I am writing a story and at some point my character, while in battle, injuries his knee and is out of comission for a long time after that. He then becomes frustrated, feels left behind, and, yeah, then I want to work on that. But for now, I just need some writing tips on how to describe it, or what kind of knee injury would be realistic. Or how to make the cause of the injury feel realistic, like getting hit there? I just need some help with this, I want to make it feel accurate.

2 Answers 2


There are quite a lot of questions on this site about how to write certain things that you have never experienced yourself or about which you know nothing. Among them is one about how to write realistic injury scenes.

The gist of all the answers to all these questions is, do research:

  • Find an expert on the subject matter and interview them. In your case this could be a medical professional or someone who had a knee injury. Reddit is a good place to find people that have experienced all kinds of things. There is even a subreddit for people with knee injuries.
  • Read one or several text books on the subject matter. Amazon, for example, lists many books on knee injuries. I'm sure you can find some of them at a public or university library near you.
  • Find YouTube videos on the subject matter. Google lists many videos on knee injuries.
  • Make up what you cannot research.

I've answered a similar question about this long ago on this forum and reading it should help you a bit. It offers a number of specific things to try to get started when telling your story and showing action.

However, I'll offer a few more ideas here also.

Expostion Versus Narrative

As a reader, you will find that the best stories you read are filled with exposition (exposing the action to the reader's eyes). That means showing the reader the events as they happen.

Generally when a writer uses exposition and does it well the reader finds those parts of the story come alive and seem to play on the movie-screen of the mind -- as if the reader is watching the events play out, and not reading at all.

In contrast to that, you have narrative: when the writer tells you what happened and how you (the reader) should feel.

Narrative: Generally The Slowest Parts Whenever the writer gets stuck and starts narrating parts, the reader will become easily distracted and often just not be able to concentrate on the story.

Let's See Some Examples

Let's take a look at a not-so-good narrative:

"George was a small sad boy who is not athletic and who feared everything."

You've just been told about George.

Now, let's take a look at how the author might've used exposition to tell you that and how it may have been incorrect -- due to the narrator telling the reader what to think about George.


The screen door flew open and George ran out of the old house with peeling paint that seemed to lean over into the street. "And don't come back before dark," his mother's voice yelled after him. "If you want to eat, you better come with some money." George got to the sidewalk, knew he was far enough that she couldn't hit him with something and turned and looked back at the house. I'm going to leave all right. George could feel his eyes begin to sting but he held back the tears. When I get the money I'll never come back.

So, now you're seeing some action and learning about George instead of just being told about him. Exposition takes much longer but also shows the story happen.

The Key To Creating Exposition

The key to writing with exposition is to use a imagination technique based upon real life.

First You See It, Then You Write It Down

If I ask you to give me a scene of a kid who is fishing you may have some difficulty. However, if I ask you to accompany me to the local river and watch a kid fish and write down the most important details to communicate that the kid is fishhing, you'll find it a lot easier. This is the key to writing action down. First you have to see it, then you can write it down.

Imagination First: Writing Second Now I'm going to write a battle scene to get you started but first I'm going to sit and imagine two people in combat. First I'm going to see it, then I'm going to write it down.

Battle Scene With Knee Injury

"Look I know you're in there," Rob yelled into the mouth of the small cave. "So come on out and meet me like a man." The noon sun was bright and Rob couldn't see inside the cave so he unsheathed his sword and prodded the air just inside the cave. "Aghgggggg!!" someone yelled out from the cave and Rob flinched. In that momentary flinch something grabbed his sword arm on the wrist and pulled him down. Rob fell to the ground but coudln't see. Then another scream and something like a log or club hit the armor at his knee and Rob yelled out in pain.

He rolled out of the cave but still hadn't seen his attacker. In the turmoil he'd dropped his sword and it was still inside the cave. He rolled over and pushed himself up from the ground. At that same moment, Randall came running out of the cave, Rob's sword in hand and lunged at Rob. Rob jumped to his left and put too much weight on the damaged knee and fell again as the pain spiked through him. The fall had probably saved his life since Randall's forward movement made him also stumble away.

Now That You Understand Exposition, You Can Do Anything

Once you understand the importance of exposition, all you need is:

  1. some time
  2. an idea of what you want to show
  3. a strong imagination to see the images playout
  4. some time to write down what you "saw"

You don't need special details or medical studies. Just imagine what it might feel like to suffer a knew injury and how that might effect a combatant.

This is the power of imagination and exposition.
Now, you must do the most important part of all.

Go, and imagine and write.

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