I am trying to write a story where a character is shot and then gets up out of their body and stand up, but it is not their real body their actual body is dead on the floor. Basically, their spirit is like a body which is sort of transparent but not completely.

My problem is I don't know how to clearly explain them getting up out of their body but making it clear to the reader its a spirit and the actual body is still on the ground.

  • 1
    I'm fairly certain that the 'character-development' tag is not used correctly here, nor the introduction. This might in fact be viewed as a "What to write"-type of question, which is not allowed on this site.
    – storbror
    Apr 17, 2018 at 5:21
  • 3
    I'm voting to leave this open because it about how to write a scene, not what to write. Apr 17, 2018 at 12:08
  • 2
    Terry Pratchett does this incredibly well with Death in the Discworld novels. Read up on that and pay attention to how the transition is acknowledged.
    – user18397
    Apr 17, 2018 at 23:00

2 Answers 2


This surely differs depending on the perspective of your story and your writing style in general.

The best advice I can give you is: Try.

Try to write how you imagine that would "feel" and/or what you would pay attention when and how. The most commonly used point of view (I've been told) is third person, past tense.

It could be as simple as:

"John hit the ground, and immediately got back up, only to find that his body was still on the ground, below him."

or, you can get into the mind of John as it happens:

"John hit the ground. The piercing pain from the bullet seemed to slightly fade away as his body crashed onto the concrete surface underneath him.

Unsure whether feeling the blood leaving his body, or simply reacting to the trauma of getting shot, he felt a certain lightness in his entire body.

Well aware that the shooter was long gone, he decided to get back up and seek medical attention, and to his surprise, he got up easier than ever. No pain from the wound or the uncontrolled fall, no resistance from his clumsy and lazy body as he rised. Is this what adrenaline does?, he wondered.

Once upon his feet, he realized the reason that he had risen with such ease; He was now looking down on his own body, still lying on the ground in a large pool of blood."

These are just examples. We don't know your characters, your P.O.V. or your story, and I have no experience writing such scenes, but use your imagination and try.

For most writers, the difficult part is actually writing something. You can always re-write - but you can't get useful feedback on something you haven't written.

Another tip, is to research the thousands of people who claim to have had out-of-body experiences. I'm sure there are lots of content to get inspired by there.

Good luck


+1 to storbror and I'd add do a little research on what it feels like to those who experience it. There are groups and associations online that are into this topic.

Some describe it as a dissociation that happens without their awareness, and they figure it out later, which could work well in a story. This might play out in a way similar to the movie The sixth sense. Bruce Willis experienced existence after death without realizing he was dead, and then he learned he was dead, and then he saw his experiences through a new lens. You have one type of storytelling opportunity with an approach like this.

Others describe leaving the body in more tactile detail. If I recall, this can happen in a number of ways. There may be a pulling around the chest, and detaching from the body could come with a sticky or sucking sensation. After leaving the body some report seeing a cord attaching themselves to the body. In some religions, the 'best' way to leave the body is through the crown chakra and this implies there are multiple routes. Some practice leaving the body through mental effort and they describe 'rolling' out of their body, or sitting up, half in/half out. You have a different type of storytelling opportunity with a description like this.

The way the world looks after leaving the body can also vary by instance.

So, yes, try - but also dig around a little and find something that's been reported 'out there' that serves your larger story.

  • I like the point here about "the way the world looks" - this could be a useful hint about something being "off" for the character.
    – storbror
    Dec 22, 2018 at 12:03

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.