Saturday, September 17, 2011

"Doctor, Doctor!"

OK, so here's the question:

Do you find a "diagnosis" for your character first and then write it in  ***OR***

Do you write about your character's illness first and then find a diagnosis to match?

How do you make sure your medical ailments & diagnoses are accurate? Or do you through current medical convention aside and invent your own illnesses as you go?

I have a manuscript that is still sitting undone because a blind professor who heard parts of the mss read to him said it wasn't practical for my main character to go blind so fast. Drat! I'm still not sure how to fix that.

I have another manuscript with a character who needs the drama of a blood clot in her lungs. I think I researched enough to make it believable, but I haven't asked a medical doctor yet. After my blindness failure, I'm almost afraid to!

So what you do?


RaShelle Workman said...

I think it's cool you asked the professor. As for the blind girl, remember it's fiction. You only need plausibility. Weird, freaky stuff happens all the time in the real world. Who's to say that something erratic didn't happen to your MC?

Julie Daines said...

I think it depends on why your MC goes blind. Different conditions would affect the timing.

In my current WIP I have a MC that is blind. I decided that I couldn't ever do justice to what it's like to be blind without actually being blind, so I didn't make my blind character the POV character. But I did a lot of research into different causes of blindness.

As far as making it up goes...for some reason, you can't get away with nearly as much truth-stretching in novels as you can in TV and movies. See my post, Can Fiction be Fiction?

And lastly, a while ago I stumbled across this blog where a medical nurse (or maybe a doctor) was also a writer, and on her blog she references all kinds of diseases and the symptoms and causes and how they can be used in novels. I'll see if I can find it and post the link on our blog.