View Full Version : Experience help needed - fights? beatings? [mild trigger warning] (moved from Novels)

07-01-2014, 08:46 PM
Hi, I really hope I have this in the right section and if it's not I am so sorry--

Anyway, so, one of my novels I'm writing is a bildungsroman centering around a young man struggling with his sexuality, faith, and drug use. I'm rather far into it, but there's a rather important part of the novel that I fear I won't be able to write believably, no matter how much I supplement with introspective narrative. I am a very poor 'action' writer, and below average when it comes to tension and suspense, but that is absolutely what this scene needs.
Essentially, what occurs is that the MC's lover is in his home without his parents knowing, and his parents accidentally discover the pair of them making out. While the MC's lover is able to climb through the window and out very quickly, in a fit of rage, the MC's father grabs him and begins to beat him.
(Fortunately) I live a very un-exciting life. I have never been in a fight, nor hit, nor anything even similar to what my MC must experience.

What I need is if anyone who has ever been in a fight or hit repeatedly in a similar fashion, or has experience writing them, could please give me any amount of tips or suggestions, I would greatly appreciate it! I worry that I will cut the action down to one single paragraph, but the point of the novel is to expose the dark underbelly of LGBT homeless youth, and so details are my friend.
I do not wish to trigger anyone and ask you not to push yourself to share unless you believe you are capable.
Please and thank you!

07-01-2014, 08:57 PM
This should be moved to Story Research. Only a mod can do that, btw, you'll have to wait.

Is there a use for the reader to see the beating? Otherwise, you could always just show the faintest start of it and fade out.

Oh, and LGBT homeless youth are no different than other homeless youths. Though, everyone's experience does vary--including your character's.

07-01-2014, 09:27 PM
This should be moved to Story Research. Only a mod can do that, btw, you'll have to wait.

Is there a use for the reader to see the beating? Otherwise, you could always just show the faintest start of it and fade out.

Oh, and LGBT homeless youth are no different than other homeless youths. Though, everyone's experience does vary--including your character's.

Alrighty, thank you! Hopefully once that happens, I will get more responses. This is going to sound silly but I am new; Will a mod move it automatically or is there a way to ask for it to be moved?

I definitely contemplated that, honestly! In my other novels, usually, I'm very willing to cut out or faze out of a scene that can be left to allusions and context clues should I find the scene discomforting or offputting to a reader. However, in this situation, I will have to say that yes I believe it is necessary for the reader to see it -- from the character's eyes, as it is written in first person. I believe that unfortunately, offputting situations such as this are too-often skimmed over and therefore would like to present my readers with a realistic view of it. I have already provided several other un-romanticized and gruesome details about his drug use and other characters' violence, and I feel as if I would be cheating my readers out of truth should I cut the scene out. I am, however, intending to allow some details to blur -- he is being beaten, after all, and no one will take in all the details of a situation such as that. I am mostly looking for the feeling, the emotions, and if it really goes 'all in a blur.'

With all due respect, I would like to please present you with a quote from the National Alliance to End Homelessness:

LGBTQ youth are particularly vulnerable during episodes of homelessness. Once homeless, LGBTQ youth experience higher rates of physical and sexual assault and higher incidence of mental health problems and unsafe sexual behaviors than heterosexual homeless youth. LGB homeless youth are twice as likely to attempt suicide (62 percent) as their heterosexual homeless peers (29 percent).
Even when beds are available, inclusive and culturally competent treatment services may not be. Research and federal program reviews do not indicate wide-spread discrimination, but LGBTQ youth still report verbal abuse, harassment and personal judgment from peers and staff in homeless youth shelters and drop-in centers. Reports of discriminatory behavior against transgender youth and agency staff lacking skills to meet the needs of youth with gender identity questions are routine.
You may find that quote on this page. (http://www.endhomelessness.org/pages/lgbtq-youth) Also, I would like to present this from the National Coalition For the Homeless:

20% of homeless youth are LGBT. In comparison, the general youth population is only 10% LGBT.
While homeless youth typically experience severe family conflict as the primary reason for their homelessness, LGBT youth are twice as likely to experience sexual abuse before the age of 12.
LGBT youth, once homeless, are at higher risk for victimization, mental health problems, and unsafe sexual practices. 58.7% of LGBT homeless youth have been sexually victimized compared to 33.4% of heterosexual homeless youth
LGBT youth are roughly 7.4 times more likely to experience acts of sexual violence than heterosexual homeless youth
LGBT homeless youth commit suicide at higher rates (62%) than heterosexual homeless youth (29%)
That can be found here. (http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/lgbtq.html)
I apologize preemptively in case this comes across as rude, I am simply disagreeing that they are as similar as most people believe and presenting the homework I have done.

