Friday, January 13, 2012

Getting Hurt and What To Do About It - In Fiction

I was digging through the bookshelves at a nearby thrift store the other day, and I came across this HUGE paramedic's textbook. And I mean huge. The thing could stop a 9mm round at twenty paces.

Okay, so I don't actually know if that's realistically true. Probably not. But it's huge. And the thought occurred to me... I need this book. That thought occurs a lot, and usually it's just a really strong WANT for a book representing itself as a need.

This time, though, it was a need. The reason?

For the next book I am writing, there is this horrible battle sequence that happens in the very first chapter. (A far cry from my first book... see the page) People get wounded. People die. And my main character for the scene is... a combat medic.

Ah... now you see. :) How on earth can I write a convincing combat medic? Convincing wounds and convincing responses to those wounds.

Thus... a paramedic's textbook. I had no IDEA people could get hurt in so many ways. It's unreal. I should have guessed by the thickness of the book. I've read anatomy textbooks before and been wowed at how beautifully complex and finely orchestrated the body is, but from a paramedic's point of view... all of that complexity and orchestration can be seen as a list of how badly things can be messed up.

I'm not going to put it all in my book. For one thing, it could bore everybody to death. You wouldn't believe how boring these guys can make paramedic work sound.

But the details that I learn, while they will certainly not all make it into the book, will prevent me from making factual errors, and give it just enough credibility to make it feel real.

I think it might be in the top 10 best $2.00 deals I've ever made.

From now on - textbooks at thrift stores will have a whole new priority ranking for me. And I think I might want to start wearing body armor and a helmet everywhere I go. In fact, after reading out of this book, I think you and your loved ones should all wear body armor and a helmet everywhere you go. AND SEATBELTS. Holy moly. Please wear your seatbelts, kids. And don't play with hot stoves. And don't fall off of stuff. I'm not jokin' with ya.


  1. It's funny how many hours of research can go into one or two sentences. But the authenticity's worth it, don't you think?

    I need to read said battle scene. Sounds exciting.

    1. Very true. I think I spend more time researching (for this current book) than I do writing.

      Sure, if you like. Are you on the utahchildrenswriters yahoo group? Make some noise over there and I'll send it to you.