Resources for Writers
Writing Medical Scenes: Really Useful Links by Paul Anthony Shortt
Hospitals, injuries, and medical emergencies are common throughout multiple genres of fiction, and it’s easy to see why. When a character is hurt or sick, this creates instant tension and can have an impact on how the rest of the story goes. Everyone has experiences of injury and illness, whether directly or from a friend or loved one going through it. So we have an immediate connection once we see that a character needs medical help.
But, while everyone knows what it’s like to get hurt or be sick, only a select few of us have the knowledge, experience, and training to know how wounds are treated, what medical practices need to be followed, and how things operate behind the scenes in a hospital. Most of us will get our “knowledge” of this from television, which can frequently be wrong, as we’ve learned in previous articles.
So here are some places you can go to sharpen up your medical knowledge for your writing.
(Please note, none of the articles I’m sharing are intended to replace actual medical training; if you or anyone you know gets hurt or is seriously ill, please seek proper medical help.)
1: Dumbest Medical Mistakes – You can’t beat first-hand knowledge. Allnurses-Breakroom is an online community for nurses, and this discussion thread is a goldmine of little mistakes that you can avoid.
2: How to Write a Hospital Scene – Writethatscene.com offers structure and writing advice for a range of different scenes. In this article they break down the important elements that go into a hospital scene.
3: Not Quite Dead – If your character needs medical attention, what was the reason? You don’t just need to know how their injuries will be treated, you also need to know how their injuries will affect them, directly.
4: Infusing Medical Details Into Your Fiction – This guest post by retired physician Richard Mabry is littered with the kind of small details that help bring your writing to life, along with some good advice about how to present these details in a natural and accessible way.
That’s all for this week. Good luck!
(c) Paul Anthony Shortt
Paul Anthony Shortt believes in magic and monsters; in ghosts and fairies, the creatures that lurk under the bed and inside the closet. The things that live in the dark, and the heroes who stand against them. Above all, he believes that stories have the power to change the world, and the most important stories are the ones which show that monsters can be beaten.
Paul's work includes the Memory Wars Trilogy and the Lady Raven Series. His short fiction has appeared in the Amazon #1 bestselling anthology, Sojourn Volume 2.