07-01-2014, 10:09 PM
If your character does not fight back, he'll most likely curl into a fetal ball with his arms and hands surrounding his head... at least until he loses consciousness.

It's your story, so you'll have to decide how severe the beating is... Does your aggressor lose all control? Does he not stop until he's tired? Does another character intercede? Does he take pity upon the victim and pull his punches?

If your character fights back, that can change the entire dynamic...

It all depends upon what you deem useful to your tale... Best of Luck!

07-04-2014, 04:26 AM
Well, I've been in a few fights, and do boxing and kickboxing currently. So, when one gets hit in the head, they get disoriented. A bit like that brief moment in time when you jump into a swimming pool. The effect would be especially magnified if it is unexpected, if you don't see the hit coming. After multiple hits, you'll have to get away, no matter what. Or get knocked unconscious.
Another thing: getting hit in the nose, and you feel like your clear sinuses are suddenly transformed to a stuffy nose. Its like a trickle somewhere in the upper part of the nose, but don't actually feel the trickle go all the way out of your nose, even though it does; its more like you realize you're bleeding after you see the blood on the floor.
Getting hit in the eye makes it water. Getting hit there can make it sting, and you've got to have a bit of time to blink it out, and when it stings, it means a black eye.

Karen Junker
07-04-2014, 07:35 AM
Well, you usually go out a window by climbing out one foot at a time, right? I mean, this actual scenario happened to me once and the parent in question grabbed at me and tore my clothes, but the momentum of my climbing out of the window pulled me out of her grasp -- and I ran faster than her. Is there some reason why an actual blow must make contact?

07-04-2014, 08:16 AM
Getting punched sucks. I got slugged in the upper right part of my pectoral because the dude hitting me missed my arm. It was shocking how much it hurt and made me double over and want to get away. I could barely breathe, my chest felt all constricted. Blows to the upper arm hurt but were mostly a big smack, a brief wave of pain and then it's over except for the getting right back up to show you're not a crybaby wuss.

Hackysack for punches was one of many weird games I played as a kid.

In a more straight up fighting context you try like hell to protect yourself from the blows. If the person doing the beating has any kind of fighting experience they are probably going to focus on the torso and wherever they can reach to keep hurting you. It's horrible.

If you have time to prep yourself then a lot of punches, especially straight on to the gut, you can shrug off. *IF* you have been doing your crunches. If you're a flabby sort of dude and aren't prepped then someone can accidentally rupture an internal organ. Sadly, that's how Houdini died.

Dennis E. Taylor
07-04-2014, 04:48 PM
As has been mentioned, it depends on what you want to have happen. Generally a person who isn't experienced will try to grab you with their left hand and whale away with their right. Or if they can't grab you (no clothes?) they'll alternate left/right punches, usually roundhouses. Punches will be aimed at the head because that's more personal. Punches will be mostly ineffective unless there's a large difference in weight, because punching has technique that has to be learned.
An experienced fighter will stick to short choppy straight punches, alternating body blows (solar plexus mostly) with head shots. They'll also use their elbows a lot if it's a close-in fight, and may also bring up their knee to the abdomen.
If there's room, there may be a leg sweep, then you have the victim on the floor. At that point, it's lights out.

07-07-2014, 12:24 AM
It really depends what sort of beating you want your MC to get and, as Angry Guy rightly says, whether the father knows what he's doing or not.

You could go with anything from a smack in the face and a bloody nose to being battered to the floor and the boot being put in until he's hospitalised.

Getting punched isn’t a lot of fun, but you get over it pretty quick. A thorough beating from someone who knows how to give one can easily kill you.

07-07-2014, 02:51 AM
As noted above, it's going to depend on how severe you want the beating to be, and how experienced you want the perpetrator to be at giving a beating.

Additionally, consider the background of the character taking the beating. Has he taken a beating before? That will not only change his perspective but his reactions.

And consider from whose perspective this beating will take place. The one actually taking the beating? You'll write more about physical sensation--not being able to breathe, dull pain, sharp pain, ringing in the ears, etc. If your POV is the lover who is watching the beating, he will instead see the blows, hear the sounds, note the expressions, see the blood. And are those experiences that this character has had before, or are they something new?