. ie: his organs have been harvested, sold and transplanted into someone else.

06-04-2010, 10:03 PM
I think it might be interesting to see him degenerate. Start with the buying them off the black market. Not very messy for the MC, he doesn't have to know where they came from. But then he runs out of money. So then he starts sneaking into the morgue. A little more grotesque. Then perhaps he goes to the hospital where he can harvest the organs out of freshly killed people...but the hospital begins to suspect him. So then he escalates to murder.

By the end yes he is a whackjob, but as long as we can see the path he took to becoming a whackjob its all good.

Kitty Pryde
06-04-2010, 10:28 PM
Agree. This is sci-fi, because we don't have the technology to replace organs with 'metal organs'. There are artificial hearts and bladders and cochlear implants, but you can't replace your other organs with prostheses. There is an artificial hand similar to the Luke Skywalker hand, but it's still experimental, you can't buy it, and it doesn't move at full speed. So. Sci-fi.

Also, yeah, organs from dead bodies cannot be used. They are dead. Black market organs would be from recently alive people. A kid just can't yank out a kidney and throw it in a lunchbox--it has to be removed in certain ways with nerves and blood vessels and such--this requires a doctor's expertise! And keep in mind, you can't implant your own organs--he's got to have multiple people in on it with him to do the actual surgery...I guess if he pays them enough...

Drachen Jager
06-04-2010, 10:43 PM

They execute prisoners there and harvest their organs. If you had enough money you could buy your way into a Chinese hospital where they'll kill prisoners to order for the blood type/body parts you need.

That's how von Hagens gets all his body parts.

06-08-2010, 09:06 PM
I'm trying to write a speculative YA story about a boy who is gradually losing his body part and they are replaced by metal alternatives (i.e. metal hand, metal internal organs),

Everything hinges on one question: How?

As in, how is he losing his body parts? Are they wasting away from disease, disappearing overnight, what?

How are they being replaced? Magically? A mad scientist?

I can think of only one way, off hand, that this could be done believably...maybe you have something else entirely in mind, but if so, I think that's extremely relevant to your question.

It could be that he only believes his body is slowly being replaced by metal parts, and that he has to get his hands on the real parts to reverse the damage. Then he could follow the icky little progression outlined by Michael T...because, in the end, he is really and truly crazy, and whether the parts would be alive, or whether they could actually be reattached, would be immaterial. What he actually does with the body parts when he gets them would be up to you...maybe he eats them (to "assimilate" them into his body) or maybe, once he touches them, he believes himself healed and just drops them.

It could make a fascinating story of madness and murder. Of course, that leaves your MC a complete whackjob. :D

06-08-2010, 10:32 PM
Get on a donor's list? (Although this sounds like Full Metal Alchemist. lol)

Anarchic Q
06-09-2010, 05:20 AM
Get on a donor's list? (Although this sounds like Full Metal Alchemist. lol)
And REPO! The Genetic Opera. And by extension, Repo Men.
But then again, nothing's unique anymore and it's all in the telling, so power on, Ink Goddess.

06-09-2010, 06:47 PM
There are just a ton of logistical issues, many of them concerning the operations necessary and the body's tendency to reject foreign parts, metal or otherwise.

The tech I figure you can fake, due to the sci-fi nature of the story (even though that's not very contemporary), but I still wonder how this kid is ending up with so many of them. The sheer expense...

06-11-2010, 09:27 AM
Thank you, guys. ;) I've kind of revamped the story so - most of - the logistical issues are smoothed out as much as possible. Couldn't have done it without your help, as always. :D